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How to Build a Professional Home Studio? (Step by Step)

Do you want to start working on your music and video projects in the comfort of your own home? If so, you’ll need to build a professional home studio. With the right equipment, you can get the perfect sound and video quality for your projects, no matter what size they are. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about home studios, from selecting the right equipment to setting up your workspace.

Unfortunately, not knowing how to build your home studio and the equipment that you’ll need can lead to a lot of hassle. 

Image of a man in front of a studio monitor inside a recording studio. Source: brett sayles pexels
Image of a man in front of a studio monitor inside a recording studio. Source: Brett Sayles Pexels

This article covers everything you need to know about home studios, from selecting the right equipment to setting up your workspace. So if you’re a beginner or are just curious about building a studio, this post is for you!

What is a home studio?

The term “Home Studio” refers to a recording facility that is installed in someone’s home. The number of artists who work from home on models and ideas is growing. Many artists even record all or most of their albums in their own homes.

This occurs not just due to the inconvenient need for recording outside of a home environment but also because of the prohibitive expenses of using a professional recording studio. The emergence of reasonably priced digital recording gear and software has made this feasible.

10 steps to building a professional home recording studio

When you’re designing a dedicated recording space, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Step 1: Pick a space

Exactly how big your home recording studio has to be is up to you. Do you want to record only drums or a whole band? The location should be big enough to house the band and all of its gear. You may use spaces like vast basements, extra garages, and so on.

To record voice, guitar, keyboards, and other individual instruments with just one or two people performing at once, a regular-sized spare room or bedroom might be adequate.

Our discussion of speaker placement, acoustic treatment, and other ways to improve the sound of your home studio is particularly relevant if you want to utilize your setup only for mixing purposes at home.

If you’re looking for a place to record, keep in mind to avoid square or low-ceilinged rooms. Because of the way sound waves interact with surfaces, a room with a low ceiling will act as a sound reflector. The resulting microphone recordings are distorted and difficult to understand.

Since a high ceiling is unlikely, acoustic treatment of the ceiling is required (budget for the additional expense). The symmetry of a square space is a desirable feature. At certain distances from parallel walls, frequencies are canceled out, creating “null spots.” It creates annoying silences in that area, which may be distracting.

Step 2: Piece together a PC

Basic music production and recording capabilities are theoretically within reach of even the most modest consumer system or corporate laptop. When the intricacy of your production increases, the limitations of your computer’s hardware become apparent. A sluggish machine is a certain fire to the spirit.

We advise spending your money on a powerful PC running a 64-bit OS. It has to support several songs, plugins, and sample libraries without stuttering. Be liberal with your spending plan and purchase the highest quality you can afford. 

Step 3: Choose an audio interface

An audio interface is a connection point between your computer’s digital audio hardware and the analog world of sound.

The number of inputs you require or the number of sources you want to capture at once should inform your decision on an interface. The number of inputs and outputs is the primary differentiating factor between audio interfaces. When there are additional inputs, more instruments or microphones may be recorded at once.

Step 4: ‘pair’ it with studio monitors.

The goal of studio monitor design is to provide a “sonic flat” or “neutral” response, with no accentuated or suppressed frequencies. They make sure your music sounds great on different consumer devices without changing your reference point.

If you want to mix and master your music at home, investing in a pair of high-quality reference speakers is a must. Still, it’s difficult to provide a concrete recommendation without first learning more about your individual configuration.

The standard size range for a monitor’s driver is anywhere from three to twelve inches. Greater simply said, larger drivers create more power and can play at lower frequencies.

However, lower frequencies might become troublesome in untreated or tiny spaces, so more space isn’t always preferable. We will discuss other aspects, including speaker location and room treatment, that affect how neutral even the greatest set of monitors may sound.

Studio monitors with 5 or 6-inch drivers would work for rooms up to 8 by 10 feet, and you can get them for roughly $300 to $400. Studio monitors in the 6.5 to 8-inch range are your best bet if your space is bigger than 12 × 15 feet and you want a lower frequency response. Studio spaces larger than that often need extensive acoustic treatment, making them impractical for a beginner’s setup.

