Your Home Studio Recording Setup – The Ultimate Guide

We’ve been collecting a good few articles on all aspects of home studio setup, home recording and various aspects of music production for a while now. We thought it might make some sense to try and get everything altogether in one place, that can serve as a constantly updated reference. The Red Dog Blog -brought to you by Red Dog Music, the friendly music store!- proudly presents:

The Red Dog Music Ultimate home recording studio guide

Your Home Studio Recording Setup- The Ultimate Guide!

(but you may have guessed that from the title just above!)

On this page we’ll try and cover everything, from getting setup from scratch as a complete beginner, to more advanced technical articles, from producing techno to recording your folk band, we’ll have you covered. If we haven’t, then ask and we’ll do our best to answer!

This page shall be what we will call ‘dynamic’. By that, we mean a constant work in progress! When we post new blog articles to do with home and studio recording, we’ll update this page, so this can remain your ‘go-to’ source for all your studio information! To try and keep this as future-proof as possible, we’ll try not to mention specific products too frequently in posts and focus mainly on concepts.

So, without further ado, let’s make a start…

The beginner’s guide to recording

If you’re just getting into recording, composition and production, a few, some, many, or all of the technical jargon and terminology might be new to you. This is the place to start!

What are dynamic and condenser microphones?

Home studio setup

When you first decide that you want to get into home recording, you might get caught up on which software platform you want to use, or which audio interface to buy. However, before that, or certainly before you start unpacking boxes and getting set up, you’ll need to decide where your studio is going to be? Corner of the bedroom, boxroom that nobody uses, an area in the dining room, but that needs to be cleaned away quickly for sophisticated dinner parties? No fixed location and based out of your messenger bag? Just where and how do you start?

You could do worse than by starting with a bit of research

It’s all very nice to have a fantastic audio interface and incredible monitors, but what you hear and how you mix depends on where you put them. You need to know how to acoustically treat a home studio.

If you want to hear just how consistent your room is across the frequency range, we’ve got a handy bass staircase test for you!

Home studio audio interfaces

One of the first pieces of gear you may want to get for your studio is an audio interface. These get the sound into and out of your computer and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and budgets. Find out all about them here!

Looking to buy your first audio interface, or maybe upgrade? Find out what you need to look for with our audio interface buyer’s guide!

Why can I not use my computer’s built in soundcard?

What is an audio interface?

What difference do USB and firewire make?

How does digital audio work?

What is jitter?

What is dithering?

Want a flexible interface, amp modeller and the industry standard Pro-Tools DAW? Check out the Avid Eleven Rack!

Still not plugged anything into those connectors on the back that look like unbalanced phonos, but aren’t? Here’s how to make use of your S/PDIF connections.

Home studio monitoring

You can get great results working with headphones, but working can be less fatiguing and you can get better insight into your mix with a set of studio monitors. They also make your studio look much, much, cooler and lend an air of professional gravitas.

Here is the daddy, the place to start, it’s our studio monitors buyers’ guide.

Do you need a monitor controller?

What is the best way to position my monitors?

What is the difference between active and passive monitors?

What is the difference between studio monitors and hi-fi speakers?

Should you mix on ‘hyped’ studio monitors or headphones?

Home studio software

If you go down the computer audio route, then your digital audio workstation (DAW) will end up being where you spend a lot of your time. What are they, what do they do and how can you use them?

When you’re setting up your audio preferences in your DAW, what difference do word length and sample rate make?

-Pro Tools tips

If you’re just starting out in Pro Tools, you might have spent the last four hours staring at a blank screen, or fruitlessly searching for good tutorials online. We’ve taken care of that part for you and present some of the best guides for when you’re starting out: Pro Tools for beginners- we trawl the tutorials so you don’t have to!

-Ableton Live tips

Quickly see the global status of devices

Home studio hardware?

A computer is not the only way, and it doesn’t have to be used exclusively. How do you go about a hardware route, and how can you integrate external hardware into your studio and workflow?

Had enough of staring at a computer after a day at work? Don’t find computers inspiring? Maybe you could use some hardware instead of a computer.

Hardware? Do you need some in your life? We take a look at whether you need outboard gear to make tunes!

Home studio microphones

If you want to record your singing, your acoustic guitar, shape a kick drum from a recording of you running into a wall while wearing an anorak or anything else that moves the air, you’ll want a microphone, but which one? And why…?

