Have you ever wondered what it would take to set up a home recording studio? In this post I’m going to talk to you about what you need to set up your own home studio and get quality vocals right in your bedroom… or closet. I’ll tell you what you need and include links to the equipment in my studio.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
2. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
3. Microphone, cables and mic stand
5. USB Audio Interface
The first thing you’ll need is a computer and you’ll want to consider a few things when deciding what to purchase:
Storage Space & Screen Size
You will want to get a machine that has enough storage space for both the software you will use when recording, as well as the projects that you complete. I use a MacBook Pro which has about 279 GB. At the time of this blog post I only have 13 GB available, so I use an external hard drive when I’m recording.
My laptop is about 15” and works out ok when I’m mixing and editing but I’d honestly recommend getting a 17” at the minimum. You could always connect your computer to a larger screen via HDMI if necessary.
When you’re trying to figure out what computer to buy, think about screen size: How big you want the screen to be so you can see what you’re doing, and also space. If you have a lot of space used up on your computer, you can get an external hard drive. I use the Passport for Mac which is 1TB. I’ve got TOOONS of stuff on there.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
The next thing you’ll need is a Digital Audio Workstation or a DAW. This is the software that will run on the computer that will capture your vocals. There are a lot but here are some to consider.
· Pro Tools: I personally use Pro Tools. Pro Tools is the industry standard, but in my opinion it isn’t very user friendly. If I hadn’t spent $800 on the software I probably would have switched over to something else by now. Pro Tools offers a monthly subscription (which I didn’t know at the time of purchase) and the option to purchase the software. I would definitely recommend Pro Tools only for people who are very serious about creating music because it’s an investment to purchase and to learn the software.
· Garage Band: Garage Band is great for a beginner and if you have a Mac computer, it’s built in so that’s a plus. You can record vocals and make instrumental music of your own with it. If you work in Garage Band for a while and start to feel like you’ve got it down, you can upgrade to Logic.
· Logic: I haven’t actually used Logic but from the videos I’ve seen, it is very user friendly and easy to use. Especially when it comes to producing music. A plus about Logic is that if you have got Garage Band down, then Logic will be super simple.
TIP: Whatever DAW you decide to go with, check out Lynda.com for hours and hours of tutorials on how to use the software.
Microphone: The quality of a vocal recording can be made or broken by a microphone, which is why it is one of the most important pieces of equipment. You’ll want to get a large diaphragm condenser microphone. I use an AKG c214, which is the little brother to the c414. I provide session vocals from home using this microphone and I never get any complaints about the quality!
Microphone Stand: Get a sturdy microphone stand for your mic.
Headphones: You’ll need a decent set of headphones that will help you to hear clearly what’s happening on a track. This will be important when it comes to editing and mixing vocals. I use Sennheiser Hd 280 pro headphones, which are closed ear and very comfortable.
Pop Filter: This is the little screen that goes in front of the microphone and helps prevent excessive noise from plosives like words that begin with the letter B and P. This will absolutely make a difference on your tracks.
Portable Vocal Booth: This is a great option if you don’t have a treated space to sing in. I like to record in my living room and not in a treated space and I feel like the vocal booth helps prevent extra sounds from getting in my vocal. I use the sE RFX Reflection Filter.
Tip: You don’t have to get the most expensive microphone to have good quality. My mic is a AKG c214, which is like the little brother to the 414 and it sounds really good. I never get any complaints about the quality of my vocals.
USB Audio Interface
The next thing you’ll need is an Audio Interface. This is what sends the signal from the microphone to your computer. When I first started I had an Mbox from Avid but that got messed up and now I use a Scarlet 2i2 from Focusrite. There are lots of brands to choose from.
Tip: Get what is going to make sense for you. This has only two inputs because that’s all I need but if you’re going to be playing lots of instruments or want to play with someone else you may want to get one with more inputs.
You’ll want to get monitors so you can hear what the track sounds like when not listening in headphones. Monitors will be really important for mixing. The monitors I have came with an mbox bundle. They are Studiophile AV 40 monitors. I’m not sure if they make them anymore.
Tip: You can usually get a bundle with your monitors, Audio interface, and microphone. Check out amazon, Sweetwater, or Guitar Center. You can also check out other manufacturers sites.
Links to equipment I purchased:
AKG C214 Microphone: https://amzn.to/2UwLi4C
Scarlet 2i2 from Focusrite: https://amzn.to/2EWJviA
Macbook Pro: https://amzn.to/2FdBnfi
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones: https://amzn.to/2TbxZ8s
sE RFX Reflection Filter: https://amzn.to/2Fctd6N
Studiophile AV 40 monitors: https://m-audio.com/products/view/studiophile-av-40
Microphone Stand: https://amzn.to/2T64mFp
VOCAL COACH’S TIP: It takes a great vocalist to record great vocals. Make sure you’re warmed up and using proper technique so you don’t hurt yourself. Need help with your voice? Sign up here for a free intro voice lesson and be sure to check out my free singing tips if you on this blog if you haven't already.
Well, there you have it! That’s everything that you need to set up your own home recording studio. Leave a comment and let me know where you plan to set up your studio. Your room? Closet? Living room? My studio is set up in my living room!