An album made entirely in one’s bedroom is no longer a foreign concept. In fact, it has become the norm. Digital sampling and recording programs such as Pro-Tools, Reason, Cubase and Digital Performer have all become the norm for most musicians. Why pay studio costs and mixing engineers for what you can do on your own your own computer?
The unfortunate result has been that as the need to record in a pricey recording studio has become a thing of the past, so has analog home recording. There is something a bit different from home recording made from analog forms (cassette or reel to reel recorders) rather than digital. Most arguments made on digital versus analog have to do with sound. My argument has to do with creativity. Although you still have the ability to overdub parts in analog recording, there are no quick fixes. You cannot instantly quantize bad timing, edit mistakes, cut out background noise or automatically tune vocals that are off key; all which you can do on the most basic digital recording programs. Instantly the mediocre can sound like the professionals. But what if some mediocrity is part of the charm? Honesty captured onto tape, with background noise, slightly off key vocals and poor recording techniques that captures a song in its purest form. It's no wonder fans of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix used to pay top dollar for bootlegs of their home demos. There is purity to their songs that got lost once they made their way into a professional recording studio. The same thing sometimes happens with digital recording. The options are limitless, so much so that the end results sounds nothing like the beginning.
The Lo-Fi movement of the late eighties/early nineties exemplified this. Artists such as Daniel Johnston, Sebadoh, and The Mountain Goats didn’t just record onto four track for the sake of purity, it was also about economics. A Tascam 4 track recorder was affordable. Many studios were selling their outdated eight and four track reel-to-reel recorders dirt-cheap as well. In a bedroom, garage or in a practice space, you were left to your imagination to create without the restraints of paying a studio an hourly rate.