I got really tired of saying, “I don’t have the cash for a studio album.”
All my friends were heading into the studio, crowdfunding $15k, $30k, $100k to make their dream albums with their dream producers. I had done that, but it created a lot of stress and anxiety that I wasn’t really willing to have again.
Honestly? I didn’t like the producer rushing me along with my vocal overdubs because we only had 48 hours left in our session. I like to go slow, and it doesn’t work to force magic.
And quite frankly? I didn’t care for the low hum of frustration that dripped off me every time we botched a take. “Time is money,” the asshole in my head gently whispered to me.
I thought big money meant a big studio with a big album and big success. But it was just a big headache.
While I won’t completely scratch it from my future plans, I decided I didn’t want to be held hostage to that ideology. Plenty of friends labored over building their lovely home studios, but I wasn’t looking for a project. I was looking for results.
So I built this simple home studio for myself for $600. And recording in it makes me feel so good.
I wanna feel good making music more than I want a perfect record.
Here are the 6 pieces of gear in my studio. There’s really nothing missing from this list at all. These are the only pieces of gear I use:
#1: A condenser microphone
A well-built condenser mic picks up all the nuances of sound. I think they are what make my voice sexy and strong. Neumann gives a really good description of a condenser mic here. The kind of mics you usually use for live performances are “dynamic” mics, and they are built to not capture all those nuances. Don’t record with that. Invest in a condenser mic that makes your voice sound irresistible.
#2: A pop filter
With all those nuances of sound come pops and “plosives” - the sound your lips make when you say words that start with certain consonants like “th,” “p,” or “d.” Your pop filter will literally filter out these plosives, save your engineer a thousand headaches, and up the game of your recordings. Don’t record vocals without one.
#3: A recording interface
I like simplicity, and I like sleek. My recording interface has two options: record vocals, or record an instrument. I plug it in, it instantly recognizes which one I’ve plugged in, and then it records it at top quality. Gorgeous. In the flow. Ease.
#4: An XLR cable
The XLR cable connects my mic to my interface. I like a nice 6 foot cable in my home studio. The longer the cable gets, the more susceptible it is to breaking over time.
$5: An instrument cable
The ¼ in cable connects my instrument to my interface. Again, keeping it as short as you can is really great for the quality of sound - but don’t go too short so that you can’t move around while plugged in. 6 feet is the minimum, IMHO.
#6: A mic stand
Personally, I like to sit when recording vocals, so I have a table-top mic stand. If you like to stand up, you can grab yourself a boom stand.
I promise you can get all this gear for about $600 - in fact, click here to get an itemized list of each piece of gear I use personally, complete with Amazon links (though you can probably get a lot of it used if you wanted to).
I don’t make music for the money. Yes, I make music and and I get money, but I don’t do it for the money. I do it for freedom, for ease, and for ultimate impact. I’m crafting a vision of making at least an album a year, and I don’t want to spend $35k each year doing that. I want to roll out of bed, practice yoga, and hit record. And this is my access to a creative life of freedom, ease, and huge impact.
WRITE IN THE COMMENTS: What's your favorite piece of gear that's made the difference in your home studio?