I’m talking about a small one-room space were with a few pieces of equipment. You can start transforming your creative ideas into listenable audio tracks, A lot of times these are referred to as writer studios and there’s a little bit of an assumption that you won’t get the same quality that you would in a big full studio but with the ever-growing increasing power of the digital audio tech world. It is easier than ever to make great sounding tracks right from home.
Alright, I get it you get all that but how do we get started, The key to building your first Home Music Studio is to always utilize what you have. I’m gonna list some things here and you may already have those things and you may not need to invest in something just because you think it’s a better option than what you already have. Only you know what your budget is and it’s gonna be up to you to allocate your money appropriately.
The other thing to consider is that if you’re new to all of this mixing recording and Production, you may find that after doing this for a little while that it’s really not something that you’re interested in and you like music and you like making music this just isn’t the route for you and that’s okay the point is you don’t want to invest a ton of money into something until you’re absolutely sure that it’s something that you want to do for a long time.
All right let’s jump into it, I’m gonna try to get through this as quickly and efficiently as possible so here we go.
First thing you’re gonna need is obviously a computer, I think that you need to get a new one probably not the one that you have is probably good enough to get started I’m not going to get into the Mac versus PC discussion because both choices offer really great options but if you’re just starting out you probably don’t need something that’s powerful. Today’s computers can handle so much more and I’m sure that what you have is perfectly fine to get started with.
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2. DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
Next up you’re gonna need a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and this is the software this is your command centre. This is where all your recordings are gonna go this is where you’re gonna mix your track you’re gonna arrange your song you’re gonna record your software instruments this is where it all happens.
Now, obviously, there are a lot of Pro options out there but again you want to save money where you can and there are so many great free options as well. Now, if you’re running a Mac this decision is very simple in my opinion to start with GarageBand that’s where I started it’s free software it’s going to familiarize you with recording and mixing and using some of the different plugins and it’s going to allow you to transition into a Pro software like Logic Pro very seamlessly.
Pro Tools is the unrivalled industry standard if you know how to run Pro Tools you’ll be able to work at virtually any major recording studio so if you are an aspiring engineer or producer Pro Tools might be something that you want to consider.
Why Logis Pro??
why would you choose Logic Pro? because it made sense it was the next step up from Garage Band. It was free Logic Pro right out of the box gives you all the tools that you need. I just really like the aesthetics of Logic Pro the workflow is great a lot of the stock plugins that come with Logic Pro X are great and you can use them it has great compressors, great reverb, great eq’s and even some of the studio instruments aren’t that bad either. The virtual drummer is a really cool feature.
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Between Logic and Pro Tools, Logic was also the cheaper one. I’m definitely noticing a lot more people working in Logic and it is the DAW that I always recommend but again there are so many great options there are so many things I haven’t talked about.
3. Audio Interface
The next thing you’re going to need is an Audio Interface, this is going to take the signal from your mic or your instrument and convert it into a digital audio file. I really like apple juice products but there are just so many great options out there.
The Appollo Twin from Universal Audio is a big favourite but I think the best option for those of you who are starting out and you want to maintain a low budget is the Scarlett Solo from Focusrite, it’s 99 bucks. It comes with two free software options Pro Tools first and Ableton Live Lite and this is just all-around a great bundle.
The Scarlett Solo although has one mic input one instrument input which is gonna be perfect for your home studio recording needs. It records a really high sample rate (Up to 192 KHz).
Next up you’re gonna need a microphone and to be honest with you, I could do write an entire article on microphones alone. It’s incredibly preferential, it’s kind of like asking somebody what kind of guitar should you buy really you’re gonna want to pick something out that is going to best compliment the vocalist and best suit your studio needs.
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Coming back to our main point chances are if you’ve been playing music for a little while you’ve got a microphone lying around somewhere. You can always start with that even if it’s just a sure 58, now let’s say you’re a vocalist or catcher and high-quality vocals is really important to what you want to do in your home studio.
Types of Microphones
It’s important to understand the different types of microphones, most mics will fit into one of two categories Condenser Microphones or Dynamic Microphones. To put it simply Condenser microphones are high-quality studio microphones they’re incredibly sensitive and they have a high-frequency response.
In most cases, Condenser microphones will produce a more studio-quality recording than a Dynamic microphone would. Dynamic mics like the short 57 or the shure 58 that I’m sure you’ve seen are more rugged and less sensitive therefore making them better suited for live performances.
For example, Now this is not to say that Dynamic mics are only used for live music, in fact, the shure SM 57 is probably one of the most used mics for music recordings but in a lot of cases especially when recording vocals you’re gonna want a good Condenser microphone.
- High Quality
- Highly Sensitive
- High Frequency
- Transient Response
- Usually Required External Power (Phantom Power)
Are Microphones costly??
Now here’s bad news, Prices of a lot of Condenser microphones can get astronomically high but you don’t have to break the bank to get something really awesome and really high-quality. I’m not gonna go too in-depth on each of these recommendations.
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5. Essential Microphone Accessories
- Microphone Stand
- XLR Cable
- Pop Filter
- Sound Shield or an Acoustic Shield
- MIDI Keyboard
Now, let’s talk about couples of essential microphone accessories that you’ll need. You know you need a mic stand, you know you need an XLR cable but you’re also going to want to pick up a Pop Filter. A Pop Filter is just going to help protect that highly-sensitive condenser microphone from popping sounds.
The other thing that I haven’t recommend is a Sound Shield or an Acoustic Shield. what does this do? It sits behind the microphone and it not only kills the sound that is going towards the mic but it eliminates sound from bouncing off other surfaces in your room and travelling into the microphone. Sound treating a room with Acoustic treatment and bass traps can get really expensive this is a great way to eliminate that reflective room noise and deliver higher quality vocal.
The next thing you want to consider investing in is a good MIDI Keyboard. A MIDI Keyboard allows you to control and trigger software instruments within your Digital Audio Workstation. It’s a great way to incorporate a larger variety of instrumentation into your songs and in my opinion software instruments have really come a long way but a good MIDI Keyboard is essential for any home studio.
Last but not least you’re gonna need a way to listen back to all of this music that you’re making so you’re gonna to need some Monitors and some Headphones. Monitors and Headphones are another things that really divides opinion so do some research and know what you want then buy anything and don’t forget about your budget.
So, this brings us to the end of the basics. I don’t know about you if you made it this far congratulation that’s gonna be it guys I hope this was helpful.
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