Is your dream to build a recording studio inside your home? With at-home capabilities, you could record your music or podcasts any time of the day or night, whenever inspiration strikes. However, do you have space, equipment, and financial means to build your recording studio and to do it so as not to sacrifice the quality of the final product? To help you determine what it takes to make an at-home recording studio, we’ve compiled the list below of the seven critical pieces of equipment you’ll need for an at-home studio. Use this list to determine your strategy to capture high-quality sound.
- A Fast Computer. This item will be your most significant expenditure. If you already own a personal computer, ask yourself if it is compatible with the modern software you’ll want to use and if it has the processing speed needed to handle large files. Despite what you own today, you may want to invest in new hardware, and if you do, you may want to consider a computer like the Macbook Pro. They come in multiple configurations to fit your needs but even a lower tier Macbook should be fine for basic recording.
- Studio Monitors. Don’t let the name fool you. Studio monitors are speakers used for sound mixing. While you can use headphones or may be tempted to use generic consumer speakers, for the best possible sound quality, invest in studio monitors. They offer a flatter frequency response to give you pure sound with which to optimize your mix.
- A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). DAW is the software you will use to record, edit, and mix music and audio files on your computer.
- Audio Interface. This item is the hardware that will connect your computer with the rest of your equipment. Ensure your audio interface is compatible with your DAW. To be sure you select a match, consider purchasing a combination pack that includes both items. Both PreSonus and Avid sell reputable combinations of DAW and audio interface packs.
- At least One Microphone. You will need to base your microphone product selection on what you are recording. If you are recording vocals for a podcast or music track, consider a large diaphragm condenser vocal microphone. For piano or acoustic guitar, find a small diaphragm condenser microphone. For electric guitar amps and percussion, consider a dynamic instrument microphone, and finally, for bass guitar or kick drums, consider a dynamic bass drum microphone. Of course, if you are recording multiple instruments and mixing them, you may need various mics. Invest also in a microphone stand. It will make recording more comfortable for you and will enhance your sound gathering.
- Headphones. Ideally, start with closed-back headphones. They provide optimal sound isolation, making them ideal for tracking. If you want a higher quality product or when you are ready to invest in a second set, look to purchase open-back headphones. They offer optimal sound quality and are ideal for sound mixing. For whichever set you buy, know that you may need to invest in an extension cord, depending on the set-up and available space in your home studio.
- A Pop Filter. Ideal for vocal recording, pop filters are typically round, mesh screens that attach to microphones to eliminate popping sounds caused by low-frequency bursts of air when vocalists speak hard consonants, like “Bs” and “Ps.” While it may seem like a luxury, if you want truly professional sound, add a pop filter to your equipment line up. It is one of the less expensive items you will add to your home studio but will help improve your overall vocal sound quality.
The Cost-Savings of Working with a Small Recording Studio Like Nickel City Sound & Media
After reviewing the list above, how do you envision the process of acquiring the equipment? Building an at-home sound studio could cost anywhere from $500 to $20,000, depending on the extent to which you aim to invest in a variety of tools, and the quality of the devices that you purchase. Do you have the available funds to place all your orders today, or will you need to slowly add items to your home studio as time and budget allow?
Understand that while it may seem ideal to go it alone, if you attempt to create a recording space without selecting reputable brands and products, for all your investments, you may not be able to produce the quality sound you desire. Instead of investing in tools you can afford for several hundred dollars, but that doesn’t provide the quality you want, consider if it may be more affordable, and just as convenient to work with a small, local studio for your recording needs. Depending on the frequency with which you aim to record and the complexity of your mixing, you may be able to produce higher quality results and save more money in your bank account for marketing and promoting your tracks.