For any serious musician, when a good idea strikes, you need to get it down on paper as soon as possible. Ideas can leave your head much faster than they ever came into it, so once inspiration hits, it is important to record that lyric or riff so you don’t lose it.
If you’re jamming with some friends at home and you suddenly strike gold, a home studio means that you have the recording tools right there in front of you and all you have to do is start playing.
The great thing about music today is that you don’t need the budget of Maida Vale studios or the Rolling Stones to set up a great home recording studio that’s going to give you the brilliant sound quality you want.
Preparing the studio
You can set up your home recording studio wherever you want throughout your house. It can be in the spare bedroom or the basement downstairs, so long as you feel inspired and ready to record.
However, things can be made difficult if there’s a lot of outside noise or interference. Maybe your neighbour has decided to cut the grass or your mum is upstairs cooking dinner – either way, it’s not going to give you the sound quality you deserve. That’s why acoustic foam sheets should be the first thing you invest in. There are several different types of acoustic foam sheet available on the market that will suit everyone.
A good acoustic foam sheet means that you don’t need to worry about bothering your sleeping family members or their noise interfering with your recordings. Perfect, right?
Staples for any home recording studio
Setting up a home recording studio for the first time can seem a bit daunting. It can be hard to know where to start with different equipment, especially if you’re on a budget.
There are nine, key items that feature in any home recording studio whether it’s in your house or in Paul McCartney’s:
• Pop filters
• Microphone stand
• 1-3 microphones
• An audio interface
• Ear-training software
• A studio monitor
• Good quality headphones
• Multi-purpose cables
How to choose the right computer.
Depending on your budget, you can either repurpose a computer you already have in your house or you can invest in one specifically for your home recording studio. Most modern laptops and desktops are up to the job, so don’t worry if you can’t afford a new one right now. It’s best to get your home studio up and running first and think about upgrading your hardware later.
The importance of an audio interface
To the layperson, an audio interface can sound pretty hard to understand. It’s basically just the part of your home studio that will act as the middleman between you and the computer, interpreting sounds that go into the computer and playing the sounds that come out of it.
For most new home studios, a basic audio interface will suffice and perform all the necessary functions. You can find some relatively cheap options online that will not only save you money but also deliver a great sound.
You could write a book about how many different microphones are needed for different instruments, sounds and effects. It’s really not worth getting yourself caught up on what microphone you buy for a home studio because you could start to feel very overwhelmed very quickly.
Any general-purpose microphone will be perfect for your first home recording studio. When shopping for a mic, check that it is versatile and can be used to capture a wide range of sounds and instruments and then leave it at that.
Choosing your recording software
The internet is a brilliant place and has so many free resources out there that people with a love for music choose to share. Don’t spend your whole budget on one software that promises you’ll win a Grammy – just try a few free options first to see what suits you and your sound.
Headphones, cables and stands
These may seem like small, obvious accessories but there would be no recording studio without them! It’s important to invest in some good-quality headphones if you want a professional sound quality from your recordings. Similarly, stands and cables are the backbones to any home recording studio, so they should be items high on your shopping list.
The good news is that nowadays studio-quality headphones, cables and stands are relatively cheap and can be bought online with just a couple of clicks so you don’t have to break the bank.
So, that’s it – your complete guide to setting up your first home recording studio. It really is much easier than it looks and can be done on any kind of budget. The most important thing is that you have fun and focus on the music – so get playing today!
For more tips on recording, read our Guide to Recording: From Songwriting to Mastering, which you can download and save to your device.