If you are thinking of becoming a music producer or if you are a beginner, the first step is setting up a basic home recording studio.
Most beginners are on a budget so your home studio will need to be cheap but functional enough to start making some music.
As a beginner, you need to start with the basics. There is no point in spending thousands of dollars on audio equipment at first.
You will have plenty of time to build up a recording studio that evolves with your music skills!
There are a few essentials though that you will utterly need!
In this post, I will give you some tips on how to set up a basic home recording studio on the cheap! Really, you don’t need to ruin yourself to start making music.
You probably own a computer but the question you have to ask yourself is if it is performant enough for music production. The performance of your laptop is the main priority to focus on when purchasing a laptop for music production.
Your music production laptop or computer will utterly need some of the following specifications in order to perform: A high CPU performance, 8GB Ram as a comfortable minimum and 1+ TB Hard Disk Drive (HDD).
It should also be compatible with your DAW Software.
There are some budget laptops for music production for less than $500.
The Dell Inspiron Flagship 15.6-Inch, for example, is a friendly PC that comes with an Intel Core i5-6200 processor which is above the +6000 CPU Benchmark recommended for music production.
Under the $600 benchmark, you can find the Lenovo 17.3-inch HD High-Performance Premium Laptop PC and ASUS F555LA-EH51 15.6 Inch. Both are excellent laptops for music producers on a budget.
A DAW stands for ‘Digital Audio Workstation‘. It as a computer-based software that allows you to produce, edit and record audio files.
If your budget is really tight you may consider trying one of the free DAWs available. I would rather recommend you to start with a trial version of paid DAWs.
The best DAWs offer a trial version of 30 days, which is plenty of time to decide whether or not it suits your needs and expectations.
Most DAWS come with a sound library, instruments, integrated plugins and FX. How many will depend on which edition you are going to buy.
Although most DAWS have similar features, as you will find out later, your final decision on which one to go for will be based on different aspects. Your operation system, your preferences towards workflow, your experience (beginner or pro), how much you are willing to invest and your purposes.
There are many different types of headphones with distinct features and specifications. Active vs passive noise canceling headphones, open back headphones vs closed back headphones, on-ear headphones vs over-ear headphones, and the list goes on.
Finding the right professional studio headphones can be tricky and your final choice will mainly depend on your budget, needs, and preferences.
So how to choose professional headphones that will fit your needs and your budget?
The best studio headphones must be able to reproduce a neutral, flat and well-balanced sound. they will utterly need good noise isolation.
Since you will probably spend long hours with your headphones on, they also better be comfortable and solid.
Luckily there are some affordable professional studio headphones that can reproduce an unbeatable sound quality for a tiny price.
Studio monitors are an absolute must for any music producer and an essential part ( if not THE most important part ) of a home recording studio.
Even the best studio headphones, cannot reproduce frequencies at the exact response rate as studio monitors and you can’t exclusively rely on them.
Again, investing in the right monitors doesn’t have to kill your budget. It’s true that more expensive monitors will often have better value for the money than cheaper ones but there are some great deals out there for less than $200!
Ideally, studio monitors will produce a clear and defined stereo image, clear mid-range, high, crisp highs and a tight bass. They should also adapt to the size of your room and possess some specifications that allow you get the most accurate and neutral reproduction of your sound, without any distortion of the original track.
If you are on a tight budget, it’s even more important to check out if the monitors of your choice possess some of the basic specs that are required for recording and mixing.
The genre of music you produce will also define your final choice.
At some point, you’ll eventually need an external output device to connect all your audio devices such as studio monitors, headphones, mics or synths.
The best audio interface will also be able to reproduce the most accurate playback without any latency or distortion.
The built-in soundcards of laptops or computers are often too limited for music producer’s needs. Their drivers will never reproduce the same sound quality as an audio interface.
Like any other audio device, exceptional sound quality comes with a price. The good thing as a beginner is that you won’t need an elaborated configuration at first.
You can start with only 2 preamp inputs, which is a basic setting for most of the most affordable models and sufficient to handle a basic home recording setup.
You should be aware though, that you might need a more elaborated configuration in the future when you are building your home studio with more sophisticated gear.
For beginners, I’d recommend the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2 2 out USB Recording interface. It’s a great value for a basic home studio configuration at a reasonable price.
It takes years to build up a home recording studio and most producers know that it is a never-ending story anyways. Music production is an expensive passion!
Actually, you can make it as cheap or expensive as you want but you can’t get around the basics. If you are a singer or if you already play an instrument you will have some additional needs
There are other elements that are crucial in setting up a basic home recording studio, such as acoustic isolation which is an aspect often ignored by producers. A comfortable workstation can also have a great impact on your productivity.
My name is Angélique. I am a full-time music producer and blogger.I created Children of the Electronic Revolution to give you all the tools you need to help you become the successful music producer you dream to be !