The digital technology is constantly advancing. Because of this, almost everyone can record at home, and everyone can build their own recording studio at home. Before in order to set up a recording studio, you will need to have the large model equipment, and you need a big budget. However, nowadays, all you need is acquiring a few pieces of equipment and space in your home.
So if you want to build your own recording studio at home, here’s a guide to get you started.
Let us start as to where you’re going to build or set up your recording studio. The ideal space is a spare room or a basement which you can use solely for your own studio and nothing else. Then consider how loud you will be, especially if you’re going to use drums. Also, see if soundproofing can be achieved successfully. For example, if you are going to soundproof the unused room in your garden, there will be a decent space left inside. Therefore, it would be a great recording studio since minimal noise can escape. On the other hand, a spare room in your house will leave you with restricted space after soundproofing. Sound can travel easily through doors, windows, floors and ceilings. So consider the noise that might come from your neighbours, your family, among others.
Professional recording studios are built with the services from acoustical architects. Their services will cost you thousands of dollars. However, you can still make the best out of your space at home to make it as sound as neutral as possible. Here are some tips:
- If you have hardwood flooring, cover it with carpet or area rugs
- Windows should be covered with window treatments. Use heavy material for better results
- Square rooms can be problematic, so choose a rectangular one (if you have a choice)
- Use acoustic foam that is capable of withstanding fire
- Have a bookshelf with lots of books, put more pillows on the floor; these can break up offending frequencies
It doesn’t matter what brand of computer you’ll be going to use. It really depends on what operating system you are comfortable using. Luckily, you can find computers of any brand that comes with enough RAM and storage space that you can use for audio production. If you are working on a budget, do not cut back on RAM over storage. Higher Ram can help you run intensive applications even with the use of lots of plug-ins. Even if you only have limited storage, you can always move your files to an external hard drive, right?
Using a portable laptop might be convenient, but you also might consider using a separate monitor with its own keyboard and mouse. This will make your work faster and more convenient.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
This is the program you are going to use to record, edit and playback digital audio. The good thing about this program is you can maneuver your recorded audio. DAW software allows you to record audio, record MIDI, do cut, copy and paste, and change pitch and tempo. You can also apply sound effects, add virtual playing instruments, mix and so much more.
There are lots of choices when using DAW programs. The software from Apple, which is the Apple Logic Pro, is widely used by many artists. Other popular software is Sonar, Cubase, Live, Studio One, Reason, etc. These programs are great. You just have to use the one that is compatible with your computer.
The audio interface has taken the place of soundcards installed on computers. It’s an interface that allows your recording program to process the audio in your computer and at the same time, backs out o your speakers. It’s a hardware that you use to connect your computer with the rest of the gear. You need to get an audio interface if you want multiple inputs for your microphones and musical instruments.
There is an audio interface that is portable wherein you can use for both at home and on the go. It works with external power so you can record your digital audio wherever you can set up your laptop. It also has a jack for microphone and headphone so you can still monitor the latency. Also, note that you can buy your DAW and audio interface as a combo. If it’s your first time to build a home recording studio, it would be ideal for getting the combo as this is cheaper and compatibility is guaranteed. You’ll also get tech support for combo purchase.
It’s best to purchase a quality microphone. You’ll use this to record vocals, musical instruments and sampling you’re your sounds. If you are going to work alone and track one instrument at a time, then there is no need to have multiple microphones. You can have one at the beginning and buy a second mic if you start working with other people.
There are lots of quality microphones available on the market. Note that you should not spend more than $100 to a single mic unless you are looking for some specifics.
Headphones and Studio Monitor
Now, it’s time to listen to what you have been working on. Headphones and speaker are great, but they might not be enough. Studio monitors and headphones will give you a stereo image. You can see the flat, balanced tone in an accurate manner and depict what you have recorded. In short, you’ll hear an honest representation of your music. Studio monitors are small. For your home studio, a 5-inch model will work just fine. For headphones, you will need a neutral and accurate one. You’ll need it for mixing and monitoring. They are the ears of your home recording system, so it matters if they deliver well since you’ll base your important decisions from what you hear from them.
In building your home recording studio, the goal is to start small, keeping it simple and have fun.