Putting together a home studio is not just for the wealthy music producers who frequently host major pop stars and rock stars from major record labels.
If you like to create your own compositions and put together that mix-tape, or record podcasts, or maybe you would like to go professional some day by offering your services for radio and TV commercials or for voice-over recording, a home studio can be a great asset.
There’s no dearth of options when you have your own home studio.
However, the one thing that makes many folks reluctant to venture out on the creative patch is the cost.
Here, we are going to break down the home studio cost and the factors that influence it.
- 1 How Much Does it Cost to Make Your Home Studio?
- 2 Adjusting the Room (Basement/Attic) for Home Studio
- 3 Cost of Equipment
- 4 For Home Studio
- 5 For Professionals
- 6 What is the Average Cost for a Home Studio?
- 7 Ending Note
How Much Does it Cost to Make Your Home Studio?
The good news for those who are looking to make their own home studio is that it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Even professional recording artists (who can afford high-end recording studios) have made good use of well-equipped home studios.
For instance, Abbey Road Studios in London and EastWest Studios in Los Angeles are just two examples of the legendary status that can be achieved by a well-thought-out recording studio.
The overall cost of your home studio is going to boil down to the type of home studio you choose, as in digital or analog.
Here’s a quick breakdown to let you know the main differences between digital and analog home studios.
Analog Home Studio
An analog studio will require you to work with physical hardware for mixing and mastering audio files.
For those who are not comfortable with putting all of their faith in technology (just yet), this could be a smart alternative.
It also makes sense since it is considered to be easier to record audio in an analog studio since technology isn’t always accurate.
Besides that, the ability to work with physical equipment, rather than just pressing buttons will give you more experience.
This is not possible with a digital home studio, where everything can be done with the push of a button.
Analog home studios also tend to produce a warmer sound.
This is because the changes in air pressure in the studio are also picked up by the recording equipment, which results in a more accurate, true-to-life sound.
Another major benefit of using an analog home studio is that it’s easier to work with large audio files since you can make many tweaks manually, based on your instinct and not what some computer code thinks is best for your audio files.
While an analog home studio might seem a bit old-school, it gives you more control over the sound you want to create.
Digital Home Studio
However, there are those who feel we live in a modern age, and so, need to move forward by adapting to the times.
A digital home studio takes much of the guesswork out of producing your own music. It is also much cheaper as compared to analog studio equipment.
As you would expect, it is much easier to edit and mix audio using a digital home studio as it is with the traditional analog home studio.
A digital home studio also comes with its set of advantages.
For instance, if you make a mistake while mixing your audio files, all you have to do is press the “undo” and take another swing at it.
Another major benefit of a digital recording studio is that it’s space-efficient as well.
For example, as compared to an analog home studio that can take up a lot of space, digital studios have a smaller footprint since virtually everything is computerized.
With every mixing and sound effect under the sun available at your fingertips, a digital home studio makes it easier to record a whole album with relative ease, without the need to jump through hoops or investing in expensive recording equipment.
Adjusting the Room (Basement/Attic) for Home Studio
The bedroom, basement, attic, garage, or shed; you can turn almost any room in your home into your very own personal recording studio.
Regardless of the room you pick to turn into your new home studio, you will need to make sure it has enough space for an ergonomic workspace without muffling the audio you create.
The last thing you want is to have a room that’s not treated acoustically, which results in the room itself working as an EQ, which is a big no-no.
The good news is, you can reduce the flattening and reflections of the frequency response of the room by soundproofing the walls, laying down some area rugs, and leaving your concrete or hardwood floors bare.
You might also want to invest in ready-made DIY acoustical treatments that are available in the market, which range anywhere from $5 to $20 a pop.
When choosing the room for your home studio, it will all come down to frequency.
For instance, if any one of the dimensions of the room you choose to make your home studio is 14”, you’re going to have problems once the output hits 80Hz.
Don’t ask me why. It’s physics (or acoustics, to be more precise).
When deciding which room to turn into your home studio, going with the larger room isn’t always a good idea.
The key is to select a room that’s not going to fight against your equipment once you start recording.
As a rule of thumb, you should always pick a room that has dimensions in odd numbers (divided the speed of sound with the wavelength).
This might sound strange to you, but trust me. It works.
That said, the minimum dimensions of a home studio should not be less than 20ft x 15ft x 10ft.
Once you made a choice of the room you want to turn into your home studio try dividing the room into two different work stations; one half of the room will act as the recording area, while the other half will be your control room where you will keep your computer and mixing equipment.
Basement vs. Attic
Many times, folks who want to have their own home studio will find themselves having to choose between the basement or the attic for their new studio.
If you have to choose between the two, any owner of a home studio will tell you that the basement is the way to go.
That’s because it will insulate the sound, keeping it from disturbing your neighbors.
It will also be cooler to work in during the summers and cozy during the winters.
If you have to deal with low, 7ft ceilings, then all you have to do is treat that with Auralex diffusers, and you’re good to go.
Cost of Equipment
The cost of the equipment of your home studio is mainly going to depend on the type of equipment you go for.
