If you have some experience around recording different audio sources, then, you know the challenge to get studio quality recordings at home.
Recording in home environment is quite unlikely to give you professional recordings if you do not have a proper setup. However, only by adding some gear and setting up the space correctly will give you crystal clear recordings.
Furthermore, we have pinned down major factors that can get you high quality professional recordings. The studio gear or equipments and tips mentioned below will maximise the quality of your recordings in no time.
Here is how you can get high quality recordings at home?
The secret to getting high-quality recordings at home depends on the quality of studio equipment, the artist’s performance, and the environment’s acoustic treatment. By tweaking and adding certain elements in a home recording environment, getting exciting recordings becomes a piece of cake.
Best Recording Studio Equipments for quality recordings
Here are the main studio equipments that you need to record music at home. With all these high quality recording equipments at home, you can setup your home studio to get high quality studio recordings.
Over the years, I have improved and upgraded my recording gear. Below is THE LIST that I will recommend you if I was guiding myself in the process.
Be assured that you need not more than that for professional and clean recordings in the initial stages. Regardless, you can still make your setup fancy once the basics are figured out.
1) Audio Interface / Pre-Amps
An audio interface or a preamp allows you to record different instruments and vocals. It acts as a hub through which you can connect different input devices like guitars, MIDI Keyboards, microphones and output devices like headphones and studio monitors.
Most budget audio interfaces have clean and noise-free preamps. They act as a foundation for noise-free audio recordings.
One of the best budget audio interfaces is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. It offers high versatility for home producers to get effortless recordings. But, if you want a more portable preamp audio interface, check out the Audient Evo 4.
Not to forget, preamps of some audio interfaces offer an analogue character. The analogue character can make your recordings stand out by subtly adding warmth and saturation.
One such audio interface is the SSL 2+ from Solid State Logic. Solid State Logic has emulated the flavours of their mixing consoles into this budget-friendly audio interface.
The SSL 2+ adds that classic analog pre-amp colour to your recordings.
2) Dynamic Microphone
There are mainly two types of microphones. They are:
The main difference between condenser and dynamic mic lies in sensitivity levels. Condenser mics are more sensitive than dynamic ones, making them more susceptible to pick up background noise during recordings.
Therefore, it is best to choose dynamic microphones for your home studio. These mics have low sensitivity due to which they remain mostly closed and do not pick up the background noise.
Long story short, dynamic mics pick up primary signals pretty efficiently while blocking out other noise.
There are quite a few dynamic mics I have used in my studio. Among all of them, I strongly recommend the Shure SM7B. It is one of the widely used microphones in pop songs you hear on the radio. Due to its design and premium technical specifications, it offers highest room for crystal clear recordings.
3) Studio Headphones
Studio headphones are similar to any other headphones in their functioning. The difference between studio and regular headphones lies in their frequency response.
Regular headphones add a lot of colour to the sound, making it more boomy and exciting. Due to this reason, they cannot be used for audio monitoring or careful listening.
On the other hand, studio headphones offer a relatively flat frequency response making them suitable for audio monitoring while recording sessions.
One of the best budget studio headphones I recommend for your home studio and to monitor your recordings is the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro.
Also Read: Can you mix on studio headphones?
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro offers high comfort for long recording sessions and crystal clear sound and flat frequency response. Additionally, the DT 770 Pro is an excellent choice for audio mixing and referencing master audio tracks.
4) Pop filter / Mic shield
A pop filter or mic shield is absolute must when you are using microphones to record vocals.
Generally, a pop-filter reduces popping sounds or plosives that you may sing into the microphone. Plosives are explosive sounds that generate from two prominent syllables, i.e. ‘B’ and ‘P’.
Using a pop filter, you can smooth out the explosive sounds to make your recordings smooth and high quality.
5) Studio Monitors
Studio monitors prove helpful in the aftermath of audio recordings, be it in a professional or home studio.
Also Read: A Definitive guide to Studio Monitors!
