I’m dedicating this blog to helping the beginning music producer, guitarist, bassist, and singer/songwriter build a functional home studio on a budget. I’ve read countless blogs and forum posts with people asking the same questions over and over again. Building a bedroom music studio should not be all that complicated, and I hope to demystify the process as much as I can. I also plan to post example photos when I come across minimal studios, to show everyone that less is more.
Right off the bat, here are some tips to help get you started:
- Come up with a budget. Assuming you already have a laptop or desktop computer, your budget will determine how far you’re able to take your home studio right away, i.e. what you can buy immediately, and what you’ll have to compromise on until you’ve saved up more money. In general, the necessities are: a capable laptop or desktop > DAW > headphones > studio monitor speakers > audio interface > pad controller. A midi keyboard might also be high priority, depending on your style. If you have any piano training or if that’s how you like to come up with riffs, you should prioritize that above an audio interface. Otherwise, there are many famous musicians who don’t use a music keyboard and instead draw in notes using their mouse.
- Start with headphones before jumping to monitors. Good headphones are much cheaper than good studio monitors, so start with that if you don’t have the budget for both.
- Do some basic homework on your room treatment. Look in the resources below for an article from Sound On Sound to help you familiarize yourself with room acoustics and treatment.
- Watch videos on music production. These days there is a wealth of information online that will teach you to do just about anything. My favorite resources are YouTube (free but hit or miss quality) and Udemy (not free but thorough and great quality).
- DON’T go buy a ton of plugins. At least not until you’re rocking and rolling. There is a tendency for beginners to fill up their computer with dozens of plugins, just because collecting plugins in fun. The default stuff that comes with your DAW is more than enough to help you get started with recording, effects, and synthesis. Learn those things first before branching out. Trust me collecting plugins is a distraction.
- Shut off the world around you. When you’re in your home studio and inspiration strikes or you’re determined to learn a new skill, turn off as many distractions as possible. Silence and put away your phone, and if possible disconnect from the internet.