How to Build a Cheap Home Recording Studio that Rivals Professional Systems

A common misconception about recording studios is that they’re expensive to own and operate. That used to be true, as recently as a decade ago, but these days, home recording enthusiasts can set up a decent system for only a few hundred dollars, as long as money is put towards the right items.

Here are a few tips for building a cheap home recording studio that rivals the professionals.

1. Know What You Need – I’ll succumb to the temptation to list a bit of gear, here. To record a basic band, you’ll need at least a 44.1Khz input sound card (or a digital interface), a condenser microphone, a few dynamics (Shure SM57s are great and cost less than $100 each), a mixer, and digital audio recording software. That’s it. If you can pay less than $100 for each of those, you’ll end up with a fully featured studio for under $600. The reality is that you can even pay less than that–just read reviews of anything you’re considering, and make sure that you’re buying the mics that will do the job you need before you hit up some comparison shopping.

2. Use The Internet – The real key to building a good home studio for cheap is patience. You can use Google shopping for the cheaper items, but if you’re looking for a nice mic, check out eBay and craigslist to find local deals. They can be pretty shocking at times–I’ve found $400 mics and $500 recording software on Craigslist for under $80 each. Many people don’t even consider buying used, but that’s their loss and your gain; when every dollar counts, it’s important to use every tool at your disposal.

3. Know Your Equipment – My friend Bart’s home recording studio costs about $1,000 less than mine (his cost about $200, if you want to do the math), but when I record with him, his recordings always sound on par with anything that I can do. It’s because Bart went to school for music production, and he knows his weapon of choice (in his case, Pro Tools) like the back of his hand. I know my recording equipment fairly well, and I can get a better sound than some pro studios from my home recording rig It’s not enough to buy the equipment–read everything you can about how to use it. That’s the hardest and most worthwhile investment that you can make in your studio.

Remember, knowledge is key. The more you know, the less you’ll pay to get your home recording studio to a professional level. Read up on microphone types, good microphone models, bad mics, and what makes all of them good or bad. When you find somethnig you’re interested in, use local sites to find the best deal possible. In a short time, you’ll have a great, full featured studio that rivals the professionals.

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