Every audiophile dreams of having a fancy studio at home to record their own music. But not everyone has the budget or funds to get the best studio equipment available. The good news is that there are some easy hacks you could do to make your home recordings sound professional without spending all your savings on fancy audio gear.
To get studio-quality sound at home, record in a relatively small room with a few pieces of furniture to dampen echoes. You can get rid of external noise using blankets and curtains. Acoustic foam panels are also an option. Mic optimization, editing, and mixing are other factors to consider.
These are just a few tips and tricks on making studio-quality sound at home without using professional equipment. Continue reading and find out more about these tricks.
- 1 Pick a Neutral, Dry Room
- 2 Set Up a DIY Booth or Studio With Soundproofing
- 3 Get the Basic Recording Equipment
- 4 Follow a Studio Production Plan
- 5 Optimize Your Mic Position and Levels
- 6 Know How To Improve Sound When Recording Instruments
- 7 Do Not Over-Edit Your Recording
- 8 Enjoy the Mixing Process and Be Creative
- 9 Conclusion
- 10 Sources
Pick a Neutral, Dry Room
To record a pro-quality sound without studio equipment, you need a neutral, dry room with controlled sound and good acoustics.
This means cavernous rooms with reverberated sound, interfering noise, and reflections are out of the question since the sound will echo and wreak havoc on your audio quality. Large rooms, especially those with hard floors and empty spaces, also tend to produce reflections and echoes.
That’s why your bedroom could be the best choice for your home studio. For one, your bedroom is the most private part of the house, and you can be sure that no other family members are walking in and out of it.
Secondly, your bedroom has furniture that absorbs echoes and dampens noise—e.g., mattresses, blankets, and pillows.
And as an added advantage, your bedroom is usually the most comfortable and relaxing space for you, where you will have an easier time getting in the zone.
Set Up a DIY Booth or Studio With Soundproofing
Soundproofing gets rid of the impact of external sounds that your microphones could pick up. Plus, it also keeps the sound you are producing from escaping your room or home studio.
You can build a makeshift booth or studio and surround it with sound-absorbing materials like pillows, blankets, curtains, towels, and mattresses.
If you’re willing to spend some money for better results, install acoustic foam panels, such as this Burdurry 50 Pack Acoustic Panels, on your walls. These soundproofing panels are about an inch (2.54 cm) thick and minimize interference on your audio signal. You can also use rough wood panels to achieve a more natural sound.
For more information, check out this article about how to build a soundproof room within a room.
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Last update on 2022-11-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Get the Basic Recording Equipment
You don’t need to get all the fancy equipment you’d see in a professional recording studio to get started. However, you do need some essential gear, including a computer, an audio interface, DAW software, microphones, pop filters, studio monitors, and headphones. They don’t have to be high-end products, but they should be of good quality.
Remember that it is always better to start with a few high-quality tools than to get them all at once for cheap.
Follow a Studio Production Plan
Being organized can make your home recording experience smooth-flowing and quick. Having a simple home setup shouldn’t stop you from planning all the tasks involved in recording a track and sticking to this plan. Recording duties should include composing, rehearsing, recording, mixing, and mastering.
Optimize Your Mic Position and Levels
Microphone positioning will significantly affect the character of the sound you record.
Each microphone has a unique polar pattern, which determines how you should position it and how far away you need to stay away from it. Do several mic tests, listen to them, and watch out for the subtle differences.
You also need a decent microphone. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should deliver clear sound. It’s also ideal if you invest in a pop filter and place it in front of your mic. A pop filter tames the airy sound that you produce when you pronounce the letters P and T.
If you don’t have a pop filter, you can just make one from scratch. All you need is a stocking or sock stretched over a wire hanger.
You should also not forget to check the signal from your mic to the preamp and on your digital audio workstation or DAW, making sure to keep the preamp output low. It should be below the red to avoid distortion from “clipping” or “peaking” levels.
Check this article to learn more about microphone dos and don’ts when recording at home.
Know How To Improve Sound When Recording Instruments
Sometimes, your instrument’s sound does not register at its best when recorded, and this is because of many factors. For one, various kinds of instruments register sound differently. The different parts of an acoustic instrument’s structure also produce different sounds.
It is essential to take the time to experiment when recording instruments and mix things up so you would know the best setup for them. For instance, if you can hardly hear your electric bass guitar, you can turn up the gain setting on your preamp.
You can also change your microphone positioning to improve the sound of your acoustic instruments. Sound on Sound’s Paul White recommends not pointing your microphone at your instrument’s loudest sound component, such as your guitar’s sound-hole or your wind instrument’s end.
He also explains how important it is to get your mic far enough for all your instrument’s components to integrate properly. This way, they could produce the most natural sound as one unit, yet also not too far away to be affected by unflattering room acoustics.
Do Not Over-Edit Your Recording
The editing part is where you correct recording imperfections and enhance signal clarity. More specifically, this phase involves adjusting the pitch and the out-of-sync elements, decluttering or removing unnecessary sounds, and comping.
Comping is when you accompany a solo or vocal with an instrument. However, when it comes to editing, track comping is when you edit audio recordings of several performances and arrange them into a single performance, thus creating a “composite” audio recording. A composite recording is also known as a “composite track.”
You can edit your recordings using your DAW software. Most DAWs, even the free ones like Soundbridge, offer incredible editing options with various levels of versatility. However, do not overuse editing tools and plugins; you don’t want your recording to sound artificial.
Moreover, overediting your recordings might also make you too dependent on digital tools, and you will no longer be comfortable leaving things as naturally as they were recorded.
Enjoy the Mixing Process and Be Creative
Mixing is the process of creating one cohesive product by merging all the tracks harmoniously together. As the producer, you can get creative when mixing. Don’t be afraid to explore so your final product or song becomes interesting and unique.
This also involves adjusting volume faders for dynamic consistency to balance the softness and loudness of the instruments in relation to other elements. Other adjustments when mixing sound include:
- Equalization to increase clarity and separation
- Compression to even out your tracks’ dynamic range of volume
- Reverb application for a more upbeat track
- Panning for a stereo effect
Adding automation and effects is also a part of the mixing process.
Nothing beats recording in a professional environment, where you use state-of-the-art studio-quality equipment. However, it’s entirely possible to record in the comfort of your home using inexpensive gear and still come up with something that sounds excellent.
It’s easy to make studio-quality sound at home if you know how to work an audio interface and DAW software since they are the most technical aspects of the job. You can also apply a few DIY hacks to make sure you have excellent raw audio to work on.
- Sonic Bids: 7 Secrets for Getting Pro-Sounding Vocals on Home Recordings
- Sonic Bids: 5 Common Mic’ing Mistakes That Bands Make on DIY Recordings
- Quora: How can I get a studio quality sound at home?
- Music Studio DIY: 13 Surefire Ways to Produce High-Quality Music at Home
- Sweetwater: What is “Comping”?
- Sound on Sound: Affordable Ways To Improve The Quality Of Your Recordings