It’s never been easier for anyone who wants to make music to set up their own home recording studio. Whether you’re looking to make a low-cost bedroom set up or spend a little extra cash, there are plenty of high-quality options available to get your studio up and running.
Here at Unison, we’re all about people making music, and we want to help anyone interested in getting started know what to look for.
So here are our eight home recording studio essentials to get your music career going.
Table of Contents
Get The Right Equipment
Obviously, you need hardware to get started. You need at least one microphone, maybe an interface, definitely a computer. But with so many different choices, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out which one is right for you.
Consider your budget and your goals. What type of music do you want to make? Are you trying to be a trap-banger master? Or is indie folk more your speed? These are things to keep in mind.
1. The Computer
The eternal debate between producers- Mac or PC? If we’re being honest, they both get the job done. People claim that Macs last longer and are more reliable, but they can’t reach the CPU power that a PC can without costing a small fortune.
And PCs haven’t quite conquered the sleek and transportable design of a MacBook, which can be an important factor if you’re looking to move around with your setup.
Whichever computer you choose (or already have) will more than likely work fine for what you want to do. You want to have at least eight gigs of ram, though the more you have, the better.
Also, keep in mind that some DAWs, or digital audio workstations, will only work on one or the other. If you’re interested in using Logic or Ableton, you’ll have to be on the Mac side of things. But we’ll talk more about DAW’s in a minute.
You could spend $50 on a microphone, or $5000. You probably (definitely) don’t need the $5000 microphone if you’re just getting started, but the $50 option isn’t going to get you the results you want.
Consider something in the $100-$300 range, especially if you’re thinking about recording more than just your voice.
3. Audio Interface
What microphone you buy will determine whether or not you need an interface, but having an interface will increase the quality and ease of your recordings.
There are USB microphones, and they are tempting. Just plug straight into your computer and get to it. And for some people, they might be a good fit: they work, and if you get a reasonably rated USB microphone, it won’t sound completely terrible.
But a standard mic, either dynamic, condenser, or ribbon (though you probably don’t want to get a ribbon), will require an audio interface.
This might seem like an extra investment that you don’t need since USB microphones exist, but trust us, it makes a difference.
4. Headphones or Speakers
As tempting as it may seem to skip buying headphones and mix and record just using your laptop speakers or the free headphones you get from a certain phone manufacturer, don’t.
A reasonable pair of headphones will make a huge difference in your end product. You need to be able to hear as many frequencies as you can while mixing your track, and cheap or free headphones just won’t do the trick.
You might find yourself getting all your levels just where you want them, only to play it in your car and realize your mix is not at all what you thought.
Trust us, a decent pair of headphones isn’t too expensive and has a major positive impact on your music.
Back in the day, everything used to be analog. Physical hardware like tape machines and massive recording boards were required to make a record.
Even reverb used to be a physical manipulation. Engineers would feed the track into a massive room and then re-record it on the other side after it had echoed around.
But in today’s age, nearly everything is digital, which makes things a lot more convenient. But how do you know what to use?
5. Digital Audio Workstation
We mentioned DAWs before, now let’s talk about them. Everyone asks which one is the best, and everyone who produces probably has their own answer.
The truth is that all DAWs have their strengths and weaknesses, and the “best” DAW is the one that makes the most sense to you. They can be pretty complicated and come with a steep learning curve, so it’s important to find one with a layout that makes the most sense to the way that you work.
Don’t worry. They can all export at the same formats and sample rates. Ableton doesn’t naturally bounce better-sounding music or anything like that.
You’ll also need to look into samples, especially if you want to produce hip hop or EDM.
We’ve got you covered as far as samples go. At Unison, we’ve curated and created the best samples for any project. From kicks and snares to crazy baselines and vocal hooks, we’ve got a wide array of sample packs waiting to be turned into the next big thing.
High-quality samples give you a starting place for your song, and with manipulation and creating your own patterns, you can take an existing musical idea and turn it into something uniquely your own.
You don’t have to go all out with soundproofing your studio, but even a little will majorly increase your recording quality.
You really want to avoid your microphone picking up anything besides your voice or instrument, and without any soundproofing, you’re prone to record things like:
- People Talking
- Reflective Noise
- Clocks ticking
- Phones Ringing
This list could go on, but you get the point. There’s a reason you see images or videos of people recording underneath blankets in closets to get clean takes.
If you’re on a budget, then utilizing some thick blankets over your door and window will make a big difference. Otherwise, investing in some foam acoustic panels can be a big step up for your audio quality.
All in all, setting up a home recording studio is an exciting time, but it’s important to get the proper essentials so that you’re set up for success.
While you don’t have to spend a ton of money, you might consider avoiding the cheapest possible options because when it comes to audio equipment, you really do get what you pay for.
Picking out the right microphone, deciding whether or not you need an audio interface, and choosing the right DAW to match your production style and needs are all essential steps to building your perfect home recording studio.