Home-based mini recording studio

This article is to provide information about the necessary equipment for a home-based mini recording studio. And of course, there is a number of important details that are to be taken into account.

First and foremost, it is important to determine the goals to be set. Look at your room and try to figure out if it meets the requirements. For example, a large room that is practically empty is not likely to allow high-quality recording of voice or acoustic instruments, and it is not always easy and affordable to have a proper acoustic insulation done. Such details should be taken into account as the quality of performance and recording cannot be inferior to that of professional music products. And if due consideration is not given to the equipment and the way the work is organized, the results may fall short of your expectations.

This article is not focused on draping, or room acoustic insulation, as this problem is multi-faceted and needs to be addressed on an individual basis. We will go straight to the equipment.

Home-based recording equipment must be of high quality, but not necessarily cost an arm and a leg. For complete setup you will need:

· Personal Computer

Digital sound processing is a resource-consuming activity, therefore you will need a computer with a powerful processor. For example, an i5-processor with 8 GB random access memory ensures comfortable work with up-to-date sequencers and plugins. Other elements are not crucial, and can be chosen individually.

· Audio-interface

Or, in other words, a sound card. We recommend an excellent value for money – external sound cards Steinberg UR22 and Focusrite 2i2. They ensure quality dynamic sound, USB, MIDI input and output, L/R linear output, headphone output, 2 microphone inputs – everything necessary for quality recording of voice and instruments.

· Software

The choice of a sequencer is probably the most puzzling problem as everyone has individual experience and preferences. But there is one thing that is worth knowing about sequencers: the output performance of all programs is practically the same, so it is difficult to say whether some of them are of higher or lower quality. As for the functions there are certain types of audio sequencers that are preferable for professional use such as Pro Tools and Logic Pro (Mac OS X), Steinberg Cubase, Ableton Live. Still, the choice is yours as it is important to find the sequencer that will meet all your requirements.
· Controller/MIDI-keyboard

While choosing a controller/MIDI-keyboard it is recommended to pay attention not to the brand but to the number of octaves it is capable of processing. As practice shows, 2-3 octaves are sufficient unless you write complicated pianoforte scores. As for specific types of controllers, we recommend CME Xkey 37 or M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 II.

· Monitors

The right choice of studio monitors is essential for a sound engineer. In fact, this question is worth covering in a separate article, but we will focus on active short-range field monitors like KRK ROKIT RP5G2. Also, high-sensitivity Yamaha HS5 monitors are recommended as they possess excellent dynamic features.

· Monitor headphones

It is important to realize that our ears (and we ourselves) tend to get used to sounds, which is unacceptable. That is why it is necessary to have two monitor lines when writing music. Among monitor headphones available we especially recommend Sony MDR-7506 and Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. Why? Because these are the best monitor headphones at a reasonable price.

· Microphone

Everything depends on the purpose. And there are plenty of variants! We will focus on the most popular vocal microphones with legendary dynamic Shure SM58 on top of our list. It still remains the best microphone in its price range. As for budget-friendly condenser microphones, Rode NT1-A can be recommended as one of the best low-noise studio condenser microphones. Due to its characteristics that can be found only in some expensive microphones – "warm" sound, high dynamic range, clarity, and ability to cope with high levels of volume pressure, NT1-A has become an industry standard.

Besides, you will need installation hardware, stands, wiring etc. Everything depends on your goals and opportunities.

We do hope that you have found valuable information in this article that will help you create a high-quality home-based recording studio at reasonable cost!

Yours sincerely,
ExpertMusic Team.


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