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Essential Upgrades For Your Home Recording Studio
(14 October 2020)

 

Designing a home recording studio is a goal of many musicians and producers, no matter what stage you are in your development. When you first create your home studio, it is recommended that you cover all the basics and don't spend an unnecessary amount of money until you know what you truly need.

After a while, as your skills progress and you want to improve your sound, you are likely going to start having a look at some of the best studio equipment available and wondering what your next purchase should be. If this sounds familiar, read on for the essential upgrades you need to make for your home recording studio.

1. A New Computer Audio Interface

For most people starting out with their home recording studio, a computer works well enough to capture sound and mix and edit projects. However, as you continue to develop your skills and look to refine your music, you will want to upgrade to using a computer audio interface. This piece of equipment will transfer your recordings into your computer and connect to your headphones, which enables you to understand the sound you are producing better.

When it comes to choosing an audio interface, you first need to consider what you are recording. For example, vocalists should be looking for an interface with a high-quality microphone pre-amp, while bands require multiple inputs. If you play a specific instrument – such as guitar or piano – you need an interface with a specific input for your instrument.

By narrowing down what you want to record, you will be able to narrow down your choice of an audio interface. From there, you can explore other features, such as whether or not you need Digital i/o or MIDI ports, a separate multi-channel headphone amp (essential for DJs), and direct monitoring. Finally, make sure that any audio interface you choose works with your platform(s) of choice – PC, Mac, iPad, or multi-platform.

2. More Microphones

In the beginning, your home studio needs one microphone that is adaptable enough to serve the majority of your recording needs. This microphone type needs to be built well and feature multiple polar patterns to ensure it can record an array of sound sources.

Generally, a condenser microphone is suggested as your first purchase, as they are highly sensitive and accurate, and they record a wide frequency range. Condenser microphones have a large or small diaphragm; the former captures a wide frequency response, while the latter is ideal for instruments with higher frequencies. However, in many cases, a dynamic microphone may be more suitable for your recording needs as they can handle very loud volumes (such as drums and guitar).

It is important to note that no single microphone works for everything, which is why professional recording studios use a wide range of them. Therefore, one of the most beneficial steps you can take to enhance your sound is to upgrade your current microphone or add another with different features to your collection.

3. Useful Monitor Stands

If you are serious about the sound you are creating, then monitor stands are essential to your studio. If you have been placing your speakers on a desk, you will likely have noticed comb filtering effects attached to your sound produced by small vibrations between the monitors and the surface. Therefore, to avoid unwanted sounds, consider purchasing high-quality monitor stands, which are simple devices that provide exceptional benefits.

On the market, you can find a wide range of monitors in various shapes and sizes. In many cases, the most popular options are adjustable height stands with free-standing bases; however, desktop studio monitor stands also have their merits. The free-standing designs enable you to move your speakers off your desk, while the desktop stand designs keep them on your desk, but in an elevated position.

Both of these options will assist in enhancing bass reproduction and decreasing vibrations, which will, in turn, increase your ability to listen to recordings critically, and balance and mix the sounds. The most important thing is that the monitor stands you choose are suitable for your space and make the most of your active speakers with great quality.

4. Room Treatment

One main characteristic of all professional recording studios is that they have a soundproofed and acoustically treated environment. Unfortunately, without soundproofing measures, it is almost guaranteed that your recordings will have unwanted reflections and reverb. Once these sounds are in the mix, it is virtually impossible to remove them, which makes it crucial to decrease the chances of having them in the first place.

This is where room treatment comes in as it strives to control the sound reflections in the space to help you create higher-quality recordings and mixes. You have two techniques of room treatment to choose from when confronting your area: absorption and diffusion. While each of these techniques has its benefits, generally, you want to prioritize absorption, which actively eliminates reflections and deadens the studio.

Your first order of business must be to absorb bass frequencies by installing floor/ceiling bass traps. These are the most crucial elements of any room treatment plan because they absorb the low frequencies and, in many cases, mid/high frequencies as well. After you have these in place, you can then look to purchase acoustic panels that absorb the mid/high frequencies and eliminate any standing waves that bass traps can't reach.

Finally, you may also want to incorporate diffusers into the room to disperse the lingering frequencies and maintain the room's natural tone.

Final Thoughts

Suppose you already have the basics and are considering making a couple of upgrades to enhance the sound. In that case, you want to ensure you are looking for particular items that will complement what you already have. While it is exciting to imagine buying every piece of gear that you crave, it is crucial to find high-quality items that fit your budget. Plus, you want to make sure that you are actually going to use them.

By following the advice above, you can become smarter at shopping for home recording equipment whenever it is time to upgrade.

What is going to be your next home studio purchase? From which purchases do you think you get the most value? Let us know your thoughts and any additional insights in the comments below!

AUTHOR BIO

Amrit Shivlani is the Founder and CEO at Music Majlis, a community-driven e-commerce platform that offers a wide variety of musical instruments and equipment for every musician and sound professional. The company's goal is to make music-making, recording, producing and mixing accessible and available to everyone.

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