How to Set Up a Home Studio



home studio

Set up a home recording studio to be your own boss. Maybe you’re a musician looking to record when you want. Or, you might be looking to start a podcast. It doesn’t matter.

This blog will help you understand everything you need. From the recording studio design to the right computer and other control room equipment. Read on to find out what you’ll need for a successful home studio setup.



What is a Home Studio?

A home studio makes quality music and podcasts. Build one right to match professional standards you can capitalize on the many benefits of podcasts or other recordings.

You should include soundproofing. This space should also have studio and recording equipment.

Should I Record at Home or in a Studio?

Deciding between a home or traditional studio? Here are some ideas.

The Professional Studio



Pros

  • The best studio equipment. And assistance if something goes wrong.
  • There is usually back up equipment available.
  • Rooms specifically engineered for frequency response and great acoustics.

Cons

  • A professional studio costs. From a couple hundred to several thousand dollars every day. And that could be above your budget.
  • Your time is limited. That means you’ll need to work on things like preproduction and have a plan.

The Home Studio

Pros



  • You have all the time you need. Recording from home allows you to explore different instrumentation and arrangements.
  • You can also make extra money by renting your home studio out.
  • They are convenient. In fact, the recording gear is smaller and lighter . You can start one with a computer and some acoustic treatment space.

Cons

  • There’s an initial expense to budget for. Like DAW software and other pro tools like headphones.
  • You need to invest time in a digital audio studio. For example, you will need to learn software and equipment skills. Remember, if any studio monitors break you need to fix them.

In the end, the home studio is the better choice. You’ll have a professional space at home.

Why You Need a Home Studio

Here are a few reasons:

  • You get to be the boss.
  • You can improve your craft and hone your skills.
  • They are a good investment. A home recording studio can be rented via mail. Make a little money on the side or pay for the room.
  • A home recording studio lets you control your hours and work schedule.
  • Set your objectives and goals. A project studio is a home based business.You’re the CEO. You control the acoustic treatment too.

Please read on to find out about the equipment for the place.



What Studio Equipment Do I Need to Set up a Home Recording Studio or Podcast Studio?

Home studios need different pieces of equipment. All the gear should be industry standard for music or podcasts. Below is a list of the recording equipment and other things you need.

Computer

Don’t cut any corners. The software uses a lot of resources. It doesn’t matter in the end whether you choose a computer that uses MacOS or Windows. Most of the software like DAWS is compatible with either.

When it comes to technology for storage devices, choose SSD’s over classic hard drives. They perform better.

The size of the storage device matters. The minimum for good sound quality on a constant basis is one terabyte. However, you can get away with 512 GB of space to start.



Studio Monitors

There are several good features for studio monitors for a home studio.

  1. Bigger rooms need 8 inch monitors minimum.
  2. A small room can get by with 3 to 5 inch units. Get a fan too.
  3. A medium sized space should have 5 to eight inch monitors.

Power is another consideration. This is what drives the woofer and tweeter and generates sound quality. The monitor drivers need enough power for sharp and/or punchy sound.

For smaller rooms look for power requirements of 20 Watts. Medium rooms take a 40 Watt monitor. A bigger space can go up to 80 Watts or higher.

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is digital software allowing you to compose, edit and record audio tracks.



Here are a few features that are standard for these pieces of equipment. A good DAW has audio arrangement and recording features. One worth the money is a plug and play experience.

Look for

  • Audio Plugins. These control the virtual instruments, reverberation, equalization and delay.
  • MIDI Controllers. These look after messages for audio signals like velocity and volume. You adjust the treatment.

Other features should look after producing, mixing, tracking and composing.

An industry leader is Logic Pro X. This tool provides digital instruments and audio effects mimicking real musicians. Look for sample libraries too.



Here’s some of the other pieces you’ll need.

Preamps

These work with microphone levels . A good audio interface comes with a preamp built in. They boost a microphone level to a line level. You can get standalone versions or ones built into the audio interface.

