Setting up your own home recording studio is a great way to get some of your music down while not having to worry about whether or not the space is booked or even open when you have time to lay down some tracks. It really puts the control in your own hands, but it does require a little technical knowledge and a budget that allows for all the necessary equipment. Sure, you do not need to be a mixing and mastering guru to have your own studio, but do expect to spend some time learning how to best work all the gear if it is not something that you already can do on your own.
Assuming that you’ve already selected, or created, a space in your home for the studio, it is time to start gathering up the necessary gear so that you can get started with the actual recording. There are some basic pieces of equipment that you will certainly want to include, while others are optional. If your budget and space allows for it, try to add in all the items that you need now and expect to need in the future. It can result in a better overall sound from the music that you record.
To start out with a bare bones little recording studio at home, your gear list will include:
- a computer or laptop (with recording software)
- an audio interface
- at least one microphone (with mic stand)
- a pair of studio headphones
- a couple of good studio monitors
- decent sound proofing (such as acoustic panels)
The nice thing about setting one of these up is that you can use it for more than just recording your own vocals or music. In fact, you have everything you need to turn it into a space for recording podcasts at home.
Since a lot of people need to do this on a budget, consider using a computer or laptop that you already own. Or, purchase a cheap refurbished unit that you can devote to just running your recording software. While you can use the free Audacity program, it is a good idea to upgrade to something a bit more robust when your budget allows for it. Doing so gives you the ability to get better sounding results.
The audio interface is really just small little device that serves as the go between for your computer and your microphones. Basically, it is how you get those vocals and music onto the computer. Basically, with this little box you are able to connect your computer to every other piece of equipment in the home recording studio.
When it comes to microphones, there are a lot of different directions that you can do with them. For a low budget option, there are some great USB mics that offer great sound recording. You’ll need to choose between dynamic and condenser mics, but I’m more of a fan of condenser mics.
To get a good idea of how your music and vocals sound, you’ll need a fairly decent set of studio headphones and studio monitors. When shopping for the speakers, you’ll see a lot of different types like bookshelf speakers and satellite speakers. Learn the difference here and see why you need studio monitors. The good news is that you can get a good set of studio monitors for a cheap price. For your best bets under $200, click here for some top studio monitors.
And probably the most important part of your home studio is the soundproofing. You do not want to invest in all this gear just to end up with audio tracks that showcase the sound of your neighbors kids playing outside or the television set from the person in the apartment above you. Fortunately, soundproofing does not have to cost you a lot of money. In fact, there are some great cheap ways that you can get professional studio quality soundproofing on a broke musician’s budget. Just take a look at some home theater soundproofing tips for low budget ideas. Or, check out my list of budget home studio soundproofing tips for more suggestions.
Once you get all this gear in your newly soundproofed home studio, you’ll be ready to start recording your own music and vocals.