General Talk Home Recording Studio Setup Essentials

Home Recording Studio Setup Essentials

Your One-Stop Guide to Setting up a Home Studio of Your Dreams

Home-Recording-Studio-Setup-Essentials

When it comes to setting up your own home studio, you can never have too much equipment. Almost every piece of equipment feels like a necessity! 

From capacitors to the effects unit, to a studio desk and stage monitoring system or even the latest Apple Mac mini, it feels like you have got to have it all, or even that you NEED to have it all. 

But, what if we told you that you can build your dream studio without going overboard with the equipment? Wondering how? Let us explain!

How Much Does a Home Recording Studio Setup Cost?

A home recording studio setup can cost anywhere between $300 to as high as $20,000 to $30,000, or even higher, depending on how much you want to invest in the latest technology and equipment.

How Much Does a Home Recording Studio Setup Cost?
How Much Does a Home Recording Studio Cost?

How to Set Up a Home Recording Studio?

When it comes to setting up a recording studio in the comfort of your home, there are a few things you should consider, such as:

1. Find the Right Room to Set Up Your Home Recording Studio

Selecting the right room for your home recording studio is one of the most important steps of setting it up. Ideally, when it comes to choosing the right room for your recording studio, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • High ceiling
  • Thick walls 
  • Solid and sturdy doors 
  • Less windows
Where Should I Set Up My Home Recording Studio?
The Middlemost Room Is the Most Ideal Room for Setting Up Your Home Studio

Select the Middlemost Room in Your House for Setting Up Your Home Studio

The middlemost room in your house will not only be away from your main door and backyard, but also the walls of your house which have the most windows.

Find a Room With No or Minimum Windows

Locate the room in your home with no or the least number of windows. This will prevent you from having to worry about any unwanted noise getting picked up by your mics when you are recording.

Consider the Size and Shape of the Room

When selecting a room for your home recording studio, avoid selecting the smallest room in your house. Ideally, you sure ensure your home recording studio has minimum dimensions of 20 feet x 15 feet

The ceiling height should be at least 10 feet tall.

One more thing to consider is the shape of the room. It is recommended to use a rectangular room to avoid noise from bouncing off the walls. 

Ensure the Room Has Enough Power Outlets

Last and most important, ensure your home recording studio room has enough power outlets or a power source. Thoroughly check the electrical wiring in the room and ensure it’s functioning properly. 

Alternatively, we highly recommend checking with an experienced professional on whether or not your room meets the desired electric requirements for a home recording studio setup.

2. Add Soundproofing to Minimize External Disturbance, Prevent Sound Leakage and Reduce Sound Reflection

Noise insulation absorbs sound waves to provide a barrier between your home and the outside world. Insulation reduces the amount of noise that comes into your home from the outside. It also minimizes the noise that travels between floors and rooms within your home. 

This is where the need for soundproofing arises to ensure you’re not getting disturbed by external noise in your home recording studio, sound is not leaving your home recording studio to disturb others, and sound reflections are not creating echoes and reverb that can lead to sound distortion.

Soundproofing is customizable to most needs, and you can do it at a price that is accessible for any budget.While there are many professionals out there who will help soundproof your home recording studio. 

But if you would like to give it a shot yourself then take a look at sound absorbers which can range as high as $300, depending on the quality of the sound absorbers.

A study by Kesmas National Public Health Journal suggests that sound absorbers made of Styrofoam are affordable and highly suitable for noise reduction.

Add Soundproofing to Minimize External Disturbance, Prevent Sound Leakage and Reduce Sound Reflection
Soundproofing

Soundproof the Room’s Walls

It’s important to soundproof the walls of your home recording studio to prevent external noise from disturbing your recordings. It’s also necessary to prevent sound from leaking to other areas in your house to avoid disturbing others.

Here are some wall soundproofing techniques for your home recording studio:

  • Use an acoustic sealant
  • Put up an additional drywall
  • Hang up a soundproof blanket 
  • Use mass loaded vinyl 
  • Install acoustic panels

In case you don’t want to spend a fortune in simply soundproofing your home recording studio’s walls, here are a few cheaper alternatives you can try. 

  • Install bookshelves 
  • Hang thick curtains

Soundproof the Room’s Ceiling

Just like soundproofing the walls, it’s also important to soundproof your home recording studio’s ceiling to improve noise isolation, prevent sound leakage and minimize sound reflection that can create unnecessary reverb and echoes in the studio.

Soundproofing an existing ceiling is possible, but there are some limitations, such as the fact that you can only use acoustic foam panels and mass loaded vinyl (MLV).

