Microphone in the sound studio

How to build a home studio

Back in the olden days, the idea of having a recording studio in your home was complicated and tremendously expensive. But today, gear is cheaper, more powerful, and easier to use. Musicians, voiceover artists, radio people, and podcasters can achieve professional studio results with a surprisingly low investment. Contributor Jess Walter has this to say about building a home studio. – AC

A home studio is essential for all music lovers and creators. Not only do you need a space to hang all of your beloved and priceless vinyl records and decorate the walls with band posters and memorabilia, you need a functional and satisfying space to make and record music, and house all of your music equipment, books and other interesting gadgets. Whether you are beginner or a pro, it is possible to create a home studio on a budget. It really needn’t be a costly enterprise. Here’s how.

Choosing and preparing your space

First of all, think carefully about the size of space you will need. For example, if you have a band, it will need to be big enough for all your band members and their respective instruments to use the space comfortably and at the same time.

Make sure you choose a room in the house that has all the necessary utilities such as heating, air conditioning for those hot summer days, or at least somewhere with good ventilation; while the garage is a tempting option for some, it can be very impractical on this front! If you are going to be spending a lot of time in there, a small kitchen area can really come in handy, a work top, fridge, kettle and sink can make it much more viable to spend long hours undisturbed and focused in your studio. 

Also, it is a good idea to try and situate yourself in a part of the house where there is the least possible chance of noise and disruption, you can combat this by putting sound absorbing materials around the studio that serve a double purpose such as a couch or chair with pillows which is a good sound reducer. You could take this one step further by layering the walls with sound absorbing foam for which there are many low-priced options online, this will make your recordings sound dryer and more crisp. 

Essential equipment

Below is a list of the basic essentials that you will need for your home studio:

  • Recording Computer
  • Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • Digital Audio Interface
  • Microphones, Cables and Accessories
  • Studio Monitors
  • Isolation Headphones
  • Microphone Stands

Extra considerations

Bear in mind that you will need a recording computer that is powerful enough to run your digital audio workstation software, whether it be Logic, Pro Tools or X (Mac-only). If you haven’t invested in the world of Apple yet, now is the time to do so. Given how demanding recording software is on your computer systems, the Apple MacOS has always been much faster and more efficient at dealing with this than a Windows PC.

Before you can start using your audio interface, you will typically have to install a simple interface driver before you are up and running. It’s useful to take into consideration that the price of an audio interface will depend on the quality of the preamps and converters inside of it, in any case, a great starting point is a model with 2 inputs and outputs.

Preparing your studio and equipping it with all the basics will be enough to get you up and running, and you can continue to tweak it and add more furnishings over time. Happy studio building!

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37832 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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