How To Set Up Your Home Recording Studio
Home recording studio setup is such a daunting task. It requires proper planning, research, and nights of preparation, doesn’t it?
No, it does not. Welcome to the digital age.
Getting started with making music is now easier than ever and affordable too. All you need is a few essentials and you can get started with recording your own music.
To build a home recording studio, you need to find a space, proper equipment, and perfectly tuned ears.
Though, there’ll always be a difference between recording at a studio and recording at home.
Since it’s more of a DIY project, you will need to master a few tricks and learn a few tips that will make your home studio endeavor easier.
Tips to Follow for Home Studio Recording Setup
When you are all ready for a home studio recording setup, here are a few tips that will make the process easier and better.
Find A Room That Replicates a Studio
Most of us don’t have a home with high ceilings and varied surfaces, unlike recording studios. But this can be solved by picking a room with the most limited number of windows, a strong and heavy wooden door, and a floor carpet.
A recording studio needs to sound dead and shouldn’t echo. Don’t try to use the natural reverb because you certainly won’t like listening to a constant reverb throughout the song.
If required, reverb can be added later technically but if it’s filled with live reverb, it will sound annoying and unnatural.
Soundproof Your Room
If you don’t want your neighbors to call the police, it’s better tosoundproof your room. Moreover, soundproofing will also eliminate outside sounds from getting captured.
You can find acoustic foams that capture and absorb sounds. You can stick them directly on the wall. It will eliminate sounds and unneeded echoes.
For corners of the room, you can buy bass traps. For high-quality foams and traps, the budget will exceed 300 bucks. If you are not looking for something professional, you can find lower-grade fabrics and foams for soundproofing.
Turn Your Walk-In Closet Into A Recording Booth
A walk-in closet will be the best space in your home that can be turned into a recording booth. Clothes are excellent sound absorbers and you won’t require any further additions to soundproof your recording booth. You can use the adjacent room as a control room too.
Build A Comfortable Setup
While setting up your studio, make sure you are spending enough time behind setting up your desk and chair where you will spend most of the time.
Find a chair with a high back and an ergonomic design since you will be spending hours sitting to record and mix.
Essential Equipment and Gadgets
Apart from finding the perfect room, you will also need a few software and gadgets to record.
Here are a few of the most essentials.
A Well-Equipped Computer
Be it a laptop or desktop, you will need a well-configured computer to start recording. An ideal home studio recording computer setup will have a fast processor, at least 8 GB ram, a high capacity HDD or SSD, soundcard, etc.
If you are planning to use your smartphone and tablet, please flush out the idea. All your effort will be in vain because there are no such devices that can serve the full functionality of a computer, be it desktop or laptop.
A Digital Audio Interface
You will need to convert the analog signals into digital files for which you will need a digital audio convertor, also known as DAC.
A Digital Workstation
A digital workstation is software required to assist your computer’s recording capability. Some of the most preferred brands among musicians for home studio recording setup are Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Cubase, Reason, Digital Performer, etc.
Most of this digital workstation software is supported on both Mac and Windows OS. But, Logic Pro X is designed exclusively for Mac.
There is even free digital workstation software available on the internet but obviously, the features are limited.
A preamp goes between the microphone and the Digital Audio Converter. It is one of the most neglected pieces of equipment in a recording studio but it magically adds extra warmth and character into your recording.
Regardless if you are recording instruments or vocals, a preamp is necessary if you don’t want your audio sound dead.
There are three types of headphones required for home studio recording setup, that are condenser microphones, dynamic microphones, and ribbon microphones.
Each of them has a separate usage and is required for capturing vocals, and instruments precisely.
- Condenser microphones come with large and small diaphragms and are used for recording any instruments.
- Dynamic microphones are required for recording instruments with high outputs such as high pitch vocals, electric guitars, drums, etc.
- Ribbon microphones are required for capturing details of acoustic guitars, brass instruments, and vocals.
Apart from microphones, you should also consider the related accessories to make your recording session easier. For example, you will need pop filters to eliminate plosives from vocals, balanced XLR cables, etc.
Studio Headphones and Monitors
Last but not the least, studio-quality headphones and monitors. Regardless of the quality of your preamps and microphones, your entire home studio recording session will go down the drain if you don’t have proper studio-quality headphones and monitors.
They are required to precisely assess the sound quality from the recording session and make the required changes. Without them, you won’t be able to listen to the minute glitches present in your recording.
How to Choose Your Home Studio Recording Setup Equipment?
This is entirely dependent on how serious you are about the whole session. You need to fix a budget that doesn’t exceed your capability.
If you are planning to start this as a hobby, it is recommended to go easy at the start. Watch a few videos of sound engineers and start building a solid plan.
Note down their tips and interact with them on their live sessions for tips and advice.
Don’t spend a lot of money right at the start. Discouragement and disappointments will follow you throughout the journey but you need to stick by your ambition.
If you spend too much right at the start, you might get frustrated twice faster. So, start low and build up your studio along with your skills.
Moreover, there is nothing called too cheap. If you are starting this as a hobby, then don’t exceed a budget of 600-700 bucks. That is all you will need to start initially.
But there are limitations for a low budget setup and it is not recommended for someone who is looking forward to this as a full-time career or wants to learn like a professional.
If you are serious about recording, then it is better to set a budget a little higher than this.
To recap here’s what you need to set up your home recording studio:
- A relevant room that will be used as a studio
- Soundproof the room
- Use a walk-in closet as a recording booth
- Make your workspace comfortable
- Invest in adequate equipment & gadgets
No matter how much you spend behind equipment and setting up your studio, the first thing you need to do is train your ears. That’s the only way to master the art of recording, be it in a studio or a home recording studio setup.