Setting Up A Home Recording Studio | An Introduction

Updates
  • 3/29/19.
  • 1/10/19. Headphone Updates.
  • 1/15/19. Image replacement.
  • 12/24/20. Added updated studio image and some words.
  • 1/12/21. Updated headphone collection.

Hey there friend!

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Building a home studio can seem like a daunting task. Whether you are a vocalist, a beatmaker, or any sort of musician, you have probably thought about what it would be like to have your own equipment. A studio to call your own. I too dreamed of having my own space filled with all of the musical things that make me tick. Over the years I have accumulated a lot of stuff. Some of it I still have, some of it I sold because either I upgraded, or didn’t need it anymore.

The setup I have now suits me very well and is meant to show beginners that you don’t need any fancy pants state of the art equipment. You can derive great sound from affordable products.

Below is my current headphone collection followed by the lab in different stages!


Headphone Collection!

Dusty.
The gang’s all here.
Crisp.

Pictured left to right: Sennheiser HD25, Philips SHP9500, Audio Technica ATH M40x, V-Moda Crossfade M100, Sennheiser HD 558, Sennheiser HD 600, Sony MDR V6, Audio Technica ATH M50, Samson SR850.

Not pictured:

1/10/20 Update: I have sold most of my headphones in the above pictures. The only ones left are the Sennheiser HD600, Philips SHP9500, and Skull Candy Uproar Wireless (for the gym). I have also since bought an AKG K702 & K612. Updated pictures to come. 🙂

1/12/21 Update.

  • Current headphones (from left to right): AKG K240M (600 Ohm), AKG K260, AKG K612, K702, Koss KPH30i, Philips SHP9500, Sony MDR101, Philips SHP9600, Sennheiser HD600, HIFIMAN DEVA, Koss KSC75 (lower shelf).
  • Not pictured: Skull Candy Uproar Wireless, HIFIMAN TWS600.


The Lab

Circa 2007

Circa 2007

Gear

  • PC: Gateway (Can’t remember the model)
  • Monitor: 19″ Lextron
  • Turntable: N/A
  • Drumpad: KORG padKONTROL (Old/White)
  • Interface: M-Audio Fast Track Pro
  • Keyboard: Roland (Can’t remember the model)
  • Studio monitors: N/A
  • Speakers: Logitech R-20
  • Headphones: Audio Technica ATH M50
  • Microphone: Samson C01
  • Stand: On Stage MS7701B
  • Printer: HP DeskJet 3632
  • Camera: Nikon D3200
  • Tank: Fish XD
  • Desk: My old desk from when I was young. It was a great desk in its time.
  • Chair: Computer

December 2014

December 2014
Before I sold that laptop and those KRK ST6’s.

Transitioning from the old laptop to the new (Lenovo T510)

Gear

  • Laptop: Lenovo Thinkpad T510
  • Monitor: 24″ used Dell Monitor ($10 at the thrift store, lol).
  • Turntable: Audio Technica AT LP60
  • Drumpad: KORG padKONTROL (Old/White), AKAI MPD18
  • Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (1st gen)
  • Studio monitors: JBL LSR 305.
  • Speakers: Generic
  • Headphones: Audio Technica ATH M50
  • Microphone: Samson C01
  • Printer: HP DeskJet 3632
  • Camera: Nikon D3200

May/December 2016

May 2016
December 2016
December 2016

Gear

  • Laptop: Lenovo Think Pad T510 (upgraded to 8GB of RAM)
  • Monitors: Dual ASUS PA248Q Monitors (amazing btw, highly recommended)
  • Turntable: Audio Technica AT LP60
  • Drumpad: KORG padKONTROL (New/Black)
  • Mouse: Wired
  • Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (1st gen)
  • Studio monitors: JBL LSR 305. Don’t arrange them as I did. I don’t have room on my desk to place them properly, and the only way to do so is to get a new desk or make modifications to the existing one. I experimented with rotating the monitors up and was able to fit them on either side. But I didn’t like the way the screen was, as it resulted in less space. So there they are. 😛
  • Speakers: Generic
  • Headphones: Audio Technica ATH M50, Sennheiser HD600
  • Microphone: Samson C01, Blue Yeti, Audio Technica AT2020
  • Stand: On-Stage MS7920B
  • Printer: HP DeskJet 3632
  • Camera: Nikon D3200

December 2020

More images to come!

