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How to set up a studio at home (for beginners)

( **The original article was published here.  ))

You will probably agree that setting up a home recording studio is a difficult project, especially for beginner musicians.

It takes even months to plan this process, analyze and prepare the optimal options. Getting started is actually a lot easier than you think, if you follow our recommendations and keep an eye on the list of basic items.

We will show you step by step how to start a studio from scratch.

Simple = best, why?

Starting with a simple studio is not only more accessible and affordable, but also better. By struggling with premature difficulties you get tired, overwhelmed, lose motivation and just quit the game, which means that the time and money you spent is simply lost. To avoid all this, it is necessary to find out certain issues in advance, such as how much will come out of an overly cheap studio. It is really possible to set up a studio at home for 1200-1500 GEL, however I would not advise anyone to create their own music at this price.

I recommend 9 essential items for the best first studio:

Computer

Audio interface / sound card

Studio monitors

One or two microphones

Studio headphones

Cables

Microphone stand

Pop filter

Ear Exercise Program / Application.

Let us now consider each item on the list in detail.

The computer is the most valuable investment for your studio. Even between desktop and laptop versions it probably makes sense if we prefer a laptop because it is portable and more convenient. When choosing a computer, software data and process speeds will be crucial in the future, so you may also want to start with a standard version of the latest software, although on a professional level I recommend the Macbook Pro .

In the case of the audio interface, a small sound card with several channels and a USB port is enough for a beginner musician. Here are a few of them as the best options: lexicon alpha / lambda or combo like Presonus brand .

LEXICON ALPHA

LEXICON LAMBDA

Once your studio is upgraded you will definitely have a few microphones for each appropriate purpose, however for a start you will need at least 2, which of course you should choose depending on what type of music you plan to record. We have already found the facts and recommend you to trust our experience so that you do not have to buy a useless item. Since most of the vocals are recorded in the studio, a condenser microphone with an ideal large aperture to start with, which I can recommend is this: the budget Rode NT1A, while the relatively expensive option should definitely consider the AKG C 214.

For high-frequency instruments such as acoustic guitars, pianos, or cymbals, we recommend using small aperture condenser microphones, such as the AKG P170 . Best for drums, percussion and electric guitar: AKG P4. The AKG D112 will be perfect for bass guitar and other low frequency instruments .

AKG P4

When choosing a studio headphone, headphones with two designs are considered standard:

1. Closed type headphones for trekking, which offers optimal sound insulation at the expense of sound quality.

2. Open type headphone mix, which offers optimal sound quality at the expense of less insulation.

If open type headphones are considered a luxury item, closed type headphones are a must for your first studio. This is another important piece of advice from us. We will definitely recommend the classic options such as: Sennheiser HD280 and AKG K72.

Traditionally the mixing process has always been set up on monitors. Compared to consumer speakers designed to amplify different tones, studio monitors have a more pleasing frequency reversal, delivering more neutral tones to objectively evaluate the mixing process. While there are plenty of expensive options out there, there are also plenty of budget options on the market for beginners. Top units you would recommend: KRK Rokit 5 G3 and JBL LSR 306P.

One day you will have dozens of cables in the studio, before that you will definitely need these 3:

1 microphone XLR cable, for example: Mogami Silver XLR 25ft and 2 cables for monitors, for example: Mogami Silver XLR 6ft. 

Before you buy monitor cables be sure to check if the stereo output channel of the audio interface / soundcard is compatible, they often have ports on the TRS, in which case you will need a Mogami TRS / XLRM 6ft.  By no means do I want to convey that I recommend for the mother to be inactive.

As for the microphone stand, a light yet solid stand tailored to your budget will be perfectly acceptable.

On the pop filter probably everyone will remember the clichéd episode from the movies where a young pop star is seen working in the studio. In addition to the visual effect, the purpose of the pop filter is  to filter out uncomfortable sounds when recording vocals. This item may not be one of the essential items at all, but considering that it is quite cheap and does its job unconditionally, why not. In addition, many musicians believe that it is a must-have item when recording vocals. We recommend the AKG PF 80   filter.

AKG PF 80

Lastly, this item would not really fit on a typical list because technically you will never need it, but a little trick would be this method for your ear. You may think you have a fairly accurate ear, however the ear of a musician and a sound engineer are completely different from each other. Musicians learn to recognize notes, intervals, and chords, while sound engineers observe frequencies. Until your ear develops basic skills, you will not really know if the audio environment is good or bad. I found it interesting to search for some information in this regard and for example we offer the official paid program at the link: https://www.trainyourears.com/, but I checked and a number of free applications can be found in the PLAY STORE.

Pro Electronics
Hualing Tbilisi Sea Plaza, Varketili 3/4 Phone no : + 0322560061

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