Do you remember the days when creating music in your spare room seemed like a farfetched dream? Well, thanks to technology for advancing vastly over the years.
It made the dreams of thousands of music lovers come true. If you’re reading this, you are obviously interested in recording music at home. While recording studios have ambient space and equipment ready for producing music, it can still come off as an expensive option for you. That is if you’re a struggling musician still unable to pay the bills properly. This is where the concept of building your own home production studio comes to mind.
Having your studio comes with multiple benefits
⦁ First of all, it will require a onetime investment only, with regular care and very little maintenance to aid it. You will not have to pay expensive hourly rate fees.
⦁ Secondly, you are free to jam anytime you want without having to wait for the studio to open and be free.
⦁ Third, you can design and decorate the studio according to your taste without anyone complaining. Personalization can add a more comforting touch when you’ll record your music.
⦁ Furthermore, you can take as many tries as you want to create the perfect blend without having to worry about your wallet thinning.
⦁ And last but not the least, with years of production, the studio may level up to the heights of professional studios and provide you with the chance to earn by renting it off to musicians.
For starters, simplicity is the best way to go. You should focus on using essential equipment to produce the perfectly audible sound instead of investing heavily on hardware gear and improve your equipment with time. This will not only save you money during your initial investment but starting from scratch will allow you to grow as a musician. This concept of building your production studio can be very tricky as this can still be confusing to many of us. Or at least that’s how we like to think so. But did you know that getting started is far easier than you thought? Still confused? Allow yours truly to walk you through 21 tips to help you get started with building your home production studio.
1. Plan how you want to set up the studio
When you’re building your studio with music recording equipment, it’s always essential to start with a plan. Try to brainstorm and come up with your perfect idea of a sound production studio and prepare a checklist of equipment required and implement your strategies accordingly.
2. Pick the right room
A well-designed room can spare you months of frustration. Find the right room for your home studio, preferably one that is quieter. Outside noises and inside noises can be the biggest enemy in ruining your recordings. Also, consider a room which is bigger (you’ll need that for your gears). Allowing as much space as you can ensure sound quality. Also, consider soundproofing the room. This can come of enormous help. Sound panels are a great option to contain the sound and it from bouncing off the walls.
3. Split the studio room
Split the room into two halves with one half dedicated to mixing and leave the other half of the room with no absorption.
4. Choose a suitable platform
Always choose the platform that best suits you. However, if you want it to be handy, a laptop is the answer. You can carry your studio wherever you go. Using a laptop also makes it easier for you to remote recordings of gigs and rehearsals. But, in either case, you must keep in mind to consider purchasing the ones with great GPU and RAM as these two components play a big role in music production. A computer is essential, and it should not be compromised with. A few of the best desktop/laptop computers for music production are:
⦁ macOS – Only one compatible platform with the Logic Pro but compatible with many other DAWs
⦁ Windows/Linux – Compatible with most of the DAWs except Logic Pro
5. Stick to the right DAW
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software is the single most important part of your setup and lets you be original and creative at the same time. This software recreates a complete recording studio right inside your computer. Although it can be a little daunting the first time you use, you can soon get the hang of it by finding a workstation that’s easy to use. It is also recommended to stick to your chosen DAW software for good as different DAW software are different from each other and have different specifications.
Some of the popular ones which are easy to use are:
6. Organize your workload
You can color-code your tracks and faders in your DAW to make things much more straightforward. It will allow navigating an extensive mixing session much more accessible. An organized work will keep you levelheaded and help you concentrate better.
7. Pick out the right table for your work
It is highly essential to have a studio desk which suits your room’s layout. Providing no space for your equipment will lead to your studio is a clumsy one. You can avoid killing up space and set the stage for your best work with any of the following desks listed below:
⦁ Studio Trends 46 in. Studio Desk with dual four space racks (easy mobility with a wide work area).
⦁ Studio RTA Producer Station Maple (heavily constructed with eight heavy-duty casters which provide exceptional support to almost any equipment).
⦁ Spike 88 Keyboard Studio Desk (small enough to fit in nearly any small space).
⦁ Walker Edison 3-Piece Contemporary Desk, Multi (comes with tempered safety glass, sliding keyboard tray and CPU stand).
⦁ Z-Line Designs Cyrus Workstation (a spacious desktop work surface with raised platform shelves, tempered glass, and pull-out keyboard tray).
8. Decide on getting studio monitors or studio headphones or both
Studio monitors have more speakers. That allows studio monitors to reproduce better quality sound compared to headphones. If you are working in a studio facility that is acoustically treated, studio monitors would be a sensible choice. However, if you are a music producer, headphones are your pick.
Apart from the acoustics of your room, studio monitors will have the most significant impact on your tracks. By introducing monitors, you can let both ears hear both channels. Choosing the wrong monitor can disrupt the quality of your recordings. Adam Audio A7, Mackie CR3, JBL 305P MKII, KRK Rockit 6 G3, Rokit RPG5 G3, Yamaha HS5, Yamaha HS7, and Yamaha HS8 are some of the options worth considering.
On the other side there are Studio Headphones (click to see our top 9 studio headphones in 2019 under 200$).Studio headphones are best suited for recording, mixing, mastering as well as critical listening. It’s ideal to look for the ones that provide comfort, high-quality sound, and isolation. The best studio headphones brands, especially for mixing and mastering, are AKG, Audeze, Beyerdynamic, and Sennheiser. These four are leaders in the studio headphones industry.
