It used to be that you needed at least $50,000 to build a recording studio, with bigger more professional ones costing several million more. Today, however, depending on the type of music you’re looking to produce, you can actually record, mix, master and publish a full-length album using nothing but a mid-spec PC or laptop.
In fact, you won’t even have to build an actual physical audio workstation anymore. There are a lot of free audio editors you can use instead. All that’s really left to do is get your recording space and gear ready.
Setting up the room
Contrary to popular belief, sticking egg crates to your walls won’t contribute much to your soundproofing and acoustic treatment efforts. There’s actually a lot of math and science involved in the process. In fact, the Salford Innovation Research Centre even has an entire research group dedicated to figuring out the best way to improve the acoustics of rooms, which is crucial to getting just the right sound out of your amps, acoustic instruments, and vocals.
The good news is that you won’t really have to worry about any of that to build a decent enough modern home studio. All you really need is a relatively quiet and reverb-free room. This is because, with the ready availability of virtual instruments, amplifiers, and sound fonts, the only thing you’ll actually have to record with a mic is vocals.
And for that, you could just use a cheap USB condenser mic like the Samson Go Mic, which comes with a sensitivity switch that allows you to record in less-than-perfectly-quiet rooms. Couple this with good pair headphones so the mic can’t pick the backing track up and you’re all set.
Getting physical instruments
Of course, while there are a lot of great virtual instruments out there, some people still prefer to use physical instruments. For instance, if you’re a music producer who’s also a guitarist, you may want to actually play the guitar parts that you are trying to record.
Well, the good news is that this doesn’t require you to make any changes to your makeshift recording room. All you need is a multi-effects pedal with a good amplifier and cabinet simulations.
A great example would be the Mooer GE200, which costs less than £250 but could easily hang with gear that cost thousands more, thanks to its impulse response (IR) capabilities—a first in its price range. Simply put, IRs accurately recreate how sound behaves in certain environments. This effectively eliminates the need for expensive additional gear like amplifiers, mics, and pro-level acoustics.
Preparing the recording gear
Finally, you’ll also need an audio interface like the super affordable Focusrite Scarlett Solo—which also comes bundled with a good digital audio workstation and a bunch of useful plugins—so you can record with close to zero latency. Keep in mind that multi-effects pedals like the Mooer GE200 are specifically designed to only take guitars as inputs.
You’ll need a separate interface for everything else that you need to plug in. Your chosen studio equipment doesn’t have to break the bank but you do need to organize properly to ensure you get the right kit for your studio and the music you want to record.
The key is digital technology
The bottom line is that you no longer have to shell out a fortune to build a decent home recording studio or book a commercial one for a session. Thanks to the advent of digital technology, music production has become much more affordable and accessible. So, what are you waiting for? Start creating and sharing your music today.