You’ll need to be resourceful and maybe construct a second ceiling if you currently have a ceiling that you don’t want to remove. Alternatively, you’ll need to remove the plasterboard if you’re working on an existing ceiling and have no other way of getting to it except the bottom.

Most ceiling soundproofing options don’t require professional installation. However, it would be best if you got the advice of an expert before making any major changes to the room’s ceiling.

Here are some of the best tried and tested methods of soundproofing your ceiling: 

  • Use a soundproof drywall – single-layer drywell or double-layer drywall
  • Install acoustic panels 
  • Install acoustic tiles 
  • Put Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)
  • Apply a coating of acoustic paint
  • Use resilient channels or hat clips 

For more information, read our full guide on how to soundproof ceiling.

Soundproof the Room’s Door

Lastly, also consider soundproofing the home recording studio’s door to prevent sound from entering or leaving the room, minimizing sound reflection and maintain your privacy.

Here are some of the best tried and tested methods of soundproofing your door: 

  • Seal the door’s cracks and holes
  • Enhance the door’s weight
  • Add soundproofing foam
  • Use a door sweep or bottom seal
  • Add weather-stripping between the door and floor
  • Install a door with a solid core
  • Add door gaskets
  • Use acoustic panels

For more information, read our full guide on how to soundproof a door.

3. Invest in a Good Chair and Desk

This one’s a no-brainer. Studio recordings can go on for hours together. Therefore, you need a comfortable and ergonomic chair, and a spacious desk to enhance your productivity in your home recording studio.

Here are some other reasons why you must pick the right chair-desk combination for your home recording studio:

  • To create a professional look and feel
  • To improve concentration and enhance focus

4. Ensure You Have Proper Equipment

A home recording studio is incomplete without the right equipment.

Ensure You Have Proper Equipment
Home Recording Studio Equipment Examples

Here are some must-have music production equipment for your home studio:

Computer or Laptop

If you are planning on using your phone or tablet or iPad to record tracks in your home studio, put a pause to that thought. To ensure top quality tracks, you have got to use a computer or laptop.

We recommend the Apple Mac Mini. The latest Apple Macbook Pro is also one of the best laptops for music production.

Apple Macs are a preferred computer choice amongst musicians, owing to how easy they are to use. Moreover, they don’t make noise while you work and are very lightweight and well, mini! They are also one of the more affordable options available on the market, without compromising on quality. 

MIDI Keyboard

If you don’t have a drum set or the necessary equipment to record live drums, you can get a MIDI drum pad to capture beats in your home recording studio.

We are in 2023, and there are unlimited choices when it comes to picking the right best MIDI keyboard for your home recording studio.

Depending on whether you have size constraints or budget constraints, you will be able to pick out a great MIDI keyboard. Having said that, we would suggest you do your research before deciding upon whether or not you even need/want a MIDI keyboard.

Audio Interface

For all the beginners out there, an audio interface is used to convert signals coming from your instruments and microphones to a format your computer can understand.

Audio interfaces, such as the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen), come in handy for various reasons. For example, they are of great help when it comes to improving the sound quality of your music tracks

The best audio interfaces can cost you anywhere between $50 to as high as thousands of dollars, depending on your preferences. If you are a beginner, we recommend getting a small audio interface which has two inputs and two outputs.

Recording Software 

Now that you are more or less set on what sort of equipment you would like to have in your home recording studio, it is time to look for the best music production software.

If you are starting off on your home recording adventure, we recommend using Audacity, a free digital audio workstation (DAW). 

Digital audio workstations are useful not only when it comes to recording, but also when you are editing your recording pieces. Along with this, you are able to add digital effects and additional musical instruments to your recordings.

Studio Microphone and Microphone Stand 

When it comes to studio microphones, there is no ‘perfect’ size as such.

While some microphones are designed to be appropriate for a more versatile range of situations, others serve the purpose of recording instruments, such as your keyboard or guitar or drums.

We also recommend investing in a good microphone stand to ensure you’re comfortable while recording vocals.

This is not the end. Check out the complete music production equipment checklist.

Studio Headphones and Studio Monitors

Studio headphones and studio monitor speakers are essential to monitor and finalize your music tracks.

Ensure you invest in the best studio headphones and speakers to ensure you’re creating accurate, clear and detailed audio.

5. Master Acoustics in Your Home Recording Studio Setup

When you are setting up a home recording studio, you should also think about how you will master acoustics. There are many acoustic issues that come up due to improper design or structure of a recording studio, such as echoes, flutter waves/echoes and standing waves

Of course, you always have the option of investing in expensive equipment and recording gear such as studio panels and diffusers, but what if we told you that you can achieve a top notch quality of recording without burning a hole in your pocket? 

