How to Build a Home Music Studio

Imagine just how difficult it was back in the day to record your own music. If you didn't sign with a record label, or if you weren't filthy rich, there was pretty much no chance for you to have even a decent-sounding song. Yeah, you could use a tape recorder, but it would be just a simple way to record a few of your ideas. Other than that, you'd need a solid budget to get things going.

At the same time, it's quite mind-blowing how you can record good-sounding music from the comfort of your home these days. In fact, with the right choice of gear and enough knowledge and experience, you might even be able to make pro-level stuff. Of course, it takes time and skill, but it's still amazing that you can do it.

So it's no wonder that home studios are becoming increasingly popular. And that's especially the case these days when all the required components of a home setup are getting cheaper, easier to find, and are better at reproducing the signal that you're putting into them. But if you ever thought about making a home studio, you probably felt like you don't know where to start. This is why we came up with this simple guide to help you out in your music endeavors.

Get the right computer for the job

The first thing that you'll need is a good computer. But what does this mean? Well, these days, you definitely need to go with SSDs instead of HDD. This way, you'll have a quick and smooth operation. Next up, you'll need at least 8GB of RAM, although we'd rather recommend going with 12GB or more.

The type of processor is something to look into as well. Although the number of cores and the maximum frequency are important, the number of threads is something you should consider as well. After all, you'll be doing multi-track projects, which means that there'll be a lot of processes going on at the same time, which is where the number of threads can be of huge help.

Lastly, you'd need to decide between a laptop or a desktop. This purely comes down to personal preferences and whether you want to have a "portable" studio that you can take anywhere with you.

You'll need an audio interface

But even the best computer out there won't make sense without a proper audio interface. Your computer has its integrated audio interface, but these aren't specialized to work with instruments, quality microphones, or complex multi-track projects, all while recording and playing music in real-time.

If you were to do something without a specialized audio interface, you could probably just record a 1-track project without any additional effects and other plugins. And there's still a high chance you'll experience noticeable latency, poor audio quality, and a lot of glitching and unwanted clipping in your sound. An audio interface will help you record a multi-track project in real-time, while also keeping things in check and without any unwanted noises.

An audio interface converts your instrument's signal into digital information, sends it to your computer to be processed, then takes it back and converts it into analog signal again. Then after that, it goes through the speakers or headphones that are connected to it. It's a mandatory piece of equipment for a studio, but there are some great affordable sound cards that you can find today.

Choosing the right DAW and plugins

You'll also need to think of getting the right software for the job. Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW, is your main workspace. Look at it as a sound-recording software that's designed to work with several tracks and processing plugins at the same time. There are many great DAWs these days, even some that are free of charge.

Almost all of them support plugins (usually VST) and can use more than 10 tracks at the same time. While we're at it, plugins are additional third-party programs that are either effects or even an entire collection of samples and other features that work like virtual instruments. This way, you can also get drums, keyboards, bass guitars, or even orchestral instruments in your song.

Studio monitors

In the end, you also need to think of great ways of how to reproduce the sound. For this, you'll need studio monitors or monitor headphones. You could use some quality hi-fi speakers, although studio monitors are "flatter" with their response across the audible spectrum and can give you a better picture. There are smaller and cheaper monitors out there that can still give you a great tone. But at the same time, it's also a good idea to test your results on regular speakers just to see how things went.

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