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Stuart Charles


Stu has been dabbling in Home Recording, Beatmaking & Music Production since 2007. Over the years, his “Stu-dio” has undergone many different changes resulting from a lot of experimentation, failure, and success.

When he isn’t writing content or working on the site, you’ll find him making videos, working on a graphic design project, painting, or doing something artistic while listening to John Coltrane, Big Band, or an Indie Pop love song. πŸ˜›

Check out some of his work over at Painterly Stew!

Marlouzel Mabunga

Contributing author

Marlouzel is a passionate writer and music enthusiast. She writes about culture, music, and the arts while listening to a variety of music – from 1920s Jazz to current indie bands like Belle and Sebastian.

Mission Statement

Home Studio Basics believes wholeheartedly in:

  • Helping you make sound decisions according to your specific circumstances.
  • Providing excellent, in-depth content to you the reader!
  • Delivering the truth about the products, concepts, and topics in question.
  • Teaching and educating in a way that makes sense for people in all walks of life.

Sound Decisions

If you’re making a sound decision, it’s sensible, logical, effective, reliable, thorough, healthy, etc. It involves the use of good judgment. Our goal is to help you do this by eliminating confusion, circumventing the hype, and outlining why you should or shouldn’t buy a particular product. We want to enable you to make the best decision possible with regard to your unique situation.

Excellent Content

We strive to deliver the best content on the web, and our content is always updated to reflect the current market – for better or worse. We regularly receive emails, site comments, YouTube comments, and sometimes even donations thanking us for the work we do.

It makes us feel good knowing that people are not only making good decisions but are fully and completely satisfied (even ecstatic) with our recommendations once they receive their purchases.

It’s a creed that we live by!

The Truth

The truth is something that we always want to expose, whether that be something like The Law of Diminishing Returns, an ever-important question such as What is Sensitivity in Headphones? (why it matters), and anything in between.

The truth about the products themselves is very important to us as buyers, as well as our readers who also may be looking to purchase something. We’re here to help you make an informed decision based on data and science rather than emotion. Stu’s experience with over 130 headphones and 70+ Amps and DACs also contributes to the expertise provided in his articles and recommendations.

That said, sometimes we get excited about stuff that’s good, and rightly so!

Teaching & Educating

One of the most important things that we adhere to and live by is explaining things to people in a way that makes sense. How often have you started researching something only to be even more confused than when you began?

Unfortunately, techies like to speak in jargon and while they may indeed be smart, that doesn’t help the average reader trying to find a simple and concise answer to their question.

We can’t promise that the content will always be short (Stu tends to get REALLY long-winded, lol), but it will most certainly be super informative and written in a way that’s practical and logical. I can promise you that! πŸ™‚

Now a little bit about where I came from…

People call me many different things. I have been referred to as Stu, Stew, Stewie, Stewy, Stewey, Stuart, Stewart, Suart (misspelled lol), Bluart Stack (Stuart Black), Stuie, Stuie Charlie Blackie, Stu Boo Charlie, Stubear, Studabega, Stu Pickles, Vegetable Stew, Beef Stew, Stu-bird, Stu-pot, Stuhoff, Stusker, Stu Ball, Stuart Little, Studebaker (Stu-da-baker….Stu, the baker, get it? LOL because I used to work in a bakery :P), Stu-pendous, Stu-perb, Stu-riffic, Stu-bert, Stu-lark, True Blue Stu, Stu-hurt, Brunswick Stu, Box-Stu, Stu-barticus, Stu-barticus Rex, Stu-bearto, Disco Stu, Stu-licious, Stumaster, Stupocalypse, Stuopolis, Stuell Angel (from A League of their Own), Sexy Stu, Stu-Man, Baby Stu, Stu Ferrigno (instead of Lou Ferrigno), Stuey Armstrong, and a ton of other stuff that I can’t even think of right now πŸ™‚

Just imagine Bubba from Forrest Gump explaining to Forrest all the different types of recipes he can make with shrimp. Lmao.

