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DIY Home Studio Guide: Music Production Equipment, Home Studio Setup & Everything Else You Need to Start Making Music at Home

Home Studio Microphone Image

Do you want to set up your own DIY home studio and don't know where to even begin?

You can think of your DIY home studio as an open, ongoing project, rather than a one-time investment.

First you get all the music equipment and software you really need to make music, then improve your project studio slowly as you go along.  You want to however research and plan your studio well before you start to purchase gear because mistakes could cost you dearly down the line.

"What Do You Need for a Home Studio Setup?"

To get started with music production you can do so with just a laptop, audio interface, DAW software and some headphones.  That's the bare minimum to start producing beats or electronic music.  It'll be difficult to get quality mixes with just headphones and you cannot record in this case, so sooner or later you'll want to invest in a few more components for your home studio.

So, to TL;DR answer the question:

"What Do You Need for a Home Studio Setup?"

Answer: Any serious beginner producer or beatmaker will need the following list of home studio equipment and the accompanying accessories for each:

  1. Music Production Computer
  2. Audio Interface
  3. DAW Software
  4. Studio Monitors
  5. MIDI Controller
  6. A Few Microphones

Now, of course you can get away without the microphones if you don't plan to record anything and the MIDI controller is sort of optional but useful.

Now, while you can get started with home music production with just a computer, audio interface, DAW software and studio monitors,  there are some other things to consider if you plan to produce and mix professional-level music.  More on that further below.  First let's take a more detailed look at the stages bedroom and home studios tend to go through:

3 Stages of Home Studio Setups:

1. The Just Getting Started Home Studio Setup

When you first want to learn how to produce music it makes no sense to buy a bunch of expensive studio equipment.  You need to understand the basics of music production first and for that you don't need much.

You can get away with a laptop, a decent audio interface, some studio headphones and DAW.

Getting Started Home Studio Setup Image

2. The Beginner Bedroom Producer's Setup

Once you understand a bit more about music production and the gear involved it's time to make a leap.  Now you want to take your music a bit more serious and add some studio monitors, a MIDI controller and possibly a few good microphones to your studio.  This may also be a good time to find or build a better room and invest in some acoustic treatment.

Beginner Producers Home Studio Setup Image

3. The Someday Maybe Semi-Pro Home Studio Setup

This is the holy grail for most producers.  A dedicated space with all the cow bells and whistles you need in your home studio.

This is where you may start filling up your studio racks with yummy analog boxes and build-out your own studio.

The Semi-Pro Studio Setup Image

Your home studio set up can be painless,  as long as you keep these guidelines below in mind before you start.

Core Home Studio Components Infographic

The 3 Top Home Studio Setup Considerations

1. Your Core Music Studio Equipment & Software

Some pieces of music production equipment are more essential than others.  The 5 pieces of gear below makes a difference to your sound quality or workflow.  It's always best to aim for the best possible quality you can afford when it comes to these core components of your DIY home studio setup:

1. A Music Recording Computer
The brains of most home studio setups.  Read this post to find out more about what to look for in your music production laptop or desktop system to ensure smooth workflow in your home studio.

2. An Audio Interface or Pro Sound-Card
Consumer sound-cards won't get you the the results you need to produce professional results in your home studio.  You need a bit more power under the hood.  Enter the world of pro audio sound-cards and interfaces.

3. A Digital Audio Workstation
Most music production is done inside a DAW today. The post above gives you 5 top DAWs to choose from.

4. A Pair of Pro Studio Monitors
We want a response and we want it flat!  There are so many studio monitors available that it can be hard to choose the first pair for your new home studio.  This post takes a look at what to look for in pro audio monitors and gives a few choice  recommendations for monitors for new music producers on a tight-ish budget.

5. Recording Microphones
You don't need a massive mic locker to start recording in your DIY home studio.  Learn about the different types of microphones available and the basic mics you need to get started.

2. Your Studio Monitor Placement

Your DIY Home Studio Monitor Set Up (Article on Sound-on-Sound web site.)
Really bro?  You got those tweeters pointing at your belly button?  Lord have mercy!  Yes, monitor placement is often overlooked in home studios.  Good monitor placement that is.  This article on SOS will ensure you make most of your expensive new studio monitors.

3. Your Listening Environment

Get a Grip On Room Acoustics
The best studio equipment makes absolutely no sense unless you have a good listening environment.  You may not have the budget for a custom studio build-out but a bit of room treatment can go a long way.  This post takes a look at DIY home studio acoustical room treatment.

How to Buy Music Production Equipment

You can research recording studio equipment online with the search engines,  manufacturer's web sites and music production web sites and forums. You can then compile your list and head out to your local music instrument store to test your top choices and obtain price quotes.

You can then go online again and compare the prices your local store gave with those of online music instrument stores.

This way you can either order the gear online should the price be better,  or should the price not be much lower online,  you can purchase from your local music store to support them.

Your home music studio will always be a work in progress and will grow as your music production skills grow and you expand your music career. Try to avoid the "my music would get better when I have [enter name of new studio toy]" trap.  Remember,  your studio is your workspace and your studio equipment serve as tools.  You make the music.  So, do the Music Equipment Reality Check.

Get the minimum viable DIY home studio equipment setup you need to make your own music,  then learn to use it well before splashing out on new gear.  Of course new toys are always fun.  Knowing how to play with the ones you have can be even funner!

Need Some DIY Home Studio Setup Ideas & Inspiration?

You'll find home studio setups, from crammed to minimal, practical to quirky and cheap to pretty expensive on the RenegadeProducer.com's well-maintained Home Studio Setup Ideas and Inspiration board over at Pinterest:

Don't forget to follow us on Pinterest if you're on it!

Related posts:

Find the Best Studio Headphones for Your Home Music Production Studio
Your questions about pro headphones answered and 9 recommended models to start you search. This post will help you find the best studio headphones for you.

7 DIY home studio changes that can improve your sound...
Sometimes small changes can make a big difference in your studio.  This post explores 7 changes you can make today.

The 3 main home studio design considerations for producers and beat-makers...
In this post you discover the 3 main things you absolutely must get right to have a home studio you can produce in.

Do I really need an audio interface?
This is a common question newer electronic music producers and beatmakers have. Consider it answered!

Choosing a MIDI controller
Life as a producer is quite difficult without a good MIDI controller, especially if you plan to write with virtual instruments. This comprehensive guide helps you make the right choice.

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