There is no doubt in my mind that we’re in the golden age of independent music.
Looking at artists like Chance The Rapper or Nipsey Hussle who are thriving thanks to their hustle and clever brand building, you can’t deny that we’re in an amazing time for independent artists to succeed on their own terms.
No longer does an artist need to drop a hot single and sell half a million records to be successful. Instead, they can make their music, distribute it on SoundCloud, build their fanbase using social media, sell merchandise from their website, book their own live shows and make a great living doing what they want love.
You need to be able to make your own music and make sure you have all the help that you need at home to make, produce and record your music. The more time and money that you can save relying on others to deliver the solutions and systems that you need, the better. However, the first steps to setting up a home studio can take a lot of time to put into place.
What, then, becomes the most dominant factors of setting up a home studio? What needs to be done?
After all, surely building a home project studio is too large an investment of time and money, right?
Not necessarily. It’s actually very easy to do if you are willing to put in the hard work. To make sure that you are installing all the right tools then you have come to the right place. What you’ll find waiting for you below is a list of the essentials that any particular home recording studio should have to make life easier.
Proper hardware goes a long way
Start off by investing in a good laptop that you can work with – or a desktop, since they tend to have more power. If you’ll be doing all your work here, then you can avoid buying a laptop.
Go for power over mobility if you are making this your sole base of operation.
A good choice would be a Macbook Pro, if you do want to go down the whole creative laptop route. However, they can set you back a lot of money so make sure that you have the finance there.
As a mainstay of the whole studio, though, going for high-three figures to low-four figures can be a smart investment.
Build a Digital Audio Workstation
Next, you want to invest in a good set of microphones. You’ll need them. Obviously.
So, what you should be looking to do is pick up a set of microphones that you can feel comfortable using. 1 or 2 is enough to get started in terms of mics but don’t scrimp and scrape on this.
Higher cost means more features and greater possibilities. This is a very major part of the function of the studio, so spending good money on strong mics should be an obvious investment worth making.
Also, look to buy what is known as a Digital Audio Workstation, or a DAW. They are very much a necessity for good studio work, and will be used to record, mix and also re-master your music on the computer mentioned above. Also, look to buy an Audio Interface so that you can connect the PC/Laptop up to the rest of your tools.
You can buy these a combo, too, so make sure that you look to invest in a great combo. A great brand to look into the PreSonis AudioBox systems – the 4VSL is a favorite but it does obviously come down to the kind of budget that you have.
Lastly, look to pick up some badass headphones. Good headphones make such a big difference to the way that your music is going to come together. Get a pair of closed-back headphones for better tracking, and open-back headphones for better mixing.
Mixing headphones need better sound quality, while good trackers need higher isolation. With this kind of mix, you’ll be on your way to building up a nice little listing of headphones that you can start using.
If the budget is very tight, though, one set will do to begin with. Closed back headphones are a must if you have to only pick one, so make that the choice is budget dictates you to decide.
Invest in quality headphones
Now, next, we want to be looking at picking up some monitors. Invest in some nearfield monitors as they can be excellent for making your performance much crisper. Mixing is something that you can do on the headphones above, but having a nice studio monitor set to work from is a very nice little extra to put in place for you.
They tend to help you make enhancements and thus ensure that your music can make the most positive example possible. This allows you to judge the music much better, without any of the usual changes that other speakers add to music to make it sound better.
This does none of the same equalization or frequency response, so you can get a much more neutral – authentic – impression of your music.
Another important part of the whole process is having quality cabling. You want to invest in, if nothing else, a set of short cables for the monitors, and one large XLR cable for the mic.
This is important for making sure you have the freedom of the actual studio to move around with the mic, ensuring that you can produce your best quality when moving around.
However, quality cabling is a very expensive thing to purchase. If you are looking for a way to reduce the budget in your cabling, then avoid going for brands such as Mogami at first; they tend to be worth the money, but if money is tight you can turn to more simplistic investments. These can wait if you lack the finance.
Lastly, you want to invest some money into getting a few pop filters. Pop filters are vital for a cost-effective way to stop your music from sounding overly forced. When making sounds such as a P or a B, you can cause a lot of problems with the mic that makes a really weird vocal sound, caused by the comparatively low frequency that these letters are produced with by our mouths.
With a simple pop filter, you can avoid that from happening – while mainly for pop music, it can help make your hip-hop music sound a little clearer. Never a must-have, but one part of the studio you should look to invest in at a later date. They are relatively cheap and should be on your wish list as time goes on.
Follow this list, and you should find it a lot easier to build a quality and reliable homemade studio without investing too much of your capital.
Of course, if you have a home studio that is going to need you to mitigate noise, it pays to look into getting some soundproofing carried out in the room.
It’s another expensive, but something worth doing if you want to be able to work without any worries about annoying neighbors or otherwise.