How to get the most from your Pro Home Studio

Home recording studios can vary tremendously. A home studio can be as simple as a cassette deck and an inexpensive microphone set up in the corner of your bedroom. Of course, you can opt for something elaborate, like a multitrack digital recorder with thousands of dollars in outboard gear and expensive instruments residing in an acoustically treated addition built onto the side of your house (whew!). Your first step in choosing what type of home recording system to buy is to determine your recording goals. For most home recordists, the weakest link in their recording system is their skill as an engineer. A $2,000 mic is useless to you until you gain an understanding of the subtleties of mic placement, for example. You may want to wait to buy that next piece of gear until you completely outgrow your present piece of equipment. For most people, this is the ultimate determining factor in choosing their studio components. Set a budget and try to stay within it. The sky's the limit on what you could spend on recording equipment for your home studio, but you don't need to spend a ton of money. If you know your goals and do your research, you can create top-quality recordings without having the best of everything.

In fact, your skill as a recording engineer will have a much greater effect on the overall quality of your sound than whether you have a $3,000 preamp. As you get to know your equipment, you can make recordings good enough to compete in the marketplace.

Digital recording technology has improved tremendously over the last few years and it will continue to improve in the years to come. Don't get sucked into the belief that you have to have the latest, greatest thing in order to make great music. After all, great albums and #1 hits were recorded on lesser equipment than you'll find in most home studios today. Focus on the song and the arrangement, practicing good solid recording techniques, and you can get by with any of the pro or semi-pro recording systems available.