Building a Home Studio

Building a home studio can sound a little overwhelming. Here's a list of items you need to record in the comfort of your creative space.
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Embarking on the journey of building a home studio may seem like a daunting task, but rest assured, it’s entirely within your reach! In the premiere episode of our “Sound Advice” series, we were honored to sit down with none other than Grammy-award-winning artist and co-founder of Five 5 Studios, Cliff Brown. Cliff shared invaluable insights into the fundamental requirements for achieving pristine sound quality in the cozy confines of your home. To delve deeper into this exciting world and kickstart your own home studio venture, we’ve meticulously curated a comprehensive list of essential items. These tools and equipment are the building blocks you’ll need to commence your recording journey right within the comfort of your creative sanctuary.

Discover the possibilities, embrace the art of home recording, and take the first steps towards transforming your creative vision into auditory reality. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or just starting, with the right gear and guidance, your home studio can become a hub of musical innovation and expression. Join us as we demystify the process and empower you to embark on your home studio adventure.

HOME STUDIO CHECKLIST

1. Choose the right room as your studio

Not every room in your home should be considered for a potential studio. Your best bet is setting up your equipment in the smallest room, preferably with carpet (to deaden music’s bright natural sound), and with little to no windows. Make sure to style your newly acclaimed studio space by soundproofing your walls. Cover walls and windows with thick blankets, tapestries, or quilts- virtually any thick but soft material. You can also use egg cartons or foam panels. Make sure to block off the space under your door with a door draft/noise stopper. Now you’ve got yourself a booth!

“If you want the absolute best sound that you can get, you want to deaden EVERYTHING. Figure out a way to do it in the closet. Make sure there’s clothes surrounding you and you will have the best, deadest sound.”

2. GET A Microphone + MICROPHONE CABLE

This one is a given for recording vocals in your home studio. Vocals and high frequencies are best captured with condenser mics. Due to their fine diaphragm and high sensitivity, condenser microphones are known to pick up delicate sounds.

Rode NT1 Kit Condenser Microphone with SM6 Shock Mount and Pop Filter

A reliable microphone cable helps to protect against outside noises and interferences. It’s the link between you and your microphone, as well as where your sound ends up. Mic cables have a significant impact on the overall quality of any audio system. 

➞  PRO CO EXM-20 EXCELLINES MICROPHONE CABLE – 20 FOOT  

“Vocals are everything. You want to get a nice clean vocal sound… We can fix the track, we CAN’T fix vocals if it has space in it.”

3. BUY AN Interface

An audio interface aids in the conversion of microphone and instrument signals into a format that your computer and software can understand. Audio from your PC is also routed through the interface to headphones, studio monitors, and speakers- whatever you choose to connect for review. If you’re working without a compressor, it’s important to learn how to use your voice as an instrument. There’s no way to fix vocals that clip, even when sent to a mixing professional.

Solid State Logic SSL2 2×2 USB Audio Interface

“Learn to work the mic. Chances are you’re just running through an audio interface without a nice compressor… That means, if you’re right on the microphone and you get louder, it’s going to clip.” 

4. USE QUALITY headphones

Be completely isolated with just the pure sound of your music with some great quality headphones. You will be able to clearly hear the body of work you’re creating and hone in on the detailed sounds. There should be no sound leakage into the recording space. A hot mic will pick up the unwanted signal or sound you’re working with if it escapes from the headphones into your recording environment.

audio-technica ath-m20x closed-back monitoring headphones

5. RECORDING SOFTWARE

Pro Tools is a digital audio workstation that allows you to record on your computer. Despite the fact that other programs exist, Pro Tools is the industry standard. Check out pricing for a monthly subscription.

avid pro tools software – monthly subscription (automatic renewal)

want to go to a professional studio?

Are you ready to take your music to the next level? Say less. Cliff Brown shares what you need to know before you get in the booth:

    • Listen to the work the producer/engineer has previously created
    • See their history of clients
    • Get in touch with the producer you’ll be working with DIRECTLY
    • Make sure the person behind the record button is as passionate about your project as you

Before your next session, make sure you read over these tips on how to make the most of your time in the booth. 

“When you want to start pushing your demo to DJ’s or radio stations, you’re really going to want to go to a professional who is able to mix and master, record on a Neumann microphone or something of quality, and start using some major preamps and compressors to get the professional edge.”

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