How to set up a home recording studio

It's a tricky thing setting up a home studio, there's so much to choose from with software and equipment, where do you start?

Well I may be able to help! I'll walk you through my set up and see if it inspires you to take the plunge with your own equipment.

First of all we'll look at location, You need a room that is as quiet and as far away from any noise as possible. Think about it's location to the washing machine, dishwasher and the curse of all home studios, the central heating and boiler, these all creak and stretch pipes that squeak throughout a house and it's only when you're really trying to be quiet that you'll notice them. Your room should be of adequate size and preferably covered inside with sound deadening felt or cloth, it's also a good idea to place a heavy curtain on either side of the door to help prevent unwanted sounds creeping in.

So, onto the hardware, I use a Samson C01U Microphone which is the large format type. It produces warm rich results, soft deep tones when you need them and crisp clear high notes. It's a great all rounder and with a RRP at under £80 it's a a great buy. (I paid £37 including carriage from ebay, new in a box, I was lucky!) It's almost exactly the same as the C01 but with a USB connection, it's plug and play simplicity is brilliant and doesn't have the need for a phantom power supply as the clever electronics convert the USB's 5volt supply into the 48volts needed effortlessly.

I also use it with a pop shield rather than the foam cap that live entertainers use. (A pop shield, costing under £10 is a large round disk of nylon webbing that fits in front of a microphone that eliminates any force of air from the vocalist). I find the sound is much clearer than the foam cap and in a studio situation there is no side wind to worry about.

This is mounted on a shock mount, (Which is a free floating clamp that reduces almost every bit of surface noise, highly recommended and usually under £20), it's well worth the investment, even the smallest of vibrations can be annoying and spoil a perfect recording, this will fix the problem.

The whole set up sits on a boom arm that balances on a tripod type, floor mounted mic stand, very stable, easy to use and moves high or low depending on wether you're sitting or standing. I also use cone shaped acoustic tiles to surround the mic area and on any flat surface within the mic's range, this absorbs any sound and clarifies the recordings from unwanted noise.

Now, onto the business end of your recordings, I use an Apple Mac, (My personal preference is a Mac pro with 26GB RAM and 4TB of storage, Every couple of years I upgrade something t keep it up to date, my best buy was an SSD Drive, This Solid State Drive has no moving parts and allows fro almost instantainous search, find and open of even the largest of files sizes, expensive but well worth the money. Any Mac will do as they all allow for very easy interface wether you have a traditional plug in 3.5mm jack mic or a USB. Set up in the sound part of the system preferences. Position this as far away from the mic and recording area as possible, the fan noise will be noticeable and very irratating to the listener.

As for the software If you can afford it Adobe Audition is the top tool for professionals, however, there are two other apps that I'd also recommend, Sound Studio and Audacity. Each of them record wave forms that allow you to see the condition of your audio and edit out the bits you don't want. Have a try with audacity first as it's free, it's a great way to practice and the results are good too. Once you've learnt the basics, try the equaliser functions and see if you can clean up the audio or add some magic with more depth.

So that's how to set up your own home studio and some of the basic techniques I use, hope you enjoyed it and are inspired to give a go yourself. Good Luck and if you make your fortune, please remember where you read about it in your first autobiography :-) Good luck with your future recording career.