CHAPTER 1: Essential Recording Equipment for the Home Studio


Home Recording Studio Setup“Alright lads, welcome to Chapter 1 of the studio guide”

The main reason: you only need a few things to get started (you don’t need much.. Just a few essential things)

This page or better yet, this entire guide is dedicated to show you guys how to build your own home recording studio…

step by step.

So without further a due. Let’s begin folks!


Introducing: 11 Ultimate Essentials you need to Setup your Home Recording Studio

1. Basics 2. Budget 3. Overview 4. Computers 5. DAW’s 6. Audio Interfaces 7. Monitor Speakers 8. Microphones 9. Headphones 10. Audio Cables 11. Microphone Stands


Essentially: You have to keep it basic and simple

If this is your first attempt then I would say that you need to go for a basic setup. You will need solid building blocks for any future expansions…

So keep it simple folks.

Stick To The Basics and Keep It SimpleWhy do I say keep it basic?

  • Because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with to much unless your ready and have enough knowledge to do so.
  • You want to buy the right stuff so you don’t waist any money on junk you will end up selling.

By avoiding this and sticking to a basic setup, you are probably wondering what’s next right?


Quality and Durability vs Affordable Solutions

Quality VS AffordabiltyI know many producers and musicians which started buying inexpensive products,

Why

…because they don’t want to spend to much money to record any music they produce.

That’s cool and all, but…

you definitely need to know on what equipment you can save on.

A great example is an article we wrote: Cheap Recording Studio

In that article I show you how you can build a setup for about 600 dollars.

If you don’t have a lot of money and your not planning on spending more in the future.

It’s actually not that bad.

But with cheap prices comes the same type of quality you would expect from it.

That’s not true for all products but it is definitely a guideline with truth. If you are really serious when it comes down to a quality audio recording solution…

it’s not recommended for you.


Next up: What I would get instead…

Studio Build for Beginners: The Setup that will Last

Here are 8 things you need to get you started:

If you can acquire these items on the list, you will have a decent setup which will last you your beginner days with recording your tracks at home.

The main Reasons:

  • You can immediately start recording without spending to much precious time and bags full of money on it.
  • The most important part: these items will be the building blocks which you can expand in the future when you are ready and have more knowledge and skills.

Let’s take a look what these 8 items/products are for:


The Computer

Best Computers For Music ProductionThe computer can be considered the “brains”.

This will be the most expensive part when your just starting out.

Normally you would want the fastest computer out there…

…but in today’s world it’s common to already own a PC or Mac at home.

If your computer is not that old it should be enough to get you recording.

If you already own a computer listen up.

Use that one instead of buying a brand new one right now.

But if you want to know what I would recommend you can read the article by clicking on the image above.


A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Best DAW Software For RecordingYou may already know about…

A Digital Audio Workstation…

It’s an application which enables you to edit, record and start mixing audio signals onto your PC or Mac based Computer…

There is a huge list to choose from when it comes down to DAW’s, from free, artist to professional versions.

When your just starting out on this journey, the best route to take would be to:

Buying an audio interface in combination with a DAW.

You can always buy these two separately from each other, but for now you can go with the combo.

The main reasons:

  • You don’t have to pay for both separately.
  • The two items are well integrated with each other and compatible

Again there are a bunch of choices and I will name a few of them:

  1. Presonus Artist edition of Studio One Comes with any of there Audio interface products.
  2. Avid’s Protools Express Version comes with there lower budget products like the Fast Track Solo
  3. Steinberg’s Cubase lite comes with the Native Instruments Komplete Audio as well as with Steinberg’s own line of interfaces.

If you want to know more about DAW’s then check this article by clicking on the image above


Audio Interfaces (External Sound Cards) for the Computer

Best Audio InterfaceThis unit is the body of your recording suite.

It is the hardware which enables connections from your analog gear to your digital work-space and computer.

It also upgrades your normal audio capabilities that are build into your Computer with quality, inputs and outputs.

As I have already mentioned, some audio interfaces in the budget range, come packed with a DAW and sometimes with other software and/or plugins you can use and add to your arsenal.

So aim for getting one that gives you a free digital audio workstation.


Studio Speakers for Monitoring

Best Studio Monitors SpeakersWhy would you want to monitor on your Headphones?

It definitely isn’t the same as mixing with a pair of Studio Speakers now is it

If you look at the big studio’s, do you see them using headphones for mixing their tracks?

The answer is no!

These Monitors are called near field speakers.

The reason for this is…

…they are near you!

The deference between studio monitors and hifi speakers is:

The studio versions try to have a flat frequency response.

This flat frequency response gives you a more accurate signal without coloring your audio.

The worlds best monitors are quite expensive…but your in luck, there are great affordable ones out there!


Closed Back Headphones

Best Studio Headphones For RecordingWhy should these headphones be closed back?

A simple answer:

Because they are going to be used for recordings…

It doesn’t sound nice when audio is spilled from your headphone onto your microphone.

Your going to end up with a signal that has more sources on it then you initially intended.

The other type of headphone is the open back one.

These isolate less and are usually used for mixing.

Overall…

…they have a better sound quality in contrast to the closed back versions.

So for recording you would want to get closed back headphones (In ears perform great to0)!


A Versatile Microphone

When your a novice, you only need one…

What kind of mic do you need?

Best Studio Recording MicrophonesOne that can record virtually anything!

The one that is recommended is the SM57 by Shure. This is a dynamic mic and will be one you will come to love.

The main reason:

  • It’s super affordable
  • Can handle any signal
  • Professionals use it too

But, it all depends on what you want to record: Like vocals, guitar, a piano and anything else you can think of.

There are other mics which are designed to record such instruments or signals. But the SM57 is definitely one you should buy.


The Microphone Stand

Not all stands are build the same…

Get a good quality solid stand which will support your microphone.

This stand will probably last you a lifetime!

But if your a novice and don’t have to much to spend on a stand, you can just go out and buy an affordable one that feels sturdy enough.

If you want to acquire more knowledge about Microphone stands which are out there you can read: Which Microphone stand to choose for your studio.


Cables for Connecting it all

Digital and Analog Audio Cables and ConnectorsThere may come a time that you will have a closet full of cables…

But until then you will only require these:

  • A USB cable for connecting you audio interface with your computer
  • Two XLR or TRS cables for connecting your speakers to your audio interface
  • At least a ten foot XLR cable for your microphone, or use the one that is included with your MIC.

At this point you don’t have to invest in premium quality cables, but they are out there!

Read this article: The best XLR cables for your Microphone


Want to Continue reading?

Now you have gained a basic knowledge about Essential Studio Equipment you might want to know more.

But for now we covered every item you need to setup a basic home studio.

The journey continues:

Want to gain in-depth knowledge? Discover more in these 5 Chapters.

Chapter 1: Setup a Home Recording Studio
Chapter 2: How to Record Audio Perfectly
Chapter 3: Studio Acoustics and Furniture
Chapter 4: Upgrading your Studio
Chapter 5: Mixing Essentials

For now I recommend you to just start with Chapter 1 and all of it’s articles.

Some articles may refer to audio related products we discuss within the Original Blog on…

…Getinstrumental.com.

Happy researching, Jay. (Don’t forget to share and comment).