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Home Studio Setup

So you’ve gathered all the essentials to start producing your own music. In case you haven’t yet, here’s a list of articles you need to catch up on:

Home Studio Setup

Now you just need to turn this random array of equipment and software into a well-optimized, efficient music production studio.

Home Studio Equipment

You can get started producing some amazingly high quality sound with just a few pieces of equipment. Once you have your Software and Production PC, all you’re really missing is a good set of speakers or monitors, an audio interface or soundcard, and a MIDI controller.

This snippet from an article over at Dubspot.com paints a pretty clear picture of these three essential pieces of equipment:

Speakers vs Studio Monitors
Do you need high-end studio speakers? Not necessarily. I remember visiting a producer friend once and noticed that he was mixing tracks (that were getting published on the regular) with a pair of $20 computer speakers. He could do this because he knew from experience how to EQ his sounds and master his track to rumble a club sound system, so he didn’t need to hear the bass on his home system to know what was happening to the sound. For those of us who don’t have that skill (yet), it is probably wise to invest in a set of speakers that will give you a good idea of what you are creating. This is where the term “studio monitor” comes into our conversation.
Studio Monitors are speakers that are made to give an accurate, transparent representation of the sound you are making. Where a pair of home theater or bookshelf speakers may “color” the sound to make it sound more appealing to the ear, studio monitors are made to sound accurate and therefore very flat. At first they may not sound as exciting as your other speakers. This is because you are hearing an honest representation of the music.
Audio Interface
One crucial and often overlooked part of the home studio is an audio interface that will provide connections to route sound in and out of your computer. Your computer may have something like this (if you use Apple they provide decent sound output with the included 1/8th inch jack). But you may lack some connections such as input for a microphone or instrument. This is where you’ll want to figure out exactly what plugs into what in your studio, and purchase an audio interface to fit your needs. For a bit more information on audio interfaces, check out our Audio Interface Breakdown.

MIDI Control

MIDI controllers or keyboards come in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices these days. If you’re a pro keyboard or piano player you may want to invest in something nice but for most of us a cheap, 25-key keyboard works perfectly well for almost everything. Some controllers also come with pads, sliders, or knobs on them. This can be handy when you want to use the controller to turn the virtual knobs in your software (for instance in Reason or Ableton this sort of mapping is very fast). When considering a MIDI controller look first at the comfort factor – do the keys feel good to you? Do you need 88 keys or will 25 keys work as well for you? Then look at the size factor – will it fit on your desk? Avoid MIDI controllers that are too complicated. A simple controller is easiest to learn and work with.

This is all you really need to build a solid studio for dubstep music production. All that’s left to do is put it all together and optimize your workspace to keep those creative juices flowing.

Studio Desk

The foundation of this workspace is your desk. You obviously need something sturdy and large enough to hold your speakers/monitors, audio interface, MIDI controller, and your PC setup. Most people have a desk lying around already that will do just fine. But if you’re in the market for a new one, or want to try out a pretty cool side project, check out our article on how to build a studio desk for under $50.

The primary concern in a music studio is always high quality sound. So whenever you’re bringing something new into your studio environment, always keep this in the back of your mind. For example, if you’re in the market for a new desk chair, find one that doesn’t squeak. It’s important to eliminate as much background noise as possible, especially if you plan on recording any of your own samples.

For some more advice on reducing noise and optimizing the acoustics of your studio, here’s a short youtube video by user CjDAudio.

Add Color to Your Music Studio
Finally, one last thing you might want to do is add some artwork and mood lighting to create some inspiration and get you in the creative mood. Maybe even paint your walls. They say Blue and Yellow inspires creativity, but choosing colors that you can associate with things you enjoy works well too – like green and brown if you’re into nature.

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