10 Tips for Making Studio Quality Recordings at Home

If you’ve ever tried to record audio outside of a professional studio, you may have noticed that getting the perfect sound can be a challenge. However, there are some ways that you can get recordings at home that sound just as amazing as they would if they had been recorded in a professional studio. 

Here are 10 tips to make quality studio recordings at home:

  1. Choose the best space for recording.
  2. Be confident when you record.  
  3. Eliminate background noise.   
  4. Use plugins.
  5. Purchase quality cables.
  6. Use the right computer and hard drive. 
  7. Invest in a MIDI keyboard. 
  8. Use the best microphone.
  9. Get at least two pairs of headphones. 
  10. Try different microphone placements.   

The rest of this article describes each of these tips in more detail, so keep reading to ensure your success in creating high-quality audio recordings without ever having to leave your house! 

tips for making studio quality recordings

Choose the Best Space for Recording

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OBS Studio Microphone Guide - Best Settings, Filters & More

Even the best equipment can’t make quality recordings in an unsuitable space. Imagine trying to record clear sound and having a dishwasher or a printer go off in the background! Like a closet or office, a tight space restricts movement, which means there are fewer opportunities for ruining a recording with activity.

Pick a room that doesn’t share a wall with a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room, all of which usually have appliances that make a lot of noise. The best home studio will have no windows to limit exterior noise. Whichever room in your house that has the least amount of background noise or distraction is where you should be doing your recording. 

Be Confident When You Record

The best way to get professional-level audio is to make sure the sound you’re recording is the best it can be, so be confident when you record. If you’re speaking, speak clearly and purposefully. If you’re singing, try standing up for better air support. Timid and half-hearted recordings will never sound studio-quality because the sound itself is not studio-quality.

If you aren’t feeling confident the moment before you press record, take some time to practice! The extra time spent rehearsing your recording a few extra times will be worth the increase in quality of sound, and you’ll avoid the hassle of having to do multiple takes to get a file you’re happy with. 

Eliminate Background Noise

Eliminating background noise is essential for creating quality audio files. No matter how careful you may be, contemporary microphones can pick up even the quietest noise with the advances in sound recording technology. Ensure your microphone is far from electronics such as fans, computers, air conditioners, and alarms.

If you’re serious about getting the best sound, the best way to ensure that there’s no background noise is to soundproof your studio. This may sound expensive. Still, there are ways to soundproof your room effectively and cheaply, even without the help of a professional. 

First, seal any holes, gaps, and cracks in your home studio using a noise-proofing sealant. I like this St. Gobain GG SEALANT from Amazon. You can soundproof your door using an adhesive weatherstrip, like this Felt Weather Strip or this Weather Stripping Door Seal Strip, both from Amazon. 

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St. Gobain GGSEALANT-28OZ Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant, 28 Ounce (Pack of 1)
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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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You can even use soundproofing blankets over doors and windows to block out additional sound. The best soundproofing blanket is the US Cargo Control Sound Blanket on Amazon. 

US Cargo Control Large Sound Blanket - 96 Inches Long By 80 Inches Wide - Black Sound Dampening Blanket - Durable Woven Cotton/Polyester Blend Material - Machine Washable - 12 Pounds Per Blanket
  • FOR SOUND ABSORPTION NOT SOUND BLOCKING - Great large acoustic blankets to absorb sound in a recording studio or for using to dampen the sound from noisy neighbors. These are not meant to sound proof or block sound. Only to absorb and dampen sounds.
  • DURABLE COTTON/POLYESTER BLEND - This sound blanket is manufactured with a woven cotton/polyester shell around a 100% recycled cotton filler.
  • GROMMETS FOR EASY HANGING - US Cargo Control Sound Blankets With Grommets make it easy to hang and feature 9 grommets across the 80" side of the sound dampening blanket.

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Finally, you can use foam soundproofing tiles like these Acoustic Foam Panel Wedge Studio Soundproofing Wall Tiles. These tiles soak up sound, so your recordings are sure to be as clear as possible! 