Studio Headphones

A home studio should have two different headphones. Closed back headphones are used for recording. Open back headphones are used for mixing.

For closed back headphones, look for products with maximum sound insulation properties. Open back headphones provide good sound quality over isolation.



Each serves different studio purposes.

Studio Microphones

You’ll also need good microphones. These are important for podcasts. The following list supplies some best choices.

Dynamic Microphones

These are also known as moving coil microphones. They are rugged, affordable and don’t require a power source like a battery. A disadvantage is they are less accurate than a condenser microphone.



Here’s a list to sort through.

Condenser Mic

Condenser microphones are another option. Many experts prefer these for recording audio in a home studio. In a nutshell, they supply superior sound quality for music and words.

These also have outstanding low-frequency responses.



USB

These are a user friendly choice for home microphones. The best combine simplicity and high quality recording capabilities. Some have additional software. However, many of these microphones are just plug-and-play.

Here’s a list of products that supply great sound for podcasting.

XLR

This type of microphone comes with a preamp. The audio quality is better than other types of microphone. It’s great for recording musical instruments. The XLR is the standard that gets used in many professional recording studios. It’s adaptable and customizable.

Microphone Accessories

Following are microphone accessories you’ll need.

Mic Cables

First off, you’ll need to know the difference between digital and analog cables.

  • Analog cables transmit data through electricity.
  • Digital cables use binary code.

The electrical signal from analog cables gets passed through instruments or other gear to speakers and monitors. Cones vibrate and push air to your ears.

Digital signals are created by computers which is a machine language. A digital signal can be changed in many different ways.

Learn more about those choices here.

Mic Stands

These are excellent investment for your home studio. Generally, you can spend as little as $10 or more than $500. Here’s a few of the mic stand options you have.

  • Tripod stands are good for general use.
  • Overhead stands are the most expensive.
  • Tripod boom stands offer a bigger reach.
  • Desktop stands work for podcasting.

Low-profile and round base stands are two of the other mic stand options.

Midi Keyboard

These are important for production and just playing in your home . Here are a few boxes to check to get a good one.

  • Software integration needs to be at the top of the list. You’ll need to be able to have control over your DAW or virtual instruments.
  • A good driver is critical. If it crashes your computer and software, you can’t record properly. Do a little research on the manufacturer.
  • One of the most important features are the keys. Look for high quality synth-action products.

Don’t forget to look for pitch and modulation controls too.

Pop Shield

These improve the quality of the tracks your record. They eliminate plosives or speech sounds and mechanical popping noises. Metal screens are more expensive.

Samples

Audio samples are necessary for your home studio. They can include everything from sharp piano loops to a snare hit.

Audio Interface

The audio interface can do a number of things. Like recording music and streaming podcasts. It connects your gear to the DAW through your computer.

Select your audio interface based on connections, budget and the physical design.

Here’s a list of some of the best.

Editing Software

Podcast editing software should include features for music too. Look for :

  • A number of different audio effects and music that’s royalty-free for your podcast.
  • A free trial is a nice software option for a live streaming production.
  • The ability to remove any background noise is good.

Industry leaders like TwistedWave offer editing software for a Mac, iPhone/iPad or online. You can launch it from a browser.

Monitor Speakers

These are critical for your home setup. Here’s a few ideas on choosing good monitor speakers. There are two different types.

Near-Field Monitor Speakers

These use a dome shaped tweeter and a cone woofer. They are small with a wide range and work best 3 to 4 feet apart. Some can lack a deep base. But you can make up with a good sub woofer.

Active Monitors

These have a power amplifier built in. That makes them the best choice for a home studio setup. Most of these are bi-amplified. One amp is for the tweeter and one for the woofer. That means you’ll get more sound power.

Acoustic Treatments

Don’t underestimate your room’s acoustics. It’s important to make a distinction with the pro tools you’ll need. Soundproofing is designed to minimize the noise that travels in a room. It uses dense building material.

Acoustic treatments do something completely different. They are designed to control the sound in a room and make it better.

