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Home Studio Guide: How to Set Up a Home Recording Studio

wavmonopoly May 30, 2022

If you’ve ever wanted to make music in your bedroom, but don’t know how to set up a home recording studio, then this blog post is for you. Home recording studios are no longer an expensive luxury that only professional musicians can afford. With the right equipment and setup, anyone with access to their living room or bedroom can start making great sounding recordings today!

We live in a time where anyone with a computer can make music. 20 years ago, a home recording studio setup sounded like a tale from the future. But in music production today, it is becoming the norm for a recording artist have their own recording studio. Not only is it common but more and more you’ll find the home recording studio as the temple of where many new and upcoming artist creates their breakout first from. Take, for instance, Juice Wrld breakout hit “All girls are the same” from a bedroom recording studio. This song is currently 6x platinum in the united states. Or take for instance XXXtentacion creating his first hits from a bedroom as well, with little to no acoustic treatment at all.

Now the first thing we should do before setting up our home studio is to set realistic expectations. We can’t expect our home recording studio to look like professional studios, in fact we don’t need it to record and produce music at a high level. To be honest, you will see that creating a home studio is like feeding a hungry stomach, it’s a never-ending process that will never satisfy itself for audio equipment forever. Whether it’s upgrading your studio monitors because you got a bigger room or adding acoustic treatment to your walls to get a better vocal recording, you’ll always be looking for the next upgrade. So always be patient with your home studio and understand that it doesn’t need to look like the pretty home studio you saw on youtube but instead just need to have a few essential things to guarantee you get great music recording from your home studio.

This article will cover everything from choosing the best condenser microphone for your needs all the way down to what cables you’ll need.

How much does a home recording studio cost?

Well, I can start by saying that the cost of setting up a home recording studio is much cheaper than setting up a studio back in the day where you needed analog hardware equipment to record music. Digital audio workstations or other known as DAW are so much cheaper than analog equipment. Digital audio workstations are found on pretty much every laptop, tablet or smartphone now because of their convenience and accessibility to anyone with a computer. However, this has created an issue for musicians who want the sound quality that comes from analog equipment but does not have access to large budgets.

Now, with a home recording studio, cheaper doesn’t always mean cheap. When some people think of the home studio they think of cheap but I am here to tell you the phrase, “you get what you pay for” still holds in this instance. I say that to say, there is a baseline of quality you want when it comes to your studio equipment. And when picking out your home recording studio equipment, you never want to go too cheap. Now while you can go with the lowest priced option with your home studio setup, I wouldn’t recommend it because that would lead to a ceiling as to what you can achieve in your home recording studio.

So to answer the question definitively, well I can’t but in this article today I will make sure to give you everything you will need to know with plenty of options to choose from to get your first home recording studio setup today!

  1. Computer
  2. DAW (digital audio workstation)
  3. Audio interface
  4. Microphone
  5. Microphone Cables
  6. Mic Stand
  7. Pop Filter
  8. Studio monitors
  9. Studio Headphones
  10. Acoustic treatment

Computer

The computer is the workhorse of your home recording studio setup. The computer is where you will be able to open up a DAW and start creating music in minutes with just a click of the mouse or trackpad on most computers today. Computer specs are also very important when it comes to being able to have a smooth workflow when you are creating music. Many of you will be able to create music on your current laptop or computer can be limited to audio tracks and effects depending on the specs of your computer.

Now choosing between a Mac or PC for your home recording studio is a personal preference. While I am biased to macs because that’s what I use in my own studio, a PCs has just as much capability when it comes to music production. It ultimately boils down to the software you are most familiar with and what you feel more comfortable using.

Once you decide on that, you must choose whether you want to work with a laptop or desktop. I always recommend a desktop over a laptop for music production because of the option to build and upgrade it easily but if you are looking for mobility in your home recording setup then a laptop might be more your speed.

Now the most important thing where you choose to do your audio recording on a laptop or a desktop is the specs that come with it. Specs are important because you don’t want to have a low-end computer that will bog down when it comes time to record lots of audio tracks or instruments. Computer specs play a big part in how well your home recording studio setup runs and performs so always look for the best spec’d out computers as possible. I always say, get the best specs in your computer as you can afford.

The specs you want to look for when buying a computer are the following:

– CPU (processor)

– RAM (memory)

– Storage

CPU and RAM are the two most important specs when it comes to music production. You want a computer with a high CPU speed so that you can have multiple audio tracks open without any lag or latency in your DAW. Having a lot of RAM is also important so that you can have more plugins, instruments, and samples open at the same time without bogging down your computer.

But don’t let all those fancy words scare you, just know that without a computer there is no music recording going on so just have one. So spend as much as you can afford on your computer. Your home studio depends on it.

Digital Audio Workstation (Daw)

A digital audio workstation or DAW is a music production software that you will use to record, edit and mix your music. There are many different kinds of digital audio workstations out there on the market today so it can be daunting when trying to decide which one you want to go with for your home recording studio. A few of the popular daws are Pro Tools, FL Studios, Logic and Ableton Live.

All of these DAWs are great for music production but ultimately it comes down to what you are most comfortable with and the one that has all of the features you want.

Pro Tools

Pro tools daw

I find pro tools best when it comes to recording vocals because of the organization pro tools offers. To me it is the most straightforward Daw there is. Also to mention probably makes it the reason why it is industry standard and found in most studios.