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48 Pack Acoustic Foam Panel Wedge Studio Soundproofing Wall Tiles 12" X 12" X 1"
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  • Foam tiles perfectly aligned, professional sound quality

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Use Plugins

Plugins are software additions that are plugged into your digital audio workstation (DAW). They enhance and change the sound of your tracks’ sound, make mixing audio easier, and can act as synthesizers, amps, or pedals. Most plugins include equalization, delay, reverberation, and range control.

Plugins are a great way to get professional studio-quality sound without breaking the bank. Instead of purchasing the actual equipment, you want to emulate, you can buy a plugin that mimics that sound for a fraction of the price. There are even some free audio plugins available if you’re not ready to take the plunge on a plugin package yet or want to try some different options without hurting your wallet. 

Purchase Quality Cables

Your cables are what connect all of your gear together, so their importance cannot be overstated. Cheap or damaged cables can lead to distortion, which is not just annoying, but will make getting studio-quality recordings nearly impossible. 

These Seismic Audio XLR Patch Cables from Amazon are high-quality and will add a pop of color to your studio. It would be best if you also considered investing in a cable organizer, like these OHill Cable Clips, also on Amazon, to prevent damage and ensure that your cables remain high-quality for as long as possible. 

Seismic Audio - SAXLX-10-Multi - 8 Pack of Colored 10 Foot XLR Patch Cables - 10' Mic Cable Cords
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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  • Multipurpose: You can use them as table cable organzier, as a pen holder, as toothbrush or flosser holders, flexible and easy to install wherever you want

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Use the Right Computer and Hard Drive

Your computer is the backbone of your home studio, so it’s essential that you pick one that is reliable, fast, and has enough storage to keep your audio files. Because a desktop is stationary, there is less risk of damage or theft. However, if you need to work outside of your home studio, you’ll need a laptop. Therefore, if you’re looking for a computer that you will only use in your home, a desktop may be a safer choice, but if you’re seeking mobility and flexibility, a laptop is the way to go. 

You don’t necessarily need a Mac to record quality audio, but Macs have a reputation for being stable, as all Macs are built with parts directly from Apple. Contrastingly, PCs come from many different factories, so there can be variation in quality when it comes to certain parts based on the manufacturer. Furthermore, most PCs are designed for office use, so the recording software you need for recording is demanding on the system and would require you to upgrade a PC. 

Ultimately, though, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to upgrade your PC, there shouldn’t be a noticeable difference between audio produced on a Mac or a PC. 

Whether you choose a Mac or a PC, ensure that you are working from a computer with a Solid State Drive. SSDs have no moving parts, so everything works faster. 

If you are planning on storing a lot of audio projects and files on your computer, you may need to add a second drive to your computer for additional storage capacity. You can choose to add another SSD or an HDD. 

Hard Disk Drives are cheaper than Solid State Drives, so if you need a large amount of storage, HDDs may be your best bet. Make sure that the rotational speed of the drive is sufficient, as the faster the rotations-per-minute, the faster information can be read from the drive.

All that being said, my favorite home studio computer is the 2020 Apple Mac Mini, available on Amazon. This computer is fast, has 8 GB of unified memory, and has quick SSD storage. If you don’t want a Mac, this 2021 Dell Inspiron 15 can smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs, and the hard drive allows fast data transfer. 

2020 Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)
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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The best SSD is this Western Digital 1TB SSD or this SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD, and the best HDD is the Seagate Portable 2TB HDD, all available on Amazon. 

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Western Digital 1TB WD Blue 3D NAND Internal PC SSD - SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5'/7mm, Up to 560 MB/s - WDS100T2B0A
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Western Digital 1TB WD Blue 3D NAND Internal PC SSD - SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5"/7mm, Up to 560 MB/s - WDS100T2B0A
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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Invest in a MIDI Keyboard

A MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) keyboard is a crucial home studio tool that doesn’t require knowledge of piano techniques for use. A MIDI keyboard allows you to try different sounds and add virtual instruments to your audio file. If you’re a musician or a producer, you can use a MIDI keyboard to soundtrack a song with sample libraries and virtual instruments.

A MIDI keyboard allows you to edit performances, change articulation, or change sound and opens up a realm of possibilities, all within your home studio. Try this Korg MicroKEY MIDI Keyboard from Amazon.    

