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Building a home recording studio is a It takes months of planning, research, and

HUGE project…isn’t
isn’t it?
it preparation…doesn’t
doesn’t it?

Why Simple is Best

The fact is, not only is it possible to start o with just a simple studio…it’s actually
Because just like with any hobby, by attempting too much too soon:
you get overwhelmed,
you get discouraged, and…
you eventually quit.
And all the time and money you invest is wasted.
So to avoid this fate, just keep it simple.
simple  But you might be wondering…

How cheap is too cheap?

Since home recording can be expensive…musicians often search for the
cheapest possible solutions to recording their music.
And that’s ne, except…there is such a thing as “too cheap“.
While it is technically possible to build a working studio for as little as $400-$500…
There are low limits to what can be accomplished in such a studio…and I really
wouldn’t recommend it to anyone truly serious about recording their music.

The Perfect First Studio for Newbies

With the following 9 items:
1. A Computer
2. DAW/Audio Interface Combo
3. Studio Monitors
4. One or Two Microphones
5. Headphones
6. A Few Cables
7. One Mic Stand
8. A Pop Filter
9. Ear Training Software 2/13
What you have is a simple working studio, perfect for anyone just starting out with
home recording.
And here’s why:
1. It allows you to start ASAP with a minimal investment in both time and money
2. More importantly…it’s the perfect foundation to build upon later as your skills

1. A Computer
When starting a studio from scratch, the
computer is the biggest expenditure by
But these days, virtually everyone already has a computer of some sort.  And
virtually all computers are fast enough to at least get you started.
So in the beginning, regardless of your budget, I recommend using what you
have for now.

2. A DAW/Audio Interface Combo

The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is the
software used to record, edit, and mix
music on your computer…
And the Audio Interface is the hardware used to connect your computer with the
rest of your gear.
These two items can either be bought separately, OR as a combo.  But your rst
studio…I highly recommend the combo.
Here’s why:
It’s one less item on your shopping list.
It’s cheaper than buying them separately.
It o ers guaranteed compatibility and tech support.
Plus, the two companies that o er these combos are among the best in the
business: Presonus
Presonus and Avid
Presonus o ers a free copy of their Studio
Studio One Artist DAW
Artist with the following
popular interfaces:
3/24/2019 The 9 Home Recording Studio Essentials for Beginners

PreSonus AudioBox USB –

USB (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
PreSonus AudioBox iOne (iOS compatible) -
Presonus AudioBox iTwo (iOS compatible) –
Presonus Audiobox 44VSL –
44VSL (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/Thomann)
Avid o ers a free copy of their Pro Tools 12 DAW
Avid 12 with the following interfaces:
Pro Tools DUET – (Amazon/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
Pro Tools QUARTET – (Amazon/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
Personally, I’d recommend the Pro Tools option to those willing to spend that
much.  But for most people, the Presonus options are priced a bit more reasonably
for rst-timers.
Having said that, if you don’t mind purchasing your DAW and interface separately…

3. Microphones
As your studio matures over time…
You will eventually amass a collection of
dozens of di erent microphones, each for
di erent purposes.
For now though, all your really need is 1
or 2 to get started.
And the ones you choose will depend on the instruments you plan to record.
Since most people start out just recording vocals, the “classic” large diaphragm
condenser vocal mic I recommend is the:
Rode NT1A – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
For any “high-frequency-rich” instruments such as acoustic guitar, piano, or
cymbals…the small diaphragm condenser mic I recommend for starters is the:
AKG P170 – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
For drums, percussion, and electric guitar amps, the best mic to start with is
undoubtedly the:
Shure SM57 –
SM57 (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
For bass guitar, kick drums, and other low frequency instruments, a great mic to
start with is the:
AKG D112 – (Amazon/B&H/GuitarC/MusiciansF/Thomann)
3/24/2019 The 9 Home Recording Studio Essentials for Beginners

4. Headphones
When you’re just starting out, most of your
time is spent recording by
by yourself.
Which is why in the beginning, all you really
need is one pair of headphones.
For studio purposes, there are 2
very speci c designs considered
designs standard:
1. Closed back headphones for tracking –
 which o er optimal isolation at the
expense of lesser sound quality.
2. Open back headphones for mixing –
which o er optimal sound quality at
the expense of lesser isolation.
While open back headphones are considered more of a luxury…for your rst
studio, closed back headphones are a necessity
As a supplement to your headphones, I also recommend an extension cable…since
standard headphone cables are always too short.
A word of caution though:  With THIS cable especially, I highly advise getting the
best one you can a ord, as cheaper ones have horrible signal problems from the
constant movement.

5. Studio Monitors
Despite the fact that many home studios
now do the majority of their mixing on
open back headphones…
Traditionally, mixing
mixing has always been
done on speakers…
Or as they are commonly known in pro
audio: studio
studio monitors,
monitors or near
near eld
Compared to consumer speakers, which are designed with various tonal
Studio monitors have a much atter frequency response, which provides a more
neutral, uncolored sound to objectively judge your mix.
3/24/2019 The 9 Home Recording Studio Essentials for Beginners

6. XLR Cables
One day, your studio will have a TONS of
di erent cables…
But for now, you only need 3:
1 long XLR cable for your mic, and…
2 short ones for your monitors
For a standard project studio in a small
10×10 room, these are the EXACT ones I
(1x) for your mic)
1. Mogami Silver XLR 25ft (1x) (
(2x) for your monitors)
2. Mogami Silver XLR 6ft (2x) (
But before you buy those monitor cables, double-check that the stereo output of
your audio interface has XLR connectors.
Sometimes they use TRS, in which case, you’ll need these instead:
Mogami TRS/XLRM 6ft (2x) – (Amazon/GuitarC/MusiciansF)

7. A Mic Stand
While many beginners assume that all mic
stands are the same…
The truth is…a solid mic stand is one of
the most worthwhile investments a new
home studio can make.
However, since mic stands can get pricey,
and most beginners are on tight
A cheap reliable stand is more than adequate when you’re rst starting out.
Classic Example:
DR Pro Boom – (Amazon/GuitarC/MusiciansF)
3/24/2019 The 9 Home Recording Studio Essentials for Beginners

8. Pop Filters
And its purpose (besides looking cool) is to  lter-out an unpleasant vocal
artifact known as “popping“…
Which is a low frequency blast of air caused by the pronunciation of “P” and “B”
Is it a “must-have“ item for your studio?  Absolutely
Absolutely not.
But they’re pretty cheap, and they do help.  And for some strange reason,
many beginners still feel they must have one, which is why I’ve included it on this
list anyway.

9. Ear Training Software

But here’s why I’ve included it on my
More than any piece of gear you might buy for your studio…the ONE THING that
will make the biggest di erence in the outcome of your recordings is your EARS.
And while you might believe your ears are pretty good already…
Having a good “musician’s ear” is not at all the same as having a good “sound
engineer’s ear“.
As musicians, we learn to recognize notes, intervals, and chords.  But as sound
engineers, we learn to recognize bands of frequencies.
And until your ears develop a basic grasp of this skill, you won’t really know if things
are sounding good or not. 7/13