There are hundreds of ways to configure a home recording studio. If you’ve had a home studio for a while, then you know what I’m talking about. Over time my studio has evolved and grown in all sorts of directions. If you’re new to home recording, however, this can be almost paralyzing! You’ve got a million different products, all of which claim to be the savior of the modern world.
Where do you even start? My goal here isn’t to provide an exhaustive list of everything anyone would ever think of wanting and then give you a comparison chart that covers every minute detail of every recording product ever invented. Rather, I’ll speak from my own experience. I’ve been recording music for years, and while I’m no multi-platinum award-winning audio engineer, I do have a lot of good experience setting up home studios.
This article (or series of articles) is catered more towards the beginner, but there’s a lot of information here that could prove helpful to you whether you’ve been recording music in your home since the fifties or you have yet to record your first note. Hopefully I can shed some light on the matter and give you a broad picture of what it takes to have a great home studio. In thinking through this, I’ve come up with the following list:
12 Home Studio Necessities
- DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)/Recording Software
- Audio Interface
- Studio Monitors
- External/Dedicated Hard Drive
- Acoustic Treatment
- MIDI Controller
- Good Cables
- Power Conditioner
Over the next twelve articles, I’ll delve into each of these. Not everyone will need everything on the list, but these are the things I’ve come to see as necessities in my home studio. You probably noticed that I’ve not included any standalone multi-track recorders or workstations. I certainly have nothing against them, but they seem to be slowly dying off with the advent of affordable computer-based recording equipment.
Nearly all of the topics I plan to cover will be applicable to standalone DAW user, so stick around. If you’re starting to freak out a little bit, tugging at your collar like George Banks in “Father of the Bride,” relax. You certainly don’t need everything on this list to get started. In fact, you could have only two or three out of twelve and be well on your way to making great recordings. I started out in high school with a basic #1, a free version of #2, and a #4 that I can’t believe I even used…more on that to come.