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Passion for music is usually expressed by performing, but it can also be shown through the process of creating, composing, and producing your own music. Fortunately, anybody can conveniently create an amateur recording studio setup in the comforts of their own home. These starting setups can be expanded and upgraded in the future. However, with the overwhelming number of home recording studio equipment available on the market, it can be confusing to figure out which ones to get for home studio setups.

For a music enthusiast, whether an aspiring or professional singer, passionate musician, music producer, or songwriter, sound quality is always the priority when it comes to getting studio equipment. Sound quality is essential in creating good music. It shouldn’t be compromised over getting budget studio equipment for a home setup. Setting up an amateur or professional home recording studio at home with good quality and functionality is relatively easy, as long as you have the right tools and the budget to build it.

How to Set Up Your Home Recording Studio
Choose the best spot
Prepare the room
Install soundproofing and acoustic treatment
Arrange your workstation
Set up your recording area
1. Choose the best spot
spacious living room perfect for a home studio setup

Before you start purchasing all of your studio gear, take the time to select a room in your house, or make space that would be the most conducive to your recording needs. It should also be a space where you would feel most comfortable when working on your craft. Consider a working area that has enough space for all the music recording equipment you need. If you plan to work or collaborate with other artists, make sure to create space for that as well. The bigger your space, the better! After all, you may want to upgrade your home studio by adding a full suite of music studio instruments and home studio racks later on.

It is also best to choose a room that is distant from noise. Aside from the fact that it can affect the quality of your recording, excessive outside noise can be distracting and uninspiring.

Lastly, a home studio with hard floorings such as concrete, tile, or hardwood high ceilings is ideal as poor flooring can also create unwanted noise.

2. Prepare the room
an empty room for a home recording studio

After deciding which room or space to turn into your home studio, the next step is to prepare the room. Clear up all floor space and make sure to remove any unnecessary furniture so that you can fully utilize the room. Take everything off the walls, remove anything that may vibrate or come loose, and take care of the flooring.

Don’t forget to clean the area while you’re at it! A good home recording studio should not only be comfortable for the owner, but also for visiting artists.

3. Install soundproofing and acoustic treatment
a soundproof room for recording

If you don’t want to deal with complaints from the other occupants in your home or from your next-door neighbors, soundproofing your home recording studio is a top priority. You’ll have to fill in any holes or cracks in the room to prevent sound from leaking. You will also have to install insulation and padding to the walls to further absorb sound.

You should also consider the acoustics of a room before setting up your home recording equipment. If you don’t have a room or space in your home with good acoustics, you can remedy this by installing an acoustic treatment that will help you achieve your desired degree of freedom from echo and reverberation. This treatment also ensures the most optimum setup to allow you to record direct sound and minimize reflected sounds, allowing you to have higher quality recordings.

You may want to install acoustic panels and bass traps, which use sound-absorbing materials, to fully control the sound in your studio.

4. Arrange your workstation
complete studio setup with mic and mixer

Your workstation is the centerpiece of your home studio. This is where your computer, studio monitors, mixing equipment, and other music studio equipment and recording gear will be located. You’ll be spending most of your time here mixing tracks, recording, and mastering final outputs. You will need a spacious desk that can hold all of your equipment without being cramped.

And since you’ll probably be spending hours at your workstation, make sure to get yourself a comfortable chair.

5. Set up your recording area
man working on his home studio

At some point, you’re going to want to collaborate with other artists or bands. And to be able to do that, you will need a spacious recording area in your home studio that has all the necessary equipment you will need to facilitate optimum sound recording.

Essential Home Recording Studio Equipment:
Computer
Headphones
Microphone
Pop Filter
Musical Instruments
Control Surface
Studio Monitors
Digital Audio Workstation
Virtual Instruments
Recording Mixer
Audio Interface
Studio Rack Mount
Power Conditioner
Uninterruptible Power Supply
1. Computer
21.5-inch apple iMac 2017 for digital recording

Apple 21.5″ iMac 2017 ($1099)

Now that recording studios have gone digital, you must have a computer for software programs, storage, and management of all your music, mixes, and other digital files that you need for all your music production needs. You’ll need a fast and capable unit that can handle your Digital Audio Workspace software, as these programs often require a lot of processing power. You’ll eventually need to invest in a premium laptop or desktop, like the Apple iMac.

