How To Build A Home Recording Studio
Whether you’re setting a home studio to record videos and high-quality audio for your 9 to 5 or want to step it up a notch when creating music as your hobby, it’s important to make sure that you have the right type of equipment and workflow to help you.
Luckily, advances in technology have meant that learning how to build a home studio is more accessible and affordable compared to years past. In other words, you can create a high-quality home studio setup yourself that won’t set you back thousands of dollars.
What’s The Best Home Studio Setup?
Creating the perfect home studio setup will look different for many people, no matter how big or small your space will be. It’s almost always better to keep it simple, building it up as you go along. That’s because if you attempt to purchase equipment you don’t understand how to use or you have too much, you could feel overwhelmed. In that case, the time and money you’ve invested could be wasted.
Instead, start by making a list of what you really need and then your budget. That way, these parameters can help inform you the specifics of what you need to buy. For example, if you have a budget of $500, there’s no point in looking at microphones that cost $400.
However, that’s not to say to be as cheap as possible — you still want a quality piece of equipment that you’ll use for a long time. Research and talk to experts to that way, you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Purchase The Right Recording Studio Equipment
Again, simple is best — you don’t need to purchase a lot of equipment to start. In fact, here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- A recording computer
- Audio interface
- Recording and editing software
- Some type of acoustic treatment
Now, let’s take a look in more detail about each type of equipment.
A Recording Computer
In most cases your computer will suffice but it really depends on what the specs are. The good news is that you probably don’t need to purchase the best since advances in computer technology moves fast — aka it can handle most audio programs and processing pretty well.
When looking for a computer, try to find a processor that can handle your digital audio workstation (DAW) and any plugins — typically somewhere at least in the 2.3 GHZ range is fine. Plus, make sure you have plenty of random-access memory (RAM) so that nothing’s lagging when you’re trying to edit or record audio. Don’t forget to get lots of hard drive space as audio files can take up a lot of space (though an external one can suffice).
If you have a computer that you consider pretty good, then you’re in luck because you won’t need to devote a chunk of your budget to one. You can instead use it toward other equipment or simply save the cash.
When looking for a microphone, think about what type of recording you do. For example, if you want a microphone that records mostly vocals, you’ll want to match it to one that’ll record the best for that. Or if you’re looking to record mostly instrumentals, you might need to pick a different one.
Decide what purpose your microphone will serve then research using online reviews and recommendations. There are many forums and websites written by industry professionals who can help steer you in the right direction.
There’s no need to get the best headphones, but you’ll want one that can help you hear your recordings clearly. If you want, consider splurging for noise canceling headphones.
Otherwise, you can consider getting monitors and headphones so you can hear the sound as you’re recording.
An audio interface helps you to connect your microphone, headphones, monitors (if applicable) and your computer together. The type you want will depend on how many inputs and outputs you need, and other features such as the type of cables or whether it’s compatible with the DAW you want to use.
Recording And Editing Software (DAW)
There are both free and paid software that offer many features for what you’ll need. All types of software will have its pros and cons, so it’s best to do your research to see which one you think is the best fit. Don’t forget that you’ll have to spend time learning how to use the software, so factor that into your decision.
Setting Up A Home Studio With Acoustic Treatment
Now that you have a list of equipment you’ll need and you’re beginning to think of studio setup ideas, remember that setting up your room with the right acoustic treatment is really important. That’s because a normal room in your house isn’t necessarily the best for accurate editing and recording with the best sound.
However, there’s no need to do an entire remodel of your room. The idea behind acoustic treatment is so that you can reduce sound reflecting off walls and other surfaces and helps you hear what is coming from your monitors or record a purer sound.
You don’t need to pad your entire room — a little bit can go a long way. There are lots of inexpensive kits you can find on most online stores. Just make sure to put them in the right places like on the walls where you’ll record and edit, by your microphone and speakers.
So there you have it: a simple guide on how to build a home studio. Hopefully these tips will help you realize that DIY home projects on a budget, even a home studio is within reach for you.
How Much Does A Home Studio Cost?
Prices for a home studio can vary wildly depending on what equipment you need, the type of audio you’re looking to produce and whether your new home studio requires a lot of acoustic treatment. For many novices, building a home studio under $1,000 is perfectly reasonable — purchase a microphone for a few hundred dollars, use a free DAW, an inexpensive mixer and some foam sound tiles around the microphone.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what that could look like:
- Microphone: $200
- Mixer: $300
- DAW: free
- Foam tiles: $70
However, if you’re looking for something more professional or require a more complex setup such as requiring multiple microphones set up in different places, then you’re looking at an average of $10,000 to $20,000. This amount includes equipment (think microphones and audio interfaces), more robust software, studio monitors and ample acoustic treatment.
This investment could be worth it if you intend on spending a lot of time on your craft or you intend this to become your job someday (assuming it isn’t already). While you want to avoid borrowing money, taking out a personal loan could be worth it if this investment will earn you more money or hone your skills to further your career.
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