As the name suggests, studio monitors are used to carefully monitor, track or observe audio. They have a flat frequency response making it easier for mix engineers to tweak the audio recording in the best possible way.
One of the best studio monitors for a medium to largely spaced home studio is the Yamaha HS5. These monitors offer a clean transient and great low-end response.
However, I recommend Presonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors if you have a small studio space.
Get High Studio Quality Recordings at Home!
Now, let’s extend our discussion by looking at some points you need to take care of to enhance your home studio recordings further.
Also Read: 15 Recording Studio Tips for first timers!
These tips will let you set up your space efficiently. Additionally, it will take you through some of the best practices for studio-quality recordings at home.
1) Pick a space & stick to it
The first tip revolves around setting up your recording space. A personal environment keep you focussed while you learn and experiment different things.
Choose a space for home recording setup that is:
- Quiet or with low background noise,
- Personal with the low interference from anyone,
- Spacious enough to set up a home recording studio.
Most of the times, the space where you’ll be setting up your recording studio will be your bedroom. Your bedroom will almost satisfy all of the above requirements.
But, if you have higher expectations from your studio space, use a spare room in your home. However, it will require proper soundproofing, desk setup and furniture.
Set up your home recording environment by following these tips, and you’ll move another inch closer to high studio-grade recordings at home!
2) Invest a little extra
Investing a little extra in your studio equipment is a sure-shot way to improve the recording quality. Here, you need to be careful about which equipment you need as a priority.
Start by getting a good quality mic for recordings, audio interface and studio headphones for monitoring purposes. These three hardware instruments are what you need in the beginning to start recording.
NOTE: Here, we assume that you have a laptop and an instrument you want to record at your disposal.
In terms of software VST units, there is no limit. Therefore, be careful where you put your money. The world of plugins looks fascinating, but not all plugins deliver an excellent cost-to-performance ratio.
If you want to know how to pick the best VST Plugin, jump to point number 8 that guides you on mixing and mastering your audio recordings.
3) Quality over quantity
Investing in quality is hard, especially when there are many options.
But, hear me out!
Picking quality studio products will save space and some money in the long run.
So, don’t crowd your limited space with unwanted low-grade pieces of equipment. Instead, take it slow and focus on quality for your home studio.
4) Soundproofing for the win!
Acoustic treatment or soundproofing your room is another way to emulate a studio-type recording in your home.
Getting expensive plugins or studio gear are useless, unless the recording environment supports the best possible recording environment.
Mostly, soundproofing is concerned with reducing the reflections from bare or naked walls or windows so that they are not picked by again and again by the microphone which can muddy up your recordings.
Here are some of the best tips to soundproof home recording studio:
- Cover plain walls using soundproofing foam,
- Cover windows using a curtain when recording to prevent reflections,
- Setup a portable DIY vocal booth,
- Cover the floor with mats, rugs and carpets,
- Be aware of what is necessary to soundproof as you don’t want to overdo acoustic treatment.
Keep these few tips in mind and you are good to go.
5) Learn a Digital Audio Workstation or DAW
A DAW or Digital Audio Workstation is where all the magic happens!
With the advent and rise of technology, the DAWs have replaced use of conventional tape recording machines to record music.
These days you’ll hardly see anyone use tape machines to record music as they are highly expensive and hard to manage.
A DAW lets you turn ideas into songs and that too with great ease. This is where you record instruments, process them, and make studio-quality songs or track records in the comfort of your home.
Moreover, all the DAWs support using VST Plugins to apply effects like reverb, delays, phaser, flangers etc to further enhance your raw unprocessed recordings.
Listed below are some of the most popular DAWs that you can pick and start making music at home:
- Abelton Live
- Logic Pro X
- FL Studio
I recommend picking one of the DAW of your choice and learning it deeply by watching YT videos and online courses and using them to record and make music.
Now, don’t waste any more time and pick yourself a DAW of your choice!