For good acoustic treatments, look at three items.

  1. Diffusers work to scatter frequencies.
  2. Bass Traps absorb sound with low frequencies.
  3. Acoustic Panels absorb high and middle frequencies.

Primacoustic is an industry leader.

Ear Training Software

For good recordings, your ears need to develop basic skills. Sound engineers recognize bands of frequencies. Musicians can pick out chords, intervals and notes. This software will allow you to make mixing decisions that make your final product better.

Pop Filters

A pop filter is a straightforward tool. Simply put, it’s the gear that goes between the microphone and singer/speaker. A pop filter contains a mesh screen that slows air to reduce plosives. These are speech sounds that get recorded otherwise.

There are generally two options. Cheap screens and more expensive metal ones.

Instruments

Consider looking into virtual instruments. A single software tool provides hundreds of instrument sounds. Just starting out? Look for a single keyboard program and a good drum option.

Desk Work Station

When you’re looking for a desk work station to bring everything together, there are a few features to check off. Like the following:

  • Find one with a smaller upper shelf to house monitors.
  • Rollers so you can move it around.
  • A tray that slides out for storing a keyboard and mouse.

Remember, as your home studio expands you’ll need more rack space.

Basic Office Equipment

Here’s a quick refresher checklist of the basic equipment you’ll need.

  1. The Computer. Go with at least 8 GB RAM to start.
  2. Studio Monitors. Remember that active speakers produce a flat frequency response. And that’s what you want.
  3. DAW Software. You can get free versions. But you’ll get limited functionality. Look for a company offering subscriptions.
  4. Audio Interface. Basically this is a analog to digital sound converter so your DAW can do its job.
  5. Headphones: There are two different types–closed back headphones for recording. And open back headphones for mixing.
  6. Microphones: The condenser mic can be used for both instruments and vocals.
  7. XLR Cables: If you’re starting out, you wont have a lot of money. Get three. One for your microphone and two for the monitors.
  8. Pop Filters: These ‘mesh’ screens filter out unwanted vocal noises.

Here’s a final thought. Try to avoid setting up in a small room. The acoustics are never very good.

Setting Up a Home Recording Studio

Are you a small business owner ready to set up a recording space ? YouTube is a great platform to use. Using this platform means making the most of location , lighting and sound.

Get your setup right and the possibilities are endless. Here’s a few things about the style and elements of the set to create a mood.

 

Can You Have a Recording Studio at Home?

The answer is yes if you follow all the advice and suggestions in this article. You’ll need the right software, space and gear.

How Much does a Home Studio Cost?

A budget is important. And for that you’ll need to know the cost involved. The quick answer is somewhere between $500 and $20,000 dollars.

Still, experts say depends on what you’re looking to accomplish. A good set of speakers and a computer can get a lot done with little money.

If you want something more professional with several mics and preamps, you could be looking at the $5000 to $50,000 range.

How To Set Up a Home Recording Studio

Setting up a recording space is a process. You can start with an idea, some money and a dedicated place. Then you should follow the following steps.

Choose the Perfect Room for Your Recording Space

An area your recording space is the first decision. Here’s a few ideas to point you in the right direction.

  • Avoid small rooms. Bigger rooms allow for an expanding collection of instruments and gear. They also sound and show better.
  • Stay away from spaces with outside noise like plumbing, neighbors and cars.
  • Choose concrete and tile over carpet. Carpets are bad for low frequencies.

Stay away from bedrooms because the acoustics are poor.

Make Sure the Room is Soundproofed

You need to soundproof your space. It’s a DIY project you can finish in three steps.

  1. Sound escapes in gaps in windows frames and doors. Add door sweeps and seal leaks with acoustical sealant. Hang thick curtains around windows. Don’t forget to line heating and cooling ducts.
  2. You can increase the mass in the walls and ceiling with special soundproof wall panels. Adding a second layer of drywall is another option.

If you can mount electrical switches on the wall. This takes away a sound entry point.

