Home Studio on a Budget

If you are are reading this then you are either planning on building a home studio or you already have started building one. Hopefully this guide will give you an idea as to some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to buying, building and using your studio and the hardware/software within it.

It is important to understand what you want to achieve before you start. Knowing what kind of music it is that you want to record before you start gives you a better understanding of what kind of space you’re going to need and also the hardware and software that you may have to buy.

If you’re wanting to record drums for example you will need quite a large room or outhouse. This will ideally be soundproofed (unless you have don’t have any neighbours in which case it doesn’t matter so much) which could cost quite a bit of money.

If you’re just recording guitar and vocals or you just want to write some electronic music then no soundproofing will be required although you can buy products to improve the acoustics of your chosen room should you feel that the acoustics are not good enough. A couple of bass traps in the corner of your room can significantly reduce the natural reverb of the room and make it easier to record things. Bass traps will also make mixing and mastering a more enjoyable experience because you will be able to hear your speakers with more clarity.

Once you have chosen what room to use for your home studio and have established what kind of music that you will be writing and recording it’s time to think about what kind of software and hardware you will need to purchase.

If you are using a microphone/ keyboard or guitar you will need to buy a recording interface. This is the piece of hardware that bridges the gap between you and your instrument and the software on the computer. You can buy many different recording interfaces each with different strengths and weaknesses so it’s good to understand exactly what you want before you make this purchase. For example if you are only going to be recording vocals and guitar then you won’t need a recording interface with 4-8 inputs because the max you will ever be using will be 2. Another important parameter to look at when choosing a recording interface is exactly what kind of latency it has. Some recording interfaces have firewire which offers virtually zero latency. Usually the more money you spend the better latency you’re going to get.

Once you have bought your recording interface it’s time to think about what software you’re going to use. There are many products on the market with a wide variety of prices. Most musicians either use Cubase, Pro Tools, Logic, Fruity loops or Ableton Live. They all offer different things and some are better for certain styles of music than others. Fruity loops and ableton are better suited to electronic based music production and Cubase and Protools are better suited to live music recording.

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