A home recording studio sounds great, and a basic set up isn’t as difficult to acquire as you might expect. However, there some essentials you’ll need – unfortunately, no phone recording app will give you studio sound and control. Without these basics, you’ll have a hard time producing anything that would be considered listenable on a professional level, and you certainly won’t be able to modify your recordings in any meaningful way. Therefore, to help get you up and running, we’ve put together this list of essential home recording equipment. We’ll go into a bit of detail about what makes each of these bits of kit so important, and where you can start looking to get one from.
Whilst you won’t necessarily require a top-of-the-range-with-all-the-bells-and-whistles PC, you will require a computing rig with at least some decent processing power and storage. There’s a chance you already have one of these, but if not then you really need to as it’ll be at the heart of your essential home recording equipment from this point on. Without it you won’t be able to store, save, manipulate or review any of your recordings. So, you won’t be able to do anything really.
If you’re struggling to make your mind up, check out this article about the best computers for music production.
2. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
You’ve got your computer, but you can’t just refine your recordings on PowerPoint. Now, you need the software to match your hardware. There are numerous DAWs you can choose from, and often the decision simply comes down to personal preference. You’ll primarily use your DAW to record and edit, but occasionally to mix and master your tracks too. The good news though is that of all the major general DAWs you can choose from, they’re all pretty good. All you have to base your decision on is compatibility with your computer and what’s in your price range.
Find all the major DAWs discussed in more depth, and with purchasing details, here.
3. Audio Interface
With your PC and DAW sorted, we’re really burning through this list of essential home recording equipment. Now we’ve reached the point of actually putting your sounds into your screen. Without an audio interface you simply cannot record audio directly onto your computer. An audio interface is an external device that you hook up to your microphone or instrument and your PC. It then converts the analogue audio you’re creating into digital data. This data is your recording, which you can then get to work within your DAW. Without an audio interface, you’ll have nothing to work with.
For all your audio interface needs, take a look at this handy buyer’s guide.
Of all the items on this list of essential recording equipment, this feels like one of the most obvious. That being said, you shouldn’t just go out and buy any old mic. You’ll need a microphone of a certain quality to make it a worthwhile investment. Luckily, we’re living in a time when the market is full of top notch mics that can be acquired without breaking the bank. Beyond that, we advise you to pick up a pop filter to take the punch out of your plosives.
Find your own magnificent microphone here.
5. Studio headphones/monitors
Much as with mics, you need to get headphones/monitors (speakers) of a certain kind and quality to make it worthwhile. Studio headphones and monitors aren’t quite the same as their commercial counterparts. More commercial headphones and speakers tend to slightly smooth out the audio they’re playing. For the purposes of mixing and editing your own audio, though, you’ll want a completely raw experience of the sound.
The above items are all essential home recording equipment, and whilst it can certainly be assembled on a budget, the truth is it is an investment. The good news though is once you’ve got these essentials in place you’re good to go. You’ll inevitably add bits of tech and gizmos as time goes by, but until then, these essentials are all you’ll need to start capturing your own sound at home.