Picture this: you have the perfect beat, tune, or verse in your head and are inspired to create something beautiful, but the studio you usually record at isn’t open. Or, it’s available, but it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg to rent the space. Is it time to build a home studio?
It’s worth it to build a home studio if you’re going to invest in your tech knowledge and use it often. Otherwise, you’d be better off visiting a studio and paying the fee. There are several benefits to owning your own in-home studio, but it’ll vary depending on your dedication to your craft.
In this article, we will cover five things you should know before you build your in-home studio.
Things To Know Before Building Your Home Studio
If you are a creative or a musician, an in-home studio may be the pinnacle of luxury to you.
For the rich and famous, in-home studios are commonplace. Movie composers, country artists, and even boy band singers have built their studios right into their homes.
Just because the rich and famous do, it doesn’t mean you can’t. In fact, there are tons of benefits to creating an in-home studio. If the benefits outweigh the cons, it may be worth investing in your in-home studio. You’ll just have to keep a few things in mind:
1. The Initial Cost Will Be High, But It Could Be Worth It
Depending on how often you plan on using your in-home studio, it may be worth the initial cost in the long run.
On average, studio time can cost anywhere from fifty to five hundred dollars an hour. Sometimes, the studio will provide the mixing engineer. Sometimes, they won’t. If you plan on only spending an hour or two in the studio, then it might be a better idea to leave it to the professionals. Realistically, most recording artists need hours, days, or even weeks to record full soundtracks or demos.
Depending on the quality of your products, the cost of a home studio can be as low as three hundred dollars or as high as three million dollars. To budget out the former, you may just need to be savvy with the tech you are buying and prioritize the proper equipment.
2. Home Studios Allow You Flexibility for Your Creative Process
Creativity doesn’t adhere to a clock, so flexibility may be essential for the creative process.
A good amount of ideas have come from dreams. Depending on your personal creative style, you may have your best ideas at night or the early morning hours or feel compelled to begin a project right at the conception of the idea.
With a home studio, you’ll be able to start your creative process immediately. You won’t have to worry about making reservations for a sound booth, coming up with the money, or hiring the right technician. You can simply open the door and start creating!
3. You Have To Be Willing To Learn About Your Equipment
Unless money isn’t an object, there’s one massive consideration for a home studio that can’t be overlooked: a technician.
Usually, studios will provide a technician when you rent a studio. This may be at an additional cost or come with the reservation fee. If you build an in-home studio, you give up this option. For this reason, it’s essential that you become highly familiar with the technology you decide to purchase.
If you don’t know where to start, you can take a course on Audio Production or get a book like Audio Production Basics with Logic Pro X (available on Amazon.com). You can also usually find YouTube videos about the specific equipment you’ve purchased.
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4. Your Home Studio Can Eventually Turn a Profit
If you’re willing to put in the work to master your equipment and purchase quality tech, your home studio may eventually turn a profit.
As an artist, the initial investment for you starts to be worth it after a few uses. But if you invite other artists in and are able to give them a quality product, you may slowly be able to charge them and increase the price tag.
Now, keep in mind that not many artists will be interested in paying money to record in your messy bedroom. If this is the route you want to take with your in-home studio, you may consider making sure the aesthetic appeal of your studio is a priority. If you’re willing to put in the time to become more than just proficient with your tools, it may mean money in the future.
5. Not Every Space Is Built for a Home Studio
With all that being said, not every space is built for a home studio.
If you are living in an apartment or a condo, it may be challenging to find a room in your space that doesn’t pick up the background noise. You’ll have to consider which room has the best sound quality in your house, rather than what has the most space.
For example, it would probably be best to set up your home studio in a basement room you can soundproof than a high-traffic living space.
You will also need to consider the capabilities of your space. If you’re going to plug in tons of tech, you’ll want to be sure that there are outlets and surge protectors installed. Having a lot of technology in one place can make it warmer and put you at risk of fire-hazards, so be cautious.
What You Need To Build an In-Home Studio
If the benefits outweigh the cons, you may be ready to build your in-home studio.
But where to start?
The essentials of any in-home studio are:
- A computer with mixing software
- Audio interface combo
Depending on your budget or how much you’re willing to invest in these items, you can get them online for relatively cheap, used, or pre-owned. The fancier you’d like your studio, the more items you can bring on, such as more microphones, monitors, and tech.
