Recording at home seems like a great idea, at first. You’re likely a lot more comfortable at home than you would be in a professional studio, it can be cheaper, and you’ll have more time to get every recording right without wasting anyone else’s time.
Still, creating your own home studio can be daunting, especially when you don’t know where to begin, and you’re on a tight budget.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to simplify the process and make sure you don’t have to take out a second mortgage just to create a functional studio.
Let’s cover a few ideas you can use to set up an at-home recording studio with the essentials.
When you’re building a studio from scratch, there are some key essentials you’ll need to get started. There are also some things that would be nice to have, but can probably wait. Being able to prioritize your purchases will make it easier to put the basics together quickly so you can start recording. Some of the key components you’ll need to get started include:
Once you have some of the basic equipment, you can look at other “extras” like an upgraded interface, soundboard, and speakers.
One of the easiest ways to prioritize what you should buy first is to create a budget. Doing so will allow you to see what you’re starting with, what you can afford, and what needs to be prioritized. Consider decorating on a budget and focusing functionality via a quality computer and monitors. The “extras” are still important, but when you have limited funds, they need to come last. The sooner you invest in quality equipment, the sooner you can make money by recording other artists.
Professional studios have one big advantage over recording at home – they have soundproof booths that eliminate all outside noise. Whether you live in an apartment in the city or a farmhouse in the country, chances are your home wasn’t built to block out sound. Unfortunately, with no protection, that can lead to fuzz and background noise on your recordings.
No one wants to hear a car horn, a plane overhead, or a cow mooing in the background.
Thankfully, you can make your home recordings sound far more professional by soundproofing the room you’re transforming into a studio. The best part? It doesn’t have to blow your budget. While you can always have a professional come in and soundproof your room, there are plenty of DIY ways to block out noise, including:
Installing heavy thermal curtains or soundproof drapes over windows
Using a noise-proofing sealant on windows and doors
Covering unneeded vents with acoustic foam
Using ready-made acoustic panels on walls and the ceiling
With a few inexpensive materials you can take your home recordings from distracting to intricate and detailed. Even if you can’t afford high-quality recording equipment, you can make up for some of it by soundproofing your studio.
Remember how we talked earlier about prioritizing your budget? Use whatever you have leftover after buying equipment and the right gear to decorate your recording space. It might not seem important, at first. And, of course, equipment should take precedence.
But, decorating your space serves a dual purpose.
First, whether you plan to use your recording studio for personal projects or you want to rent it out to other musicians, it’s important to set the right tone and foster a creative environment. Think about some recording studios you’ve been in or seen. They usually have artwork, colorful rugs, and warm tones throughout the space. You might be inspired to create something totally new in your studio, and having a creative atmosphere can help to bring new ideas to life.
Things like furniture, rugs, and wall decor can also help to absorb more sound. Even if your space is soundproofed from outside noise, certain rooms within the home might not have the best acoustics. If you’re using a larger room, for example, the open space can create a lot of excess noise and echo. Having items in the room to absorb some of that extra sound will make a big difference and provide you with a cleaner, warmer tone.
If you don’t have room in your budget for decorations, consider decorating on a budget and bringing some of your personal items into the studio until you do. Bringing in a couch with a few pillows, a throw rug for the middle of the room, or some artwork that inspires you can make a big difference until you’re able to purchase studio-specific decor.
As you can see, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money to create a home studio. If you’re on a budget but can’t wait to record, use some of these ideas to get your studio off the ground.