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Voice-Over

How to Set Up a Home Recording Studio

Alex Harris-MacDuff

Alex Harris-MacDuff

21 March 2020

How to Set Up a Home Recording Studio - Voquent

Quickly set up a professional & affordable home recording studio with our tips and tricks.

We’re all working from home due to the pandemic, so now is a better time than ever to learn how to set up a home recording studio. 

This blog is a super quick summary guide of the basics you need to get a functional and high-quality home recording studio fast. 

For details on each individual item you will need, check out our previous blogs:

 

Audio Interface

The main thing you need to consider when buying an audio interface for your computer is how it connects to the computer.

First, look at your computer and see what inputs it has. 

It will most likely be USB 3.0 (usually a blue fitting) or USB 2.0 on a PC and Thunderbolt on a Mac.

If you’re not sure, look it up online! Make sure you get something with the correct connection.

The two options we suggest for audio interfaces are either the Behringer UMC22 Computer Audio Interface (approx. £35/$40) or this Focusrite studio bundle (approx. £200/$235).

The Focusrite studio bundle comes with a microphone and headphones, and an XLR cable, so it is maximally convenient. You could get everything you need for a home studio for £200/$235 with this.

However, if you are on a very tight budget, the Behringer u-Phoria and shopping around separately for a microphone would be slightly cheaper. 

 

Microphone & Accessories

For speed, any large diaphragm condenser that you can get your hands on will suit. Even the £27 ($30) Gear4Music MC1, which we usually strenuously advise against, is acceptable. 

However, if you have a slightly better budget than that, getting something like the sE Electronics X1 A for around £80 ($95) is a good choice.

If you stick with your home studio set-up for the future, you’ll end up needing to upgrade the Gear4Music MC1 quickly anyway – so while it is cheaper now, it could be a false economy! 

The accessories you need are relatively cheap and the same for any microphone.

basic floor-standing mic stand is about £10 ($12), an XLR cable is about £6 ($6.50), and a pop shield is about £6 ($6.50).

There are more robust and fancy versions of each component, but they’re not an absolute requirement. 

 

Headphones

If you are setting up the home studio to record, then you can use any pair of headphones at all. 

If you are setting up your home studio to edit your audio to a professional level you will need to get much better quality headphones. The primary reason you need headphones is to prevent feedback when you listen back to your audio or have the client dialling in for live direction. 

So, anything will realistically do. You can spend as little as £4 on essential in-ear headphones for the cheaper end. If you want something a bit more reliable, though, then the AKG K240 MKII are perfectly good enough at about £50.

The Focusrite studio bundle (£200/$235) does come with headphones too, so bear that in mind when comparing costs! 

 

Acoustic Treatment

Ah, acoustic treatment – one of the most complicated subjects.

The same principles apply wherever you are. Some essential tips and tricks, though, and ways to avoid spending any money on acoustic treatment at all, are:

  • Put a rug under your microphone stand.
  • Don’t record in a room with laminate or tiled flooring. The carpet is best!
  • Close the curtains – glass and windows are super reflective.
  • If you have a wardrobe where you are recording, open the doors! Clothes absorb sound excellently.
  • Don’t put the microphone near bare walls. If the room is small, stand facing the window with the curtains drawn.

  • Bookshelves are great for diffusing sound, too – if there is a wall filled with books in your house, record near that!
  • Keep a consistent distance from the microphone, and follow good microphone techniques. Moving around will introduce lots of constantly changing reverberance, which is impossible to remove
  • Tweak your set-up and position constantly. Record something, listen to it, then shift things until it sounds natural but not highly reverberant.
  • Never record in an empty room.

Acoustic treatment is an enormously complicated subject, but if you follow these tips and do some reading of the other blogs, you can get a great sound with no extra equipment!

If you do find yourself with a bit of budget left over, then an sE Electronics RF-X (£80/$110) would be a solid investment. It will nullify any reflections from behind the microphone and give you a bit more flexibility to place the mic to record. 

 

Audio Editing Software

This might be a bit more complex for the less ‘techy’ of you, but it’s not that difficult.

The audio editing software doesn’t need a wealth of features, and it just needs to record at a high enough quality. Look on the manufacturer website if you’re not sure whether it works with your computer operating system or that many voices use Audacity, a freeware program, for their recording. 

Audacity is not the most reliable piece of software and should only be used if you do not have the budget for a professional recording program.

Mac users are in a better situation, as they have Garageband for free, and that is plenty good enough. For PC users, Sound Forge is around £50 ($60) for the most basic version, and that is plenty suitable for voice over recording and even some in-depth editing. 

It might also be worth trying Reaper’s free 60-day trial.

 

Conclusion

So, that’s all you need to set up a home studio!

If you know what you’re doing, you can set up a professional home studio for as little as £80/$90 . If you want to “future-proof” your equipment a bit more by getting some decent headphones, a decent microphone, and a proper DAW, then you can still get everything for £250/$300 or less.

 

7 Tips & Tricks for Editing voice-over

Alex Harris-MacDuff

By Alex Harris-MacDuff

Some people say rock 'n' roll is a matter of life and death. I can assure you, it's much more important than that.

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