December 2020
After getting the display port. Thanks, dad!

I’m kind of starting over with recording gear. A lot of it was sold, but come 2021 I will be getting a bunch of new stuff because I plan to record more guitar covers, raps, and get back into making beats. I will be recording my YouTube videos in this space as well, and I’ve got some more shelves and stuff to build.

As you can see, the May 2016 setup with the top part of the desk wasn’t economical at all, so I scrapped it and built the 2 shelves you see on the left and right. I situated them in such a way that when I get new studio monitors, I can place them in an equilateral triangle towards my head at ear level.

Because I got a new laptop, I have to also match it with the appropriate display port as the X1 is very picky about what you use. It’s a work in progress! Also keep in mind that I don’t own all of those Amps & DACS, haha. I’m fortunate enough that companies send me them to demo and review!

Gear

  • Laptop: Lenovo X1 Extreme (32GB RAM)
  • Monitors: 24.1″ Dual ASUS PA248Q
  • Display Port: Plugable USB 3.0
  • Turntable: Audio Technica ATLP60
  • Drum pad: KORG padKONTROL
  • Mouse: Logitech G305 (main), Logitech M325 (backup)
  • Speakers: Generic
  • Microphone: Blue Yeti
  • Amps & DACS: iFi Neo iDSD, Topping A50s/D50s, Creative SoundBlasterX G6 and G3, FiiO BTR3K, AudioQuest DragonFly Red, iFi hip-dac, iFi Zen, iFi Zen Blue, iFi Zen CAN Signature 6XX, FiiO E10K, K3, and K5 Pro.
  • Headphones: AKG K612, K702, K240M (600 Ohm), K260, Philips SHP9500 and 9600, Sennheiser HD600, Koss KPH30i, Koss KSC75, HIFIMAN DEVA.
  • Printer: Lexmark Interpret S405
  • Camera: Nikon D3200
  • Lens: AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8G
  • Figurines: Travis Bickle, Snake Plissken, Lego men, Generic Troll.
  • Posters: Jerry Garcia (left) J Dilla (right)

As you can well imagine, your studio space will go through lots of changes over time due to, well, life. Don’t be in a hurry to get everything exactly how you want it, because there are always adjustments to be made. Just be grateful for what you have at any given moment, and always work to improve!

The following guide is designed to get you started in the right direction. It is meant to be clear and organized while giving suggestions about how to start a home studio (with what I know works). The last thing I wanted to happen when I began my journey was to get confused. Although I did on occasion, eventually I figured it out by doing endless amounts of research while in the process having about a gazillion browser tabs opened. I want you to avoid that!

Let’s get started…

[Setup]

First things first. You’re going to want to choose a comfy place to record your sounds or craft your beats. I chose my bedroom, as it is the most convenient and comfy place I know of! Here I can escape the world and drown out all my troubles with music.

The only place I wouldn’t recommend is a bathroom setup. That area is designated for other tasks and wouldn’t be ideal.

Choose some furniture…

My awesome chair is now peeling 🙁

Take it from me, there’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable in your studio space. I’ve experienced some of the worst seating in the business. The feeling you get from sitting in a crappy chair for 6 hours is like sleeping on concrete.

I’d recommend going with something similar to my super awesome, extra comfy, uber soft executive chair that you see to your immediate right. 😛

Next, I would decide on a desk. An L shape is ideal because it provides ample room for gear and lots of space for other stuff as well. It also makes you feel like a mother f*cking executive! When I plop down to make a beat, I feel like a king. You should too. I can’t recommend my own desk since I got it so long ago, but you should definitely go with something that makes sense for your particular set up. Always keep in mind the type of room that you will be using.

(Storage)

I have a desk with drawers, but if I didn’t, I would probably invest in some plastic storage containers. I currently just use cardboard boxes for all of my misc. wires.

They are a great way to keep things organized and can be had for cheap. In addition, you may want to add an over-the-door coat hook. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time was wasted in the past untangling chords and trying to figure out what’s what. Save yourself the trouble.

Continue to Choosing a DAW

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