Top 10 Things Simple Studios Should Have
This article is designed to be a diy recording studio checklist. If you want to know how to record music at home, look no further. Home studios can differ greatly but they all have some of the same elements. Simple studios can be defined by 10 items we’re going to discuss
Recording music has never been easier than it is now. There are many different options for simple studios. You may not know it but you probably have some studio equipment. If you own a home computer that is relatively new, you are on your way. However, you will need some recording software, also known as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
This one piece of software will have most of the music production equipment needed. Recording software has the mixer, sequencer and effects in one program. What you need is a way to get your audio into the computer.
Think of an audio interface as a mixing console without all the knobs and faders. The audio interface will have inputs for microphones, guitars, and/or line level instruments. You’ll of course need quality cables as well to plug your instruments in. Once the audio interface is setup, your recording software will know to look at these inputs for sound. You just need to set up the tracks inside the software to capture the correct input.
There are many different types of microphones, condensers being the most popular for home studios. Condenser microphones with a large diaphragm are the most versatile. They can be used on the human voice or to mic an acoustic instrument. Condenser microphones use an electrically charged plate that looks for sound. They are sensitive and properly reproduce the frequencies of the human voice.
Condenser microphones are powered by 48 volts, also known as Phantom Power. Your audio interface may have phantom power. If not, you will need a separate microphone preamp that supplies phantom power. Having a dedicated microphone preamp (outside of the audio interface) is preferred by professionals that want to enhance the sound of their microphones. Most audio interfaces will have a built-in microphone preamp.
A pop filter is for use in front of your microphone. It prevents plosive sounds from popping up on your recording. P’s and B’s tend to be the worst offenders. Pop filters alter the direction of air coming towards the microphone. You don’t want an awesome performance marred by unwanted audio artifacts.
Your signal is only strong as its weakest link. Invest in quality cables to prevent unwanted noise. Don’t use adapters unless necessary. If you’re on a budget, begin with one high-quality cable. Replace the rest of your cables over time. More often than not, quality cables are showing up in simple studios.
Now that you know how to get your signal into the computer for recording, you’re going to want to hear it. Studio monitors are designed with a flat response, so what you hear is accurate. Unlike home stereo speakers which enhance the sound, studio monitors don’t color the sound. If you mix on speakers with enhanced bass, you’ll be unlikely to add the proper amount of bass to your mix. When you mix with studio monitors, your mix will translate. If it sounds good at home, it will sound good in the car or on the home stereo. If you already have a pair of studio monitors, look into a monitor switcher.
Studio headphones are critical for several reasons. They give you an alternative medium to mix on. You can hear some spatial elements of your mix in headphones that is harder to hear using studio monitors. Also, studio headphones are great for when you can’t play your monitors, like when its too late at night. A good pair of studio headphones will also be useful for tracking your recording. For recording and mixing, you’ll want to purchase closed-back headphones. This type eliminates outside noise. For example, a vocalist can use the headphones to hear the backing tracks without them bleeding into the microphone.
A MIDI controller will give you the flexibility of playing of controlling your software. It also may allow you to play more sounds on your recording. Music keyboard controllers are used to play software synthesizers, many of which come bundled with DAW software. They also have knobs and sliders on them which can be used when mixing. You will find many uses for a keyboard controller, even if you don’t play piano. Use software to fill in the gaps and help you compose. You may also want to look into a controller that doesn’t have actual keys. Some people use these strictly for mixing or transport controls. Its nice to not have to reach for your mouse. A controller will give you more tactile control. There are controllers that resemble mixing consoles for this purpose.
Simple studios everywhere are popping up every day. Once you have each of these 10 things you’ll be well on your way. For your music studio equipment, start with American Music Supply. Our experts will help you build a music production studio. Just give us a call and let us know what you’re trying to accomplish. Based on the gear you own, we can offer viable solutions to build your system. Music studio equipment is no longer too expensive and available in all price ranges.