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How to Build a Cheap Home Recording Studio

Posted In Audio Devices - By JohnScript On Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 With 0 Comments

Music is a true companion in major moments of our lifetime, and it was present in every important historical moment I can think of. In the last 100 years, music has changed a lot especially thanks to computer development. Nowadays, music is digital and it’s all about bits. Most artists use YouTube as the main channel of marketing, and Youtube has the power to convert an unknown artist to a world-wide phenomenon. PSY is a good example in this regard. Although music tapes and CDs can be a thing of the past, the vinyls are still praised by music fans all over the world. This is a sign that classic ways of listening to music will not die, and a way to remember that music is not about technique and technology, but it is all about inspiration and feelings.

How to Build a Cheap Home Recording Studio

Before starting to scout and buy home studio equipment, you need to know what is the minimum requirement for a home recording studio. Get the list prepared before you start this endeavor:

* PC/Laptop – this is the core of your home studio, the “brain” where every signal is processed
* Condenser Microphone – if  the PC is the core, the microphone is definitely the sensory system of your studio, because it will capture most of the sounds needed for your project
* Audio Interface / Preamp and SoundCard – this device converts the analog signal received from microphone to digital signal for your recording software
* Monitors – you will use these to hear the music you create
* Headphones – essential devices in the recording process
* Mic stand, pop filter, acoustic foam – these items will enhance the capabilities of your microphone
* Recording Software – used to mix everything together (vocals, instruments, instrumentals) and polish the final product

One of the best condenser microphones you’ll ever find is Rode NT1A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone ($229). This 5 stars microphone comes with cables and a popfilter. The NT1A Anniversary Model features a fresh redesign of the legendary NT1 classic studio microphone, used by many artists today. You will notice the difference.

Any condenser mic requires some sort of phantom power and some sort of analog preamp. I really recommend Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2 In/2 Out USB Recording Audio Interface because is a cheap solution, it bears phantom power, it features two award-winning Focusrite preamps, and it can be used with any laptop. That means more mobility for you. But if you want more, be sure to read The Best Audio Interfaces.

Home studio monitors are pretty important when mixing your songs. M-Audio Studiophile AV30 Professional Reference Speakers is a pretty good choice. The price is under $100. Headphones are not that important, so buy something that fits your budget. Don’t forget to buy a mic stand and some sort of acoustic foam. You can use a home made acoustic foam created from egg crates.

You can use a free recording software like Audacity or something commercial like Cubase. Check their website for more info.

 
The simplest and the cheapest alternative to this cheap recording studio is a USB mic. If you get this mic you can skip the audio interface/preamp equipment. If you want to go that road, I recommend AT2020 USB Version. AT2020 is a versatile mic and with the USB version you just need to plug it in your usb and start recording.

>Here are a pack of next-level mics:

Learn how to mix your songs on How to mix your vocals

Conclusion
Everyday I’m reading various articles about folks trying to setup a simple home studio in a budget around $300-$400. Let’s face it, it’s not that difficult to get that amount of money, but it’s really complicated to put them to good use and acquire the suited equipment for a music project like a home studio. In cases like this, people just don’t know what to buy and end up with recording devices that has poor value. In time, they need to invest more money in order to upgrade everything by getting the right stuff. So, why use the second chance, when you can get everything done proper the first time?

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