Written by: Darren Johnson
It has never been easier to create quality music; the modern musician has access to equipment that certainly would have generated jealousy and awe from artists of the past. With the advanced technology that’s available today, anybody with a passion for music can start building their own studio at home.
Something to keep in mind when starting a studio is that the scope of this topic is quite large. In order to avoid feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to begin with just the basics. Here, I’ve included five essential pieces of equipment for building your studio.
Whether you go with PC or Mac depends on personal preference and which DAW you choose. However, considering how intensive the mixing process can get on your CPU, it would be a good idea to get some extra RAM.
DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. This software will be where all of your audio and MIDI messages are sent and edited. The industry standard is Avid’s Pro Tools, while some other powerful options are Apple’s Logic and Ableton Live. Looking for something on the cheaper side? Garageband and Audacity are both great!
- Audio Interface
An Audio Interface, put simply, is where your audio signal is sent before going in or out of your computer. The interface you choose will make a big difference in audio quality, but it is important to also choose one that matches the needs of your gear. Want to play acoustic guitar and lay down some vocal tracks? Something small would probably be best. Want to record some big band jazz songs? You’ll want something with a multitude of XLR microphone inputs.
- Studio Monitors
These speakers are what you will be listening to and mixing your songs with. Ideally, you want monitors with a flat frequency response so that your mixes sit evenly within the sound spectrum.
Ah, good ol’ microphones, every audiophiles favorite subject! The two most common types of microphones are Dynamic and Condenser. Although condenser microphones have a better frequency and transient response, and are ideal for recording, they are also more expensive and require an interface that can run 48v phantom power. For dynamic mics, a popular choice for recording vocals is the Shure SM58. It’ll be best to do some research in order to see which microphones are best for the needs of your recordings.