Other recommended products:

2019 Apple 16″ MacBook Pro ($2799)
2019 Apple 13” MacBook Air ()
HP Pavilion 15-cs3073cl 15.6″ Full HD Touchscreen Notebook ()
Asus VivoBook 15 F512DA 15.6″ Full HD Notebook ($549.99)
2. Headphones
Tascam TH-07 HD Monitor Headphones

Tascam TH-07 High Definition Monitor Headphones ($74.99)

A good studio headphone is a key piece of equipment in any recording studio. It produces a natural and detailed sound with the capacity to handle high volume levels. The Tascam TH-07 High Definition Monitor Headphones, for one, is designed for studio recording and mixing. It is lightweight but is built to be durable with extra cushion intended for a cozy and comfortable fit.

When choosing headphones for your home recording studio, keep in mind that there are two types: open-back headphones and closed-back headphones. Open-back headphones give optimal sound quality and are better for mixing music. On the other hand, closed-back headphones are better for tracking since it isolates sound more efficiently.

Other recommended products:

Sony MDR-7506 Professional Folding Headphones ($99.99)
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Closed Around-the-Ear Monitoring Headphones ($99.95)
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Monitor Headphones ($49)
Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Closed-Back Dynamic Professional Flagship Monitor Headphones ($299)
3. Microphone
Samson Meteor USB Studio Mic

Samson Meteor Large Diaphragm USB Studio Mic ($69.99)

A microphone helps you record vocals and sounds from acoustic instruments. Having a high-quality mic at your disposal offers optimum sound reproduction as it is critical to your music production process. The number of microphones you will need depends largely on the magnitude of your operations, as well as the sounds you want to record. Some mics are better for vocals, while some are better for guitars and other kinds of sound. Ideally, one or two microphones will suffice for the typical home recording studio.

The Samson Meteor Large Diaphragm USB Studio Microphone is an all-in-one mic that is perfect for any home studio, whether for amateur or professional applications. It produces rich audio recording with smooth frequency response and 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz resolution that ensures professional quality playback.

Other recommended products:

AKG Acoustics C214 Edge-Terminated Large Diaphragm Studio/Stage Condenser Microphone ($359)
Audio-Technica AT2035 Cardioid Condenser Side-Address Microphone ($149)
Blue Microphones Snowball iCE USB Condenser Microphone with Accessory Pack ()
Audio-Technica AT2020 Side-Address Cardioid Condenser Microphone ($99)
MXL 770 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone ($99.95)
Optional (but recommended):

Samson MK10 mic stand for home recording

Samson MK10 Boom Microphone Stand ($17.54)

To make your home recording studio more professional and to facilitate better recording, you’ll need microphone stands to hold all the microphones for singers and instrumentalists. You can start off with just one or two, typically with a lightweight one like the Samson MK10 Boom Microphone Stand, for singers.

An easy tip is to first figure out what you’ll need it for. Tripod stands are for general purposes, while tripod boom stands offer a longer reach. Round base stands are also good for singers, and low-profile stands are specifically made for kick drums and guitar cabs. For bedroom recording and podcasting, desktop stands are the best and most affordable choice.

The more expensive overhead stands are for drum overheads and small orchestras.

Other recommended products:

K&M 21430.500.55 Mobile Overhead Mic Stand ($419.99)
Gator Cases Frameworks Kick Drum and Amplifier Compact Mic Stand ($38.49)
On-Stage DS7200B Desktop Mic Stand ($16.95)
4. Pop Filter
Nady SPF-1 Mic Pop Filter

Nady SPF-1 Microphone Pop Filter with Boom and Stand Clamp, Black ($19.99)

Home studios now aspire to produce professional quality output with the help of a few pro items that are still relatively affordable—and a pop filter is one of them. This little filter is placed between the singer and the vocal microphone during recording to help reduce those “thump” or popping sounds when pronouncing “p” or “b” sounds.

The filter, which is usually circular in shape and is made of mesh or metal, works by catching the blasts of air before the sound hits the microphone to create a more desirable recording output. The Nady SPF-1 is a good and affordable example of good pop filters for home recording studios.

Other recommended products:

On-Stage ASFSS6GB 6″ Dual-Screen Pop Blocker ($26.95)
Avantone PS-1 PRO-SHIELD ($34)
Samson PS04 Pop Filter ($15.95)
5. Musical Instruments
Fender Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Fender Classic Design CD-60S 6-String Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar ($199.99)

ICON Digital iKeyboard 3 25-Key USB MIDI Controller Keyboard ($99.99)

Carlsbro CSD130 Compact Electronic Drum Kit ($299.99)

Your set of musical instruments in itself is another core component of your home recording studio. It gives texture to your sound and completes the music production process. There are several instruments to consider in choosing your home studio gears.

For a versatile acoustic guitar that can roll along with other instruments, a guitar like the Fender Classic Design CD-60S 6-String Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar is a good choice.

