There is an old saying that says a workman is only as good as their tools.
Sports stars like LeBron James wear the best shoes and train with the equipment. The best militaries in the world fight with the most advanced weapons. Even astronauts rely on state of the art technology to make space-flight possible.
However music might be the exception to this rule and its because its the of the human element.
When it comes to conveying emotion, showing lyrical genius and demonstrating innovative expression, no tool is sharper than a human being. Talent is talent and it will be heard no matter how good your studio is.
BUT it doesn’t hurt to make sure your talent is captured in the best way possible.
Here are the five pieces of equipment you need to make yourself a great studio at home.
A Powerful Computer
Beethoven used up to 100 trained performers to make his symphonies and The Beatles were four guys with three guitars and a drummer.
Now anyone with musical talent no longer relies on others to make that magic sound, they borrow it from power of computing. Get a powerful computer. You can get by with a $300 entry-level computer from Costco or Best Buy, but music production requires a powerful processor.
Look around the music industry and you’ll see most musicians use Apple MacBooks. Its because they were made for handling massive amounts of power. Yeah they’re expensive, but you can find a cheaper, used MacBook on Craigslist and it’ll still have enough power to make it work.
Music Production Software
Now you have the computer, you’ll need something to produce the background tracks.
If you go the MacBook route, it should come with an application already built-in called Garageband. With Garageband, you can create a drum line, a bass line, add synth and some keyboard and create a decent track.
If you’re looking for something with range and depth, programs like Sony’s ACID Music or Avid’s Pro Tools will allow you make some dynamic music and give you all the control to change volumes, tones and other details that can make you stand out from the crowd.
Microphone with Pop Filter
The microphone just might be the most important piece to the home recording studio. Yeah you could use the microphone that your uncle uses for family reunions or one of those clip-on mics, but they just won’t cut it.
To guarantee your voice is recorded crisply and in high fidelity, it’s recommended that you get a large diaphragm condenser microphone. You also need to pair it with something called a Pop Filter. This filter soften the hard notes and blasts your mouth can create when saying words that start with P, T, B, D etc.. It really does change your vocal game.
Sound Insulation or padding is also advisable for those recording at home. This padding serves prevents outside noise from coming in and dampens echo and reverb in the room you choose to record in.
Applying egg-crate foam into a corner of small room can effectively simulate studio conditions. When you hear mixtapes and demos, you can tell who uses sound insulation and who doesn’t.
A Good Set of Headphones
Aside from looking cool, headphones are a must for a home studio. Headphones allow you to hear the smallest details of your voice, which is critical to editing and mixing your music in post-production. Essentially, headphones allow you to polish your music to near album-grade quality.
Headphones are also critical from music production. You can effectively monitor volumes, subtle background effects and manage reverbs on any track you make. Sony’s MDR-V55 Studio Monitors are a high performance pair that you can find new for under $50.
Yes, you may be thinking this is a lengthy and costly list, but its important to remember that you don’t need to go out and go on a shopping spree that maxes out your credit card. You can borrow your friend’s laptop for a weekend, you can find cheap sound insulation substitutes at the Home Depot and use your pair of Beats by Dre in the mean time.
Until then, make sure you have at least three things on this list and start building your career in the music industry.