Senior Editor & Radio Host
Whether you’re starting a podcast or a voiceover business, you need a home studio. From equipment to acoustics, this is your guide to building a solid studio without breaking the bank.
We built our home studio in a closet. We live in a typical neighborhood filled with large trucks passing by and kids playing in the streets.
Many of you may live on a busy street or in an apartment. Most people don’t live in the ideal conditions for capturing quality sound.
As daunting as building a home studio from scratch may be — especially if you lack sound engineering experience — it’s not as complicated as it may seem.
Here’s three things to consider when building out your studio.
You don’t have to be tech savvy to choose the best equipment. You don’t have to be filthy rich either.
Back in the early days of home recording studios, equipment was several thousand dollars. As tech has changed and become more in demand, the price has also changed.
For a home studio, you can get away with a few basics:
For a computer, a desktop or laptop will suffice. Most importantly, you want a computer with a fast processor, sound cards, and significant memory.
How much memory you need will depend on the interface you choose, which we’ll cover soon.
You’re able to skimp on many things, but a microphone isn’t one. The quality of your microphone can determine the quality of the recording.
One mistake many budding producers make is assuming they can change the quality of the recording in post-production. This is not the case.
While you don’t have to invest in the most expensive microphone, purchase a microphone with good voice quality. A unidirectional microphone — the sound only enters in the front of the microphone — is a good option if background noise is an issue.
For speakers, choose speakers that are good for voice and not music. Your speakers will operate as a monitor.
A preamplifier reduces noise and distortion. In the beginning, you can purchase a refurbished model until you can afford a newer model.
Your equipment is only as good as the recording space.
The most common place to convert into a studio is a closet, but an extra room or shed will work as well.
You don’t need a lot of space for a studio. The more compact the space the easier it is to control the outside noise.
Sound proofing foam is relatively inexpensive. But there are other ways to sound proof your space.
Using curtains, rugs, and other fabrics to absorb the sound are good options.
Choose a space without a window is possible. Even considering the placement of the space in relation to the road or noisy outdoor spaces.
You have the equipment. You made the space. Now you need the software.
It’s time to choose a digital audio workspace (DAW) for audio editing.
There are a few to choose from depending on cost and needs. DAWs like Final Cut and Garage band are MAC specific. Adobe has Audition, which is compatible on both MAC and PC.
Programs like Audition are subscription and cloud-based.
Audacity is a free open source DAW. While it’s free, it doesn’t have the depth of functions as the paid programs.
The software you choose should meet your particular needs. If you need several tracks or elaborate editing elements, research the program beforehand.
Putting It All Together
Building a studio is trial and error. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Ultimately, you have to review the cost/benefit analysis. If you plan to make money with your studio, you will need to invest more money than you would doing a podcast for a hobby.
At the same time, you can find quality equipment for a lower price point to get started.