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!
Submit
Get Roadie Tuner

Check out some other similar articles

When it comes to learning guitar, everybody has a goal piece. It’s that one song they’ve wanted to master since they first picked up the instrument

Alec Plowman
Sep 23, 2019 . 3 min read

You’ve probably recorded a song or two — or a hundred. You might even have built your own home studio. But if you’re just starting out, you should know how to record electric guitar at home.

Frederik Nielsen
May 21, 2019 . 3 min read

Want to learn metal guitar? Sooner or later, you’ll need to get to grips with downpicking. Downpicking is what makes the James Hetfield

Alec Plowman
May 7, 2019 . 4 min read

No matter what you need, there’s an app for it. When it comes to guitar applications, you’re spoiled with choices.

Frederik Nielsen
Apr 22, 2019 . 3 min read

Leo Fender (yes, that Fender) put together Precision, the first electric bass, in 1950. It was groundbreaking. What wasn’t so groundbreaking was the fact

Frederik Nielsen
Apr 16, 2019 . 4 min read

Ukuleles are fun. If you haven’t discovered the magical world of ukes, then check out our comprehensive guide to ukuleles first.

Frederik Nielsen
Apr 10, 2019 . 3 min read

It’s a well-established fact: having a routine makes your more productive. Chances are you already put this into practice when it comes to

Alec Plowman
Apr 5, 2019 . 3 min read

What’s the best bass riff of all time? Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” is certainly a contender. Cliff Burton’s chromatic

Alec Plowman
Apr 5, 2019 . 3 min read

Today we feel like running down some of our favorite Guns N’ Roses live performances! There’s some awesome stuff here:

Alec Plowman
Apr 2, 2019 . 4 min read

What’s the best acoustic guitar for a beginner? If you’ve ever worked in a guitar store, you’ve probably been asked that question. A LOT.

Alec Plowman
Mar 31, 2019 . 3 min read

Although women by no means are under-represented in the music industry, female instrumentalists are not quite as common as we’d like them to be –

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 7, 2019 . 4 min read

Age ain’t nothing but a number, or so the saying goes. Then how come every new rock star seems straight out of high school? If you have dreams

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 5, 2019 . 4 min read

Grunge is not dead! It’s been almost three decades since the heyday of ‘90s grunge. But, grunge bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam

Alec Plowman
Mar 1, 2019 . 3 min read

One more time then! We’ve already outlined six of the best albums of 2018 in the previous entries to this series. But, the party ain’t over yet!

Alec Plowman
Feb 21, 2019 . 4 min read

Once you’ve read our guide on how to prepare for a mixing session, it’s time to get started. Here

Frederik Nielsen
Feb 6, 2019 . 5 min read

We’re back! Choosing the best album of 2018 is no mean feat. As the previous entry in this list showed, last year offered up some pretty awesome albums.

Alec Plowman
Jan 21, 2019 . 4 min read

We’re just under a few weeks away from the Oscar nominations announcement. That means that Oscar predictions are

Alec Plowman
Jan 14, 2019 . 3 min read

Last year saw some great releases from a number of Roadie’s favorite artists. And, in celebration of that, we’ve decided

Alec Plowman
Jan 14, 2019 . 3 min read

Nothing says Christmas like a screeching guitar solo. Christmas Hits CDs are flying off shelves at this time of year. But, spare a thought for your heavy metal

Alec Plowman
Dec 24, 2018 . 4 min read

Recording at home is always fun. It’s possible to do so much with modern recording equipment. There are, however,

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 14, 2018 . 3 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!