It is important here to note that going with expensive recording equipment isn’t necessarily going to result in better sound quality.
It is possible to get amazing sound by pairing cost-effective solutions in your home studio (at least in the beginning until you can afford to purchase more high-end studio equipment).
Getting the Right Microphone
At first glance, all microphones look the same, but did you know that there are four different types of microphones used in home studios?
Luckily, you’ll only have to invest in one of the following:
- Ribbon microphones
- Dynamic microphones
- Small diaphragm condenser microphones
- Large diaphragm condenser microphones
As you’ll be setting up your first home studio, the smart thing to do would be to go with a dynamic mic.
These are considered as the workhorse of recording studios.
Not only are dynamic mics affordable, but they are also extremely durable, which makes them a great choice for a first-time mic for your home studio.
Another option will be the large diaphragm condenser mics, which are also a viable option for home studios.
Once you get the funds, you can always get the other types of mics and play around to find the best combinations for enhanced sound quality.
Typical mic prices start from $15 to $50, depending on the type of mic you go for.
You don’t really need to fork up a thousand dollars for a MacBook for your home studio.
In fact, thanks to the high processing power of today’s computers, you can easily use your current laptop or PC that can get the job done.
Since there’s no real difference between a normal PC and a flashy laptop, go with whichever you are comfortable with.
The main factor to consider when choosing a computer is the processor speed because you are going to need a lot of processing power for mixing music.
Again, this is nothing your current laptop or PC can’t already handle.
As long as you have a computer with decent cores and a fast clock speed, you’re good to go.
If you do need to upgrade your PC, then just focus on running an SSD as your system’s main boot drive.
This will make your computer more responsive while mixing sounds, which, in turn, will benefit your DAW.
Also, 8 GB of RAM (or more) will do just fine.
But, if you do plan on running multiple instances of multi-GB sample libraries during the mixing process at low buffer sizes, you might want to go with something more.
You should be able to get 12GB RAM for around $100.
If you’re only recording vocals, one mic stand will do.
If you plan on recording multiple instruments at a time, then you will need to invest in more mic stands as per your use.
Typical tripod boom mic stands will cost around $20.
Mics that feature an adjustable tilt arm and extension provides you with a more versatile option as compared to the single-piece mic stands.
Guitar Stands and Hooks
Using guitar stands and hooks to hang your guitars on the wall will lend your home studio a neater, Feng Shui look.
Typical guitar stands, wall mounts, and hooks cost around $5 to $15.
The placement of your monitor speaker stands will make all the difference in the sound quality that’s produced.
This means you wouldn’t want to plop your monitors on the table beside your PC or on a chair, or worse, on the floor.
Getting monitor stands will allow you to configure the space between your speakers depending on the room and your workstation so that you can hear the audio playback clearly.
Studio monitor stands can cost anywhere from $30 to $70, depending on the type you choose.
You might not want to go with the ones that are too fancy, as these are often accompanied by a higher price tag.
You don’t really have to go with a professional-looking recording chair; a normal desk chair will do. If you don’t have one, try a beanbag.
But, to stay comfortable during long hours of recording your latest masterpiece, we recommend investing in a comfortable chair that will take care of your back, so you can take care of business.
An ergonomic chair will cost you anywhere from $30 to $100.
Again, you wouldn’t want to go with something that’s too fancy just yet if you are already on a budget.
A standard workstation desk where your computer, audio interface, and other equipment will go should be at a height around 30 inches by 60 inches (width), and around 70 cm deep.
This should give you more than enough space for your PC or laptop along with the other home studio recording equipment.
L-shaped home office tables typically come for around $200, while the standard variety should cost around $100.
An audio interface helps play the sound that comes in (or out) of the DAW (we’ll get to that in a second).
An audio interface is another key component of a home studio.
It basically helps convert analog signals from the instruments or microphones into a digital input that can be recorded in the DAW.
An audio interface is a crucial piece of tech for any home studio since it also helps convert digital signals in the DAW back to audio so that you can hear your music via the monitor speakers or headphones.
While an audio interface can cost upwards of $700, as a beginner, you can go with single-channel interfaces that come for around $40, or if you have got the budget for it, try going for a Focusrite Scarlett
Solo, which will set you back around $150, or the M-Audio M-Track audio interface that costs around $200.
Besides these, there are plenty of other options when it comes to getting an audio interface for your home studio.
You will need to get a good pair of closed-back headphones for your recording studio.
Headphones will come in handy for when you want to double-check your mixes to make sure you’ve gotten them right.
A Closed-back headphone can cost between $20 to $200, depending on the quality.
Any options that come between those two figures are the sweet spot and should get you a decent pair of headphones for your home studio.
Now, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Here, we’re going to discuss the absolute essentials for a home studio or professional working studio.
For Home Studio
If you’re putting together your first home studio, or are looking for a non-professional studio to mix your own music, then here are some options for starter monitor speakers, DAW, and other equipment for your home studio.
Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor ($140)
Unlike regular speakers that are used to produce those thumping low range beats and are used mostly alongside a PC or audio system, monitor speakers, on the other hand, have been designed to produce a very specific sound.
