How To Set Up a Home Recording Studio: The Ultimate Guide

How To Set Up a Home Recording Studio: The Ultimate Guide

Do you want to take the step and create your own songs? The first thing you need is your own music recording studio.

Years ago the equipment needed to set up a music studio cost tens of millions and for this reason was accessible to very few people.

Today things are very different. Setting up a studio where you can record your own songs is within everyone’s reach.

How to make your own music?

Creating your own recording studio where you can make your own music and record songs professionally is something that can seem tremendously complicated.

You will think that it takes months of preparation, studying equipment, analysis, gathering information. Right?

Most people will be overwhelmed… but the reality is different.  Nowadays, setting up a home recording studio with which obtaining professional results is easier than it seems.

Really all you need is to know the essential basics

And if you keep reading we will show you what they are.

Ready to create your own songs?

But first, an important tip.

Simple is always the best.

It is a fact, in current times, it is not only possible to start making music by setting up a simple studio and with the minimum necessary equipment, but it is possibly the best option.

On the other hand, if you make the mistake of wanting to start in the world of music production too strong, you will have several problems:

  • You will easily feel overwhelmed.
  • You will end up discouraged
  • Which will lead you to end up leaving it.
  • You will have wasted a lot of time and money.

If you are starting and your intention is to record your first songs:

Remember and repeat with us: In music, simple is better!

home studio cost

How much does it cost to set up a music recording studio?

A recording studio can be really expensive. Luckily today, technology makes accessible things that until recently were unthinkable for the common user and this has made, of course, artists look for the cheapest options to be able to record their songs.

However, there is a limit to how much we can save on necessary equipment and how cheap our investment could be to set up our own home studio.

The objective of this guide is to recommend a minimum to ensure that you can obtain truly professional results from the first moment. Without wasting your money or wasting your time.

Let’s start by seeing what you are going to need.

The perfect music studio for beginners. Equipment.

The perfect studio to start recording your first songs should be made up of the following equipment:

  1. A computer (or laptop)
  2. Audio card
  3. Studio Monitors
  4. Music production software (DAW)
  5. One or two microphones
  6. Microphone holder and pop filter
  7. Studio headphones

With this, you will have everything you need to start making music and recording your own songs.

Furthermore, this configuration is optimal for two important reasons:

  • It allows you to immediately start creating music with the minimum investment of money and time.
  • And what is more important… it is the perfect configuration from which to mature your knowledge and grow as an artist or music producer.

Now we are going to take a closer look at each part of the equipment you need to be able to set up your first home studio.

  1. A computer or laptop.

laptop

This is surely the most important investment to make.

When it comes to choosing a team, we only have to take into account two rules:

  • The more powerful the better.
  • We are going to need a significant amount of storage for music libraries and plugins.

Fortunately, today most of us already have a computer at home and most computers today have enough power to handle the music production programs that we are going to use.

For all this, we recommend starting with the equipment we have available to save costs and later it will be time to expand to a more powerful option, if necessary, such as one of the latest Macbook Pro.

So let’s move on to the next point.

  1. An audio card

audio interface

The audio interface is essential to start making your own songs. It is the piece of hardware in charge of connecting your computer with the rest of the production equipment that we will need.

In the past, if we wanted quality, this was one of those pieces of equipment where we had to pay a high price to obtain good results.

Currently, things are different. There are options on the market with a very contained price and with which we can obtain professional results.

Our recommendations for being considered the best quality/price sound card for beginners and professionals in practically all specialized forums are the following:

  1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen – best quality price
  2. Focusrite Scarlett SOLO 2nd Gen
  3. Presonus AUDIOBOX USB

Let’s move on to the next piece in our study.

  1. Studio monitors

studio monitor

Forget the fact that many home studios mix through headphones.

If you want to take music production seriously, this is one of the most important pieces for your studio.

It is also important to remember that we need “flat” monitors that give us a neutral sound, that is, that do not “color” the sound as it happens with hi-fi equipment or other home speakers.

Studio monitors are of vital importance to be able to work properly with audio. We need a team that reproduces the widest possible range of frequencies, with a neutral sound, without artificial colors or tones.

It is impossible to work professionally in music production without minimally adequate speakers.

Luckily we have a significant number of well-priced producer monitors to choose from today.

Our selection for those who want to buy their first studio monitors is the following:

  1. KRK Rokit RP5 G3 Individual (be careful, you need to buy two units)
  2. Mackie CR4 – Studio Monitors (for Tighter Budgets)
  3. Yamaha – HS5 Studio Monitor (you need to buy two units)
  1. Music production software – DAW

We have talked about the best software for producing music or DAWs in the past so we are not going to get too long.