Step 5: digital audio workstation (daw) 

You should start here if you don’t know what a digital audio workstation (DAW) is or how to choose one. There are three options available to you in terms of cost when selecting a digital audio workstation:

Free DAWS: 

This includes all open-source digital audio workstations (DAWs), such as Audacity, GarageBand, and BandLab’s Cakewalk. Even if a few of them are (nearly) feature-complete, they pale in contrast to the premium alternatives.

These are only suitable for those with no prior knowledge of audio production. If you’re really strapped for cash, you may use them until you can afford a professional digital audio workstation with all the bells and whistles.

Limited Functionality DAWs: 

Trial versions of digital audio workstations (DAWs) allow potential buyers to “try out” the software for free before making a purchase decision. At the very least, you need to receive one of them away for free with your other purchases.

Numerous audio interfaces are included with a stripped-down version of a professional-grade digital audio workstation like Abelton, Cubase, or another popular option. There is no hope for the future with these methods. You will eventually have to upgrade to the full version.

Paid DAWs: 

Among the professional-level, DAWs are FL Studio, Reaper, Pro Tools, Cubase, and Logic Pro X. There are notable differences in functionality, process, and cost. This is a topic that may keep us talking for a long time. In the end, it comes down to personal preferences in terms of features, user interface, and overall usability.

Both Abelton Live and FL Studio shine when used for sample-based or electronic composition. If you’re using a Mac, you should absolutely be using Logic Pro X because of its extensive feature set. If you want to record, mix, and edit audio, you can do it quickly and easily using Reaper, Cubase, and Pro Tools.

Budgeting for a DAW:

Reaper, at $60 for a personal/small business license (albeit without any integrated virtual instruments), is the most affordably priced full-featured digital audio workstation currently available. You get two big updates to the software at this price.

Step 6: load the microphones

To capture sound, particularly for singing, acoustic guitar, and other instruments, a studio requires at least one or two microphones. Eventually, you may acquire a plethora of microphones. The best plan of action right now is to invest in one “workhorse” microphone and one “specialty” microphone.

Dynamic microphones like the Shure SM57 and SM58, or the Audio-Technica AT202, are reliable workhorses. These are tried and true methods that have been shown to work well in almost every circumstance. Every one of these microphones, on average, costs roughly $100.

Your “specialty” mic (condenser or specialty mic, if appropriate) should be tailored to your musical style. As we’ve discussed, the condenser mic included in the EVO Start Recording Bundle is high-quality and well-suited for amateur recording.

Step 7: headphones and amplifier

When generating or mixing, having reliable “cans” for monitoring or a second reference is crucial. Studio headphones should have a flat frequency response, much like monitors. A flat sound prevents any EQ or embellishments from being added, guaranteeing a faithful reproduction.

They ought to be pliable and provide a tight seal around your ears. Ergonomic layouts are crucial to preventing soreness and fatigue from extended use. On the other side, if the seal is adequate, no sound will seep into the microphone while you record. 

Step 8: get a midi keyboard.

I debated making this mandatory, but MIDI keyboards are already standard in professional recording studios, and I can’t see anybody wanting to make music at home without one.

It’s not only about playing virtual instruments anymore; MIDI keyboards may now trigger automation, samples, patch changes, and more in the creation process. Using MIDI in post-production allows you to easily modify performances by removing, adding, or replacing tracks.

There are MIDI keyboards with as few as 25 keys and as many as 88, so you can choose one that fits your needs and your space. Depending on its size and functionality, a decent-budget keyboard might cost anywhere from $150 to $300.

Step 9: Consider room treatment

Sound reflections from walls and other surfaces are a major problem when using a microphone to record or while mixing a track. In order to get professional results in a home recording studio, proper room treatment is essential.