A Beatmaker at Heart

I have been making beats on and off since 2007 (Life gets in the way sometimes). I messed around with Reason for a while and noodled with different equipment (some unnecessary) before I discovered my true passion in 2009: The art of sampling.

I still have the first beat that came from a sample and will never forget it. A song called “On Sunday” by New Buffalo. Music has always had a way of digging itself into my soul, and this song was no exception.

I remember being so excited about the beat I made. I showed it to a co-worker at the time, and he instantly fell in love with it. It made me feel amazing to connect with someone musically and have them be affected by the sound. I asked him if I should add a bass line and he said to me “Never ever change this beat, keep it the way it is”. To this day I have not altered it in any way.

People have compared some of my work to the likes of 9th Wonder and J Dilla, and that in itself is truly flattering. I appreciate comments like those because it does make me feel good to be compared to some of my biggest influences. I’ve always made beats for the love of the craft, and at this point, I can truly say that without reservation given how long I’ve been doing it. I think something that you’d still do even if you made no money from it is an example of true passion.

Here’s an example of one of my more popular beats!

Nowadays, I am constantly digging through old vinyl, forever in search of amazing sounds, some of which get lost in .25c bins at my local thrift store. I have been told I have a good ear for music, and enjoy chopping samples, laying down sweet basslines, rapping, and playing around with synthesizers like the Korg Volca Keys.

Building your own studio doesn’t have to be a difficult process. You can bypass many of the obstacles and failures that I endured by reading through this website.

If you ever need feedback or support with anything, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, or contact us. Also make sure to regularly check back here, as we’re always updating the site.

With that said, are you ready to find the perfect headphone?


All the best and God bless,



-Home Studio Basics


Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

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Christian December 27, 2014 - 2:40 pm

Nice website Stu! It’s neat, organized and well-themed to your home studio site. Keep it up! =)

Stu December 27, 2014 - 2:43 pm

Thanks Christian!!

Hope December 30, 2014 - 2:16 am

Stu! I love the beat sample! You have a gift my friend:-) You’re pretty funny too…loved your bio! Best of luck to you!!

Stu December 30, 2014 - 2:17 am

Thanks Hope!! I appreciate your kind words πŸ™‚

Leo January 6, 2015 - 4:03 am

Nice website Stu, glad that you found your passion

Stu January 6, 2015 - 7:56 pm

Thanks Leo!

Lucius February 6, 2015 - 11:13 am

Hi Stu,
the links to FB, twitter, etc, are floating on the left side of the page. It obscures the view. Otherwise, a well thought out website.

Stu February 6, 2015 - 7:54 pm

Thanks I will have to see if it’s an isolated issue or broad. Try zooming out if you haven’t already on your comp. On my laptop it looks fine.. Appreciate the heads up though.

Timothy MAhony(WA) February 17, 2015 - 10:45 pm

Great Website STu-I’m saving it on my favorites list for WA Associates to reference in future-always wondered how to setup a home studio but soon I’d like to set up am Al-in-one karaoke and Dj system at home when I have more time and a little more money as a hobby and use your ideas and website to help me get setup.

Great work-thanks for the information.

Stu February 17, 2015 - 10:52 pm

No problem Timothy! Look forward to hearing from you again! Thank you for stopping by.. Stay in touch and all the best..

Sharon Schovajsa April 8, 2015 - 7:36 pm

Very nice website Stu! Wish you much success! If my husband needs a replacement for his microphone I will know where to come for info. Thank you much! Good Job!

Stu April 8, 2015 - 7:38 pm

Thanks for the comment Sharon! Hope to hear from you soon!

RedCloud June 19, 2015 - 12:55 pm

Seen your video so I decided to check your site out. It’s cool keep on doing you WA fam!!! Listened to your beats 2 you’re doing good stay up.

Stu June 19, 2015 - 11:01 pm

Thank you kind sir!
I really appreciate you giving them a listen

Jay July 5, 2015 - 7:53 pm

Great site, I love home recording and dabbling with audio software. Your articles are well written and presented, good work. I have bookmarked this site and shall call back again.


Stu July 6, 2015 - 12:17 am

Thanks man!

