9 Essentials For Building Your Home Studio

9 Studio Essentials

What You WIll Need To Get Started Recording Your Next Hit

My friends have asked for help in recording and mixing so often that I decided to create a series of tutorials for you based on recording and mixing. Im going to cover a few areas like essential equipment. basic recording , using autotune correctly, compression and eq as well as mixing your songs for the beginners.

 

Lets start out with the essential home studio gear list. These are things You will need to get to properly record yourself and get a high quality sound.

  1. A computer
  2. Audio Interface/DAW Combo
  3. Studio Monitors
  4. Headphones
  5. A mic or two
  6. A handful of cables
  7. A quality mic stand
  8. A pop filter
  9. A closet

Computer

You will need a computer. A Desktop or Laptop will work. Get the best computer you can afford or use what you have on hand. The reality is you can do basic recording on most any modern computer that has at least a dual or quad core processor , 4 to 16 Gb ram and a big ol harddrive.

I prefer windows over Macs because the availabitly of software and price of entry is much lower. Apple computers will cost a minimum of 20% more for the equivelent specs.

Audio Interface/DAW Combo

A wuht? Sounds confusing but its not , its just a usb soundcard that runs the microphone and headphone, as well as the DAW, software you are recording into. What to get? While you can record and mix a hit in any software on the market from free apps like audacity and reaper , to macintosh’ logic, or even fl studio, My recomendation is to get a soundcard that comes with pro tools.

Why pro tools? Compatibility. Pro Tools is the industry standard DAW and works on PC and Apple. It is literally the sound of modern music. ANd the price of entry is so low, you can find a soundcard in a pawn shop for $40 that will run the latest version of pro tools.

Pro Tools is simple to learn. It isnt complicated or unintuitive as say, FL Studio, it doesnt require a Mac like Logic. Once you have learned how to use it , you can work in almost any studio in the world. Its just plain easy.

Studio Monitors

Why do you need monitors? Because you cant mix a record properly with headphones. Studio Monitors are much more accurate than ordinary stereo speakers. They allow you to hear things that you cannot on normal consumer gear.

I recommend a small set if you are in a bedroom or smaller room. A 5-6 inch driver is able to breathe and not overpower a room. I dont recommend a subwoofer if you are just starting out. A decent set of used monitors might cost 150-200$ and most likely will have the amplifiers built in. Powered monitors mean one less amplifier and pair of cables to buy.

 

Headphones

Headphones are necesary for recording your vocals in the booth. You need the closed ear variety to reduce talkback in your vocals. The open ear style is better when mixing and A/Bing with your monitors.

You prolly have some earbuds or beats laying around, and its fine to use those starting out, but you will learn why and when to invest in a couple pairs of real studio quality phones.

 

Microphones

Get the best you can afford. Most of my friends will never mic an instrument in their home studio, so its not necessary to have a bunch of mics starting out. Microphones and studio gear nowadays is much higher quality and far far cheaper than just 10 years ago. The high end studio gear of yesterday is nearly matched in quality today for a fraction of the price.

For a vocal mic, Id get a condenser mic with as large a diaphragm as possible. A Rode NT1a or Audio-Teknica at2020 can be found new for less than 200$. They are in literally every used music shop and pawn shop in the USA.

Cables

You will need a mic cord, and a pair of monitor cords for the most basic recording needs. The USB cord to connect to your computer should come with the interface, but I wouldnt recommend getting the cheapest cables available. That doesnt mean you need to get highend gold plated overpriced cables either. Get what you can afford in the low mid to middle price ranges.

Mic cables get abused. We walk on them , we pinch them in door frames, we spill stuff on them & we just mistreat them constantly. Speaker cables get plugged in and forgotten. Keep that in mind when buying your cables.

Mic Stand

Mic stands have one job. Keeping Your Mic Off The Floor. Dont skimp on your mic stand. Buy a stand with a nice weighted base and a solid heavy frame with high quality attachments. You can easily damage and even destroy a good mic just carelessly tipping a crappy mic stand over.

Pop Filter

Pop filters keep your mics clean and reduce the plosives in your vocals. They are essentially a simple ring with a screen or pantyhose type material in them. You can get a simple 10$ pop filter that works as good as a fancy 250$ one, but keep in mind where the actual recording is taking place when choosing one. If its really noisey most of the time, even in a closet of some sort, the wraparound rear pop filter systems can REALLY improve the quality of your recordings. If you are in a quiet lowkey spot, a simple pop filter should be just fine.

 

Closet

Whats the closet for? To act as an isolation booth. Isolation booths are quiet places with little to no reflections coming from the walls/ceilings/floors as well as outside noises from traffic, neighbors etc. You want the quietest place you can find to track your vocals in.

If you are solo, and have noone to help you record/engineer your sessions, my suggestion is just have all the gear within arms reach while recording, and getting the nicer pop filter/backrack and skip the closet thing.

 

Next Up Is my Pro Tools guide to setting your tempo and key for autotune.

Drop a comment below and let me know how you like this articla and how I can improve. What topics do you want to learn more about?


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