So you have decided to build your own recording studio. Congratulations. Now the real work begins. Not only will you need to design and build the room best suited for sound quality, but you will also need to choose your equipment.
An advanced professional recording studio contains hundreds of pieces of equipment that costs thousands upon thousands of dollars. For most people, this is not a realistic option when building a home studio.
However, you can have a fully functioning, high-quality recording studio by using the following five essential pieces of equipment.
Your computer is the most basic and important piece of equipment in your home studio. If you already have a computer, we would suggest using that for the time being as this can end up being the most expensive piece of equipment in your studio.
If you plan on purchasing a new computer for your studio, then it is probably best to go with a mac. Although they are more expensive, they will sync well with your other studio equipment and recording software, where you may run into trouble with a pc.
Some popular models that are used throughout the industry are the MacBook Pro, Air, Ipad or the Mac Mini. Any of these will be compatible with most recording software and provide you with the flexibility you need when recording and editing your music.
Digital Audio Workstation/Audio Interface
The Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and Audio Interface can be bought separately, but we recommend purchasing them together as both are essential to your studio.
"The DAW is the software on your computer used to edit, mix and record your music."
The Audio Interface is the actual hardware that serves as the connection between your computer and the rest of your equipment. Purchasing the DAW and the Audio Interface together will get you a more affordable price and ensure that they are compatible with each other as well as your computer.
Some of the most popular DAW software’s used in the industry that you should consider
Headphones and Studio Monitors
There are two types of Headphones that you will eventually use in your studio, Closed Back headphones and Open Back headphones. Closed Back headphones are used for tracking your recording, while Open Back headphones are used for mixing.
When getting started, Closed Back headphones are the pair that you will need for your studio. Although Open Back headphones are a great tool to include in your studio, any mixing you need to do can be done using your studio monitors.
Studio monitors are essential to your studio for mixing purposes, where you will listen to your recordings and make sure the sound quality is perfect. Unlike regular sound systems, these are specially designed not to enhance the sound of your recordings in any way, which makes for better editing and mixing results.
The two main types of Studio Monitors are Active and Passive.
The difference between Active Studio Monitors and Passive Studio Monitors is that Active monitors include amplifiers and crossovers, where Passive monitors do not. If you decide to purchase a Passive system, it is important to make sure that they are compatible with your amps and crossovers.
There are many different types of microphones on the market today, so you need to choose a microphone based on what you will be recording, When getting started with your home studio, you should be fine with using a single microphone. Some of the different types of microphones you can choose from are USB, Condenser, Dynamic, Ribbon and Drum microphones.
If you plan on recording mostly vocals, then you probably want to start with a Condenser microphone. However, if you are planning on recording vocals and instruments, then it might be in your best interest to purchase a Dynamic microphone.
Besides the microphone it self there are a few accessories you will need to purchase for your studio as well. You will need a microphone stand and a Pop filter.
The Microphone stand is important in optimizing your studio for recording vocals and instruments. The best type of stand to start with in your studio is a Boom style stand because of their flexibility.
The Pop filter is the screen that sits in-between the microphone and the musician. It plays a vital role in sound quality and protects your microphone. The Pop filter prevents a singer from ruining a recording because of their loud breathing or the noise caused by pronouncing the letters “P’ and “B”.
Purchasing a Dynamic microphone, a Boom
As your studio gets more advanced, there will be more and more cables needed to connect all of the equipment. When just getting started, there are three cables that you will need, called XLR cables. You will need two short (6ft) XLR cables and one long (25ft) cable.
The XLR cables are used to connect all of your equipment so that you have a fully functioning recording studio.
"The short cables are used to connect your studio monitors, while the long cable is used to connect your microphone."
And there you have it. By purchasing and using these five essential pieces of equipment, you can have a fully functioning high-quality recording studio in the comfort of your own home.
Interested in a career in music but don’t know if building your own studio is right for you? Click the link below to learn about our Atlanta based music school and gain access to all of our state of the art equipment.
Want to learn more about how you can get involved in the music industry?
- How to Build an In Home Music Studio
- Developing a Succesful Audio Post Production Career
- 9 Things I wish I had Known as a Young Musician