I know, I know. “Accessories” is a pretty anti-climactic topic to end this series on. However, we’re talking about 12 Home Studio Necessities here, and accessories can play a huge part in the functionality and workflow of your studio.

In light of that, I’ve compiled a list of accessories that I find indispensable in my home studio. This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’s more of a starting point to get you thinking about what various items you may be missing.

Here goes.

  • Equipment Rack – There’s nothing quite like having a rack for your equipment. However, filling up a rack can be quite addicting. (Be careful of G.A.S.) That being said, even if you just have a few pieces of gear — audio interface, power conditioner, rack-mountable hard drive — you can still benefit from a rack. There are all kinds out there. At the time I’m writing this article, I’ve got a very basic $20 rack sitting next to me. It’s just a metal frame with rack rails on it. Works just fine.
  • Desk – You’ll need at least a table to hold all your fancy gear. There are lots of desks out there made specifically for recording studios. Some have built-in racks, which is nice. I currently use an L-shaped glass desk I got from a local hardware store. It has a raised platform, on which I place my computer monitor and studio monitors.
  • Headphone Accessories – It’s always good to have extra headphones around in case you are recording more than one musician. Also, if your interface only has one headphone out, you’ll need to either get a headphone amp with multiple outputs or just a Y splitter cable to split the signal to two headphones. It’s also a really good idea to have a few headphone adapters in your arsenal – both 1/4″ to 1/8″ and 1/8″ to 1/4″ (see picture). You never know when you’ll need to listen to an iPod, or someone may bring in headphones with only a 1/8″ connector on them. You’ll want to be able to accommodate them. Another one of my most favorite accessories is a headphone extension cord. It’s simply a 10-foot cable that has a 1/4″ male jack on one end and 1/4″ female on the other. This lets you get away from your noisy computer and hard drives to record without having the headphone cable yank you back.
  • DI Box – It’s always a good idea to have a DI box for recording guitar and bass. Sure, you may mic up a guitar or amp, but getting a copy of the signal off of a direct box can be invaluable. (It allows you to change the guitar/amp sound down the road if you need to.)
  • Flash Drives – While I love using my firewire hard drives for recording and archiving, they can be a pain to lug around to a friend’s studio to swap files, etc. Keep a few USB flash drives handy. If you’ve got a large set of files you want to move around, a larger, bus-powered USB drive would be great for that. I’ve got an old 20GB USB drive that I use from time to time. It makes life pretty easy.
  • Pop Filter – Just go ahead and get one. You can play all the tricks you want when recording vocals, trying to prevent the notorious plosive B’s and P’s from popping the microphone, but a pop filter will make your life easier, so the singer can focus on just singing. Use the nylon ones, or even the metal mesh ones out there. I’d stray away from using a thick foam “ball.” Foam tends to absorb high frequencies, and you you want the vocal to pass through to the microphone as accurately as possible.
  • Blank CD Spindle – You know the spindle that hold a stack of blank CDRs when you buy them? Well, once you use up all your CDRs, keep the spindle. It’s a great place to store all of your installation discs for the various pieces of software you own. It gets so annoying to have to look through jewel cases or those little paper sleeves to find the disc you want.

Like I said, this is certainly not an exhaustive list. These are simply things I see around my studio as I type this.

What do you use? What accessories can you not live without?

  • Toshi

    A lava lamp! Its a MUST for any studio 🙂

  • Greg

    One accessory I am struggling with finding is, the right chair. Any recommendations on a decent, comfortable and moderately priced chair, preferably with fold up or detachable arms to accommodate a guitar?

    • I gave up the search for detachable or raise-able arms… I’m sure it’s out there, but I just got a comfy mesh one from an office store.

  • monkey

    Thanks brother. I’ll come back to you when I’m famous 😛

  • Sykrxx Syariff

    You are awesome. It totally help. Im using Studio One pro 2 riht now. and the tips really help.

    • Your’e welcome. Thanks for the comment!

  • Ram

    Thank you so much for the tutorial Joe. All of your input came in handy. Thanks again!

    • You’re very welcome. THanks for watching!

  • bilal

    Great series Joe. Just wanna ask do I need a DI Box if i have an audio interface with a hi-Z Instrument input??

  • Thompson

    Thanks Joe! this helps alot!

  • Aniket From India

    Thank you so much for having posted something like this. I am building a new home studio here with my friend at our rented apartment, i took note of everything you posted. Still very confused about the Power Conditioner, i thought one UPS would do al the trick. Anyway again nice post. I am using a lot of the knowledge i got from this blog in the setting up of my new studio.

    However, the Midi Keyboard section was absolutely disappointing.

    • Hi Aniket! Thanks for the comment! I’m sorry the MIDI keyboard section was disappointing. I’m not a big keyboard guy. 🙂

  • Till

    Love reading your articles – basic and NO NONSENSE attitude….great!

  • Bensueters

    Great articles, made me really re-evaluate my set up. Glad I found this thanks!

  • Hey Joe,can you cover Patchbays.Article request.

