There used to be a time when the only way to record music was to rent a studio and hire an engineer. With recent advances in technology, there are now numerous ways for you to get high-quality output. Many great digital audio programs are available that can turn your home into a studio. A variety of branded studio equipment has also become increasingly accessible and affordable. If you’re an aspiring artist, these can be of great help.
There are usually four stages of progression when it comes to a studio. As a beginner, you’ll probably start with a bedroom studio which will be small and only have equipment that is absolutely necessary. The next stage will be a dedicated home studio which will be a room dedicated in your home solely for making music. Then come the semi-pro and pro studios. A semi-pro studio can be at home or a different location with the ability to record more than one musician. A pro studio is a professional commercial facility that has everything you need to get the best results.
You don’t need to start with a semi-pro or pro studio. You can begin your career right at home by building a home or a bedroom studio equipped with all the essentials needed to create a quality track. Here are the top home studio essentials you should consider buying to begin your musical journey.
1. A Laptop or PC
A laptop or PC will be at the heart of your home studio. Almost everyone has a laptop or PC, so you don’t need to buy a new one if you don’t have a budget for it. Any device will be good enough to get you started. If you do plan on buying a laptop or PC, at least 8 GB of RAM is recommended. A laptop is a good option for those who want to record and make music on the go. A PC will work for those who want a stationed studio and the ability to produce larger scores or music.
2. An Audio Interface
Once you have your laptop or PC and your DAW of choice, you’ll need an audio interface. While the audio software allows you to record, edit and mix music on your computer, an audio interface is the hardware with which you can record audio from microphones and instruments into digital audio on your computer. If you’re recording solo, you’ll probably only need a two-channel model. You can also get eight-channel models if you’re going to be recording multiple instruments or vocalists at the same time.
You’ll always need a good microphone to record your own music. There are many types of microphones available and you should consider your own needs before buying one. A dynamic or condenser microphone will add value to your vocals or instrumentals. If you’re recording alone, you can even buy a USB mic. It will be tricky to find the perfect mic for your voice in the beginning, so try out the ones available before buying.
While many people enjoy listening to music on headphones, speakers can be valuable in the music-making process. They can allow you to hear a more balanced version of your music. It is important that you know what your music sounds like through studio speakers before releasing and marketing it to the world.
A really great pair of headphones will really improve the music-making experience. You can buy a pair with noise reduction or some that deliver more bass depending on what you’re looking for from a store like LENC.
6. Digital Audio Workstation
A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is the fundamental software program used to record, edit, mix, and produce music on your computer. These softwares have made music production and creation all the more accessible to beginners. Many different DAW programs are available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are better for making beats while others are better suited to a 5-piece band.
Some of the popular ones are Bitwig, Audacity, Garage Band, and more. You can research the features each provides and choose the one that suits you and the type of music you make best. Some might even provide you with a free demo so you can test them out.
Cables are a constant in any studio. If you have all the right cables easily available within reach, your music-making sessions will go on smoothly. In the face of buying more interesting things like a new computer or speakers, you might forget about equipping your studio with the right cables. To begin with, you should have at least three XLR cables – one to connect your audio interface and microphone and two others to connect the interface to a monitor.
8. Pop Filters
Pop filters are not exactly a “must-have” but they can be very helpful for those who plan on singing. You might have seen popular musicians using these when recording vocals. Pop filters catch the blast of air that comes with sounds like “p” or “b” before it reaches the microphone so that the final vocal results don’t have an unpleasant popping or thumping in them. They will make your vocals sound better and the whole process of music production better.
9. Bass Traps and Acoustic Panels
Bass traps and acoustic panels will ensure that any music you record sounds decent. Bass traps work better than acoustic panels as they can absorb all kinds of frequencies, even the lower ones which are usually the main source of problems. Acoustic panels are not as good at absorbing lower frequencies but are still great to have installed in the room where you plan on recording music.
There are obviously many more pieces of equipment you can buy to build the home studio of your dreams but for those just starting out, this list is good to get you going. A home studio has made the process of creating and releasing music more accessible. Apart from being comfortable, there are many other advantages of having a home studio such as budget-friendliness and flexibility. If you’re an amateur, a few essentials can help you take your first few steps into the world of musicians.