Getting your home studio setup for the first time doesn’t need to be challenging, especially once you know what you’ll need to purchase and how to hook it all up. It’s essentially just a matter of getting the correct gear, finding an appropriate space, setting everything up, and getting down to work. Here’s a look at how to do each of these things, and why they are important.
Designing the Studio
The first thing you’ll need to do is design your perfect studio. You should do this first because you have to make sure that you find a space that will be able to accommodate your needs.
During this step, you should make some drawings or mock ups of what your ideal space will look like. Include a space for recording and a space for editing. If you don’t know what these things should look like, you can check online for ideas and maps of what some possible scenarios should entail. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can make changes at any time.
However, it’s good to have a general idea of what you want your studio to look like before choosing a room to set up in.
Finding the Proper Space
Next, you’ll need to find the proper space. It needs to have enough room for everything and everyone to be comfortable, but it doesn’t really have to be large. Some experts recommend large rooms so you’ll have room to grow, but with smaller rooms, it can be easier to lessen noises and soundproof the whole area.
If you are going to be recording vocals, it’s a good idea to have a separate booth or area where singing takes place. This is the most important spot that will need soundproofing, since it’s likely to pick up the most noises.
Again, finding the right place for your studio is a give and take, since there are so many things you probably want in a room that you can’t always find. For example, it is better if a room has carpet to dampen noise levels, but if you only have access to hardwood floors, you may be upset. You shouldn’t be however, because you can simply purchase an area rug and place it on the floor. Keep in mind that there are many ways to do things, but it will take a while to absorb and learn these tricks.
After you find your perfect room, you’ll need to get your gear. If you know what you want to achieve in your studio, this process will go quite smoothly since you’ll know what to purchase. It is wiser to buy only the basic items at first, since you will get the most use out of them. You can always buy extra items later, or save up and upgrade your gear to top of the line products. Here’s a list of what you’ll possibly need.
- Computer. You will need a computer in good working order. There are also other requirements. It must have a sound card, so it can process your music better. It should also have a good amount of RAM, allowing it to handle all of the demands you are going to place on it. It will need to run the audio software you choose and be able to recognize your input devices, so it shouldn’t be more than a few years old.
- Audio mixer. A mixer is simply a device that allows you to manipulate the aspects of all your devices. For instance, if you have a guitar plugged into it, you’ll be able to determine what level the highs, mids, and lows will be heard at.
- Microphone. You won’t be able to hear anything if you don’t have a microphone. All types are not created equal, so you should get one that is specialized to your purposes. If you intend to sing, you’ll need one that will keep your vocals clear and help them shine through. It may take a little bit of research to find something that should be right for you, so don’t hesitate to take your time finding one. While it’s fine to collect a few microphones, they can get expensive fast, so you should be careful.
- Monitors/Headphones. It’s also necessarily to be able to hear the music and tracks you record, for editing and to make sure that you want to share them with others. Monitors, or speakers, are great for these purposes, since you will be able to hear virtually everything. Many also opt for a pair of studio quality headphones, since you might need to edit when other people are trying to sleep, or you have neighbors, so you can’t be as loud as you want to. There are models of headphones that allow you to hear music just as well as monitors can, so you can opt for both or just one, whatever your budget permits.
- Audio editing software. As you are likely aware, you will have to spend time editing and manipulating your audio, so you need a program that can help with that. These programs can range greatly in price, so it’s best to stick to a trial version or a free product first, to get the hang of using one. When you find one you like, then you may feel more comfortable paying for one of them.
- Little extras. There are also little extras that you’ll find that you need. These are things like cords, pop filters, noise dampeners, shock mounts, mic stands, and other items that will make your life easier. Most of these products don’t cost much, so don’t be concerned if you feel that you need some of these. They shouldn’t break your bottom line.
