Quite often I’ve had questions from artists about how to start your own home studio or most commonly when starting out, a bedroom studio. Especially questions about the gear required to get started. In this blog I’ll guide the beginner audio engineer through the basic recording gear to get the ball rolling.
- An audio interface. – This is essentially a high-quality sound card with built in mic pre amps. It converts what you record through your mic into an audio recording on your computer. There are many great budget audio interface options. To start out with I highly recommend the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio (Gen 3). This is high quality at a good price and the good thing is that you can get it in a package with a large condenser vocal microphone, headphones and mic cable. Check it out here.
- A Computer. – If you’re just starting out I’d recommend using your existing computer until you need to upgrade later. If you are looking to buy a new computer check out some great suggestions for pc vs mac here. I prefer using an iMac as I am a Logic Pro X user.
- Studio Monitors – This is what you’ll need to hear your mixes in high clarity. In terms of recording studios and mixing this is one of the most important pieces of equipment. I hear of a lot of people mixing through open back headphones but if you want get your mixes right quicker and easier it’s always better to mainly mix through studio monitors and listen through headphones on occasion to get an idea of the mix sound on as many devices as possible. A great brand of monitors to start out with and have great sound and low price are the KRK Rokit 5 G3 which can be found here.
- Headphones – What most starting out don’t realise about studio headphones is that they can be put down into 2 categories, closed back and open back headphones. The closed back variety are very important tools for recording with as they don’t let sound spill from them and thus you can avoid spill from your headphones to your microphone. Open back headphones are great for mix referencing. As recommended earlier, I suggest doing the bulk of your mixing on the monitors and using the open back headphones for referencing your mix. The 2 industry standard types of headphones for open back and close back can be found here for close back and here for open back. I own both of these and they are great headphones. Highly recommend!
- A DAW – A DAW?? This stands for Digital Audio Workstation and is essentially the software you will need to run on your computer to complete all your recording sessions. There are many great options like Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Ableton etc etc. Personally, I use Logic Pro X, but there are many to choose from. I recommend researching what DAW is best for you genre or computer and work from there.
- A Microphone, Mic stand, XLR cable and pop filter – There are some great budget mics that you can get. I use an Audio Technica 4050 model which is great and picks up the natural timbres of the voice. I’d suggest looking at all the large diaphragm condenser mics available and see what works for your budget. If looking at budget options Audio Technica are fantastic value and quality. When you buy a mic stand make sure to buy an attachment for the large diaphragm condenser mic if the mic doesn’t come with the attachment. Also you’ll want a pop filter with it. This is important to help you reduce your Ppppp and Sssss sounds from your vocal recordings.
So that’s our advice for the beginner home studio enthusiast. We hope this helps you on your audio engineering journey! Don’t stop researching here as this is only one opinion.
To find more great tips on starting your own studio head here.
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