How to Build a Home Studio

by Frederik Nielsen, Apr 18, 2019 . 4 min read

How to Build a Home Studio

Why build a home studio? I’ve been playing in several bands for the past decade, and have had the pleasure of working with many talented musicians of all stripes. Some had attended prestigious music schools and studied under the masters of their respective instruments.

And yet…

Very few of them ever considered getting into the engineering side of things. When sat in front of Logic or Pro Tools, their eyes would glaze over. The faders and buttons were alien technology to them. “I just want to play bass” one of them said. I refrained from making inappropriate bassist jokes.

The Advantages of Recording at Home

Recording at home is incredibly beneficial regardless of which level you are at as a musician. Here are just some of them:

I’m not suggesting you become a master audio engineer. That’s a whole separate career entirely. But knowing your way around a studio will help you work more efficiently in a professional studio and know what to look for in a sound engineer. This article is meant for those of you who still haven’t taken the leap and invested in some home studio gear. I’ll cover the basics of what you need to get started here below.

1. Computer

Chances are you already have one of these. The million dollar question is if your computer is fast enough to run the music production software. The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to get a computer that gets the job done. My decade old MacBook Pro can still run Logic Pro X. You will get more bang for your buck if you buy a PC, but you won’t be able to use Apple software.

Get yourself a MacBook Pro or a Lenovo ThinkPad — they’re both great options!

2. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

When it comes to DAWs, you have a world of choice. Just from experience, however, I’d recommend the following five brands:

All five have pretty much the same capabilities and are equally easy/difficult to learn.

3. Audio Interface

You can’t plug jack, MIDI, and XLR cables into your computer, so you’ll need an audio interface. While you can easily spend over a grand on a luxurious interface, there’s really no point. It just serves one function, and that is to connect your instrument to your DAW. The PreSonus AudioBox USB 2×2 Audio Interface will set you back $100 and it’s all you need.

4. Microphone

Now that you’ve got a computer, a DAW, and an audio interface, you just need… the actual sound. The market for microphones is a jungle, but here are four classics you can’t go wrong with:

They’re all budget-friendly and will capture the nuances of your vocals and instrument nicely. Make sure you get a microphone stand and a pop-filter as well.

5. Headphones

Microphones capture the sound, but what you hear depends on what you listen on. A good pair of headphones will go a long way. I’d recommend some noise-cancelling headphones to avoid the sound bleeding into your recording — but they’re slightly more expensive. Again, we can rely on affordable classics like Sennheiser HD280PRO for just $100.

6. Monitors

Studio monitors are tricky if you’re on a budget. They just don’t make them very cheap — and for good reason! I love my KRK VXT 6’s, but they cost me around $300 per monitor. Fortunately, KRK makes another model you can get for half the price. Check out this pair of KRK RP5G3 monitors for $300 (in total).

7. Cables

Depending on your studio setup, you’ll want to stock up on cables. You’ll typically want:

Bear in mind that these can be combined as well. Depending on your gear, you might need a XLR-to-jack, or a phono-to-jack. Read the instruction manuals — I know it hurts your pride, but it’ll save you money!

Get our free Alternate Tunings Guide!

Check out some other similar articles

Take advantage of our biggest backer-exclusive discounts and get your hands on this next-generation automatic tuner. Back the Kickstarter campaign today and be the first to receive the Roadie 3.

Do you know when you should upgrade your guitar? That is a very personal question that will therefore have quite different answers.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 25, 2020 . 4 min read

In this guitar tutorial, you will learn how to play “Down By the River” by Milky Chance. This song was released as the second single from their debut album Sadnecessary.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 21, 2020 . 4 min read

Recent discussion at tendermeets revolved around how romance inspires music and creativity for artists of all kinds.

Augusto Palmeri
Sep 15, 2020 . 5 min read

The best recording software today will work fine for experienced engineers and beginners alike. In other words, there is no such thing as the best recording software for beginners.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 14, 2020 . 4 min read

Ah, good ol’ distortion lines! As someone once said: “There’s no such thing as too much distortion”, and I couldn’t agree more.

Alexis Baydoun
Sep 11, 2020 . 5 min read

The best online jamming websites are a godsend. First, they are a great way to practice. Second, they are fun. Third, they are especially useful in a time of pandemic and limited social contact.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 7, 2020 . 3 min read

Is lo-fi the smooth jazz of the new generation? No. It is not. Lo-Fi is not the smooth jazz of the generation. But what is Lo-fi after all?

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 4, 2020 . 3 min read

On the evening of August 28, the sad and devasting news emerged. Black Panther actor and on-screen legend: Chadwick Boseman tragically passed away at the age of 43. The actor was fighting a private battle with colon cancer since 2016.

Frederik Nielsen
Aug 31, 2020 . 4 min read

Nothing can make us travel back in time like music. We all remember those special songs that we heard in special moments. Songs and albums that touched our lives uniquely.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 28, 2020 . 4 min read

Guitar pedals are a dime a dozen. There are just so many types, variations, blends, and flavors. I could write an encyclopedia on guitar pedals available.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 25, 2020 . 4 min read

Chris Cornell was one of the architects of grunge in the early 90s. He is one of the three most important figures in this movement, the other two being Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 24, 2020 . 4 min read

Turning your hobby into your profession is quite a leap. There is very little pressure in playing for fun. But for a professional guitarist, every gig is a serious matter. After all, you will be getting paid according to your abilities and the realities of the market you’re in.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 17, 2020 . 4 min read

The ukulele has seen a considerable popularity surge in the past years. This surge has been so pronounced that even major brands like Fender and Cordoba started producing ukuleles.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 14, 2020 . 5 min read

Roadie Music has followers ranging from eager beginners to seasoned professionals. Whatever your level of skill, it’s always good to aspire to become better.

Frederik Nielsen
Aug 12, 2020 . 4 min read

The notoriously resilient Lebanese. Within a single lifetime, they have been victims of civil war, foreign invasion, foreign occupancy, militia war, the assassination of leaders, the slaughter of citizens based on religion, the kidnapping of our youth.

Tamara Habchi
Aug 11, 2020 . 4 min read

Tuning is crucial. And it turns out, no one is more obsessed with tuning than a guitarist. Guitar players check their tuning excessively and for good reason. If a single string is out of tune, it can completely ruin a song (as well as your reputation).

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 4, 2020 . 4 min read

Bob Dylan has been a staple of music and culture for over 50 years. He’s considered by many one of the greatest songwriters to ever live.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 30, 2020 . 4 min read

“Stolen Dance” is a song by German pop duo Milky Chance. It was released in 2012 and became a viral hit on YouTube (it presently has well over half a billion streams).

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 20, 2020 . 3 min read

Some guitarists tend to focus solely on improving their left hand. The dirty little secret is that the left hand can only be as good as the right hand allows. Good hand synchronization is imperative for any guitarist.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 17, 2020 . 3 min read

Released in February of 1970, “Fire and Rain” has been a staple of fine songwriting for 50 years.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 15, 2020 . 5 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!