Music

A Beginners Guide to Setting up A Small Home Studio

In this tutorial Ill guide you through setting up a small home based studio. In today’s modern world you really don’t need a great deal to get going. Too many beginners run out and buy tonnes of expensive equipment thinking they will need it and then it sits there unused. In this guide I’ll go over the bare minimum you need.

Computer

The most essential aspect of your home studio is a fast reliable computer. Chances are you already have one sitting at home which you could use. Don’t stress too much over performance. If your PC/Mac was brought in the last 5 years and wasn’t incredibly cheap you should be good to go. Ensure you have some space on your hard drive to install some music software and enough room for samples and songs etc…

In regards to the Mac VS PC debate it really doesn’t matter. Use whatever you have. If you are looking for an upgrade to get more performance out of your rig, I would recommend a solid state drive. There prices have dropped dramatically in the last year and will give your rig a massive performance boost for less than £60/$100.

Software

A DAW (short for digital audio workstation) is the software you will use to actually create, modify and compose your music. It’s the software you will find yourself using the most when producing and one of the most important pieces in your studio setup. There are a great many options to choose from. The main DAW’s out there are

  • Ableton
  • Fl Studio
  • Reason
  • Dubturbo
  • Cubase

Each option has varying pros and cons and are sold at different price points. Almost all come with a free trial, so I recommend you download a couple and see which you prefer. Be aware that each piece of software can pretty much do everything the others can do just in a different way so you won’t limit yourself by picking one over another.

VST’s (virtual synthesized instruments) are pieces of software that can be added to your DAW to perform various tasks. These could be new synthesiser, new equalizer software, compressors, distortion units and everything in between. Many are free and some are very expensive. My advice is to learn the DAW of your choice inside out and then start branching out to VST’s.

The Audio Interface

The audio interface is the connection between your computer and any devices you would like to include such as keyboard, speakers, mixers etc… It is completely up to you to choose a viable interface that is within your price range. Many modern computers come with fairly decent sound cards that should suit your need out of the box.

Monitors

Don’t rely on your Hifi speakers when producing music; they will lie to you. What I mean by this is Hifi speakers are designed to make music as enjoyable as possible. Many do this by altering the audio signal coming into them. For example most speakers make the bass more pounced. Therefore when producing you may feel that you have enough bass on a track while in reality there is hardly any at all. When the track is transferred to an IPod or car system it will sound completely different.

A monitor is a speaker that outputs the audio signal exactly how it without any alteration. If your track sounds good on a monitor it will sound good on any system. This makes monitors essential to any serious studio. There are many to choose from again at very different price points. Take a trip down to music store and listen to them with your favourite tracks. Ask the store clerk to help you out with your purchase. Time spent here will pay off big time.

Well that’s it a very basic studio and ready for you to create the next masterpiece. Happy producing!