The typical home recording studio has dramatically evolved over time as computer technology and apps technology greatly improved. In the past, a recording studio usually consisted of a live room and control room where the sound engineers operated the audio mixing consoles and effects units. However, with the availability of powerful computers and recording apps, the setups of recording studio have been greatly simplified. Nowadays, to set up a workable home recording studio, you will basically need a fast computer, like the iMac and MacBook, although other computers nowadays are also fast enough to handle sound data during the recording process.
Aside from the main computer that serves as the recording hub in a home recording studio, you will also need the following equipment:
It is definitely essential to have the right audio interface for your computer, and it is basically the next step you have to look after to after getting a workable computer for your home recording studio. This audio interface brings the sound of your music into your personal computer. Moreover, it allows you to bring the sound out of the drive of your computer during playback time. This audio interface often has concomitant tools that you can incorporate into your computer devices such as microphone amplifiers, digital conversion, monitor management, headphone amplifiers, and DI unit.
It is important that you choose a two-channel type of USB audio interface. It should have a microphone preamp equipped with phantom power, plus it should have a “line-in” for keyboards, stereo, and guitar, including headphones outputs. The main purpose of the audio interface is to connect your computer with other equipment.
2) Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
The main software that you are going to install in your computer is the digital audio workstation or DAW. This software will enable you to record, edit, and mix sounds. You must be meticulous in choosing the DAW, for the DAW can be very specific to a particular operating system. Logic, for example, works well with Mac, while Sonar works for PC only.
There are also dual-platform DAWS that include Digital Performer, Pro Tools, Audition, Studio One, Cubase, and Reason. These programs are dependable enough to enable you to finish your recording job. At the onset, you should very well choose the right DAW that would be more convenient for you to use. As you improve in the manipulation of the features of the software, you can then confidently work with other types of DAWS.
You should also carefully choose the types of headphones that you would have in your home studio. Headphones vary according to purpose and design. Some headphones have closed-back designs while others have open-back designs. At the onset, it is better to use closed-back headphones to ensure that sounds are properly isolated. However, the closed back headphone is more suitable for the beginners who intend to build their first home studio, and the budget is also one of the main consideration factors for them.
Types of Headphones
4) Studio Monitors
Mixing of sounds usually takes a lot of time and necessitates the use of studio monitors or nearfield monitors. Sound engineers make use of these monitors to figure out the balance between various sound in each track. These monitors are different from the commercial speakers we have on components because these studio monitors are specifically designed to produce flatter frequency response. This is to ensure that the sounds listened to by sound engineers are neutral and uncolored to enable them to objectively assess and mix the different sounds.
5) Cables (Specifically, XLR Cables)
Most of us surely hope that all the pieces of equipment in our home studio are broadcasting without the use of cables, just like the smart devices that we have. Time will definitely come when cables will no longer be necessary in a home recording studio; yet, as of the moment, cables are still essential, and for this reason, you would need XLR cables. You would basically need two types of cables: long cables for your microphones; and short ones to connect to the XLR connectors of your audio interface and monitors.
6) Pop Filters
I remember the first time I recorded our original song in a studio, and I was a bit ignorant of what the pop filter was then. But now, I already know that the pop filter is necessary to filter the vocals. The pop filter is a microphone accessory that readily blocks noises so that your recording would be devoid of cracking sounds called “pops” caused by forceful short breaths. Pops are low-frequency sounds that are irritating to listen to. They are usually created when the singer pronounces the plosive letters like “B” and “P.” Pop filters reduce the sound of pops; they are also useful in preventing saliva from hitting the microphone.
7) Mic Stand
Another vital equipment of a home studio is a mic stand. Without mic stands, it would be very difficult to push through with the recording process. You should be very meticulous in choosing the mic stands for your home studio because mic stands can surely facilitate the recording process. Solid mic stands are worthwhile investments. Hence, if budget is not an issue for you, you should buy pricey mic stands that are sturdy and durable enough to hold the weight of your mics.
8) MIDI Controller
MIDI is essential to a recording studio, especially, for instrumentalists who record accompaniment to a song. MIDI enables you to add nuances and style to your recording. MIDI has interfaces called “MIDI interfaces” which allow you to connect your MIDI to your computer. More often, these interfaces are built-in within the MIDI making it easy for you to connect the MIDI to your computer. MIDI likewise has “MIDI controller keyboards” that come in various sizes of 25 to 88 keys. Moreover, these keyboards come with concomitant features like velocity sensitivity and modulation and after-touch wheels. MIDI also comes with “Mini Pads” which are quite popular among producers and DJs. These Mini Pads come with basic input devices and other features like hardware sequencer. Lastly, these Mini Pads can be readily customized for the DAWs.
9) Condenser Microphones
For Singer, a condenser microphone is the most important equipment in the recording studio as it is the first and initial entry point for picking up the sound sources from the vocals and acoustic instruments. And the analog sound sources will be then converted into the digital format for mixing and editing purposes.
For the first timer, the computer is the most expensive home studio for them. You will need a powerful computer that will be able to handle and process the heavy DAW editing and mixing tasks. And it is the powerhouse to process the input and output of the sound images. For a computer, MacBook Pro and iMac are what I would recommend.