This is known as a ‘flat frequency response’ and is the key feature of a home or professional studio.
The Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor provides transparent sound reproduction thanks to its dual-layer, large diameter voice coil, which makes it the perfect choice for home studio use or DJing.
The monitor has an incredible ability to reach ultra lows and highs with minimal distortion.
This enables the speakers to deliver a level of sound that’s similar to what you would expect from many of the high-end studio monitors that are available in the market.
The Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor features a 3D Imaging Waveguide, which allows the speakers to deliver an excellent 3D soundstage.
By producing a shape of the waveguide with intersections to the LF and HF drivers, the waveguide in the LP-6 is able to deliver a coherent sound and a better soundstage.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
There are many types of programs that are called DAWs, all of which offer different layouts and features, depending on the manufacturer.
However, the main functions that are found in every home or professional studio DAW are mainly features that allow you to record a live singer or instrument, the ability to record virtual instruments, loop recorded audios, edit audio files to enhance the quality of the music, mix various audio files, and include other sound effects to the audio to enhance its quality.
If you already use a MacBook, it comes preloaded with GarageBand, which is just as good. GarageBand is perfect for both pros and beginners.
Unlike most modern DAWs, this software features a basic yet effective user interface that does not scare beginners away.
The DAW allows you to record at 24 bits with a mic and mix about 255 tracks.
The best part is that you can record different takes at the same time and edit it as you please.
The software comes with multiple advanced features such as Flex Time that gives you a certain degree of tempo elasticity.
With Groove Matching, you can match the tempo and timings of one track to the one you have set up already.
In case you were wondering, here are some options for those who are looking to put together a professional home studio.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) (Between $99 to $300)
If you’re looking for something a bit more heavy-duty, Apple Logic Pro X comes with a huge sound library with over 7000 royalty-free Apple Loops which allows you to choose and load unique sounds in a matter of minutes.
With Smart Controls, you can easily tweak and edit different tracks to get the right beat.
The DAW also features Flex Time that enables you to efficiently manipulate the tempo and timing of your tracks.
With this feature, you can easily rectify the sounds of a virtual drum, guitar, or any instrument.
The device also comes with a variety of online instruments such as drum pads, guitars, and keyboards so that you can produce music on the spot.
FL Studio is another popular digital audio station.
Not only does this DAW offer automatic upgrades to the newest version on both Mac and PC versions, but FL Studio is also equipped with many other features that can take the guesswork out of mixing your audio tracks.
Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT (Between $100 to $400)
If you’re looking for that punchy and crystal-clear sound, then the Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT should be right up your alley.
These monitor speakers boast of premium high-output drivers, which makes it one of the best studio monitors out there.
4” polypropylene coated woofer offers a 40-watt output and a wide frequency range that’s ideal for full-range multimedia applications.
If you’re looking for studio-quality sound, then the CR4BT is a monitor that delivers in spades.
The Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT also features .75” Ferrofluid-cooled, Silk-Dome tweeters that enable these speakers to achieve those incredible highs with relative ease.
The smooth waveguide design of these speakers means that it is able to deliver an unmatched level of clarity in sound dispersion at all levels.
Pioneer DJ Smart DJ Controller ($200 to $300)
You might not want to invest in a DJ controller (just yet) if you’re starting out with your home studio, but if you’re looking to create a professional setup, you will have to.
The Pioneer DJ Smart DJ Controller (DDJ-200) is just one option that comes highly rated when it comes to the best DJ controllers available in the market.
If you love music or want to turn your passion into your profession, this is the best DJ controller to start with.
With its remarkable controller, the music instrument is a breeze to use.
This DJ controller allows users to learn techniques for mixing music while playing their favorite tracks via mobile phone or Mac/PC.
You simply have to connect your personal gadget to the equipment, load your favorite track, and enjoy fun mixes of your choice.
The controller is app and software-friendly. Depending on your device and the program you pick, you can easily mix music via your music library, SoundCloud, Spotify, Beatport LINK, and Deezer, amongst others.
What is the Average Cost for a Home Studio?
Whether you are going online or to a brick-and-mortar store, you do not want to be spending a whole lot for your home studio setup for obvious reasons.
For starters, it’s going to be your first time, which means there’s a higher risk of making mistakes… mistakes that can ruin your equipment and force you to buy new equipment.
So, you wouldn’t want to go all out and spend a lot on equipment just yet.
For a starter home studio, it’s smart to go with reasonably priced equipment that fits your budget.
While setting up your home studio, you should also be aware of scalability.
Don’t get the equipment you won’t need for a while. Instead, focus on the equipment you simply can’t do without.
So, what’s the total cost of your home studio (based on what we’ve reviewed here): $825
This is just a rough estimation, which means you can create your home studio up and running for a lot less.
So, what are you waiting for?
Get the home studio of your dreams and get mixing!
The reason why this guide to a home studio cost seems to be broken down into three parts; the absolute essentials; for beginners; and for professionals is for you to get an idea of the equipment you need and the things you can do without for now.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to making smart choices as you put together the home studio of your dreams while still keeping your expenses in check, and more importantly, within budget.