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Setting Up a Home Recording Studio? Here Are the Essentials

December 17, 2013 IADT General, Audio Production 0 Comments

Setting Up a Home Recording Studio? Here Are the EssentialsIf you are thinking about setting up your own home recording studio but do not know where to begin, these are the essentials to help you get started.  

You may have access to rental studios or even a studio at your school site, but considering all the professional gear out there, you may be unsure of where or how to start. Here are the four basic steps you should take to set up your home studio.

1. Decide on the Purpose for Your Home Studio

Many people want a home studio so they can play and record for fun at home. But others intend to use the studio to create income, charging for both the space and their producing skills. It's good to consider which category you belong to. This will help you determine how much time and money you want to invest in building the studio. Also, think about what kind of music you want to record, and what kind of instruments you might be using. If you're a drummer, your set up will be much different from that of a DJ or a bassist.

2. Assess Your Budget

These days, you do not need to overspend to get good sound quality. Consider investing in digital equipment first. Unlike analog gear, deterioration is less of an issue. If you are on a modest budget, a great place to start is with all-in-one packages, such as a Studio-in-a-Box, that come with all the gear and software you need to record right away.

Frankly speaking, most gear is similar in quality until you are ready or able to invest large amounts of money into top-of-the-line equipment. The key is to find equipment that's versatile and will work as a building block to grow your studio. Also consider what support the equipment has, whether with a Mac or PC.

3. Invest in What's Most Important

The basics in any studio are mics, stands, cables, recording equipment, monitors and, of course, instruments and headphones.

Of all the gear to purchase, the most important gear to invest in are quality monitors and a decent converter (which converts an analog signal to a digital signal).  Quality interfaces or converters are a good building block to growing your home set-up into a more professional one. Investing in good monitors ensures you're hearing the best and consistent sound through all the stages of the recording process. You can find all other essential gear, such as mics, for good quality at a reasonable price.

4. Set Up Your Home Studio: The Most Important Factor in a Home Studio

The right space is the most important element in your home studio. To get the best quality and professional-sounding recording, you need to consider the following factors:

Noise "Bleed"

You do not want sound "bleeding" into or out of the space. The rule of thumb is the denser the walls or more absorption of sound, the better.  An interior room or a basement, usually made with thick concrete walls, are good places to set up a studio.  You can also use ceiling tiles on your walls, fiberglass insulation from any home improvement store, carpet samples on the ceiling and packing materials, such as open cell foam, as efficient dampening "tools".

Leakage Areas 

In recording, any leakage of sound is audible. Your home might have back-to-back wall outlets or vents where sound can leak. It will make a difference in your sound quality. Identify these areas and make sure you cover them.

Size of Space

A small space is better than a large "boomy" room where sound can reverberate.  Low ceilings and a smaller space isolate the sound, making the levels more consistent to mix later on in the recording process.

Who Will Set Up the Space?

Hiring someone to help with the set-up is a good investment. This can save you hours of learning what someone can teach you in a short amount of time.

Though there are many choices on the market today, setting up a home studio does not have to be laborious. Focus on the basics, and you will be on your way to having a professional-sounding home recording studio.

 Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


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