Step-by-Step Guide Building a Home Studio for Beginners

By Tim Wilson •  Updated: 03/14/23 •  11 min read

Musical recordings start as ideas or feelings in the mind and heart of their composer. Recording gear and musical instruments help translate these ideas into sound waves. Music can be exciting, exalting, sensual, soothing, and fulfilling. However, it takes good recordings to preserve music for the time to come.

If you’re looking to start a home recording studio, you’re in the right place. In this guide, I’ll go through some of the steps to follow when building your home recording studio as a beginner.

Step 1 – Choose a Space

There are many places in your home to set up your home recording studio. Choosing the right space to set up will depend on how you plan to use the space. For a solo recording artist, you probably don’t need too much space. However, if you’re planning to track a full band or a drum set, you will need to find a larger space to accommodate everything. Below are some spaces in your home to set up a recording studio.

Those three are the most popular options for setting up your home recording studio. Consider each space’s pros and cons and determine which will give you more benefits.

Step 2 – Design Your Space

Once you’ve chosen your studio space, it is time to decide how it will look. First, clear the floor because you’ll need any space. This includes any clutter or anything you can stumble on when working in the room. Next, remove any items on the walls that may cause the sound to bounce off. Paintings, pictures, or anything else should be removed.

You should also work on temperature control to create a comfortable working environment. If it’s uncomfortably hot or cold, you cannot create your best work.

Small Bedroom Recording Studio Set up

Small Bedroom Recording Studio Set up

Reshaping your room, in some cases, is a must to create an ideal setting for recording music. Suppose you have odd walls, like a parallel wall. In that case, that can create sound reflections. You can consider removing or working on them to ensure they won’t affect your music. The choice of color in your recording room will also affect your mood. Vibrant colors are great for creating a cheerful environment, while darker colors do the opposite.

How you design your recording studio will dictate the quality of your recordings. Think carefully when trying to create the best design. Only incorporate something if it will positively affect your ability to make good-quality music.

Step 3 – Acoustic Treatment

If you’re working with a huge budget, it will be easier to get the acoustics of a recording room correct. However, for a beginner working on a budget, you’re looking for economical ways to acoustically treat your studio. Below are some cheaper ways to sharpen the acoustics of your home studio.

The final sound of your music is extremely important. Even if you choose the best room location and use the best equipment, bad acoustics will destroy all that. Apart from these ideas, there are more ways of acoustically treating a room. Check out our recording room acoustic treatment guide.

Step 4 – Soundproof Your Home Studio

When you’re in the studio making the best music, only some people want to listen to it. If you want to avoid endless complaints from family members and neighbors, the best way is to soundproof the room you’re recording music in. Soundproofing can be expensive, but here are some economical ways.

Overall, there is no studio that is 100 percent soundproofed unless you’re willing to invest thousands of dollars. Try using a combination of different tips and tricks to get better results, while saving on the cost. For a start, check out our guide on soundproofing a recording room.

Step 5 – Get Essential Gear to Start

You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars to start home recording. When starting, a few essential pieces of equipment will get you going, which you can choose to upgrade afterward. Below are the essential pieces of equipment you’ll need to start recording.

Check out our in-depth post on essential home recording studio equipment.

Step 6 – Choose a Recording Software

Audio recording software has grown significantly over the last few years. Popular home recording studio software includes Ableton Live, Apple Logic Pro, Pro Tools, FL Studio, Cubase, Studio One, GarageBand, and Sonar, among many others. A Digital Audio Workstation, DAW for short, is used to record, edit, and mix tracks.

Most DAWs will offer the basic functionality to start your home recording studio. However, each will have its characteristics, its strengths, and shortcomings. When starting, it would be time-consuming to try all of these to decide the best. Although it’s hard to make a wrong choice, comprehensively research the primary DAW vendors to pick one that fits your tastes.

Ableton Live

Ableton Live

If possible, spend time with the demo of a product to determine the quality and variety of effects and processors, workflow support for loops, support for software synthesis, and collaboration with other musicians. Many vendors give time-limited demos of their products, be sure to try them out before you buy.

If you’re looking for free DAWs, check out Audacity, GarageBand, and Cakewalk. If you’re a complete beginner without experience in audio production, you can rely on these for a start and upgrade later on.

Step 7 – Happy Recording!

Once everything is set up, it’s time to start recording. As you grow your skills, you’ll upgrade your gear and even move out to a standalone studio space. Although that takes time, starting slow and growing slowly is the best. Remember, the best recording gear and recording software do not guarantee the best record quality. Everything from choosing your space, setting up, acoustic treatment, and soundproofing will determine the quality of your tracks.

Happy Home Recording!

Tim Wilson