9. Get a good audio interface
The importance of an audio interface cannot be stressed enough. I’m sure you’ve heard of mixers, the equipment used to mix audio signals such as levels and timbre. Audio interfaces are important for mixing sounds and experimenting as well as hook up instruments’ microphones to the computer.
10. Pick out the suitable microphone
The most iconic symbol of recorded music is microphones. Buying a mic is like buying a good pair of shoes. It doesn’t JUST need to fit only, but, it also needs to provide maximum comfort for you to be able to walk. There are three major types of microphones: the dynamic microphone, the ribbon microphone, and the condenser microphone. Condenser microphones are the most convenient ones to use, because, their sensitivity and wide frequency range can be a great choice for recording. For condenser mics, you can look up: ZaxSound, Aokeo AK-70, Audio-Technica AT2035, Blue Snowball iCE.
11. Choose a good accessible studio keyboard
The best choice is to have a simple (not too fancy) and accessible keyboard. You need a keyboard that you can easily use to input notes, adjust parameters, and so on. M-Audio Keystation 49 MkII, Roland A-49, Alesis V49 or more advanced NI Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2. These could be some great options to look up. Also, you can pick the more expensive alternative in the form of an analog synth. When so, you should definitely check for these models – Roland SYSTEM-8, Access Virus TI2 Keyboard, Clavia Nord Lead 4 or just compact synth like an Arturia MiniBrute 2. The right choice for you would also be MIDI keyboard (click to see 11 tips on how to choose one)
12. Cut down on unnecessary costs
You can exclude pricey products like Analog Processors, Limiters, Analog EQ, and instead, get a decent job done with Plugins which would be much cheaper.
13. Stick to using only one MIDI Controller
It is the standard in music production for sending audio information, such as notes, automation, and commands. Stick with one MIDI controller. Because using more would just take up more space unnecessarily. There are lots of MIDI controllers out there. The thing is to find your favorite one, Anyway, before you will buy one, consider to check videos below to our five favorite MIDI controllers of 2019:
Ableton 2 Push
FL Studio Fire by AKAI
NI Maschine Studio & NI Maschine MK3
14. Consider getting a studio subwoofer
Subwoofers let you reproduce all the frequencies sent by your audio source. Subwoofers can be extremely useful and very convenient. It will bring you really steady low-end, and you will feel more precise while editing your SUB Bass. However, before you get tempted to purchase one, you must keep some things in mind.
For instance, the size and shape of your room. Electro-Voice ELX200-12SP, Fluid Audio F8S, Rockville APM10C, KRK 10S2 V2, Monitor Audio and Presonus Temblor T8 – these are some of the studio subwoofers which would be essential in providing the deepest bass, depth, and accuracy in your tracks.
15. Keep the loudspeakers away from the corners of the room
This has to do with standing waves. A loudspeaker placed at the corners of the room will excite standing waves easily, resulting in unpleasant sound.
16. Get speaker stands to minimize desk vibrations
All surfaces in the room can reflect or absorb sound, including your desk. When the speakers vibrate, it can travel through the desk and create artificial resonances that can make your ears irritated. You could try some good speaker stands to avoid this.
17. Share the costs to save up
Another quick way to save up is to ask your friends to chip in. If you have friends who pursue a similar passion or have the same musical ideas as you, you can always ask them to build the studio together. That way, you can split the cost and save up the right amount of money. You can buy the analog compressor; synth or whichever equipment you have dreamed about with the saved money.
18. Get a spectrum analyzer
Consider buying hardware spectrum analyzer or a second screen monitor to see the spectrum of the track you are making. It will save you time when you’re opening VST plugin.
19. Give your room an acoustic treatment
Using good quality microphones will ensure the quality of your recordings. If you can’t treat the room, your records are bound to sound bad regardless of the quality of your mics. If you have a smaller room, you should consider buying some foam panels to avoid hearing unwanted sounds.
20. Get a preamp for your instruments or microphone
You could plug your guitar or your microphone directly into the recording interface you have. However, the issue with that is, it will often be producing very transparent sounds. The sounds will be lacking in volume as well as warmth, which a great track would require.
Getting a preamp is a very cost-effective and convenient way of getting a source that will be providing better sound. You can get a good preamp for as much as $50. It will instantly improve the sound quality for your tracks.
21. Don’t forget to get enough cables and the right ones
If you are taking up music production seriously, then you will need a lot of cables in the future. But when you are just starting up, you only need cables for your microphone and your monitors. Make sure that you get a longer XLR cable for the microphone. You will most likely be moving the mic around in the studio.
So, that helps you from being constrained to one place in the future. You might need TRS/XLRM, RCA or different cables for your equipment. Keep spare cables in the back so that you don’t have to wait for cables when you rip one during an emergency. Also, consider converter cables for a different type of connectors.
Never rush into getting your studio ready as quickly as possible. Building your home production studio can be a very lengthy process. Take your time with the equipment you want to buy. Understand what your goal is and what you will need for that.
Ask the experts or people in the communities for help or reviews regarding specific equipment or the studio. The 21 tips we discussed here should help you with building an ideal setup for your production studio. Explore and get creative. Sing, riff, and beat away and go become the rock star you have always dreamed of becoming!
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Based in Ampang, Malaysia. I go by M4-P. Started as a rapper/songwriter back in 2015 then quickly and gradually developed my skills to become a beatmaker, music producer, sound designer, and audio engineer. I currently work in a local underground record label called KOKADAIMON that has a number of very talented artists and producers.