The use of specialized materials in the treatment of a room may significantly reduce such reflections. In compact spaces, bass frequencies are often the most difficult to manage. They can interact with the original sound wave and bounce off of walls to produce both bass boosts and bass nulls.

Panels of absorptive material such as foam, rock wool, or glass wool may be strategically placed to fight this and reduce low-end reflection. High-frequency reflections may also be dampened with the use of widely available acoustic foam.

To achieve optimal neutrality, a space may be “deaden” using a mixture of high- and low-frequency absorption materials. Measurements, materials, and costs for acoustical treatment may all be found with a quick search on the internet.

Although prefabricated room treatment kits are on the market, I would recommend instead procuring raw materials and working with a local carpenter to create a one-of-a-kind solution for your space. This option is often less expensive and better suited to the requirements of your space.

Image of a man and a woman wearing a headphones inside a recording studio. Source: antoni shkraba production, pexels
Image of a man and a woman wearing headphones inside a recording studio. Source: Antoni Shkraba Production, Pexels

Step 10: Round it up with cables and hardware.

There are a plethora of ancillary factors to take into account, from keyboard stands to a voice booths to screen arms. A few of these are required, while the rest are recording-specific (i.e. electric guitar amps). To maximize efficiency and convenience, you may store as much as feasible.

A pop filter for condenser microphones and a microphone stand are two necessities. When utilizing a condenser microphone to capture voices, it’s crucial to use a pop filter. The good news is that you may choose whatever one you locate first since they all essentially accomplish the same thing.

Good microphone stands are an absolute must. There should be a robust mic stand. One cheap one may easily go over, as I have seen numerous times. I’d rather spend a little more on something of better quality than have to deal with a busted condenser.

Last but not least, you’ll want a selection of instrument cables and microphone cables, namely XLR Cables for dynamic microphones. A standard XLR cable measures 25 feet and costs $12. See our article on the best XLR cables for home studios for more information.

If you want even more tips and insights, watch this video called “HOW TO: Setup a Home Music Studio for Beginners (2022)” from the Edward Smith YouTube channel.

A video called “HOW TO: Setup a Home Music Studio for Beginners (2022)” from the Edward Smith YouTube channel.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about building a home studio.

How much does it cost to make an at-home studio?

What is the ballpark figure for a recording studio’s construction? Depending on the state of your recording studio’s technology, the price might range from $500 to $20,000. It’s possible to set up a recording studio with only a new laptop and some mics, or you may go all out and invest in a soundboard and some synths.

What is the difference between a home studio and a professional studio?

The sound engineer’s abilities are likely to be the deciding factor between a high-quality home studio and a commercial one. The difference in output attributable to the two skill levels is substantial.

Are home studios profitable?

Yes. Recording, producing, mixing, and mastering are all services that may be offered by a home studio. If you have a home studio, you may use it to make some extra money on the side. If you can efficiently manage your time and finances, a home recording studio may be a lucrative business.

What is the most important thing in a studio?

Microphones are a crucial part of any recording studio. Though most studios will have more than one, it’s preferable to have a single excellent one rather than a number of just adequate ones. Your choice of microphone should be based on the instrument you want to record.

Conclusion

So, now that you know everything about working in a home studio, it’s time to grab your favorite equipment and get started. The important thing to remember is that you need to have the right mindset when setting up your studio. That means planning ahead and putting aside enough space. 

This article covered what a home studio is and the steps on how to build a home recording studio. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • Create professional-quality audio recordings in the comfort of your own home with the help of a home recording studio. 
  • When you’re designing a dedicated recording space, there are a few things to keep in mind.
  • A preamplifier, sometimes known as a “preamp,” is a piece of studio gear that is crucial yet often overlooked.

So, are you thinking of building your professional studio? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on music production. Thanks for reading, and never stop making music.

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Audio Apartment Author
Written By Andrew Ash
Hey there! My name is Andrew, and I've been making music since I was a kid. I now run this blog all about home studios and music production. If you want to improve your home studio setup, this is the place for you!

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