A keyboard like the ICON Digital iKeyboard 3 25-Key USB MIDI Controller Keyboard features a velocity-sensitive, piano-style keyboard, pitch and modulation touchpads, a 3-segment LED screen, and many other customizable sound settings, on top of built-in recording and playback features. It is a good match for mixers and controlled home studio gear.

Meanwhile, a drum kit like the Carlsbro CSD130 Compact Electronic Drum Kit is setting new standards for electronic percussion. This electronic drum set has a digitron display, has 250 high quality percussion voices, 20 preset drum kits, 10 user defined drums kits, 20 demo songs, as well as many sound connectors that can be compatible with many personalized home studios.

Other recommended products:

Ibanez Artcore Series AS53 Hollow-Body Electric Guitar ($299.99)
Roland TD-25K-S V-Drums 8-Piece Electronic Drumset with Drum Module ()
Roland KD-7 Kick Trigger Unit ($149.99)
6. Control Surface
Sound devices CL-16 MIDI controller and mixer

Sound Devices CL-16 ($5495)

A control surface is often confused with the MIDI controller and sound mixer. While they all have buttons and knobs for manipulating sound, a control surface is the more general recording studio equipment that offers classic analog controls that can control the on-screen faders, knobs, and buttons in your DAW.

Some modern control surfaces have audio interfaces and even mixers built in them, but it helps to have a completely separate control surface like the Sound Devices CL-16 for more control and ability to perform more advanced mixing techniques, such as audio automation.

Other recommended products:

Behringer Rhythm Designer RD-8 ($379)
PreSonus FaderPort 8 8-Channel Mix Production Controller ($599.95)
Korg NanoKONTROL2 Slim-Line USB MIDI Controller ($74.99)
7. Studio Monitors
JBL 305P Two-Way Studio Monitor

JBL 305P MkII Powered 5″ Dual 41W Two-Way Studio Monitor ($129)

Studio monitors or monitor speakers help prevent artificial boosting bass, treble, and other frequencies following an attempt to make the speaker sound good. The presence of a monitor speaker is essential since you can’t produce a good mix without them. Professional quality monitors are an important investment when building your own home recording studio, but you can also purchase some of the more affordable ones that don’t sacrifice much of the quality.

The JBL 305P MkII Powered 5″ Dual 41W Two-Way Studio Monitor features the revolutionary JBL Image Control Waveguide that gives it precise imaging and a wide dynamic range. It also has refined transducers for better linearity and transient response. These JBL transducers can reproduce transients and micro dynamics for your mixing and recording.

Other recommended products:

KRK 12SHO 12″ Front-Firing Active Subwoofer, 29Hz to 60-160Hz ($1499)
KRK 6″ Two-Way Passive Studio Monitor ()
KRK ROKIT 8 G4 8″ Powered Near-Field White Noise Studio Monitor ($299)
Mackie CR3 3″ 50W Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors ()
8. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
MOTU DP8 Audio Workstation Version 8

MOTU DP8 Audio Workstation Software ($338.53)

A Digital Audio Workstation, as mentioned earlier, is usually the centerpiece of the home recording area. This may refer to either audio hardware, audio software, or both. Simply put, Digital Audio Workstations are designed for recording and editing digital audio.

The MOTU DP8 Audio Workstation Software, for example, comes with MIDI sequencing and has Performance Oriented Loop Audio Recording (POLAR). It can also provide support for both 32-bit and 64-bit operation and is able to work simultaneously with both. It has a consolidated window for quick access to essential features, and allows for extensive customization to let you work according to your preferences.

While DAWs come with free software and a bunch of free plugins as part of the package, you may still want to purchase premium plugins for a more unique and professional sound.

Other recommended products:

Merging Technologies Cedar Dethump Software for Pyramix Digital Audio Workstation ($1805)
Sony Sound Forge Pro 11 – Advanced Audio Waveform Editor ($309.95)
9. Virtual Instruments

XILS Labs 3 V2.0 Virtual Instrument Software ($135.15)

A virtual instrument is a type of software that acts as a sound module that can be detailed with various keyboards, analog synthesizers, drum machines, and other traditional instruments. This software can make your musical instrument expand its capabilities for a higher quality of recording production.

XILS Labs XILS 3 V2.0 Virtual Instrument Software adds an emulation of the 256 Analog Sequencer, the natural companion of the VCS 3. This simply extends to a maximum of 800 connections per patch.

