Contrary to popular belief, getting the essentials for your studio is far easier and quicker than you might imagine. You really can get away with a nice, easy set-up at a very affordable price. Keep it simple too; you don’t have to buy every plug-in and high-end speaker just because you’ve seen producers use them in ‘Sound On Sound’ magazine. Jumping in the deep end with equipment is risky, as you can find you have all the gear and no idea. This can rapidly discourage you and ultimately, force you to quit. So allow your studio to mature at the same pace your skills do.
Most home studios can be built around 9 pieces of gear:
1 / A Computer
2 / Audio Interface
3 / DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
4 / Speakers
5 / Microphone
6 / Microphone Stand
7 / Leads
8 / Pop Filter
9 / Headphones
Majority of you will already have a laptop / computer in your home to use. So next is the interface. This is the middle man between your instrument and your computer. Quite simply, an interface is how you get good, high-quality recordings that you can mix and control with great ease. The Roland Rubix24 is mint and comes with built-in vocal preamps to give your voice that extra edge along with Ableton Lite Live. The Scarlet 2i2 Interface by Focusrite is brilliant; one that I’ve been using myself for years. It has zero latency issues and super easy-to-use controls. It also comes loaded with Cubase software meaning you have no need to hunt around for the most pragmatic workstation for you (which is an easy transition into looking at DAWs).
Digital Audio Workstations… There are a lot of them. Some great, some good, some fine and some okay. It all depends what you want to be doing with the end product. If you’re looking to release your music out to the world then you’ll need something along the lines of Logic Pro or Pro Tools, as these are the titans of the software world. Top quality recording meets rapid fire controls and thousands of plugs-ins built straight into your computer. If you’re content just having your recordings for yourself, then you can download freeware like Fruity Loops, Reaper or even GarageBand that’ll allow basic recording functions.
Now its speakers / monitor time and its pretty simple. Just make sure you’ve got something with good bass response and a lot of headroom. A safe bet are the Rokit KRK’s; a great place to start mixing as they really pump when you need them to and have all the clarity in the world. Anything from the Yamaha HS Series is fantastic too for a grand balance of frequencies and optimum control over the EQ.
Microphones are an absolute must, even just to record clicks / percussion; you’ll always find use for a nice microphone. Shure are the top dog when it comes to performance and recording microphones for value meeting quality. A standard SM58 Cardioid Mic would do a good job, but getting hold of a nice condenser mic would be the dream. Either look to Shure’s SM7B for some serious clarity (it also comes with a built-in pop filter wrapped around the mic, which looks pro) or Rode have the NT1 (package deal) that comes with the pop filter, shock mount / cradle and mic dust cover. Equally if you’re predominantly recording acoustic instruments, then you’ll find peace in a dynamic mic; the Shure SM57 is the industry standard that gives you clarity and depth in a small little tubular body all for under £100.
The next three points are pretty easy to arrange as they’re the most generic parts of your studio. But remember, buy cheap and you’ll buy twice. A great mic stand to get would be by the brand ‘Hercules’ (I swear by their stands and carry bags). Leads (XLRs, jacks, aux cables etc.) are another easy call, D’addario do lifetime guaranteed cables in all forms that are reliable, strong and very well made. Finally of the quick three-pointer comes the pop filter. The pop filter will remove any harsh / attacking sounds (like ‘POPS’) that come from you as you’re singing.
Finally you have your headphones. Open-back, closed-back, sound-isolating, semi-open… There’s a lot going on. Open-back headphones allow you to remain in the room when mixing, closed-back or sound-isolating remove you from your current space and drop you right in the music. For recording you want something big that can allow you be submerged with in the moment as you’re putting your all into it. When it comes to mixing, open-backed are the preferred option for most as they give the option of remaining ‘conscious’ within the mix and being aware of the headroom you have left / not to overcrowd.
So there you have it. Pick up the pieces and create the puzzle that is going to make you your millions. Super easy, super quick and all the fun!
If you have any questions about this please give me a call on 01473 253666 or pop in-store and we will help get you sorted!