Professional Home Recording Studio Setup Guide
The key to getting the best home studio rig is to first figure out what is it that you really want to achieve with it. Are looking to only record your music or planning to turn the studio into a business?
You also need to know if you’ll be using the studio for mixing and mastering as well or not. So before getting into the guide, figure out what type of studio you want. There is a cool guide at
https://www.musicianonamission.com/home-studio-setup/ and make sure you check this out too.
Once you have that figured out then you have half of the job done. The next thing will be getting the right gear and a pro setup to ensure that you get the best results.
Even if you’re not sure about what type of home studio you want, in this guide, I’ll show you how easy it is to build a professional rig.
Let’s get started.
Keeping It Simple Doesn’t Mean You’re Stupid
Keeping it simple is key when building a studio, especially if you’re starting from scratch. It will help you avoid getting overwhelmed, quitting or buying stuff you don’t need/use.
Most people know someone who’s currently selling their old gear because they spent thousands of dollars on equipment, never even got a chance to setup everything and now they’ve quit.
To avoid all that, start small and build from there. I’ll show you how to build a pro studio step by step, so stay locked.
The Perfect Recording Studio for Beginners
One thing you have to avoid is to go too cheap when getting your equipment. Another mistake is choosing gear because it is high priced, that could be a mistake.
You have to know what you want to use the equipment for then you’ll always choose something that will benefit your art.
Here are the 10 most essential tools I recommend for everyone who’s building a home recording studio.
- A Computer
- Audio Interface
- Studio Monitors
- Mic Stand
- Pop Filter
A Computer or Laptop
These days almost everyone has a computer or their household has a laptop.
Most of the computers and laptops that are being released are good enough for you to get started right away.
If ever you’ll need to upgrade then you can do it later.
Feel free to get started with what you already have, it should do the job.
DAW or Music Software
A DAW is basically a “Digital Audio Workstation” or the music software that you use for recording, producing, mixing and mastering.
Honestly, they all do the same thing.
Even Propellerhead Reason can now support third-party VST plugins and instruments.
So it’s just a matter of preference and what you feel comfortable with.
Almost all music software will have a demo or trial version, check out a few, read the tutorials and go with what seems easy for you.
Choose any DAW but if you’re struggling with that then check out which DAWs I recommend.
- 3 Best DAW Software For Making Music
If ever you’re going to be recording sounds or use studio monitors then you’ll definitely need an audio interface.
If you just want to make beats, then the interface is not necessary.
But don’t make the mistake of buying an analog mixer without an audio interface.
That is a BIG newbie mistake.
You’ll never capture/record a proper sound by plugging the microphone directly into the mixer than straight to your onboard PC soundcard.
Rather get an audio interface without a mixer. Getting both has a huge benefit and flexibility.
Point is, getting a mixer alone is just a waste of time.
- Best Audio Interface for a Home Recording Studio Setup
To make sure that your music competes with other commercial records then you’ll need a good audio output system.
Studio monitors are the best audio output device for a recording studio because they produce a great neutral sound that is not coloured.
Commercial and desktop speakers have a coloured sound so that they can sound good for the consumer.
So the sound you hear from commercial speakers is exaggerated that is why they’re not recommended for studio work.
Make sure you get a good pair that will help you get pro sounding music.
- Best Studio Monitors for a Home Studio
Each and every recording studio must have at least 3 or more microphones.
Simply get 2 good condenser mics and 1 dynamic mic then you’re good to go.
If you know what you want to get from the microphone then choosing one shouldn’t be a big issue.
You’ll eventually get more mics in time as you upgrade your studio.
Make sure you check out my microphone guides by browsing the blog before putting any money on a mic only to find out later that it doesn’t give you the results you desire.
A pair of headphones can come in handy in the studio for many reasons.
Such as during the recording process, if you want to listen to your song in a different sound device or maybe you don’t want to make noise at night.
Headphones can be really important when you don’t have a well acoustic treated room.
Doing mixing with studio monitor headphones will give you a better sound than using studio monitors in a room that has no acoustic treatment.
