Dealing with sound can become tricky most of the time since it is something that we cannot see. In order to deal with sound and treating it we have to ‘see’ sound with our ears. This is the reason most of the time people get their home studio setup slightly wrong. However, in many cases regarding home studio setups, acoustics can be slightly overlooked if one knows what type of sound they are going for.
Below is a small guide to help you get started with your home studio set-up.
Let’s start off by looking into our studio set-up by selecting the right type of Microphones
You’ll find this type of microphone in acoustically treated rooms most of the time. Condenser mics have a wide frequency response and are sensitive to the slightest of sounds, hence the need for a quiet room.
The Behringer C3 (Pictured Below) is a good example of condenser mics for a basic home studio setup. It has great value for money as you get a high pass filter, a pad, and switchable polar patterns. If you have a room treated for the sound you should definitely go for this option. When compared to dynamic mics, condenser mics have a much thinner diaphragm inside their capsule and are therefore able to capture a detailed sound image as opposed to their dynamic counterparts.
When put next to their condenser cousins, dynamic mics are less sensitive. But before you come to a quick decision, dynamic mics have a lot of positives apart from sensitivity. They beat condenser mics in terms of reliability and maintenance and pricing.
Being less sensitive can be a good thing if you’re looking for good sound on a budget. Dynamic mics are able to withstand high SPLs (Sound Pressure Levels) without distorting because of their thicker diaphragms. That means that you can put them right up against a guitar amp and still get desired results.
They only distort if they hit something inside the capsule like a magnetic pole which would happen if the mic is thrown hard to the floor or hit against a hard surface.
The SM58 is the industry standard in the music business, however, you’re budget does not allow for that, then you can look at some budget options as well. The StudioMaster KM-92 or KM-52 might be a good option for you with regards to reliability and pricing.
Now that we’ve decided which microphone is best for our purpose, we can focus on getting our sound signal through to our DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) on our computer. To do that we need a sound mixer. A mixer can be analog or digital (both pictured below). It takes the audio signal from our sound source e.g. the voice of an artist from a mic, gives us the ability to combine, manipulate and process the signal to our liking or tastes and send it to our DAW or PA systems.
Some mixers have the ability to connect to your PC or Mac via USB or FireWire (only for Macs) and give you the option to have multiple tracks set up for recording based on the number of channels you have on your mixer these can range from 2 channels to (but not limited to) 32 channels based on your requirements.
Here is a simple 2-Channel mixer with an audio interface built into it
There is a long list of mixers out there to choose from and if you do a quick Google you’ll plenty of them on the web. In order to choose the best one for your use, you must decide how many mics you want to use. Mixers can come in 1,2,4,6,8,12,16,24,32 and even more! If you decide to go for a digital one.
Although professionals use huge SSL consoles for recording, a simple 2-channel mixer with a built-in interface can do the job for your home recordings.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
As the heading suggests, DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. It is a piece of software that allows you to digitally record, edit, and apply effects to your recordings on your PC or Mac.
Some common DAWs include:
There are many more DAWs to choose from, we’ve mentioned the ones that are standard in the industry today. For your reference, ProTools, LOGIC, and Ableton are currently being used as industry standards. You can try out all of them and see which one you like working on the best.
You can try out the free version of ProTools and Reaper by clicking on the link below:
Of course no audio studio would be complete without a pair of monitor speakers, which allow you to listen back at what you recorded or monitor what you’re recording into you DAW. A good pair of monitor speakers on a budget for your home studio would be the Mackie CR3.
hat is all we have for you today. Tune in for more audio guides on studio and Live Sound.