Other recommended products:

Pianoteq 5 Standard Virtual Piano Software ($299)
Arturia BPM 1.5 Beat Production Machine ($279)
MOTU MachFive 3 Creative Universal Sampler for Creative Music Production ($279)
10. Recording Mixer
Mackie ProFX Pro Effects Mixer for studio recordings

Mackie ProFXv3 10-Channel Professional Effects Mixer ($229.99)

A recording mixer merges two or more audio signals to create a new sound. Its job is to ensure that all other sounds are weaved harmonically. The mixer also helps filter and optimize sound using controls by adjusting sound levels, enhancing sound with equalization and effects, creating monitor feeds, and recording various mixes.

A good mixer like the Mackie ProFXv3 10-Channel Professional Effects Mixer provides you with a high-quality live mixing toolkit that allows you to produce mixes with outstanding sound quality.

Other recommended products:

PreSonus StudioLive AR8 USB 8-Channel Hybrid Performance and Recording Mixer ($399.95)
PreSonus Central Station PLUS Studio Control Center ($649.95)
Allen & Heath ZED-14 14-Channel Multipurpose Mixer ($439)
Behringer X32 Rack 40-Input 25-Bus Digital Rack Mixer ($1299.99)
11. Audio interface
Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre for home studios

Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre Dynamic Microphone Preamp ($599.99)

Once you’ve got the Digital Audio Workstation software up and running, you’ll need one more vital part of your studio: the audio interface. The primary role of your audio interface is to provide multiple connections for sending your music into your computer for recording and out again for mixing and playback.

Modern “all-in-one” audio interfaces, such as the Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre, have incorporated microphone preamps, headphone amps, and a direct box for balancing mic level signals. Some interfaces even have monitor management systems that lets you save space and don’t have to buy them separately for your home studio. However, if you wish to upgrade to a more professional studio to accommodate more channels, more artists, and more amps, you can choose to buy separate stand-alone units.

Other recommended products:

PreSonus Studio 68c Portable Ultra-High Definition MIDI Interface ($319.95)
Focusrite RedNet ($2099.99)
Apogee Quartet ($1595)
12. Studio Rack Mount

Sanus Systems CFR2144 44U AV Rack ($undefined)

For optimum organization for your multi-channel mic preamp, headphone amp, monitor management system, power conditioner, and audio interface (if separate), you’ll need a good studio rack mount. One thing you’ll need to consider when getting a studio rack is the size. You don’t want it to take up too much space and your devices getting too cramped. Ultimately, you’ll want some leftover space for air ventilation, some drawers for tools, and extra room for future expansion.

A classic choice like the Sanus Systems CFR2144 44U AV Rack is the go-to rack for dedicated home studios.

Other recommended products:

Odyssey CRS08 8U Carpeted Studio Rack ($139.99)
Odyssey CRS20W 20U Carpeted Studio Rack with Casters ($299.99)
Gator Cases GR-STUDIO-12U Studio Rack Cabinet ($154.99)
13. Power Conditioner

Furman Sound Merit Series M-8X2 ($94)

Power conditioners are sometimes built into modern interfaces, but it can help to purchase this one unit on its own. This component is for consolidating all those power cables that are sticking out from your rack down to a single cable. Not only that, some conditioners like the Furman M-8X2 help filter the power for surge protection and even noise filtration.

Others offer both as well as voltage regulation. Even if you didn’t care for organization, power conditioners help protect and extend the life of your recording equipment.

Another item that works like the power conditioner is the snake cable, which also combines cables into one. However, this one is designed for larger rigs and bigger studios, so you may invest in a snake cable like the Hosa 20′ Little Bro Stage Box Sub Snake (HOSH6X220) when it’s time for you to upgrade to a more professional home recording studio.

Other recommended products:

Furman Sound Classic Series PL-Plus DMC ($389)
Furman Sound Prestige Series P-1800 AR ($1239)
Furman Sound SS-6B 6-Outlet Pro Surge Suppressor ($34.65)
14. Uninterruptible Power Supply
APC power saving UPS Pro 700

APC Power-Saving Back-UPS Pro 700 ($169.99)

Even if you were working with a laptop that has a rechargeable battery, you’d still be working with devices that need continuous power. This is where a UPS comes in. The need for a UPS is further increased when you’re using a desktop for your recording needs, more so while you’re recording as you simply cannot risk losing any of your work.

A UPS like the APC Power-Saving Back-UPS Pro 700 serves as your backup battery and offers a few minutes of power that is just long enough for you to save your progress in case of a blackout. There are also more expensive, non-standby, online or line-interactive UPS models that deliver clean and stable power even during blackouts. These higher end models are a worthy investment if you want a kind of insurance for your work during power interruptions. If you want to avoid starting your recordings and mixings from scratch, invest in a dependable UPS.

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