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Building a Home Recording Studio

Building a home recording studio can be done with a little know how.  We'll start with the recording space

Then we'll look at the basic essential gear needed and how to connect it all together.

Recording at home is now a cost effective way to produce professional recordings.  I have produced tracks for television right in my home studio and I by no means have an expensive set up.



RECORDING SPACE

Any room in your house can be a recording studio.  I have a basement room that I use.  I don't have isolation booths nor do I have soundproof walls. 

However, what is important is that your room of choice can have silence and that you make sure the walls and floor aren't bare.  Lay down a rug. 

Hang blankets on your walls at the very least.  The idea is to deaden the sound so that you can manipulate the sound as needed in the mix.

I place my workstation and monitors in the corner of the room so that when mixing and listening back, the sound is spread evenly throughout the room and offers as even and honest a playback as possible.

Share your recording knowledge/experiences/questions here!



RECORDING GEAR

Let's go through the gear you need for building a home recording studio.  In addition, I will explain what I have and use.

1.  LAPTOP COMPUTER - You really need to have a laptop with as much memory as possible.  I would say a minimum of 100 gig, however this number will change every year going forward. 

Since you will be using recording software, you will need plenty of memory to use platforms such as Pro Tools.

I have a Macbook Pro....

I use...

Logic Pro X - If you use a mac then you are probably familiar with Garageband.  Logic Pro X is just a more expanded and vast version of Garageband.  I love this software.  I have written multiple records using it.

Motif 6 - This is the oldest version of the Motif, however it is perfect for my needs.  The Motif series has great sampling capabilities and excellent live uses as well. 

I use it for it's MIDI ability.  I write all of my drum parts on this.  I find that drum recording is the most difficult to do at home.  If I want live drums, I pay to go to a studio for that.  I also write some bass parts on the Motif as well as sweetener string parts.


Again, the best recording software can provide you with all of the above, right on your computer.

2.  PRE-AMP - You need this to boost the signal of most quality microphones.   

I use…

FOCUSRITE TRAKMASTER - This is a channel strip which contains a pre-amp, an optical compressor and a 3-band equalizer.


recording at home


3.  MICROPHONE/MIC STAND/POP FILTER - It's important to have a quality recording microphone when building a home recording studio.  Neumann mics are some of the best, yet they are $700 - $1000+.

Here are 10 affordable studio mics.

I use...

KSM27 (Shure) - This condenser mic is an excellent, reasonably priced microphone.  It has done the job recording vocals as well as my acoustic guitar.

4.  AUDIO INTERFACE - You need this if you are recording directly onto your computer.  Here are 10 Audio Interface options.  I use the PreSonus Audiobox.

5.  AMP or AMP SIMULATOR - Some software will have amp simulators.  You may want a true tone and want to mic your amp.

I use...

FENDER ULTIMATE CHORUS - It has a normal channel and a drive channel.  I'll mic this with an SM57 when recording electric guitar.

POD (amp simulator) - This is an amp simulator, from Fender to Mesa Boogie, it covers it all.  I sometimes use this instead of micing my amp.

6.  GUITAR or MIDI CONTROLLER/KEYBOARD - This is your personal taste!

I have…

FENDER STRATOCASTER - A guitar with balls as well as a clean tone! 

MARTIN ACOUSTIC GUITAR - I've had this guitar for 20 years.  I use this for all of my studio recordings.  Taylor acoustic guitars are also excellent recording guitars.

MOTIF 6 - I mention this again, because I play all of my drum, bass, piano and string parts on this.

7.  MONITORS - You need a great set of monitors when building a home recording studio, especially for mixing.  There is great debate about what the best and affordable home studio monitors are.

I use…

STUDIO FILE BX8 - These monitors have worked really well for me...balanced highs, mids and lows.  I don't record rap and dub, otherwise I would invest in a sub-woofer as well for the low lows.

8.  HEADPHONES - You need quality headphones when building a home recording studio.  Don't pay less than $100.

I use...

SRH440 (Shure) - They have been more than adequate and they cost about $100.



9.  BALANCED CABLES (and XLR CABLES) - I can't stress this enough.  Spend the extra money on balanced cables.  They give you a cleaner recording signal.  See the image aboveBalanced has 2 black stripes, unbalanced has 1 black stripe.

10.  POWER STRIP - Buy You need this for all the inputs, but also for grounding purposes and for power surges.

I use...

MONSTER POWER 109301 (8 OUTLET POWER STRIP) - It produces a cleaner recording signal and provides the benefits above.



RECORDING SET UP

1.  Your mic, using an XLR cable, plugs into your pre-amp.
2.  Your pre-amp, using a balanced cable, plugs into your audio        interface.
3.  Your audio interface, using a balanced cable, plugs into your computer.  You will probably need a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch adapter.


*Building a home recording studio is easier than it seems.  Take the time to set your room up correctly.  Don't spend a fortune, but get quality gear.  Take your time and have fun!!!!






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