Bernard Eng July 6, 2015 - 3:03 am

Hi Stu, just wondering how COOL if I’m having my own studio in my house! I’ll be recording all my guitar playing! Cool mate!

Stu July 7, 2015 - 9:58 pm

Thanks for stopping by mate!

Dmitriy July 24, 2015 - 8:25 pm

Hey Stu,

I’ve finally made it to your Website, lol

Man, I can’t describe how I love to see when someone is doing what he is destined to do! This is your thing, I can see it behind every word in each of your posts and pages! Seeing all those pictures of microphones and headphones made me feel like remembering all my music skills and knowledge and start to compose! Yeah, I have 9 classes of music school behind, btw. It’s a shame I’ve never touched a piano since I graduated and now I’m too busy doing other important life-stuff.

I’ve listened to your first beat. LOVED it!!! It sounds so Silent Hill-y. Have you ever played any of those games? Sorry, can’t stop being a gamer, lol.

OK, I’m now listening it for the third time and my wife has just told me it’s the new track we will be listening in our car πŸ™‚

Anyways, great Website, keep it up! And I’m so glad we’ve met, albeit only on the Internet πŸ™‚

Stu July 25, 2015 - 2:48 am

Wow man, really glad you stopped by!! Ahh man the memories I had playing Silent Hill with my cousin at my grandmothers house back in the day in the pitch black.. It really does make me nostalgic.. I love scary movies and games.. Do you have any recommendations ?

So glad you liked my beat, it really does mean a lot.. I put my soul into this stuff πŸ™‚ As for this website.. I have been working my butt off on it, so the fact that you noticed really makes me feel good..

Hope to stay in touch and talk more about games and stuff!


Dmitriy July 25, 2015 - 10:06 am

Hey, no problem, Stu, I really meant it and I know how does it feel when someone you barely know just tells you how he likes what you’re doing πŸ™‚

Scary movies and games, hmm… I must admit, I don’t remember when was the last time I went to cinema or even watched a scary movie at home, so not sure if I’d recommend something of the latest. If you’d asked what were my favorites, I’d probably said David Lynch’s movies like “Lost Highway” and “Mulholland Drive”. I guess they’re not scary per se, but watching them can really cause a sense of inexplicable dread getting all over you. Lynch is just not from this world I think, lol.

As for scary games, I’d totally recommend “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” – it is just brilliant, but don’t EVER play it in headphones as it will drive you insane. Also, I recently discovered the game “Lisa: The First”. It is a short game and it’s very NES-looking, but it completely breaks your mind. It is not a horror game, but the sounds from the game can really make you uneasy. There were moments, when I felt the urge to turn the lights in my room on – as quickly as possible. The game is free, btw.

I probably don’t need to mention games like “Resident Evil”, as everyone knows them. Ah, you should also try “The Walking Dead” games – they’re about zombie apocalypse, but they are just brilliant because of their excellent writing and they’re kinda like interactive movies. Not too scary in terms of making you jump out of your chair, but they will make you feel horrible by showing you how monstrous can people become in times of crisis.

Those are just a few recommendations that instantly came to my mind. When I remember anything else I’ll let you know.

Sure, let’s stay in touch and feel free to contact me anytime – for any reason, really, be it games, music, or if you just feel like talking.

Stu November 8, 2015 - 4:34 pm

Hey man I meant to get to this comment and never did. My apologies! Thanks so much for the recommendations and well thought out reply..

It’s an exciting time for gamers right now. I was going to splurge and get the ps4 with metal gear solid and fallout 4 (comes out in 2 days!) but I decided to hold off and try to get a good black friday deal.

How’s your website going though? Play any new games? I’m itchin for another one of your reviews!

Talk soon,

Michael August 2, 2015 - 2:44 pm

Hi Stu,
Great site and set up on here. Easy to read and informative.
You left a comment on my site asking about social plug in I use and it is called Super Socializer. You can get it from the WordPress plug in search. Hope this helps, and keep up the good articles.


Stu August 2, 2015 - 6:41 pm

Hey man!

