What do you need in a Home Studio in 2021? | Music Production Basics

Updated: Feb 22, 2021


Almost every new musician wonders how they can record and release their own music. They think that they may need some expensive equipment to make good music.

However, in recent years, the concept of Home Studio has evolved. We can make high-quality music from the comfort of our home. You only need few things to start with. Let us talk about what you actually need in your brand new home studio!

The Basic Setup: (Just to get started)

1. A Computer or a laptop ($0 - $1000):

If you're interested in just making music, you don't need some fancy equipment. All you need is a computer or a Laptop. Maybe, you already have one. Yes, you can make good music on your 7 years old computer or laptop. You don't need to go and buy a separate computer or a laptop if you are just starting out. So, your initial cost might be just $0.

You may need to upgrade if you have an intense workflow. But, you do not need much power if you are new to music production. I won't recommend going above $1000 as you can build a decent PC under $1000 for Music Production.

Photo Credits: Luis Quintero (via Pexels)

2. Digital Audio Workstation ($0 - $600):

Apart from a computer/laptop, you need a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). If you've never heard of a DAW, don't worry. A DAW or a Digital Audio Workstation is a piece of software in which we record/arrange our song. There are many DAWs available in the market. However, it is not necessary to go and buy a paid DAW just because it's an "Industry Standard". There are many great free DAWs available out there. And, if you're just starting out, you should use a free DAW. I would recommend you Cakewalk by Bandlab. It's a great but free piece of software. But, if you're more into the Mac side, you should go with Garageband. If you want to use any paid DAW, you can get the top version of most paid DAWs within $600-800.

If you're on a tight budget, check out the top free DAWs of 2021.

3. Headphones (around $100-500):

You will also need a pair of Headphones to get started. You can use the one you may already have. If you can afford it, you may get a good pair of headphones for under $100. Here are the 5 Best Headphones for your Home Studio.

If you're a Producer, these are the only things you need to get started. But, if you're a Singer, Recording Artist, or Recording Engineer, you may need some more things.

Photo Credits: Garrett Morrow (Via Pexels)

The Recording Setup:

Note that you will also need the things mentioned in the starter pack. Apart from that, you need:

1. Microphone:

This is the most important piece of gear in a recording setup. You can find a decent quality microphone for your home studio for just around $100. There are many decent quality microphones available just around $80 - $100. You may go above that if you have a budget. But, if you're just starting out, I won't recommend going above $300. There are two types of mics: Condenser and Dynamic. We will discuss them in our future blog posts.

Photo Credits: Pixabay (Via Pexels)

2. Audio Interface:

Now, you have a microphone, you need something to connect it to your computer. Generally, most of the instruments and mics have an XLR output and computers do not have an XLR input. An audio interface is a thing you need! It converts XLR to Digital format which your DAW understands.

3. Basic Acoustic Treatment for your mic:

You need some sort of acoustic treatment to reduce noise and reflections getting into your mic.

You may not need to worry about this if you're just starting out. You can just record yourself placing your microphone inside a closet or can build a DIY solution. You may buy some acoustic panels if you want.

These were all the things you may need in your home recording setup. Note that, I have not included studio monitors here because you may not need them if you're just starting out. Headphones will do a great job. And, it's better to focus on acoustic treatment before buying studio monitors.

Optional Equipment (In case you want to upgrade):

Note, you can build a decent Home Studio without such equipment. But, these can be a great upgrade for your studio.

1. MIDI Keyboard/Controller:

If you like the feel of playing an actual instrument instead of using your mouse and computer keyboard, you may get a MIDI controller/keyboard. A MIDI keyboard or controller keyboard is typically a piano-style electronic musical keyboard, often with other buttons, wheels and sliders, used for sending MIDI signals or commands over a USB or MIDI 5-pin cable to other musical devices or computers. The basic MIDI keyboard does not produce sounds by itself, as it lacks an onboard sound module. Instead, MIDI information on keys or buttons the performer has pressed is sent to a receiving device capable of creating sound through modeling synthesis, sample playback, or an analog hardware instrument.

Here are some great MIDI Keyboards for Home Studio.

2. Acoustic Treatment:

Mostly, home studios are either in a basement, unused room, or your own bedroom in your house. These places do not have proper acoustics for recording and mixing. You need good acoustics for high-quality recordings and better mixing space. So, you should do some acoustic treatment in your room. You can use bass traps, acoustic panels/foams, or any other type of acoustic treatment. You can spend as little as $50 for basic acoustic treatment with acoustic foams or you can thousands of dollars on soundproofing. It depends on you and your budget.

Credits: DIY Perks

3. Studio Monitors:

Studio monitors are loudspeakers in speaker enclosures specifically designed for professional audio production applications, such as recording studios, filmmaking, television studios, radio studios, and project or home studios, where accurate audio reproduction is crucial. I would not recommend using Studio Monitors for Mixing/Mastering before doing acoustic treatment (at least basic) as they can give inaccurate results. You may still use them as reference speakers but I won't recommend them without acoustic treatment. It is better to use closed-back headphones in case you don't have proper acoustic treatment.

Credits: Marinko Krsmanovic (Via Pexels)

There are many other things like a Mixing board, other instruments, analog gears, and a lot more. But, if you're just starting out, you may not need those things. That's a topic for another day!

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