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The Ultimate Musician’s Guide To Studio Gear

There’s a massive window of opportunity for musicians to record, produce, and release songs, albums, and projects. Technology has given more freedom for people to get into music production because of the availability of suitable devices and software.

This is probably why many home recording artists are becoming popular and getting so many listeners on all kinds of music and streaming websites. In comparison, music production decades ago required large and expensive equipment and experts who knew how to use them. These days, you could simply buy compact recording gear, like studio headphones and condenser mics, which can be easily set up and used in your home.

If you’re planning to start making your own music, here’s some information to help you out.

  • An Excellent Computer 

To start recording, the primary gear you’ll need is a computer or a laptop. However, you can’t just use any computer since not all of them could handle the intense music production requirements. Thus, if you have a computer at home, make sure to double-check the specs to see if you could record and edit music on it.

To make sure your computer is suited for recording, here are some specs that it should possess:

  • A Powerful CPU Processor: A powerful CPU will be necessary when you’re recording and working on your music on a digital audio workstation (DAW). It should be able to handle multiple effects and instruments that you run simultaneously. If the computer isn’t powerful enough, it’ll crash all the time because the processor gets overloaded.

Check the cores of the CPU since this will indicate if the PC is good enough for recording. Higher cores mean that it’s more powerful. The same goes with clock speed; make sure that you look for higher ones. While there are different brands, checking for reviews and investing in higher cores and clock speeds should be enough.

  • RAM: The next important thing to look for in a computer is its random-access memory (RAM). While the processor could run all your needs simultaneously, the memory is where you’ll be loading virtual effects and instruments. Just like the processor, though, higher RAM would be ideal but not necessary.

Depending on how many projects you want to work on or how extensive those projects are, 16GB might be enough. But if you plan to use your PC for other things, like gaming and personal use, you might want to upgrade that to 32GB or 64GB.

  • Solid State Drives For Storage: Another thing you’ll have to equip your computer with is a solid-state drive (SSD). While these are pretty expensive, they’re a better option for musicians who record at home. This is because they’re faster than hard drives, which makes data transfer more practical. But you’ll also need external storage drives so you could back up your files and projects. This way, you could still access them even if your drives get damaged.
  • A Large Monitor Screen: When you’re recording on your DAW, you’ll notice how several layers of instruments and effects could fill up your screen in no time. A larger monitor can help you see the entire project without having to scroll up and down trying to find a particular track. It also allows you to stay organized, making it easier to follow the entire project without getting a headache. If you have the budget, you could use multiple screens to make things easier on you.
  • Digital Audio Workstations 

When your computer is running and ready to go, you’ll need to choose the correct digital audio workstation (DAW) to install. Essentially, the DAW is where you’ll be recording tracks from instruments or vocals. It’s also where you’ll be editing, adding effects, and exporting them into the final audio file.

Since you’ll be spending a lot of time working on your music in a DAW, you’ll need to look for something that works for you. It’s going to take time to learn the ropes and master it, so it’s a good idea to try something easy to use at first and then branch out to more complex ones later.

But to start, here are some things to consider when looking for the right DAW for you:

  • Consider where you’ll be using it: Depending on the device you’ll be using the DAW on, you could have limitations on which one could work for you. If you have the best PC setup for music recording, almost any DAW could work for you. But make sure to see it’s compatible with your operating system first
  • Virtual instrument library: One of the benefits of using a DAW is that you won’t need to play all kinds of instruments to write a song. The virtual instrument bank will allow you to use all sorts of instruments to produce your track.

It’s a good idea to listen to the sample tracks of the virtual instruments before you decide that it’s good enough for you. Moreover, you might want to compare the number of instruments available in different DAWs. Usually, high-end and expensive DAWs have more virtual instruments that come in the bundle. However, you can still purchase and download other virtual instruments to add to your library later.

  • Virtual effects: If you’re familiar with adding effects to vocals or musical instruments, you probably already know that you could do this with separate gear, virtual effects, or post-production. Using separate gear could be expensive, so it might be a good idea to use virtual effects that you could find on your DAW.

Just like virtual instruments, looking through the virtual effect plugin library and comparing them to other DAWs could help you decide which one to download. Later on, you could download other plugins for effects if you find your current ones lacking.

  • Your budget: While it’s already extremely affordable to simply purchase a DAW instead of building an entire recording studio, this software still come at different price ranges. Some are even free, which might be good for doing simple projects as they have their limitations.

More expensive DAWs have more features, effects, and instrument libraries, which gives you more options and flexibility. On the other hand, it’s also important to remember that price isn’t the basis for the quality of these audio workstations. Looking into the reviews and deciding whether it’s worth the extra bucks could help you decide.

  • An Audio Interface 

Another essential addition to your recording setup is an audio interface. There are all kinds of brands, all of which come in different shapes and sizes. This device helps you connect your audio mixer or other musical gear to your computer.

When you have a mic, you can’t directly connect it to a computer unless it’s equipped with USB 2.0 connectivity. The same goes for other instruments, like your guitar or electronic keyboard. The audio interface converts the frequencies from the instruments and your vocals so the computer can recognize them for processing in your DAW.

Here are some things to remember when buying an interface:

  • How it connects to your device
  • How many instruments you can plug in at once
  • Multiple volume control
  • No latency
  • Audio quality
  • Other features
Young hipster woman is recording a song at home recording studio. A girl plays an acoustic guitar sings into a microphone records video on a laptop.
  • Studio Monitor Speakers And Headphones

Even if you have the abovementioned gear ready, you won’t be able to hear your tracks if you don’t have studio monitor speakers and headphones. The great thing about these professional-grade devices is that they produce accurate sounds. This means that it doesn’t add extra bass or alters the sound to augment the audio quality, like what usual headphones or speakers do.

Precision is important so you could hear precisely whether or not the track is to your liking. This way, you could edit or re-record, improving your songs.

  • A High-Quality Studio Microphone And Accessories 

A high-quality studio microphone is another important investment. But there are some things to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting a good one. Hence, looking into reviews and product comparisons would be helpful.

There are different kinds of microphones to choose from, such as a condenser, dynamic, USB, and ribbon mics. Each one has its own benefits and downsides, and you must think about what you’ll be using the mic for before buying. Whether you’ll be using it for vocals, drums, acoustic piano, brass instruments, wind instruments, strings, electric guitar, or acoustic guitar, there’s a different mic that would pair well.

Microphone accessories will also be necessary, like mic stands, so you can position them at the right height and angle. You might also want to invest in a pop filter to avoid recoding unpleasant popping sounds from blasts of air.

Conclusion 

These are some of the gear and devices you’ll need for a home studio. Other additional types of equipment could help you out, but when it comes to a sized-down home studio, these five things should suffice.

If you find yourself struggling with outside noise and unable to deal with them by noise suppression and post-production clean-up, getting soundproofing panels would also be fantastic.

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