GAK Home Recording Essentials

Home Studio Equipment

With the huge amount of advances in computing and technology over past 10 years it is now possible to finally achieve music recording and production at home with the same level of quality that was once confined to professional studios. There are a few essential pieces of studio equipment that you may need to get that dream home studio up and running:

  • A fairly powerful computer (preferably MacBook pro, iMac etc)
  • A pair of studio monitors
  • Music production software
  • An audio interface
  • Headphones

This list of equipment above is described as DAW, Digital Audio Workstation. You can build up your DAW with some extra equipment but this can all depend on the type of recording and music you will be creating:

  • A vocal microphone
  • An instrument microphone
  • A MIDI keyboard or controller
  • Virtual instruments, effect plugins and VST’s

You should view each piece of equipment as a link to a chain. Your aim when creating your home studio is to manage your budget so you can get the best mix of the various components of the chain.

Audio Interface Options

The interface is the foundation of your DAW because this enables you to get an audio signal into and out of your computer. There are a large number to choose from and this is because there are many different types of recording and production out there!

The main factor you might want to consider is the number of input and output channels you are going to need.  Audio interface’s have at least two output channels and one input channel. If you are looking to record vocals and guitar at the same time then you will need more input channels as each instrument will need its own channel. Trying to choose an audio interface can be a pretty tricky challenge, ranging from the budget models starting at around £70 all the way up to the pro models which will set you back a hefty £900!

We have compiled the best budget, mid – range and high-end interface’s on the market, to make setting up your home studio that little bit easier.

(Click on each image for more info)

budget
ALESIS I0/2 – £74
MID-RANGE
FOCUSRITE 6i6 – £209
HIGH-END
ROLAND UA1610 – £619

Studio Monitor Options

You may already have some speakers for your iPod, computer or even expensive HiFi speakers for listening to music. They all have one thing in common, they are designed for consumers to listen to music. When you are recording and producing music you DO NOT want your speakers to modify your sound at all. These are speakers specifically designed for audio production, where accurate audio reproduction is essential. Studio monitors are specifically designed for audio production where authentic audio reproduction is crucial.

We have compiled the best budget, mid – range and high-end monitors on the market to make setting up your home studio that little bit easier.

(Click on each image for more info)

budget
MACKIE CR4 – £109
MID-RANGE
KRK VXT6 – £699
HIGH-END
ADAM A8X – £1146

STUDIO MICROPHONES

When looking for that perfect microphone, you’ll encounter a variety of mic types spanning a vast range of shape, sizes & prices. The specs and features associated with hundreds of models can be confusing, leaving you mainly judging a microphone by its price. Getting some basic knowledge on microphone specs and terminology will help you select a mic that best suits your needs. You’ll be looking for such things as polar patterns, multi-pattern, frequency response, response curves and proximity effect.

We have compiled the best budget, mid – range and high-end microphones on the market to make setting up your home studio that little bit easier. Each microphone has its unique purpose, always try and keep this in mind when shopping around.

(Click on each image for more info)

budget
AKG P5S – £36
MID-RANGE
SHURE SM7B – £285
HIGH-END
NEUMANN M149 – £2729

It’s always going to be a tricky situation when trying to choose the perfect set up for your home studio, but at GAK we try to make that a little easier. Whether you are starting from scratch or upgrading, there are endless ways your setup can start and finish so our advice is to keep it simple, start off small, try to budget evenly, get creating, and have fun!

As you record and produce, you’ll discover new ways to solve problems WITHOUT splashing out or adding more and more gear (though a nice new sampler does sound pretty good right about now). Ahhh! OK. Back to work.


Do you agree with these essentials? Did we miss anything?

How do you create your home studio recordings? What’s your go-to gear?

Let us know in the comments below.

 

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