How good is your home studio

Set up a home studio

Set up a home studio Advice & recommendations

The first of your own Set up a home studio - the dream of many musicians. But how and where do you best start setting up your home studio? What equipment do i need? What are the typical stumbling blocks that most people fall into at the beginning? You can find all this and a lot of recommendations in our guide to the Set up a home studio.

Setting up a home studio: The things that really matter - now in the new guide. | Image: Tascam

Content: Setting up a home studio

Also read: Record Music: Tools & Instructions for MP3 & Audio

Setting up a home studio: that's what counts!

The greatest difficulty in setting up a home studio is certainly that you do not yet know what you cannot know. And this is exactly where this guide comes in - here you can find out what to look out for.

Everything starts with the desire to produce something: Be it music in your favorite genre, a podcast, maybe an audio book, voice-over recordings for your videos or your home studio should become part of your video studio for your YouTube career.

It's too expensive to shop cheaply.

There is a wise saying that has crossed my mind several times in my own career: “If you buy cheap, you buy twice.” Or, as a resourceful person once stated in other words: “It's too expensive, cheap for me to buy. ”In both cases it means that cheap does not always mean inexpensive. And in many cases the costs increase in the end because you bought too cheaply at the beginning.

What exactly is the home studio set up for?

Before you march to the music retailer of your choice with a suitcase full of money, you should know exactly for what purposes your home studio will be used. It is obvious that a YouTuber pays attention to different things than a musician. The requirements can also differ in detail.

An electronic music producer needs a slightly different setup than perhaps a classic songwriter or an MC who wants to mix their rap vocals.

On the other hand, in many applications some home recording equipment is the same or at least similar - for example, all of the cases mentioned above need an audio interface as a control center.

In the new guide Set up a home studio so let's discuss the most important points that every musician needs. YouTubers, podcasters or video producers can simply skip some topics.

Also read: Record Music: Your first music recording

Which room to set up as a home studio?

When I wanted to set up my first home studio, the options were limited to one. So I understand that you may not have much choice either. If, contrary to expectations, you still have several rooms to choose from, there are a few rules of thumb that can help you make the decision about your home studio.

The selection for the right room is often limited - so what is the optimal room for your home studio? | Image: Audient

In simple and very generalized words:

  • small rooms (< 25qm)="" sind="" schlechter="" als="" große="">
  • square rooms are worse than elongated ones
  • Better to avoid rooms with slopes
  • asymmetrical spaces are worse than symmetrical ones
  • the less window area, the better
  • high ceilings are better than low ones

Even if you only have one room available for everything, you can at least try to position yourself symmetrically along the longitudinal axis. So you can make optimal use of the existing conditions in terms of room acoustics. To make a brief digression on room acoustics: a lot can be improved or even remedied with acoustic elements. You can even take an acoustic measurement of the room yourself with free software and a measurement microphone. The measured values ​​give you at least one information about which weak points have to be taken into account when setting up the home studio.

Acoustic elements in the home studio: What do the diffuser, absorber & bass trap do?

Do you need studio furniture for your home studio?

Our guide to setting up a home studio starts with the studio furniture when it comes to equipment. If the budget is tight, a normal desk will do the same - that much is clear. But a real studio table not only cuts a good figure in your own home studio. It also offers some advantages for the setup and manageability of your instruments and controllers.

A studio table offers space for your equipment and speakers. A stable desk is sufficient for minimalist production. | Image: Sessiondesk Home

A good middle ground between desk and professional studio table is additional equipment: For rack equipment, for example, you can buy individual rack containers. There are separately available stands for your speakers. With tricks like these, you can turn your desk into a veritable home studio solution.

Tips for upgrading your furniture

  • Speaker stands provide decoupling and space on the table
  • Keyboard stands create space for the keyboard on the table and can be moved at any time
  • External racks, often with castors, offer space for 19-inch equipment
  • A monitor arm for your screen creates more space on the table

Which audio interface should I buy?

One of the most important points - no matter what you have in mind - is the audio interface in the home studio. While producers, rappers, etc. can get by with smaller audio interfaces, more inputs, effects, etc. are required for more complex recording scenarios.

Before you get into our detailed guide - audio interface for the home studio - a few terms and specifications that you should have already seen:

  • Inputs: Decide how many audio signals you can record (simultaneously)
  • Outputs: Decide how many pairs of headphones and speaker pairs you can connect
  • Line / XLR / Combo: Decides which connections fit the audio interface - combo sockets are usually used
  • MIDI: Decides whether your audio interface works as a translator between the MIDI instrument and the DAW
  • DSP: Provides real-time effects & more for use in recording and mixing without latency
  • Direct Monitoring: A function for latency-free eavesdropping
  • Loopback function: Decides whether you can stream easily
  • Phantom power: Decides whether you can connect any microphone

These and other terms are explained in more detail in our guide.