Logic X Pro

garageband daw

Logic X Pro is a great Daw for producing and recording music. It has all of the features that you need like midi keyboards, audio effects and virtual instruments to create your music. If you want to work with virtual instruments and samples then Logic X Pro is the best Daw for you. Also to add, it has a vast library of sounds and plugins.

FL Studios

FL Studio 20 Daw

FL studios is a great Daw as well for music production. It is taking steps in the right direction for recording vocals with their latest updates but FL Studios tends to be the holy grail for producers who work on hip hop, trap, and electronic music. This program has a lot of customizable connectivity for midi controllers in this daw.

Any one of these daws would be more than adequate enough to work in your recording studio. Most of them have free trial periods in which you can try them out to see which fits you best.

Audio Interface

The Audio interface is the next most important piece of equipment in your home recording studio. The audio interface is what will allow you to connect microphones, instruments, and monitors to your computer. Not only that but its digital converters are the mastermind of how your sound will be converter from analog to digital. It also provides the power of phantom power to power the mics as well.

When choosing an audio interface there are a few things you want to keep in mind. The first thing is the audio interface I/O count. This is the number of audio inputs and outputs that your audio interface has to play with. If you are just getting started then an audio interface with a minimum of two audio inputs and four audio outputs should be fine but if you want more, it’s there for you!

For beginners, I would recommend the Focusrite 2i2 audio interface which has two audio inputs, two audio outputs and it is very cost effective. Or the UA Volt interface which is also cost efficient but adds some extra features to the package.

Microphones

Microphones might be arguably the most important piece of equipment for music production because it does the job of capturing the music recording. This is important to make sure we get an accurate sound of our source. There are many different types of microphones, each with its own purpose, style, and characteristics. And when it comes to microphones, there is no best, it’s all just preference. The type of microphone you use will depend on the sound you’re trying to achieve.

The main three types of microphones we will go over are dynamic, condenser, and ribbon.

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic Microphones are the most common type of microphone and are often used in live settings. They’re typically less expensive than condenser microphones and can handle high sound pressure levels without distorting the audio signal. Some of the more popular dynamic microphones are the Shure SM58 and the Shure SM7B.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser Microphones are more sensitive than dynamic Microphones and are typically used in studios. They require power to run, so they need a pre-amp or audio interface to work. Condenser Microphones can also come with different polar patterns like cardioid and omnidirectional. These mics are great on vocals, drum overheads, and acoustic guitars. Some of the most popular condenser Microphones are the Neumann TLM 102 and the Rode NT1A. But if you are looking for a more cost-friendly microphone I’d recommend the Audio Technica AT2020.

Microphone Cables

Microphone cables are probably the most commonly overlooked item on this entire list. A good quality mic cable will help reduce noise and signal loss. And when it comes to cables, you get what you pay for. Microphone cable use different medals for tips like gold, silver, and platinum. The higher the quality of the medal, the less noise, and signal loss you will have. I always recommend going with gold tip microphone cables like the Mogami Gold Cables. This is to make sure you are the best signal flow when you record vocals, acoustic guitars, or any other sound source. Because the last thing you want is noise getting into your audio production.

Microphone stands

When it comes to protecting your microphone, nothing is more important. I would say when it comes to the mic stand choose the tier level of microphone that you choose. For instance, if the mic is on the cheaper end, then you can get away with a cheaper mic stand. On the contrary, if it is a higher end microphone then do the same with the mic stand. Because there is no better way to protect you mic from falling than your stand.

Pop Filter

A pop filter is a great way to keep your vocals sounding clean. When you’re recording and there’s a lot of “p” or “s” sounds that we don’t want in our recordings. And the best way to keep them out is by not allowing them to enter in the first place. Pop filters are made with many different materials. I would recommend getting a metal pop filter because they are easier to clean.

Headphones

There are two types of studio headphones, closed back headphones and open back headphones. I recommend closed back headphones because they are great for tracking because they isolate the sound and keep it in, which is great when you’re trying to focus. This also prevent headphone bleed from getting into the tracks. My favorite headphones are the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. They sound amazing and won’t break the bank.

Monitor Speakers

Choosing the right speaker monitors for your home studio is essential. You want something that will give you a great, flat frequency response with no distortion. I think the KRK Rokit line is a great choice for home studios. They are great because they are cost effective and sound amazing. But choosing the right monitor for your home studio depends on the size and shape of your room. But for an average home bedroom studio, those should work just fine.

Setting up your speakers correctly

Speaker placement is one of the most important aspects of mixing in the studio. If your speakers are not placed and set up correctly, you will not be able to achieve an accurate mix. The first tip is to set your speakers up against the longest wall and place them so that they point directly in towards you. It is also important to make sure your speaker stands are at the same height as your ears. But this will vary depending on the speaker model you have. The second tip is to make sure you are sitting the same distance from each speaker than the other. If you are sitting in a different place and listening to speaker A with speaker B, this will result in an unbalanced room sound.

Acoustic Treatment

Last but not least, acoustic treatment. Acoustic treatment is the process of treating a room to control the reflections and sounds in the room. This can be done by using diffusers, absorbers, and bass traps. It’s hard to recommend something that will be cheap in this field but this isn’t something you want to go cheap with. When dealing with home recording, acoustics can be the make or break for your quality. So if are trying to save a buck or two I’d recommend going DIY with this. You can find countless videos of how to create acoustic panels that would cost you double or triple to buy from a company.

Conclusion

To conclude home recording is a great way to get started in the music industry. And home studios have come a long way from when I first got started. Hopefully today you grasped some valuable information on home recording studio equipment and how you can build your own. Now make them hits!

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