Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Basic Equipment Needed to Start a Studio

Use a screen on a diaphragm mic to minimize static

Starting a home-based studio requires five basic components to get started. Rather than purchasing a full arsenal of equipment, it is best to start with the basics and then add equipment as needed. You may find that you need a new microphone to get a warmer sound with a guitar in the future. Learn to use the fundamental equipment before adding new devices to your studio. Obtaining professional results is possible with basic equipment used in any competent studio.


A computer serves as the central part in your recording studio. Without a computer, you will not be able to process sounds, record audio or edit. When choosing a computer, you will want to consider the speed of the processor and the amount of RAM. Look for a computer that has options to upgrade to a large amount of RAM. RAM will determine the number of samples you can play at one time, and will directly affect the speed of your computer. Purchase the fastest processor and the most RAM you can afford. If you already have a computer, consider adding more RAM before purchasing a new computer.


There are several types of microphones that you can purchase for a recording studio. Start with a basic all-purpose microphone, such as a condenser microphone. Condenser microphones have the greatest frequency response and can accurately process most sounds. If you plan to record only vocalists, then you should purchase a large diaphragm microphone. These microphones produce a deeper sound which is preferred when recording vocalists. Avoid dynamic microphones when possible, these are rugged microphones that are best for use on the road or when power sources are limited. Dynamic microphones also drain power from the computer to operate.

Sound System

Speakers are an essential part to a studio. Without speakers, you can't monitor the recording. You can use headphones, but when editing audio, occasionally some unexpected distortion can cause the volume levels to rise instantly and dramatically. If you wear headphones, you are at greater risk for damaging your hearing. Choose speakers that have polypropylene-coated woofers to provide a clear bass sound. Ferrofluid cooled silk cone tweeters will help produce consistent and clear high sounds. Magnetic shielding is also important to prevent interference from the computer.


Very few on-board computer sound cards come with MIDI connections. These connections are essential if you wish to connect a musical instrument to your computer to record directly. Choose a sound-card that is capable of recording in at least 24-bit sound. The sound-card must have MIDI Inputs and preferably a MIDI output option as well. You will also need to purchase a MIDI cable, as even MIDI instruments do not come standard with cables. Because most musicians own their own cables, and a cable is expensive, reducing the instrument cost is possible by excluding the cable.

MIDI Keyboard

Purchase a MIDI keyboard that has touch sensitivity and a pitch-bend wheel. The pitch-bend wheel rotates up and down and allows you to create realistic pitch bends in the music. This is especially useful for studios that rely upon electronic music. Touch-sensitivity, or fully weighted keys, allows you to strike the keys with differing degrees of force just as a real piano would. Striking the keys hard will increase the volume. Even if you don't play piano, you can use step-record features to play one note at a time and record an entire piece by first selecting the note value in the software, and then hitting the appropriate piano key.

Audio Editing Software

Choose an audio editing program that will allow you to record, edit and master music. Audacity is a free audio-editing program you can download from the Internet. You can also choose from commercial options such as Logic, Cubase, Peak Pro, Digital Performer or Sonar. Each program will produce the same results, but the interface changes slightly. The choice of audio-editing programming is largely up to your own personal preferences, so choose the audio-editing software that works best for you. If you don't already own software, start with a free program to get the feel for what you need in a program. Then, once you improve your knowledge, you will be able to select an appropriate program for your needs.