A great place to start is our recording microphones buyers guide.

If you’re using a microphone, you might want to know whether you should use a Reflexion Filter with it.

Rode have made some of our favourite microphones for ages, but what about the new NT1 vs the NT1A?

Home studio controllers

Want to get hands on with your production? All about controllers for easing your workflow and getting tactile with your DAW here.

iPad DAW controllers

Home studio plugins

Once you’re set up and comfortable working with your DAW, you might want to supplement your productions with some additional effects. This is the section for all your plugin questions, and some of our tips and recommendations.

What could be better than some freebies? Here is our first selection of the best free plugins.

And some more plugins for you!

PA and live sound

Not quite home studio, we know, but it seems like a useful thing to have here as well!

You might already know to plan for the weather when setting up outdoors, but what about the other sort of damping factor?

Home studio accessories and useful things to have about…

While there are undoubtedly some ‘larger’ expenses involved in setting up your studio, there are also a lot of quite cheap bits and pieces that can drastically improve your productions and improve your workflow.

What is a pop shield for?

Nine budget studio improvements.

Home studio recording tips

This section contains all our tips, and tips from professional engineers and producers, that can get you well on the way to making top-drawer quality recordings!

Top ten recording tips

How to record vocals

How to record acoustic guitar

The do’s and don’ts of recording

Snare drum recording guide

Kick drum recording guide

Home studio mixing tips

You’ve got everything ‘on-tape’ and you’re happy with the arrangement and the ear candy, time to buff it up with a good polish in that final mix.

Ten steps to a great mixdown

Grabbing those decibels

Adding some extra low-end to a kick drum

How to mix vocals

How to mix drums

The high-pass filter- should this be the first tool you reach for when mixing?

For simplifying certain mixing tasks, as well as for creative inspiration, you should give multing a try!

Panning sounds taking longer than you’d like? Maybe you could try LCR mixing

Home studio mastering

You’re happy with the mix, time to turn that final mixdown into a master. Can you do it yourself? Should you do it yourself? What is it in the first place?

Master bus processing

Pushing the analogue

Home studio tech tips

You don’t have to be an electronics or acoustics geek to get great results from your home studio, nor to enjoy it, but (in my opinion) the techy stuff is cool in its own way, and might arm you with the knowledge to solve a few problems you may encounter…

Why do different headphones have different impedance levels?

What is mono compatibility and why should you care?

What is a DI box and do I need one?

Nine budget studio improvements!

If you’re getting some constant (or intermittent) hum or buzz in your studio, you’ll need to fix those ground loops!

Got some questions about different types of cable and connector in your studio? You need the audio cable and connector guide!

Want a quick overview on the new loudness standards and how loudness normalisation will affect your music? Click here!

Home studio inspiration, composition and the business

Getting into that songwriting space in your head, then maybe even thinking  about how to make a few pennies from your music can be tricky, or maybe you just don’t know where to start at all. Maybe you could start here?

Five ways to find musical inspiration from nowhere

How to make a simple house beat

Nine ways to succeed alone as a musician.

Home studio reviews and overviews

And to finish, a repository of some of our product reviews and product overviews. Let us know if there is anything you’d like us to review, or feel free to call in store for a demo!

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB audio interface 

sE RNR1 ribbon microphone

Boss BR800 recorder review

Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 USB Audio Interface

Roland Cakewalk V-Studio 100

Audient iD22 USB audio interface

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Red Dog Music is the UK’s friendliest musical instrument and pro-audio dealer. Between our 5000 square foot Edinburgh shop filled with an incredible range of products, and our London showroom in Clapham specialising in high-end instruments, dj and pro-audio, Red Dog Music has you covered from north to south and from performance to playback.

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Fynn Callum

producer, guitarist, engineer & dj
From indie guitarist to deep house producer via Northern Soul dj; mix engineer, producer and gear enthusiast. Jaffa Cake aficionado.

2 Responses to “Your Home Studio Recording Setup – The Ultimate Guide”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Jeff Marston says:

    Fynn, My brother and I have recently started a band and we've been wanting to record a demo tape for some time now. I like the advice to pick a designated space for the recording studio. hopefully, we can get it set up within a week so that we can start jamming. http://sonicfarmstudio.com

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