Essentials For Building The Ultimate Music Studio At Home
Written By Petra Hule
Looking into the past comes with a few benefits. First, we get to see how far we’ve come and how we have evolved and adapted to the ever-changing fast-paced world. This brings us to the present where we look at the world and how we live today and notice the difference between what was, what is, and what will be.
No one could’ve predicted that a global pandemic would drive the entire world into lockdowns, home workouts, and turn us all into banana bread masterchef’s (well, some). To this evolving world, the people that inhabit it also evolve and adapt to the fact that most of what we thought we had to do elsewhere can be done right at home in our own solitude.
Must-Have Equipment For Recording Studios
Creating your own music studio at home is possible when you know what equipment to look for. Also, knowing what to do with it all and how to work all the equipment you’ve invested in is just as important. Here are a few pointers to get you started on your own musical studio journey to help guide you into where to look and what to look for.
When we look at those around us we see that Apple dominates the technological field and for good reasons. The most expensive and up to date iMac is not necessary, nor does it have to be Apple, however, you’ll need a PC that can run programs at a reasonable pace such as Dell or HP.
PCs with good core processors are what to look out for as this determines how your PC will run the programs you’re after. Be sure to have lots of storage space as all the cutting and editing may take up a bit of storage and you don’t want to constantly purchase more space or transfer everything to an external device.
Digital Audio Work Station
In terms of what Digital Audio Work (DAW) station you choose is up to you, however, a DAW is necessary for things such as virtual instruments. A common one used by many in the industry is Avid’s Pro Tools or Logic by Apple for their easy music manipulation and audio mixing. iMovie, GarageBand and all the other sound manipulation tools already installed in PC’s such as iMacs.
These tools can only go so far and although you’ve already invested a bit on equipment, the programs are just as important or even more so. Thus, putting aside that extra one or two hundred dollars for a great DAW will make all the difference.
As you play around and become more comfortable with these software’s you’ll know what to look out for and how to manipulate music the way you like. You’ll find that soon enough, you’ll have to update your program or if you’re already experienced and want to go for a higher quality system, Reaper, Fruit Loops, Ableton Live, or Cubase are all great options, but with that also comes a higher price.
Each person works differently and in different environments, this translates to the different software and its honestly based on your preference, so don’t feel you have to buy the most expensive one, even if you are experienced.
Audio interfaces (AI’s) are your next musical investment that every home studio requires. AI’s allow you to record yourself and other instruments via cables or inputs. Monitors will exhibit the difference as the quality of AI is dependent on how many inputs you have.
Inputs being the number of microphones or instruments inputted to record and outputs being the monitors. AI’s can run up to thousands of dollars which would most likely be the necessity if you’re looking to hook up numerous amounts of inputs. Software such as Audio Apollo Twin or PreSonus Studio 192 are perfect for large-scale recordings that range between $600 to $800.
Smaller-scale recording projects for solos, acoustics, or even mobile recordings, require fewer inputs, AI’s such as Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB or PreSonus Audio box are perfect for anyone looking to have a quality setup.
Monitors, also known as speakers in the non-audio world, may not seem important so long as they work and are loud what more could you want, right? Wrong! Picture this, you’re in your studio and you’ve put all this time, energy, and money into your music, and equipment, and instruments, and you come up with a masterpiece that you’re completely satisfied with.
You save your work and play it in the car, but it doesn’t sound the same as it did on the speakers you have in the studio. Monitors are important to ensure your music plays the same, no matter where or what it’s hooked up to. Yamaha HS5s or G2 5s are a great starting place.
All this can’t be captured without mics. On the fancy side, we have mics that can run up in the thousands, however, for your own personal home studio, Rode NT1A or Warm Audio WA47 Jr will function just as well. Let’s be real though, the two most important things, above all, are dependent on the skill of the singer and the quality of the room that it’s being recorded in.
Don’t believe me? Ever wondered why we love to sing in acoustic rooms such as bathrooms that ricochet noise off the walls like ping pong balls. The combination of a great singer in a room empty of unwanted noise where their raw talent can shine tops the quality of the mics and all the money invested in monitors and software systems.
Now don’t be scared, you don’t have to spend even more on a soundless room that looks like what you would imagine, there are DIY ways of creating a “damp” room. Things such as blankets, towels, pillows, mattresses, and even bookcases full of books help to starch out the room and empty it enough for it to be enclosed. Oftentimes, people start out recording in wardrobes as it’s full of clothes and it’s soundless.
Your At-Home Studio Is Waiting To Be Created
These are your essentials. Your home studio is waiting for you on the other side, however, don’t feel “the need” to purchase more than you must. If you notice yourself playing around with music and you want to minimise the amount of virtual instruments used and maximise your talents by playing all the instruments and combining them… then take a step back and reassess. As mentioned earlier, it’s all based on your needs and what you’re more comfortable and confident with, so follow your instincts as you know yourself best and have fun with it.