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Establishing a Home Recording Studio

For many people, building a home studio is a gradual thing. You may start out with a synthesizer and a two-track recorder and add a microphone. Then you may decide to buy a multitrack recorder. Then you trade in your stereo speakers for real studio monitors. And before you know it, you’ve invested thousands of dollars in a first-rate home studio.

When setting up your home studio, you can go a couple of routes. You can walk into your local musical instrument store or pro audio shop without any forethought, buy the pieces of gear that catch your eye, and then figure out where you may use them in your studio.

Or, you can determine your goals ahead of time and research each piece of equipment before you buy it to make sure that it is the best possible solution for you at the best price point. You should take the latter approach because you end up with only the equipment that you need and not a bunch of useless gear that may only ever look good sitting in your studio.

The process of choosing the right equipment doesn’t have to be difficult. All it takes is a little self-assessment and some basic knowledge about the different equipment options.

Digital recording technology is evolving at an incredible rate. It’s tempting to always look to the next great innovation before you decide on a recording system, but you should avoid this wait-and-see attitude.

Digital recording technology is now at the point that what you can record in your meager home studio can sound as fat, as clean, or as (insert your favorite recording adjective here) as the best recordings that have been released in the last 20 years.

Don’t be afraid to just jump in and start recording. The way to great-sounding recordings is through hours of recording experience (not to mention having great songs with which to work).

You’re almost assuredly going to get a chronic case of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). Don’t worry; it’s not terminal (unless, of course, you don’t run your future purchases by your family first), but it can be uncomfortable.

Nothing much is worse than having your eye on a piece of gear you just can’t afford. “Let’s see, food for a month or that new compressor I've just gotta have? . . . Oh well, I needed to go on a diet anyway.”

The good news is that you’ll never run out of new equipment to drool over and you’ll never be alone in your suffering — everyone who owns a recording studio (private or commercial) suffers from GAS to some extent.

The best way to keep GAS at bay is to decide on a system and buy it. Then stop looking at gear and get to work making music. After all, that’s why you bought the stuff in the first place.

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