If you have to choose one our recommendation is that right now possibly the most complete option at the best price is Logic Pro X, however, this option is only available for MAC users. For PC users we would recommend taking a look at Ableton Live.

If you want to see all our DAW recommendations

Another option is that when buying an audio card you have obtained a version of one of the free music creation programs, so to save costs, and taking into account that today almost all production programs have similar options, our advice is to start with whatever software you have available for free.

Let’s continue…

  1. Microphones

As your study matures over time, it is very possible that you will begin to collect a significant number of microphones, each of them specialized in recording an instrument or type of voice.

At the moment to begin, we will try to choose one or two that are the most appropriate.

The first thing before choosing a microphone is to be clear about what instrument we intend to record with.

As most of those who are looking to buy their first microphone do so mainly thinking about recording voices, we are going to start with these.

When recording vocals, we recommend buying a classic large-diaphragm condenser microphone such as:

  • Rode NT1A – Studio condenser microphone – This microphone offers us a very clean sound and is very suitable for voices, especially tenors and for female voices. The Rode NT1A offers a dynamic and bright sound, ideal for good vocal recordings.

If what we are looking for is to record instruments such as acoustic guitars, pianos, cymbals, or others rich in high frequencies, what we recommend is a condenser mic with a small diaphragm such as:

  • AKG P170 – Condenser microphone (diaphragm, studio, small) The AKG perception micro is one of the most versatile and cheap that we can find in a studio. In addition to being a very accessible microphone, it serves to record all kinds of sound sources and generates a solid and warm sound.

If what we want is to record percussions, kick drums, electric guitar amplifiers, probably the microphone you should buy is:

  • Shure SM57 LCE –  Another one of the legendary microphones that has been in use for decades and considered one of the industry benchmarks. It is virtually impossible to find a professional studio that does not have at least one unit of this Shure SM57.

USB microphones

Another possible and increasingly popular option in new production novice studios is USB microphones. One of the advantages of these microphones is their flexibility and that by not needing to connect to an audio interface, they capture the sound and convert it into digital internally, they are easily transportable and allow you to take the studio with you and record anywhere.

We do not recommend a USB microphone as the first option for those who are creating their own studio, but they can be an interesting complement.

If you are interested in knowing more about this option, we recommend that you take a look at this link: The best USB microphones.

  1. Microphone holder, cables, and pop filter

We go with accessories and accessories.

In a professional studio, you can find a real mess of cable wires.

With a number of connectors, you’ve probably never even heard of.

And the time will come when you will have more cables than you can count.

The good news is, at first, you only need 3:

  • XLR cable to connect a microphone to the audio card or audio input.
  • And another two to connect the audio card to the monitors.

The two most common cables in a studio to perform the above tasks are the following:

  • 2m JACK cable
  • Canon XLR Cable

Mic feet

The essential accessory for your microphone.

Although its quality is not as important a factor as a good choice of microphone, not all mic stands are the same.

The truth is that they come in many shapes and sizes, each designed for a specific function and their quality can affect the quality of the recording.

  • A recommended option: Ohuhu Tripod Boom

Anti-pop filters

Although pop filters are not at all “essential” in a home studio.

But for some strange reason, practically every beginner ends up having one.

These filters are used to improve the quality of microphone recordings.

The mouth is that it expels a strong blow of air every time you pronounce the sounds “p” and “b”.

In normal conversation, it’s not something you usually notice.

But when you sing into a microphone, that air is heard as a low frequency “thump” known as pop,  which is both annoying to the ear and unacceptable on a recording.

The anti-pop filters are designed to solve that problem, to stop that blow the air before it reaches the microphone.

  • Professional Recommendations: Stedman Xl Proscreen – 15 cm Metal Pop Screen
  1. Studio headphones

studio headphones

When you start in the world of music creation, most of the recordings you will do by yourself, so to start you will only need one or two studio headphones.

There are two fundamental types of studio headphones:

  • Closed headphones for pre-listening, which offer isolation from the outside at the cost of offering a less realistic sound quality. They are essential when recording with microphones (for example when recording voices)
  • Open (or semi-open) headphones for mixing, which offer better sound quality, but less isolation. They are ideal for the mixing phase as they produce a more natural and higher quality sound. By contrast, they do not isolate the exterior, so for example they are not used to monitor when we are recording with a microphone.

While open headphones are considered a dispensable luxury if you are just starting out in music production, closed capsules are absolutely necessary.

There is an immense amount of headphone options for producers, as always we are going to recommend some classic options from the industry and with a good value for money, ideal for a home studio.

Best closed studio headphones:

  • Sennheiser HD280
  • Sony MDR 7506

Best open studio headphones:

  • Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro – Exceptional quality at a good price
    • Samson SR850 – Quality under $40, little more to say. A jewel!

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