Setting up your first Home Studio

Thirty one years ago I set up my very first home studio. I was seventeen years old. I had a very expensive Fostex 4 track tape recorder. A very cheap microphone and a broom handle for a microphone stand…..I know…very  hi-tec.

Despite my limited gear I made a lot of great recordings that I was very proud of. In 2021 however, setting up your first home recording studio couldn’t be easier.

For less than I spent on my old 4 track, you can have a studio that’s small in size but big in power. Just as powerful as the big professional studios in London and LA.

1. A Computer

First off you will need a computer. It doesn’t have to be an expensive all powerful machine. Your average middle of the road home computer should do the trick.

I would recommend upgrading the RAM if you can and an external hard drive for backup etc is always handy, but to start off, these are not essential.

2. Software.

The next thing you need is recording software. This is called a digital audio workstation or, DAW for short.

There are so many to choose from. Protools, Logic, Reaper, Reason, Cubase, Studio One, the list goes on. Each DAW has all the power of a pro studio with a built in mixer, plugin effects, virtual instruments and synths.

Good news is you don’t need to buy one yet. A free daw is included with nearly all audio interfaces. Which is next on the list.

3. Audio interface

This is how you plug your microphones, guitars, keys into your setup and record into your DAW.

It processes your sound at professional quality and sends it to headphones and speakers that you have connected to it. It’s the hub of your studio.

When looking for an audio interface I would recommend the Focusrite scarlet range. These come in anything from 2 inputs to 18 inputs, they come with a host of free software and plugins including a special version of Protools, which is the industry standard in DAW software. Focusrite has been making professional recording equipment since 1985 so its a brand you can trust. My studio is filled with Focusrite gear, new and old, it all sounds amazing.

4. Microphone

I would recommend a large diaphragm condenser mic. In short a studio quality microphone that takes power from the audio interface . Again there are lots to choose from.

If you are looking for a big sound for small budget, check out the Prodipe ST1. It’s a pro studio microphone from the French company Prodipe. Great sounding microphone.

If you can also add a dynamic microphone to your list, not essential but all mics sound different and it’s good to have a different flavour available on recording days.

5. The extra bits

Microphone stand: Get a boom stand it’s great or aiming the mic at multiple sources and it’s way better than a broom handle.

Pop shield: Stops plosives, P and B pops in your microphone when recording. A must have, especially for rappers

Headphones: A must for recording and also for mixing when your budget doesn’t cover the cost of studio monitor speakers.

Your earbuds will do but I recommend going for something like Yamaha, Prodipe, Sennheiser, the better the headphones, the better your mix

Studio monitors: As you progress these are the next add on to your studio.

I love Yamaha studio monitors..they come in one inch seven and eight inch. For acoustic music the five inch are perfect. For most other styles the seven inch. For dance and electronic music the eight inch as the bigger speaker cones give better low end.

                        Welcome to the world of home recording…it’s a whole lot of fun.

For more information or advice please email or give me a call directly on 0851083876 and we’ll be happy to help.

Bill Murray
Bill Murray

With over 25 years experience in the music industry. Bill has done it all. A keyboard player and programmer. A recording and mix engineer who has worked with well know Irish artists such as the Young Folk.
A teacher in the Waltons New School Of Music, teaching home studio recording and software studio basics, Hi -Tec expert with Waltons for over 20 years and manager of both the Georges Street and Blanchardstown stores

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