Building a home studio doesn't have to be a huge project that takes months of research and planning... Getting started with home recording is easier than you may think. All you need is some basic essentials.
How much does building a studio really cost?
Because home studios can be expensive, recording artists are always looking for the cheapest possible solutions for obtaining that perfect sound.
This makes sense, but unfortunately there are no "cheap" alternatives if you want great products for your studio. There are limitations to a studio that is created on a budget, which will not help you out in the long run. We do not recommend this to anyone who is truly serious about their recording career.
The Ideal First Studio
- DAW/Audio Interface
- Studio Monitors
- Mic Stand
- Pop Filter
- Proper Cables
- Vocal Booth & Room Treatment
- Vocal Booth Monitor Screen, Mouse & Keyboard
1. DAW/Audio Interface
The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is the software that you use to record, edit, and mix music on the computer. The Audio Interface is the hardware that you use to connect your computer to the rest of your equipment.
You can get these two components separately or purchase them in a combo. For your first studio, we recommend the combo. Avid and PreSonus offer these combos.
Your computer is going to be one of the most important investments when it comes to your home studio. You really can't do anything without it.
Most computers these days are typically fast enough for someone starting out. In the beginning, you can use the computer you currently have or invest in a new computer designed to handle different kinds of recording software. If you need something reliable that won't break the bank, the Macbook Pro is a great option.
3. Studio Monitors
Traditionally, mixing has always been done on speakers, or studio monitors. Regular everyday speakers are designed with many different tonal and audio enhancements. Studio monitors have a much flatter frequency response, which means they provide a raw, more natural sound so that you can better judge your mix.
A great pair that we recommend are the Yamaha HS7 Monitors.
In the studio, there are two different types of headphones:
- Closed Back Headphones (Tracking) – These headphones offer optimal isolation at the expense of lesser sound quality.
- Open Back Headphones (Mixing) – These headphones offer optimal sound quality at the expense of lesser sound isolation.
Closed back headphones are a necessity for your first studio, but open back headphones are not. An extension cable is always good to have around too, since the standard headphone cables are usually too short.
We recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones.
As you become more experienced and your studio grows, you will most likely start to build a collection of microphones. Different microphones have different purposes. When you are just starting out though, you only need one or two mics.
The microphone that you choose will depend on what type of vocals, instruments, or audio you plan on recording.
The large diaphragm condenser microphone we recommend for recording vocals is the Rode NT1A.
High-frequency-rich instruments like the piano and acoustic guitar require a small diaphragm condenser mic, like the AKG P170 or AKG D112.
6. Mic Stand
A great mic stand is a worthwhile investment for a home studio. They are not all the same. However, a cheap and sturdy mic stand is just fine if you're a beginner! You can also get a ceiling mic mount if you need more room inside your vocal booth or recording space.
7. Pop Filter
A pop filter is the mesh looking screen you see in front of the microphone when someone is recording vocals. The pop filter's job is to filter out the unpleasant vocal characteristic known as "popping." Popping is a low frequency blast of air which is caused by the pronunciation of "P" and "B" sounds. This isn't necessarily a must-have item for your first studio, but they are easily affordable and definitely help when it comes to vocal recording!
8. Proper Cables
There will come a day when your studio has a bunch of different cables everywhere... But don't worry! For now, you'll just need three cables: one long XLR cable for your microphone, and 2 short XLR cables for your monitors.
NOTE: Remember to make sure that the stereo output of your audio interface includes XLR connectors.
9. Vocal Booth & Acoustic Treatment
You're probably debating whether you should acoustically treat your recording room, or get a vocal booth. If you are recording and mixing/mastering, the best option would be to do both - treat the room for mixing and get a booth for recording sessions. If you are recording only and just want a quiet space for you and your mic, the booth is all you need.
Acoustic Treatment - Sound Panels & Acoustic Foam
When it comes to treating your room or booth, the most popular and most effective solution is sound panels. You will see these hung up on the walls and ceiling of most studios. Sound panels are used for sound absorption and acoustic correction. Our handcrafted custom sound panels come in many sizes and colors.
Acoustic foam is an alternative option and is only recommended for those who are recording in a quiet environment. Acoustic foam offers more reverb and is not as absorbing as sound panels. Foam is also much cheaper. We offer 2" pyramid acoustic foam in a variety of colors for your booth or studio.
Getting the correct acoustic treatment will go a very long way when it comes to recording, mixing and mastering.
LA Vocal Booths Sound Panels
10. Vocal Booth Monitor Screen, Mouse & Keyboard
If you are going to be self recording in your LA Vocal Booth, the best way to do so is to mirror your computer screen onto another monitor inside your booth. You will also need a monitor mount to mount it to the wall, a wireless keyboard, and a wireless mouse to place on your keyboard shelf below your monitor. This way, you can work and record simultaneously without having to go in and out of your booth.