I have super socializer but my layout is different from yours.. Hmm odd. Did you take the icons off of the left hand side on your site?

Frank November 7, 2015 - 7:01 am

Hi Stu,

When I was a DJ back in the day in the mid 90’s, I had to drag equipment and 300 CDs from my van for a gig. Now its just a home office. I like your site, very informative & I like the set up.


Stu November 8, 2015 - 4:23 pm

Thanks much Frank! Times have really changed haven’t they? Everything is so on demand now.. and that could apply to technology in general as well. People now more than ever before have the power to build a home studio at a pretty reasonable cost..

Thanks for stopping by!

Larry Anderson January 25, 2016 - 2:31 pm

Hi Stu, great website very informative great visuals and good helpful content.
keep up the Awesome Job!
Have a blessed day!

Stu January 25, 2016 - 4:06 pm

Hey Larry! Thanks much for the comment brother. Take care and God bless,

Jeff Willaims August 24, 2016 - 3:03 pm

hey Stu, how are you doing my friend. Great job at explaining the whole home studio head fu…errr head ache, yes that what I wanted to say…head ache πŸ™‚ Not an easy thing to get across, but like I said really good job. Indeed how times have changed, 20 years ago I was sitting in Parr Street Studios in Liverpool recording through 48 track desk and going straight to 2″ tape and taking all day and most of the night to get my ‘drop ins’ right. With the last album I sat in my underpants in my flat, put my parts (guitar parts that is) straight onto my laptop and emailed them to the producer in Denmark….Long live home recording! Cheers!

Stu August 26, 2016 - 2:41 am

Hey Jeff!

Hahah that’s awesome man. Could you explain the process a bit more? I’m really curious to know .. Being a product of the Napster age, a lot of my experience in recording has been through digital audio workstations and the like.

Brfest July 3, 2017 - 11:14 pm

Hey Stu!

I need help ! I’m torn between the AKG K240 mkII or ATH-M40x. Which one is best for gaming, movies and music ?

Stu July 3, 2017 - 11:41 pm


Out of those two, I would go K240 for gaming and certain types of music, i.e. classical, jazz, acoustic, etc. and movies.

I would go M40x for more bass heavy genres, and as an overall fun headphone that’s also great for mixing. It’s not as good for gaming though.

It depends on what your top priority is. I like The Audio Technica ATH AD900x; it’s just about the best headphone you could buy for gaming/movie purposes, and it has a nice detailed sound signature for all types of genres. It isn’t bass heavy though, so be forewarned.

Let me know if you have any other questions!


Brfest July 4, 2017 - 12:13 am

Thanks! I think i will get k240. By the way, I have a JVC HA-S400 with FiiO Q1 Amp/DAC. Do you think i will have huge gain in quality with the k240 ?

Stu July 5, 2017 - 5:08 pm

Yeah with any good amp you will most likely notice a positive difference, but it won’t completely revolutionize the way you hear music. πŸ™‚ Just know that it will help, even if the headphone doesn’t require an amp per se.


vincent Desjardins October 8, 2017 - 4:33 am

Hi Stu, love your website. I want to start to become an audiophile but right now just a music lover. I was thinking ath m50x with maybe fiio A3. Is it the best choice to start?
Like i don’t want to be cheap just the best bang for my buck to start experimenting
Thanks again

Stuart Charles Black October 8, 2017 - 9:10 pm

To start out? I would go with the Sony MDR V6. You may not purchase another headphone for a long time after you hear it. πŸ™‚

Let me know what you decide!


Vincent Desjardins October 10, 2017 - 1:28 pm

HI Stu, thanks for the answer. I propose the ATH M50x because one of my friends has them and he loves them. I want to start slowly but be able to enjoy the equipment i received (see below) is the sony MDR V6 still recommended ? I accept your recommendation i just want to make sure ;-9

I received from my aunt these Pioneer components :
Turntable PL-450
Graphic equalizer SG-550
Stereo amplifier SA 750

Stuart Charles Black October 10, 2017 - 6:25 pm

Yeah! I mean, I have the M50 and have had it since January of 2013, but I think the V6 has a better mid-range, detail, articulation, and accuracy. The 50x is more of a bass heads headphone, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I think it would fit the bill. If you want to hear more of the song though, the V6 is actually better, for cheaper! The 50x’s have a somewhat recessed mid-range. If you were to go with something more bass heavy, the V-Moda Crossfade M100 is really good as well. Don’t get me wrong, I like the M50 (and 50x), but there are better options out there now.

