HOME RECORDING STUDIO EQUIPMENT – THE BASICS
If your dream is to work from home and earn a living in the recording industry, then you are obviously going to need to furnish your studio with equipment that ensures a quality finished product. And the type of recording you do is going to decide what kind of gear you will need to get started. For instance, if you’re going to record podcasts or narration for online videos, you’re probably not going to need as much gear than if you were recording songs or a full album. Let’s look at what you’ll need.
One of the primary pieces of home recording equipment that you will need is, of course, a microphone (or microphones). If you are just starting out, especially if you have a very small budget, you can opt for a basic USB mic which can be found for less than $100. For those of you planning to do singer/songwriter-type music or voice-overs, this just might suffice. However, if you are more serious about the recordings you’ll be making (as well as sound quality) we would highly recommend a completely different kind of mic: A large-diaphragm condenser. This mic, together with an audio interface box like the Fluid Audio SRI-2, will allow you to record several sources at once and is a great start.
Along with the mic and interface, you’ll obviously need a computer with recording software (commonly known as a DAW – a Digital Audio Workstation). Although many computers these days come bundled with some basic recording software, if you are serious about recording, you will need to step it up on your DAW. You will quickly realize that you will need professional recording software that comes with advanced features and allows for more audio editing and audio manipulation to optimize your recordings.
Probably the last essential piece of studio equipment you’ll need for a home recording set up are reference monitor loudspeakers. It is no secret that the room you mix in has a huge effect on how these monitors sound. In an ideal professional set up, you would do your listening and mixing in a room that is acoustically treated so that the acoustic reflections do not distort the sound before it gets to your ears. However, if your mixing room is a bedroom, as most starting out are, good quality studio monitors can help improve this situation as they offer you honest sound without any kind of coloring. If you're recording music, having good quality studio monitors is an absolute prerequisite.
So, what sort of monitors should you buy? Broadly speaking, there are two main types: Active and passive. Active monitors have an edge over passive speakers as they have the amplifier built into them. If you opt for passive speakers, you’ll also need an amplifier as a separate piece of gear altogether, which will not only drive the cost up but will also add other logistical and electrical intricacies. For the perfect placement of these monitors, we would also recommend that you buy desktop stands for optimal positioning.
Simply put, to equip yourself with the basic home recording studio equipment, you'll need:
- A computer
- A DAW, or recording Software
- Studio Monitors (both headphones and speakers)
Regardless of what equipment you use, remember that the knowledge of the key audio fundamentals is far more valuable than all the pricey studio gear. The absence of basic knowledge will only lead to poor sounding audio, no matter how expensive the equipment is. Remember, if you have some basic knowledge and the required patience, you can make great recordings with very modest equipment working from your home studio.