How to Set up a Home Recording Studio – Getting the Technology Right
Setting up a recording studio at home can be quite overwhelming to say the least. You have to think through the kind of equipment to buy, the software that will go with the hardware components and how everything will work together to ensure you produce quality radio-ready audio content. This guide contains everything you need to know to set up a one of a kind home recording studio. Read on.
Find the Best Computer
The computer is basically the command center for your studio. Every operation that will henceforth go on in the studio will mill around the computer so this is one equipment you want to get right. Recording places a high demand on a computer so you need one that can take in the pressure. The fastest way to waste a moment of inspiration in the studio is to have a hanging computer. To get a good computer, you need to consider the following;
Laptop or desktop? – If you plan to record on the go then a laptop would be a reasonable choice but whenever possible go for a desktop. Desktops are usually faster and much more powerful not to mention the larger storage capacity.
PC or Mac? – It is unanimously agreed in the recording community that Mac is better and for good reasons. For starters Macs do not crash as often as PCs do. The other thing is that updates for recording software and bug fixes are usually released for Mac users first.
Computer specs – The specifications in of your computer really matter. There are four specifications that really matter; The CPU, the RAM, the Hard Drive and Ports. The higher the numbers in the specs details the better.
When buying a computer for your recording studio, the faster it can work the better.
Get the Ideal Audio Interface
If the computer was the brains of the home recording studio then the audio interface is the heart. Don’t be intimidated by its looks’; the audio interface is basically a routing box. Speakers, headphones, microphones are all plugged here. The signals from the microphone are converted into computer language in this place.
Audio interfaces vary widely in their features but one thing is true for all great interfaces; they are completely transparent, that is, they don’t add any distortion or noise to the sound. Here are some of the things you will want to consider when choosing an interface;
Number of Mic Preamps – More preamps mean that you can record more microphones at once. If you are recording only vocals then you don’t need more than one preamp. Get an audio interface with more preamps if you want to record more than just audio and several instruments.
Quality of Mic Preamps – Don’t get so distracted with quantity. A cheap interface with 8 preamps is a mistake. Quality over quantity all the time.
Headphone Jack will enable you to plug in headphones and listen in while recording.
Compatibility with the computer is very important. Most will connect via Thunderbolt, FireWire or USB but it is also important that it is compatible with the recording software.
Choosing the Perfect Recording Studio Mic
Microphones convert sound into electric signal. You need to get a mic that is particularly good for the kind of sound that you want to record. Every guitar sounds different and will require different mics with particularly different features. If you are starting out however, you don’t really need so many mics to cover your bases. You need a mic that will sound great on anything; you need a large-diaphragm, cardioid condenser. Larger diaphragms are more sensitive. Cardioid mics pick up only what is in front of them; nothing from the sides and from behind. Condensers on the other hand pick up higher frequencies.
Studio Monitors to Supercharge Your Recordings
Studio monitors are especially made for home recording studios. They are used during play back and mixing of recordings and quite different from what you will find in your living room. A great studio monitor will ensure that you work harder to produce good sounding music. Here is what to consider when shopping for a studio monitor;
Passive or Active? – Passive speakers have a separate amplifier while active speakers have their amplifiers built in. Avoid passive studio monitors.
Frequency response – The thing here is to find out how far the frequency spectrum extends. The larger the spectrum the better.
Connectivity with the interface is very important. Most Monitors have XLR, ¼” or RCA inputs. You might need special adapter cables in case the connections on the monitor and the interface don’t match.
The Perfect Pair of Headphones
Headphones are indispensable to a studio. They serve many functions including mixing and overdubbing. Mixing exclusively over earphones isn’t entirely encouraged. Here are some of the things that you should consider when getting a headphone;
Closed back or open back – Open-back headphones have openings outside the ear cups which allow sound to easily pass through. These are good for mixing but not for recording since mics easily pick them.
Comfort and fit of the microphone is quite important since you will be wearing them for a long while. Find headphones which fit over and not on your ears. Foam padding will make a huge difference. It will be good to try your mics before purchasing. This Best Studio Headphones 2017 and Buyer’s Guide should be useful to you.
The Extra Stuff Most People Forget
Cables – Your home recording studio needs XLR cables for the mic and your audio interface studios. You will also XLR, RCA or ¼” depending on your equipment connectors.
Mic Stands must be sturdy so go for quality. Tripods work much better than circular bases.
Pop Filter is the mesh that is used with a microphone which helps dispel blasts of air that come with certain consonants. These blasts can lead to muddy and boomy recording by overloading the diaphragm.
Speaker stands get the speakers from the desk to the stand to improve sound quality.
Comfortable chair – Invest in a chair with good back support since you will be putting in serous hours in the studio.
Now that you have all the equipment you need, put them into good use and start recording. Use the awesome equipment over and over to hone your skill and produce the best music that you possibly can.