Any musician will tell you there’s nothing better than having access to a full recording studio to produce high-quality sounds. The same artist will most-likely assert that it took them time, patience, determination, and hard work to get to that point. That’s okay. You can make sweet music at home with the right tools.
There was a time you needed a ton of equipment to produce great sounds. Many tasks are possible now with a computer and the right software. It doesn’t matter if you have a laptop or desktop. Most equipment and software works with Apple and Windows. For the best results, buy the fastest within your budget.
DAW/Audio Interface Combo
Also known as the digital audio workstation, it allows you to record, edit, and mix different sounds on your computer. When you choose the combo, it saves money and reduces the number of wires going back and forth between your PC and other equipment. These will work with both operating systems, and many come with free software for guitars and other instruments.
Microphone and Stand
You’ll need at least one microphone, a stand, and extension cords. Most experts recommend more than one microphone. There are several styles to choose from that vary depending on the use. For example, if you’re only worrying about vocals, start with the large-diaphragm condenser vocal mic.
When you throw in some instruments, you need different ones. Make sure the microphone style matches the music, such as ribbon microphones that are durable and excellent for taming sounds from drum overheads, brass instruments, and guitar amps. No matter which you choose, when you add a backup to the mix, consider the dynamic mic. It’s a great universal option, reasonably priced, and doubles as a speaker.
Don’t skip the mic stand so you can concentrate on vocals or instruments and other tasks, rather than holding the microphone the whole time. If you’re using a dynamic mic, you may be able to pass this step at first.
Headphones or Monitors
When you’re recording by yourself, you need headphones to focus on yourself and not the backing track. This setup lets you hear every vocal without the interference of the instruments or background music. You can use speakers, but it’s more complicated. The best option is to invest in a quality headphone set.
The two most common options are open or closed-back headphones. Consider the closed-back ones to keep all the music in for the better in-studio choice. One of the most important considerations when picking headphones is comfort. If you’re not comfortable wearing them for a few hours at a time, it’s not a good investment. You can try an in-ear option, but these aren’t the best for studio recordings.
If you’re doing any mixing for your recordings, you’ll also want studio monitors. These provide high-quality audio with tonal enhancements that place them above the consumer speakers’ performance. Additionally, after completing the recording with your headphones on, you want to hear how it sounds on a set of premium studio speakers. These are available in several sizes to meet the acoustics of your room.
Don’t skip premium cables with a high strand count and braided shields that have good impact absorption. These tend to get stepped on often in the studio and should be able to take much wear and tear.
A pop filter isn’t essential, but it’s still nice to have with your musical setup. They aren’t expensive and add an extra layer of quality to your recordings. They shield or reduce popping sounds that can occur when recording vocals. If you’re using a condenser microphone, you should include the pop filter to reduce plosives.
Other Items to Improve Your Sound
There are many items to add to your studio that can boost your production’s quality. A MIDI controller is an excellent addition to any home setup. Don’t look at it as a keyboard. These are ideal ways to bring various sounds into your music without taxing your computer and monitoring more. Use it to write multiple drum beats and wind and stringed instruments.
You can build your own home studio on a budget. Start with the basics and expand as you have more time and money to invest in your setup. For top-of-the-line equipment at a price you can afford, shop for all your music needs at Next-Pro.