Check out: The Best 49 Key MIDI Controller Keyboards

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Korg microKEY 25 USB MIDI Keyboard
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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Use the Best Microphone

To get the best audio recording, you need a quality microphone that captures clarity in vocals and provides a sound that is true to the original sound source. 

First, you should know what kind of microphone to get. Dynamic microphones are the round-topped microphones that you usually see musicians singing into at concerts. They are suited for loud sounds and require no power source to operate, and are typically a cheaper microphone option.

Flat-topped condenser microphones are sensitive and have a better frequency response than dynamic microphones, which means they’re better for quiet sounds. These microphones run on Phantom Power, a power source that is typically included in home-recording audio interfaces. They are more expensive than dynamics, as well as more fragile. 

So, if you’re looking to make high-quality recordings of loud sounds or simply have a lower budget, a dynamic microphone is your best bet. The best dynamic microphones are the Shure SM57-LCE and the Shure SM58LC, available on Amazon. 

Sale
Shure SM57-LCE Cardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone with Pneumatic Shock Mount, A25D Mic Clip, Storage Bag, 3-pin XLR Connector, No Cable Included (SM57-LC), Black
  • Contoured frequency response is clean, instrumental reproduction and rich vocal pickup
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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Shure SM58LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
9,746 Reviews
Shure SM58LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
  • Frequency response tailored for vocals, with brightened midrange and bass rolloff to control proximity effect^Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source and minimizes background noise^Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise^Effective built-in spherical wind and pop filter^Frequency response: 50 to 15,000 Hz

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you have a bigger budget and want to capture quiet sounds in the best way possible, a condenser mic is a way to go. Large-diaphragm condensers add warmth to the sound, whereas small-diaphragm mics provide a transparent and raw recording of the sound. This Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Package on Amazon is worth its price tag.   

Rode NT1-A Anniversary Vocal Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package
  • Large diaphragm 1” gold-sputtered capsule
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Ultra-low noise, self-noise of only 5dB (A)

Last update on 2022-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Get at Least Two Pairs of Headphones

If you’re not recording in a professional studio, there’s a good chance you’re using one space for recording and mixing. This means that you should have two different pairs of headphones for each of these tasks. Open-backed headphones, like these Philips SHP9600 Over-Ear Headphones on Amazon, are great for producing but not so great for recording, as open-back headphones allow sound to leak out. 

Philips SHP9600 Wired, Over-Ear, Headphones, Comfort Fit, Open-Back 50 mm Neodymium Drivers (SHP9600/00) - Black
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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Closed-back headphones, however, are ideal for recording, as they keep the sound secure and give an accurate picture of the sound. Try these Audio-Technica Professional Studio Monitor Headphones from Amazon. To get the best audio recordings, it’s a good idea to have one of each on hand so you can properly hear your recording and mix it well. 

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black, Professional Grade, Critically Acclaimed, with Detachable Cable
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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Try Different Microphone Placements

Getting quality sound can be influenced by various factors, such as the placement of your microphones. Twenty percent of the overall sound involves the position of the microphone in relation to the sound source, so the right (or wrong!) microphone placement can make a massive difference. 

Make sure that you find your microphone’s sweet spot. One way to do this is to plug one ear and listen with the other and move around the room until you find the spot where the sound source sounds the best. Place the microphone at this location and the capsule where your unplugged ear was. 

When placing your microphone, keep the proximity effect in mind. This effect causes an increase in bass response in microphones as they get closer to the source of the sound. 

Another concept to remember when considering your microphone placement, especially when recording speech, is vocal plosives. Plosives are wind energy that comes from the mouth of a speaker when they pronounce certain consonant sounds. 

Moving the microphone further away from the speaker allows this energy to dissolve before the microphone can pick it up, and shifting the microphone off-axis causes the energy to hit the microphone at an angle and therefore make the “popping” sound less intense.  

Tilting your microphone off-axis has some other benefits, including reducing the likelihood of exceeding the maximum sound pressure level and overloading the mic’s diaphragm. Be careful, though! Tilting the microphone too far can change the signal in unpleasant ways. 

When it comes to microphone placement, the key to getting studio-quality audio recordings is to simply experiment and find what works best for you and what you’re trying to capture. You’re likely to get some not-ideal sound recordings at first, but once you find your sweet spot and understand your equipment, you can start getting clear sound. 

Sources

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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