Recording and producing music at home is easier than ever, as there are many tools available that can be used with a personal computer. If you want to record music or help others record theirs, building a home studio can help you get the best sound and work in the most efficient way. After getting all the necessary equipment, such as an audio interface, a microphone, and monitors, you can start putting together your own music studio space!
Part 1 of 2: Choosing the Equipment
Step 1. Get a digital audio workstation for the computer so you can make music
A digital audio workstation (DAW) is a program that you can use on your computer to write, record, and mix music. There are many DAWs you can experiment with for free, but you may have better access to virtual instruments and effects with paid DAWs. Pick one that works with your computer's operating system so you can see if the interface and effects work well.
- Many of the DAWs offer a free trial so you can evaluate them before making any purchases.
- Find tutorials on how to use all the effects in your DAW of choice so that you are familiar with all the settings you have access to.
Some DAWs to use
If you have one Pc, you can use programs such as Pro Tools, Ableton, FL Studio, or Studio One.
If you use a computer Manzana, you can use some DAWs such as Garageband, Logic Pro, or Pro Tools.
Step 2. Buy an audio interface if you want to record vocals and instruments
An audio interface is a small machine that connects to a computer to convert acoustic audio into digital files. Look for an audio interface that has a minimum of 1 to 2 input ports so you don't have to switch cables when changing the instrument you're recording with. Some audio interfaces also have effect controls so that the user can alter the sound of the audio.
- You can buy audio interfaces at music supply stores or online.
- Audio interfaces can be expensive, but entry-level models can be found for around $ 100.
Step 3. Use a condenser microphone on a stand to get the best sound quality for vocals
Condenser microphones are used in most recording studios, as they capture audio in high quality. Find a microphone that fits your budget and has good feedback for use in the studio. Make sure you get a stand so that you can mount the microphone when you use it.
- You can use condenser microphones to record vocals as well as instruments.
- If you're on a budget, you can also buy a USB condenser microphone that connects directly to your computer instead of going through an audio interface.
- Use a pop filter with the microphone to help prevent audio spikes when making plosive sounds such as "P-", "B-", or "S".
- Don't use a dynamic microphone to record vocals, as it doesn't pick up audio the way a condenser microphone does.
Step 4. Use studio quality headphones so you can hear the music clearly
Look for headphones that go over the ear and have noise cancellation so you can hear the mix perfectly. Choose to use wired headphones instead of wireless ones, as audio quality may be lost or there may be a lag in the audio. Every time you record music, wear headphones so you don't experience any noticeable feedback.
- You can buy studio headphones at music stores, electronics stores, or online. Many of the studio headphones cost US $ 100 or more.
- If you can't afford studio-quality headphones, and you're just starting to record music, it's okay to use the headphones you already have.
Step 5. Use studio monitors when mixing songs
Studio monitors are high-quality speakers that accurately reproduce audio so you can easily hear production levels of audio. Look in an electronics store or online for a pair of studio monitors that are within the price range you can afford and that have stands so you can mount them at ear level so you can hear them clearly. Aim for monitors with oversized drivers for louder output and balanced sound.
- Generally, studio monitors cost a minimum of $ 100 US, but they will sound better if they are more expensive.
- If your studio monitors don't come with stands, you may need to purchase them separately.
- It's okay to only use headphones when you start recording music, as studio monitors can be expensive.
Step 6. Find a MIDI controller if you want to play virtual instruments
A MIDI controller is a keyboard that you can use to record directly to song files. Using a MIDI controller allows you to program sounds, play virtual instruments, and record samples for songs. Look for a MIDI controller that has a minimum of 30-40 keys so you can play in different octaves.
- MIDI controllers usually have a base price of around $ 70- $ 80.
- You don't need to have a MIDI controller, but it's useful if you want to record virtual instruments live rather than manually placing them in the song.
Part 2 of 2: Build the space
Step 1. Choose a quiet room in the house to set up the study
Choose a room that doesn't have a lot of ambient noise or distracting noises, such as a bedroom or basement. If possible, try to use a large room with high ceilings rather than a small one, as you will get better acoustics and have more space for equipment. Stand in the room you want to use for the study and check for noises, such as animals outside or traffic noises, which could interrupt the recording.
- Avoid setting up your studio in a carpeted room as it may muffle the low frequencies without affecting the higher frequencies, which could affect the sound of your recordings.
- If you plan to record live instruments, such as guitars or drums, remember that you will also make noise. Pick a room where you can make a little more noise without disturbing other people.
Step 2. Remove anything from the room that is not necessary to improve the acoustics
Clean the room you want to use for study as much as possible so that you have a large open space. Remove any posters or photos from the wall, and remove any objects that may vibrate or move while recording so that you do not generate any audio feedback. It's okay if you can't clean the room completely, as long as the elements don't cause audio interference.
If you plan to set up the study in your bedroom, it's okay to leave your bed where it is, as it can also help dampen audio interference
Step 3. Install acoustic panels on the walls to help absorb unwanted noise
The acoustic panels are made of foam material and have various angles and edges to help spread the audio in the room to make it sound better. Start by placing panels in the corners of the room, as they can affect the audio and reverb in the room in a more pronounced way. Scatter the panels evenly throughout the room so that they lie horizontally against the walls for the best recording quality.
- You can buy acoustic panels in specialty stores or online.
- If you don't want acoustic panels, you can also hang blankets, pillows, or clothing around the room to help muffle the audio.
- Acoustic panels do not isolate sound in the room, but they reduce the amount of echo that is generated.
Step 4. Set up a desk where you place the computer and hardware next to the wall of the room
Place a desk on one side of the room where you feel comfortable working. Put the computer on the desk and place the studio monitors on either side so you can hear the music clearly. Put the audio interface and MIDI controller on your desktop and connect them to your computer so you can easily access and use them when you need them.
- Use a multi-tiered desk with steps so you have room to put all your gear. Otherwise, you may need to use a side table to store your items.
- You can customize the desktop layout in the way that feels comfortable to you, as long as you can access all the equipment when you need it.
- Keep your desk as clean and clutter-free as possible if you want your home studio to look professional.
Step 5. Hold the microphone across the room
If you plan to record other people, it may be easier to set up a recording station on the other side of the room so you can get the best acoustics possible. Place the microphone on the stand and connect it to the audio interface using an XLR cable. Once you have the microphone installed, you can start recording!
If you have limited space or plan to record just yourself, then it's okay to bring the microphone closer to you, placing it near a corner of the room or just behind the desk chair
If you want to set up a recording booth, you can place the microphone in a closet or put a room divider in the corner of the room to isolate the audio even more.
- Experiment with different layouts in your recording studio room until you find an acoustic that you are happy with.
- Store other musical instruments in the studio if you want to use them for recording. That way, you can easily pick them up and touch them when you need to.