Here are some quick tips to master acoustics in your home recording studio:

Ensure the Windows and Speakers Don’t Face Each Other

Of course, this makes sense – you don’t want the music from the speakers to simply flow out the window! Along with this, let’s not forget the fact that sound reflects quite a bit off glass, making it a bit of a nuisance when it comes to mastering acoustics. 

Instead, get thick and dense curtains, and have them closed when you are using your home recording studio.

Take the Center Stage

To avoid having sound bounce off the corners of your room, place furniture and cupboards there. Why, you may ask? Well, corners provide a lovely and comfortable corner (pun intended) for your bass to build up, preventing you from achieving the acoustics of your dreams.

Try moving most of your music gear and equipment to the center of the room.

Focus on Symmetry

Who would have guessed symmetry is important when it comes to your recording studio’s acoustics? Ensure that you have set up your stage monitor system in such a way that it falls along the symmetry of your room. 

This is also why we recommend choosing a room for your home recording studio that is rectangular in shape. If, however, due to constraints you aren’t able to use a symmetrical room, try to place your monitoring system along what would ideally be the line of symmetry for your recording studio. 

6. Install Proper Lighting

Believe it or not, light plays a crucial role in a home recording studio. They create an ambience of creativity and ease. Of course, proper lighting in a recording studio not only ensures you are able to see what you are doing, but also helps to set the vibe.

Think About Lights, Lights and Lights
Home Recording Studio Lighting

Here is what matters the most when choosing the right lighting: 

  • Visibility: it is crucial to choose lighting which doesn’t require you to squint in order to see the controls on your music system. 
  • Type of light: Most musicians prefer to have LED lights in their recording studio. This is mostly because of the fact that they look visually appealing and do not emit a lot of heat. Moreover, they’re available in a wide range of colors and can prove to be quite inexpensive as compared to other lighting alternatives. Of course, you can also take a look at LED strips or light bulbs. Lately, people have been using lava lamps as well.
  • Color temperature: There are various color temperatures of lighting to choose from, such as task, ambient, natural, warm and cool. Research shows that cooler lights enhance productivity.
  • Color: Feel free to play around with different colors of the color spectrum to add a touch of fun to your recording studio. Usually, musicians find that colors such as purple and blue help bring out the creative side to them. Try finding out which colors put you in your creative state!

7. Work With an Experienced Designer

Sometimes setting up your home recording studio can be a tough and overwhelming task, especially if you are doing it for the first time. In such cases, we recommend that you approach a professional designer to help you set up your home recording studio. 

Professional designers help curate the studio of your dreams, allowing you to customize each and every inch of your studio whilst not compromising on the quality. 

Work With an Experienced Designer
Home Recording Studio Designer

Choosing a professional designer can be difficult sometimes. Here are a few things to take a look at when you are deciding to partner with a suitable home recording studio designer: 

  • Your budget 
  • Previous works by the designer 
  • Does your vision match what the designer has created in the past? 
  • How experienced is the designer when it comes to home recording studios

We highly recommend that you first decide on what your vision is for your home recording studio before approaching a professional designer. This will make the journey a lot more smoother and help the designer to properly understand what you are looking for. 

How to Set Up a Home Recording Studio on a Budget?

Here are some questions you must ask yourself before you set up your home recording studio. Answers to these questions will help you determine if you really need to invest in expensive equipment or you could do with a budget-friendly approach.

  • How much space do you really need to set up all of your gear? 
  • What is your budget? 
  • How many inputs and outputs does your audio interface need? 
  • Do you really need all those fancy features in paid digital audio workstations (DAW) or will the features provided in a free one suffice? 
  • Are one or two microphones enough, or will you require more?  The RODE microphones are great options.
  • What quality of material do you want when it comes to soundproofing, or mastering acoustics? 
  • Do you need a MIDI keyboard, as a beginner? 
  • You will be using your computer quite a bit. How much would you like to invest in it? Do you really need the fanciest computer out there, or is a cheaper one that does the same job just as well good enough? 
  • How often will you be using the various music equipment in your home recording studio? How often will you be using your home recording studio?
How to Set Up a Home Recording Studio on a Budget
How to Set Up a Budget-Friendly Home Recording Studio

An Ending Note

There is so much joy in building the home recording studio of your dreams, from scratch. In fact, home recording studios are great investments and setting them up is definitely a fun and exciting job! 

We recommend starting off with building the studio on a budget and only buying what you feel is truly a necessity. As and when you become more experienced, you can always think of upgrading your tech or adding more equipment to your musical gear. 

Of course, you can always take the help of a professional designer, or come back to our site to get your questions answered! If you have any questions, doubts or queries, feel free to drop a comment in our comments section below, and our experts will get back to you with an answer in no time!