But I wouldn’t recommend using headphones for longer periods of time. You can check out my headphone guide below:
- Best Studio Headphone For Home Recording
You’re going to need cables to connect your equipment.
Make sure you get the right size to ensure longevity because stretched short cables never last long and break easily.
You’ll need basic cables for your studio monitors, MIDI controller and microphones.
You might also need some cable extensions in case the cables that come with the equipment are too short for your setup.
So be prepared to invest in some good cables, don’t go cheap or buy thin cables.
After 2 microphone stands got broken I now understand that mic stands are not all built the same.
Microphones do fall off cheap mic stands so make sure that you get a good solid mic stand, never go way too cheap.
Microphone stands are useful tools to have in the studio especially if you’re recording multiple instruments such as drums, guitar amps, piano, strings etc.
They’re not only used for vocals but come really handy when recording a lot of multiple sounds.
A cheap stand can also ruin a great performance so avoid that by all means.
A pop filter will come in handy during recording vocals. Just like mic stands, newbies tend to think that pop filters are all the same.
It’s always good to have at least 2 different pop filters because vocalists are different.
1 will do the job when you’re just starting out but it’s always good to test different pop filters during recording to figure out which one works best for the particular artist you’re currently working with.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to music equipment.
MIDI is basically short for “Musical Instrument Digital Interface”. The benefits of MIDI is that you can use 1 MIDI controller to play many different instruments.
It’s unlike buying a guitar or grand piano which will limit you to only one sound.
The world of MIDI has gone to another level since it began in the ‘80s.
These days we have drum machines, keyboards, live drum kits, guitars and more instruments will definitely be introduced in the future.
OK those are the 10 essential tools for a professional home recording studio setup. If you have all those 10 essential things then you’re ready to make some really good music.
Now explore the “Home Studio Setup” section of this blog to find the topics mentioned above to help you make the right choice when choosing your home studio equipment.
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Turning your house into a recording studio doesn’t have to be too difficult, but the same old problems always seem to pop up.
So, Musician On A Mission has collated home recording tips from the pros. Take their advice, and the quality of your bedroom productions could improve dramatically.
Build, or move into, a better room
The best option is obviously to build a room from scratch designed for the acoustic response you desire. OK. So we’re not all so lucky or well-off to afford our own build-out. We need to make do with what we have!
Still, if you can even just move from a small square room with bad dimensions to a slightly larger rectangular room with better dimensions you can likely improve your sound.
Minimize desk vibrations
While your first thought may be to worry about sound reflecting off walls, it’s important to remember that all surfaces in the room can reflect or absorb sound. This includes the desk you’re working at, which should be treated as importantly as any surface in the room.
A common mistake many people make in home recording studios is to simply place speakers directly on the desk itself. Even if the equilateral triangle setup is present and speakers are at ear-level, vibrations from the speakers can travel through the desk and create artificial resonances that don’t exist in the mix itself.
Invest In Some Good Mastering Software
One thing that virtually any new home recording enthusiast inevitably says is, “my track is done, but it’s not as loud or punchy as my favorite band’s tunes are.”
Many folks will then turn to professional engineers to master their finished songs. While these consultants often do great work (at increasingly cheap rates), it is no longer required that artists use them. If you are like me and like to record a lot of material, using a lot of outside engineer help is just too expensive.
Keep the work flow and creative feel flowing
When working on a large project it can be difficult to keep a grip of all the tracks, I recommend devising a color scheme that allows you to more efficiently navigate your digital audio workstations mixing session. Color is one of the easiest and quickest ways to be able to identify what any given track is. Create a color scheme that naturally makes sense in your mind. As an example… Kick – red, snare- green, drum overheads – orange and so on. Each time you start work on a new mix try and keep this color code in mind and within a few mixes you will find yourself being able to much more quickly locate different instruments. This keeps the work flow and creative feel flowing much more smoothly and allows you to make more effective and faster mix decisions.
Improving your listening environment can be a real game-changer for your mixing and production. These changes can be as simple as moving a in the room or as involved as fully acoustically treating your room.