Find active speakers for the home studio

(Almost) nobody can set up a home studio without speakers. On this basis, you make all the important decisions in the studio. But not only the sound quality is decisive. What is important is the size of the loudspeakers, which should match the spatial relationship. Loudspeakers that are too big can have the best sound quality, but if your room is much too small for that, they will never be able to develop their sound quality.

The speakers must match the dimensions of your room. | Image: Kali Audio IN-5

If loudspeakers are not an option for your home studio because the apartment is noisy or the neighbors are a bit more sensitive, you can also use headphones to make music. But here, too, the following applies: Don't save at the wrong end. After all, just like with studio monitors, you want an honest and neutral sound so that you can make the right decisions when producing or mixing.

Master keyboard & controller for the home studio

The master keyboard fulfills several functions in the home studio. You can use the buttons to play several instruments, test new melodies and, in many cases, control your DAW at the same time. A master keyboard should not be confused with a pad controller - this one does not have piano-like keys. The master keyboard usually has a high-quality keyboard to offer you a great gaming experience. Many master keyboards now also bring pads with them, with which the importing of drum patterns is even more intuitive.

Producing and mixing is achieved using open headphones, which, due to their construction, result in a very spatial sound. | Image: Avantone Pro Planar

Headphones for recording, mixing & co

Recording or listening? The construction of your headphones is decisive for the area of ​​application. You can also find out in our guide whether headphones are an alternative to loudspeakers, when a headphone amplifier makes sense and everything else to do with studio headphones.

Microphone for rap & singing in the home studio

The right microphone for rap & vocals: We tested models from different price ranges and put together specs and features for you. You will also find out when you can relax and choose a cheap model for your home studio. Basically, if you work with vocals or rap, a high-quality microphone ensures a better sound and, in the end, a professional-sounding song.

Live producing on Youtube, Twitch & Co.

It's not a very fresh trend: streaming on platforms like Youtube and Twitch. Many musicians and producers have also switched to this. The audience is happy and even income can be generated from it. If you want to set up your home studio and want to optimize your setup for content creation at the same time, it is advisable to choose equipment with the appropriate functionality and potentially upgrade your studio optically.

You should make the following considerations:

  • Would you like to produce videos via screencast?
  • Would you like to use two camera settings - for example picture-in-picture?
  • Do you need additional lighting for ambience or to illuminate your face?
  • Do you have streaming software that can communicate with your audio interface?
  • What content would you like to share with the web?

Tip: control center for your content creation

Many producers stream their work live on the web on Youtube, Twitch & Co. | Image: Corsair Stream Deck XL

In addition to an audio interface with loopback function, a control center is helpful. With the Elgato Stream Deck XL you can set up hot buttons. With it you can not only fire your logo or finished sounds or stingers live. You can also start programs, start or stop streaming at the push of a button. Without a mouse and never having to search for the right icon on the PC. You can not only equip the buttons individually, you can also determine the icons yourself. In addition to streaming, podcasters also benefit from it.

Elgato Stream Deck XL features

  • - USB controller
  • - for Mac OS and PC
  • - 32 LCD buttons completely customizable
  • - Assignment with shortcuts and macros
  • - Integration in the operating system, OBS Studio, YouTube & more
  • - Can be cascaded with other stream decks
  • - magnetic stand
  • - USB-C to USB-A cable
  • - Dimensions (W x H x D): 182 x 112 x 34 mm (without stand)
  • - Weight: 410 g (without stand)

»To the Elgato Stream Deck XL test report

Connect to the home studio

Which cable goes where? In which order do I connect my equipment and where do I get the latest sound card drivers? You can find out all of this in our home studio connection workshop. This does not come as a video, but as a classic tutorial to read, click through and click back!

Connect home studio

Conclusion set up a home studio

Even after all the important information and recommendations for setting up the home studio - it remains a mammoth task that is best mastered in small steps. Every year the manufacturers bring new home studio equipment onto the market and their promises make it even more difficult for the buyer to make his decision. The offers sound too good and many are too.

If you can only afford one of the above hardware here and now, it's best to start with the audio interface. This device is the center where all threads (cables) literally come together. Anyone who can afford a good model here will benefit from it for many years.