Have the Perfect Recording Studio Design

Having the right design makes a big difference. Take everything out of the room you’ve picked. That includes anything that can vibrate. Next you should add acoustic treatment. It’s not just for show.

The standard set up has all the gear surrounding you in a circle. It’s good for access.

The other option is a dual set up. There’s a station for the engineer and another section for the musician.

The hybrid set up looks most like the dual option.

Top Tips for the Perfect Home Recording Studio

Having trouble getting started? Here’s five tips that will point you in the right direction for starting out.

  • Starting with the basics is a good idea. Look for gear that’s both affordable and compact. Get reviews sent to your inbox via mail.
  • If you plan on making music or podcasts on the go, you’ll need a laptop. If your home recording space is going to be stationary, a desktop PC will do.
  • Choosing the right DAW software is important. If you own a Mac computer, you can start with the basics and upgrade to Logic Pro X.
  • When you’re looking at an audio interface, think about inputs. The minimum 2 out/2 in unit works best.
  • If you plan on doing a lot of live streams, a USB microphone is the right choice.

Home Podcast Studio Setup

Setting up a podcast studio is a little different. Here’s a few things that makes this different from recording music.

  • Planning is the first step. You need to write a script that goes along with your original idea. You might even need to invite some people in as guests.
  • Some people might want to pick a cohost. It’s easier to get started with one of these .
  • You need to choose a name. Choose one that will let you expand your topics. For example, “Outdoor Adventures” could be about hiking. But you can expand it.
  • You need to have a format too. A simple one includes a teaser and some intro music and then an ad spot and an interview.
  • Don’t forget to leave yourself enough time to edit the episode. That way it will sound its best.

How does a Podcast Studio Work?

Generally podcasting is a free service. Users get to take the audio files that are usually MP3s. They listen to them on their smart phones or other devices.

Podcasting is free from any government regulation presently. You don’t need to buy any kind of license like a radio station would. You don’t need to conform to any FCC regulations either.

How Much Does a Home Podcast Studio Cost?

Much of this will depend on whether your looking to start a podcast as a hobby or a business. Either way, you’re going to need equipment, software, cover art as well as music and FX.

For the business podcast or you can spend on average $950 to get started and then $330 a month for things like podcast hosting.

For the hobby podcast, the startup fee is around $330 with $15 per month.

How to Set Up a Home Podcast Studio

It’s not difficult to set up a DIY podcast area. However, there are a number of steps that will help you to launch successfully. The following tips will help you to get started.

Choose the Right Room for Your Home Podcast Studio

Choosing the right space for your podcast is the first step. Here’s the thing. Most people won’t have a big budget to start out. It’s a good idea to choose a space that has surfaces like rugs and carpeting. Think about access.

Lots of podcasters start recording in their closets.

Stay away from rooms that have hard flooring like your kitchen and other hard surfaces.

Soundproof or Soundtreat Your Room

Soundproofing is different than sound treating. The first thing is about cutting down on outside noise in your studio. You can use specially designed drywall panels and gap fillers for that.

Sound treating is about making the acoustics in the room better. Use tools like bass traps here which are tools that dampen low frequencies. These are a big part of success.

Choose Your Room Layout

Here are some more ideas for choosing your room layout. Along with the tips we’ve already mentioned, watch out for low ceilings and parallel walls using drywall.

Start Recording!

If you’ve gone through all these tips you’re ready to start recording. You might be making music or putting together a podcast. With either thing, the following tips come in handy.

Home Podcast Studio: Top Tips

  • Pick an existing space like a closet that you can access.
  • Design a great podcast cover. That’s part of it. Try Adobe Photoshop.
  • Get recording software that will let you edit. Look for review sites and have updates sent to your inbox.
  • Think about a hosting platform like Podcast.co

Is a home studio worth it?

You can put together one of these on a budget. You can make money by outsourcing services like mixing, producing and tracking.

It’s an enriching experience for people who love technology and music or podcasts. They are something creative people thrive on.

Image: Depositphotos


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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

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