6) Vocal booth
A vocal booth is an isolated environment meant primarily for recording vocals. Setting up a recording vocal booth at home can make your recordings professional and effortless.
In a home studio setting, there are multiple ways to set up a vocal booth. Let’s discuss them one by one.
1) Separate Room
If you have the luxury to separate your studio into two parts, one part can be considered solely for recording purposes.
Keep in mind that the other part of the room will require proper setup, connections to the main studio, soundproofing and acoustic treatment.
This approach will demand more investment, but the result will be fruitful. It will also open an opportunity to rent the studio to other producers, mix engineers, and vocalists, opening a new source of income.
2) Using closet to record vocals
Setting up the microphone in the closet is a well-known technique for recording flawless vocals. The clothes act as a soundproof material and prevent sound from reflecting into the microphone.
It is one of the best techniques if you have limited space and do not want to include another item in your studio.
An associated drawback with this technique is that the vocals may sound too close and tight.
Therefore, finding the perfect way to record in a closet will take trial and error.
TIP: Move your clothes away or close from the microphone for different effects.
3) Buying a portable recording
Recently, I have come across many portable vocal recording booths that offer a great solution to record clean vocal takes. These booths are all over the internet and come in few different styles.
They are affordable and can benefit you greatly, especially if you live in a noisy environment where acoustic treatment is not enough to block out external noise.
Here are some of the vocal recording booths you can consider for noise-free recordings.
7) Recording position matters!
In simple words, recording position means how you position, orient, and maintain the distance from the microphone while recording.
Recording with a large distance from the microphone gives an ambient recording effect but introduces a bit of noise in the process. On the other hand, recording up close to the mics feels personal, but it may introduce clipping and a plosive effect.
All in all, it depends on the mood you are trying to create.
Most of the time, it is helpful to dynamically change your position to add depth and emotion to your recordings.
Professional singers do this all the time to:
- block out noise,
- create a strong impact,
- convey depth through music.
Also, it will allow you to add that extra skilled touch to your recordings as if it was done in a professional environment with experienced mixing engineers.
8) Mix and Master Audio Recordings
Mixing and mastering your recordings can further enhance the quality of your recordings.
Virtual plugins provide a great way to add a presence and character to your vocal or instrument recordings.
How to pick the best virtual plugins?
Most plugin manufacturing companies offer a demo mode that you can apply to your recording. Pick the same plugins from different manufacturers and test them in your DAW. This way, you can be confident that your money is going into the right plugins.
The below mentioned plugins can further remove noise, add depth, warmth, and effects to the recorded audio.
|Plugin Type||Popular manufacturers|
|EQ||Stock EQ, Fab-filter Pro Q|
|Compressor||Waves collection, Arturia Compressor Plugins (Tube, FET, VCA)|
|Chorus Plugins||Arturia FX Collection Juno chorus|
|Reverb, Delays||Valhalla, Arturia, Waves|
9) Studio Monitors for Careful Monitoring Purposes
Studio monitors prove their worth in the aftermath after the initial recording has been done and the recorded audio is ready for further plugin or effect processing.
Studio monitors, in this phase, help by accurately reproducing the sound. They offer flat frequency response meaning they emulate the audio as it is.
Also, it is easier to tweak and mix the recording on studio monitors than on regular speakers, which add a lot of colour to the sound.
10) Block out or eliminate noisy objects
Watch out for objects that create noise that is susceptible to being picked up by your microphone.
Blocking or removing such objects will ensure that you don’t introduce background noise into your recordings.
Everyday things that may introduce noise into your recordings:
- Squeaky chair,
- busy neighbourhood,
- Air Conditioner,
- Feet thumping the ground,
- Sudden Movement while recording.
While you may not be able to remove particular objects, it is best to find a way to mute them.
All in all, these were some of the recommended studio equipments and tips to get studio quality recordings at home.
Now, let me know in the comments about how you feel about these tips. Not to forget, mention any other point that I may have missed during this article.