Keep me posted!


Gabriel Even November 29, 2017 - 11:40 pm

Hi Stu,
Thanks for sharing all this priceless information. This site is a beacon for lots of people out there in the audio darkness.
I can feel your passion within and between the lines to something that you really love.
This site is genuine example for how professional sites about audio equipment should look like.
It is a true pleasure roaming your site, keep up the great job you’re doing here.
THANKS for all the assistance in choosing the HD700s, now the task, is an amp/dac.

Stuart Charles Black November 30, 2017 - 2:53 pm

No problem Gabriel, and I’m so glad to help out. Are you considering the options that I told you about? I think the Vali 2 with the HD700 is fantastic. Do keep me posted!


TOM EP November 30, 2018 - 5:34 am

This is great. First time I read this knowing you. I knew there was an appreciation for your advice and knowledge, and personal interests in sampling. What a dope life story in music and similar to mine in my own world and life. Glad I found this place, and look forward to more inspiration and musical expertise! Plus, some sick, smooth, dope, fresh sampling/Hip Hop collabs in the future!

Stuart Charles Black November 30, 2018 - 6:41 pm

Yeah brother. I’ve always loved instrumentals and don’t see that changing. Life has kind of taken over as I’ve gotten a bit older, but I still make beats and listen to Vinyl for inspiration. I actually found the sample of DMX’s “Slippin’ without even searching for it! 20 years later and I stumbled across the record. Guess how much I paid for it? 25c in my local thrift store. HAHA! Classic. Do you by chance know what it is? Don’t look it up! Lol.

TOM EP November 30, 2018 - 5:41 am

“Stu-dio”. hahahhaa. Unreal. My bad, I’m comment-bombin’ your site like a fanboy. I just love Hip Hop and sampling and percussion/drums, makin’ beats on the school desk back in my Jr High to HS days, gettin’ kicked outta English class. This is what happens to those kids, we turn into cool ass artists, musicians, and producers. Inventors, innovators, creators. Great site! Tryin’ to leave some fresh, 2018-19 commentary on here for any new visitors who stumble onto this RICHNESS of PRODUCTION KNOWLEDGE!!! lmao.

Stuart Charles Black November 30, 2018 - 6:58 pm

Yeah, I was always a weird kid, but didn’t really understand why at a young age. God made me this way! I never really fit in but did have some good friends growing up. I was never like an outcast or anything, but also wasn’t part of a clique, especially in middle school. In some ways I was a loner and not quite cool enough to actually hang out with the popular kids and stuff. There was one popular boy named Mark that was my best friend and still to this day we talk sometimes. Through it all we still reach out to each other at times and I’ve always appreciated that about him.

In high school I skateboarded a lot and had a group of close buddies, but we mostly got along with everyone else so it was chill. I kind of miss that part of my life, but I got injured in 2006 (tore my ACL) and it was just never the same after. I tried skating for a bit and I mean, I can still do some tricks! But there’s always that feeling in the back of your mind knowing how excruciatingly painful that experience was, both mentally and physically. It just wasn’t in the cards for me to be a pro skater. That said, I had so much fun during that period of time and learned a lot about myself.

But I’ll never forget this kid I met in middle school. He had huge glasses (the other kids called him scopes), and he was really into Nirvana. Kind of a weird boy, but we got a long quite well. He was definitely the outcast, but I think he appreciated the fact that I would actually talk to him and try to get to know the real person on the inside. His name was Morgan. I remember he used to bite his nails a lot but also his fingers were really crusty and always peeling. It was kind of gross, but I looked past it because he just wasn’t fake like most of the other kids. He was just different. At the time I didn’t really know why I took the time to get to know him, but now looking back it’s pretty obvious. I’m that kid too, but you can’t tell because I’m sexy. Lol.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed my rambling. We should continue this dialogue. Reminiscing on the old times.