  • Control surfaces for sequencers:
    Alpha track http://www.frontierdesign.com/
    FaderPort http://www.presonus.com/
    Nocturn http://www.novationmusic.com/
    Mcu pro http://www.mackie.com/
    Liquid Mix http://www.focusrite.com/ *

  • Great Monitors stands in various lengths.
    http://www.gale.co.uk/stands.html

  • How about monitors ( speakers )
    Monitor volume/parameters Controllers

    mackie big knob
    sm pro audio nano pad
    dynaudio air remote
    grace design m904/904b
    jbl msc1
    tc electronics pilot

    • Bryan

      http://www.dangerousmusic.com/dbox.html
      Dangerous D-BOX: Combination Summing and Monitoring System

      • Analog Summing
      • Monitor Control
      • On-board D/A conversion
      • Talkback
      • Headphone Cue
      • Simultaneous Input Monitoring

  • Stands for monitors,and audio gear. http://www.quiklok.com/

  • What about workstations desks.
    If you like something good check these below:

    http://www.omnirax.com/
    http://www.martinandziegler.com/
    http://moorecoinc.com/
    split-level-training-table-

    The Ikea store offers affordable GALANT desk system.

    Check them out.

  • What about Fl studio is this software classified as DAW and can get the job done?

  • Jesse Alday

    i know that a di box is a “direct in” box. or at least i am assuming this. could you give me a link to the one that you use or just explain what they are? thanks.

    • Hey Jesse. A DI is simply a way to take an unbalanced, low impedance signal (like a guitar signal) and turn it into a balanced line-level (XLR) signal. The reason for doing this is so you can run the guitar signal over long cable runs without losing signal or picking up noise. Also, it allows you to run your guitar through a preamp that maybe doesn’t have a 1/4″ guitar input.

  • Mr Miggz

    I stumbled on this set of articals by accident and found it to be very well written. I have been recording for years and sometimes find that I get opinionated and very set in my ways. The truth is that there is really no right way when recording. It is all about having fun and when fun is being had.. that is when you get the best takes. I record in an apertment and use electric drums and amp simulators… it took months to make it all work! Now that all the bugs are worked out it rocks.
    The one thing that I wanted to add is … if you use a PC keep it off the internet!!! Viruses are bad and can ruin your studio!!!
    Secondly… You don’t have to have the latest and greatest. I use a Mac and when they put out Leopard it took Digidesign 9 months to put out an updated driver for the Digi002. Now that Mac released Snow Leopard I fear that it will be 9 more months for a driver update. Point is… when you have all the bugs worked out of your system, leave it alone!

    • All very good points. Thanks Mr Miggz!

  • Pete

    Hi, excuse my ignorance but would a small mixing desk be enough in my home studio or would i need an audio interface as well.As you can probably tell, I know nothing about this so any assistance you could give would be helpful.Would it be possible for you to include on your site a “Dummies Guide To Home Studio Setup”, for people like me who are just setting out in home recording. A diagram showing the correct way to connect components together would be really helpful.
    Thanks for the info your site contains. I’ve been looking for something like this for weeks. Top marks.

    • Jake B

      Hey man; a mixing desk won’t help ya very much. haha. 🙂

      My understanding is that you’re putting together your first system, right? Then go with the five most basic necessities to record audio-a computer to record your music to, a DAW to install on your computer and record with (look up Audacity for a great free program that isn’t very intimidating and can handle almost anything you throw in it), a decent recording microphone, an audio interface that connects your microphone to your computer through USB (or firewire if you have it already on your computer), and some kind of speakers or headphones to listen through.

      [[Almost any speakers and any decent headphones will sound more clear and accurate than computer speakers, but go for some nice headphones (or monitors and foam) so you can really get deep and hear what your doing.]]

      Just those five items and you’re recording; that’s all the gear you should need for a while. 🙂

  • not_a_monkey

    Need Adaptors. And adaptor cables. Lots of. This can, depending on your disability to avoid G.A.S., sum up quickly to quite a large chunk of money, but if you’re like me you’ll own several equipment with either balanced XLR, balanced 1/4 Jack and/or imbalanced 1/4 Jack I/Os, plus you may consider some Cinch-adapting and 1/8 Jack devices for worst cases. All those want to find a way together, and I heavily suggest that you don’t use a cable/plug which just mechanically fits, because you may encounter bad electronical surprises.
    With PCs, regardless of brand, and Flash devices on the rise you should also afford USB extension and USBMiniUSB cables; an extension is especially useful if your PC doesn’t have Frontside USB connections.

    • Great suggestions. Thanks!

    • I was gonna say the same thing regarding cables and adapters…I have a bag I keep them in hanging from under my desk and I’m in there almost every time I go to record, looking for the right combo of cables and adapters for the job at hand. I would also add to be sure to get gold adapters, and to watch the rings – I’ve accidentally put a mono cable on a stereo signal and spent some time trying to figure out why the hell I was only getting a left channel, lol. Also cable ties…you can never have too many, especially if you buy up a lot of gear and reconfigure your studio layout a lot. Cables everywhere becomes intolerable all too fast, and detangling them is a great time waster ;).

      • I can muchly recommend cable ties made out of velcro ; instantly removable and reusable..

        • CamBam

          I grabbed some twist ties from the grocery store, and they are working great!