Layout Your Home Studio Setup Thoughtfully
One you have all your equipment, it’s time to set it up. Remember to look at the pictures that you made before, so you can remember how you wanted to have everything situated. It’s a good idea to have a space for recording, a space for editing, and a booth for singing, so if you want to do these things, they should be set up in different areas. You don’t really want to have your desk by your microphones and musical instruments or something like that.
How to Record
After you have all your things set up, it’s time to do some tests. This will tell you if you’re ready to record or if it may be necessary to make some adjustments. Basically you’ll need to do some quick recordings to see what the acoustics sound like, if the mic sounds like you want it to, and if there are noises in the background or not. The reason this is important is because microphone placement can make or break a track, so you have to be sure that you have yours in the most optimal place. When you feel that it’s in the right place and that everything else is too, it’s time to get down to recording.
How to Edit
After you record music or vocals, you can start to enhance them and make them sound even better. This is where your audio processing software comes in. There are many effects and other things you can take advantage of when using them.
Take your time with this part of the process and make sure that you back up all your files each time. Otherwise, you may make a mistake and not be able to revert back to your old settings.
It may also take a bit of getting used to when it comes to your software, so take the time to read the instructions or watch some tutorial videos for more tips.
If you’ve done all this, you then have a home studio that is up and running. At the same time, there is still so much to learn and so much you can change about the entire process. Here are few tips to keep you going and to help everything stay fresh.
- Soundproof areas where you can. Even though you took a lot of time choosing a room and making the layout work for you, it can always sound better with a little soundproofing. You can buy special foam or kits to keep noises at bay and prevent sounds from bouncing off the walls, which can be a big problem. Look into this aspect because it can do nothing but help your recordings.
- Get a good deal. Don’t be hasty when it comes to buying your equipment. It’s worth it to shop around before you make a purchase. You should always try to get a good deal, so your budget will last longer. It also helps if you stick with professional grade products that aren’t top of the line, since you can work your way up as you learn more about how the whole thing works. It is far more important that you get a lot of use out of something than what the price tag actually is.
- Don’t buy things you don’t need. This is another thing that can be rather hard. Electronics are shiny and new, so it’s hard not to get overly excited and start buying new toys. It is best to make conscious choices and get items that are great for multiple types of projects, instead of stuff that works great but can only be used for one thing. For instance, if you find a mixer with multiple inputs at a reasonable price, but you find one with one input that is a top shelf item, it’s better to buy the one with multiple inputs. This is due to the fact that you won’t have to upgrade your mixer if you intend to use more devices in the future.
- Always ask questions. The music business in general can be arduous. That’s why it’s great to ask questions and get advice anywhere you can. Start following people on social media, read their websites, and maybe even hang around other people that are trying to get their music off the ground. You can also scour the internet for videos that can help you, as well as websites and guides that will aid you in learning the ins and outs better.
- Don’t trust everything you read or hear. At the same time, it’s important not to believe everything you read or hear. Some people may be trying to discourage you, so you should always keep that in the back of your mind. It’s up to you to use your best judgment. You should always be wary of articles that tell you facts that go against what you know to be true. If something is working for you and their guide says that the opposite should be true, you should know that this resource can’t be trusted.
Takeaways For Your Home Studio Setup
Pretty much anyone can create their own home studio, although there is a bit of work that must go into it if you intend for it to be successful and produce something you’re proud of. You need a good layout, the proper room, adequate equipment, and time to edit and produce. Besides that, it is a process that takes constant learning and adapting, so you can become better and more experienced.
You should also be able to accept limitations and work on overcoming the obstacles that are put in your way. You can never do too much research when it comes to learning techniques or becoming more familiar with your equipment, so don’t hesitate to do so. However, it’s most important for you to just relax and let it come naturally.
Understand that things won’t always be perfect, but as you get better and do more recordings and tracks, things will become like second nature to you. You didn’t learn how to walk or read in one day, so don’t worry if you can’t get the sounds just right all the time. You will get it and your friends, family, and fans will appreciate all the work you did.