Elizabet April 1, 2021 - 7:39 am

You share very informative post . With this post I am able to select high quality headphone.
Can you plz tell me the model of headphone with best features .I want to buy a responsive headphones.

Stuart Charles Black April 1, 2021 - 2:22 pm

Hey, thank you! I would start here: https://homestudiobasics.com/the-5-best-audiophile-headphones-for-under-500/ Let me know what you think! πŸ™‚

Paolo Zafra September 6, 2022 - 2:49 pm

To be honest, I did not like your humor and memes the first time I saw one of your reviews on YT so I did not watch anymore for quite some time. A few weeks later, one of your reviews auto-played while I was eating (my hands were dirty) and then I realized your reviews are the most transparent I have ever seen and you stayed true to your slogan and made me fall in love with music all over again and not think too much about getting super expensive gear. And what do you know, the humor grew on me as well. I wanted to write here on your page as appreciation to my favorite audio gear reviewer. YOU ROCK!

Stuart Charles Black September 7, 2022 - 2:22 pm


So great to hear! Glad to have you onboard. Everyone gets sucked in eventually. MMWAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. *Ahem* Join me down the rabbit hole of audio. I promise it’s great fun. xD

Nah, that really made my day! Thank you for such kind words. I think the gear dilemma is super concerning, but yes, I’ve always been about saving people money and not getting caught up in the web of gear.

To give you a sort of related example, I’ve always been an avid fisherman but lately really trying to improve and learn as much as possible about the sport, catch more fish, learn how to use an array of lures, etc.

I’ve found that I’m kind of becoming obsessed with Rods and reels (and even baits) and getting the perfect one rather than going out and fishing lol. So it can happen in any niche! I can totally understand why noobs to audio get really excited about the gear. It CAN BE exciting! For me though, now, knowing what I know, I don’t really get excited about new stuff anymore. Which is kind of sad in a way, but hey, I took the red pill so this is how it is. And the positive side to that is that I’m enjoying music again.

In the case of fishing, I thought about starting a blog/channel, but I’m torn because I want to keep it fun. Keep it a hobby and something I really love rather than something that feels like “going out and getting footage” or whatever.

Anyways, I’ve rambled on long enough. Keep in touch!!

Paolo Zafra September 7, 2022 - 5:19 pm

I agree with what you are trying to say and thank you for responding. I have been binge watching your “Truth Series” and it’s like a slap to my face that woke me up from dreaming about all that snake oil and minor improvements that are not even audible to my ears. Because of that, I watch less reviews and comparison videos now (just yours LOL) and spend majority of my time just sitting back and enjoying my FLAC library, playing games and watching movies (not opening my wallet and keep on upgrading). Again Stu, many thanks and keep doing what you’re doing, I’m sure you’ve already helped a lot of budding audiophiles and enthusiasts out there. Live long and enjoy the music!!!

Stuart Charles Black September 9, 2022 - 1:53 pm

Yeah man! It’s really a weird, bizarre hobby for sure. I spoke with a guy some months back who said he spent over $25,000 on gear last year. How do you even enjoy the music at that point? Here’s a great article from Alex Rowe on the tech issue: https://xander51.medium.com/tech-hobbies-are-just-consumerism-5e7ef62b1329

And yes, trust me, upgrading beyond a certain point is almost an exercise in futility although I will tell you that if you want to jump straight to the best, the Utopia is definitely head and shoulders above everything I’ve tried (120+ headphones as of this comment).

It’s something to consider down the road, but as far as Amps and DACS? Yeah, I wouldn’t even bother with anything over around $200. The lone exception is the FiiO K9 Pro as it can basically connect to anything, and I really like products with a lot of value. That would be an example of something I’d buy and never purchase another DAC ever again. Still, you can go with the K5 Pro and be just as happy for the most part.

Thank you for such kind words my friend. I hope to keep in touch with you!



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