You’ll also need to consider creative options for budgeting out the right tech and mixing lessons. If you aren’t already familiar with mixing and audio engineering, it’s essential to invest in classes or learning tools before buying the tech.
Start With the Necessities
Regardless of your budget, you’ll want to start with the studio necessities.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s vital that you become the expert on the technology in your studio. You won’t be provided a studio tech in your own home, so all of the heavy work falls to you. For this reason, you should start with only the necessities. This way, you won’t become overwhelmed in your learning.
Of course, for an in-home studio, you’re going to need a microphone.
While this may seem like a simple enough task, dozens upon dozens of different microphones are available. You’ll want to select the microphone you purchase based on the instrument you plan to mix and record. A microphone for a voice artist will be different from one for a pianist.
If you plan on doing multiple instruments, you may need more than one microphone. In the beginning, get as many as you are comfortable purchasing and learning about.
A quality pair of headphones is essential for hearing the minor discrepancies in your mix. For mixing purposes, you’ll want headphones that allow for sound isolation. This may mean purchasing a different pair than the ones you use for jogging or studying.
If you’re the only one using your home studio, then you only need one pair of headphones. But, if you’re trying to turn a profit with your studio, you’ll need to invest in more.
A Computer With Mixing Software
The computer you use for your mixing is a huge component in the ease of your work.
While some argue a Mac is better for mixing, and some argue a Windows, it’ll really be up to your personal preference and what you have available to you. By no means should you go out and purchase a brand new laptop if you have a functioning one.
What matters most is actually the mixing software you select. There are dozens of choices, and you’ll want to put this as the primary focus of your budget. The quality of your software can highly affect the quality of your mixes, so don’t overlook this step.
An audio interface is an essential tool for your in-home studio.
Essentially, an audio interface is going to convert the sounds of your instruments into something readable to your computer software. Without it, you won’t be able to use your expensive software as effectively.
If you use microphones that’ll directly plug into your computer, you may not need an audio interface. However, to build the capacity of your in-home studio, this is an essential buy. You can find them for thousands of dollars online or buy used ones for less. Regardless, you’ll want to invest in this at the same time as your mixing software, as their compatibility is required.
Buy Used Equipment If You Are on a Budget
All of the items above come with a varying range of budgets.
You can find the most high-quality for thousands of dollars, or get some lower-quality ones if you’re on a tight budget. It may be a good idea to find used items at your local music store or an online marketplace instead of buying a new product, especially if you’re just learning how to use the equipment.
Invest in Your Learning
No matter how expensive or fancy the item, you won’t get far if you don’t know how to use it.
If you’re going to invest in your own in-home studio, you’ll need to invest in your learning as well. Becoming an expert at something requires time and dedication. If you aren’t willing to put in the hours and practice to perfect the craft, you may be better off going to a studio and paying for an expert.
There are a few ways you can learn about mixing. You can watch YouTube videos about your specific tools, read books about mixing, or take a community course. Some colleges even offer a degree program in audio mixing. While the college course route may have the potential for greater learning, the YouTube route is definitely less expensive. Depending on how much you have in your budget after equipment costs, YouTube may be the best option.
Usually, tech items will come with a handbook or guide to using them. Though these often get thrown away with the box, many have tips and tricks for using the product effectively. If you bought an item second-hand and want to take a look at the handbook, many companies provide copies of user manuals free of charge on the internet.
Weigh Your Options
Sometimes, it may be worth the extra money to get an expert’s support.
For this reason, it may be best to start small if you are just dipping your toes into audio mixing and studio tech. Investing thousands of dollars in finding out you aren’t able or willing to learn how to use the equipment would be a bummer and a waste of time.
If there are some high-quality, low-cost studios in your area, you may decide it’s a better idea just to keep supporting their business than to try and create your own.
Is a home studio with it? The answer depends. It’s simple mathematics.
The only way your home studio will be worth it is if you use it consistently. If you only need studio time for one hour at fifty dollars an hour, then you should probably go that route. But if you plan on using studio time for a hundred hours, then it’ll be well worth it to invest in a quality home studio and learn how to use the equipment.
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- College of Contemporary Music: Do You Need Audio Interface.
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