Studio Setup


I won’t do a list of the things to do or posses in order to build your home studio setup or talk fully technically about them. Instead I will tell you my experiences, my actual setup and few tricks learned on the way with some suggestion.

Since I aiming to post more about music productions and stuff this one is kind of an overview. Feel free to comment if you see something wrong or misspelt, or if you have some suggestion or question. If you are shy send me an email or better contact me through social media platforms.

Since I’m new on blogging and stuff I’m building my blog structure to be clear and effective, still I think I should write down as I spoke in person. Probably I’ll jump around from topic to topic but I’ll try to stick the more coherent possibile.

That said thanks for reading this and if you like it, remember to share. 

My experiences

I started writing poems at age 10 or 11, at the time I had a Casio keyboard 24 key, I think since I was nine. I always liked music and as a child my dream was to learn to play piano, but this wasn’t the case. My brother and his friends liked rap, rhymes and stuff, and wanted to be a band. I propose my self with my expertise and gear I had at the time.

So we started like this: I played the beat with the keyboard (it had loops, drums and 80s synths); one would rap and the other one would record with a radio toy with the toy’s microphone on cassettes. Yes cassettes, it was like between 2000 and 2001.

From then on I got dependent on making music. We bought samples library on CD, we had few low cost software to make beats until I bought a drum machine “Roland Mc TR307 groovebox” when I was 13 years old. We had a computer and some editing software to record, mix and print on CD.

What then?

Then slowly we started to create our home studio with the necessary. It was a nice hobby. The time was passing, I was making music and losing contact with more and more friends. Until even my brother found something more interesting to do, good for him. He left home and I installed my first home studio setup in his room.

I had a self-made studio booths for recordings, the microphone I still use to this day and the first program that made me flew inside sound engineering: Logic.

Until this moment I didn’t knew this was a job I could do, for me was just fun and amazing. So I got inserted to those aspects of making music (music productions, sound engineering, recordings, etc.). I even had a radio program with a friend at some point.

Know your power

Is just I did not realise that I was good in this and that this was what I really loved. It took me some years to get mentally there. 

I worked with a lot of artists whom then became friends, I wanted to collaborate with as many people as possible and forgot to do my own music. It was just incredibly beautiful. I couldn’t see where this was leading me, I wanted to enjoy making music and many times didn’t asked for a payment for my services (which I know is foolish but I don’t regret it, still I won’t do any free session now).

This was like before entering in the employee world, right on top of latest school I did (2008). I graduated as an offices assistant in general businesses.

First out side studio

After few years I had a job, I built a studio with some friends in a reasonable locations. We were really active, I was already spending money on my home studio so I thought why don’t I spend even more on an other studio setup? Well, I didn’t manage it too well. I was making a few bucks from recordings session but I wasn’t really happy. It wasn’t what I was looking for. I did not know at the time what was it.

More years after that, I change job for a one with night shift. Useless to say that I lost my social life and my outside studio, but I had a higher salary so I made my peace of mind. I kept making music at home almost without collaborating, but still and spending most of my salary on music stuff.

This time I started to buy books too, because I felt the need to be better, to know how to do stuff. I mean to really do it.

I was aware of how I could become a sound engineer, I did few research but alway there was something blocking me.

Not enough money for the schools fees, or not enough music skills (I was pretty good at the time, but I’ve always been my worst enemy.

I putted myself down so many times so I did not admit to me that this was what I wanted, and capable of, and I didn’t look to find a way).

Know you don’t know

So, instead of looking for a formal music education a went on like crazy on building my own studio setup. In 2015 I move to my own place, where you can guest the main thing was the studio.

The first obstacle was that I didn’t knew what to buy, or why, so it took me few months and self study to figure out that I was going the opposite of what I really needed.

There I was and I couldn’t turn around in that moment, I had no chance but to keep going on and use my studio setup.

I put my self on self music studies on productions, sound engineering, and a lot of other topics that I needed to get going on. Even so it was hard to back to studies, I lost what was left of my social life, moved to a new apartment in 2018 and changed job in 2019.

Since then the studio hasn’t changed a lot. But I did improved my music skills and knowledge.

On the picture you have a glance at my studio setup now.

 

What I learnt and  suggest


Well, first of all I learnt that I could have taken the music studies path long time ago, but I wasn’t the person I am now so I don’t know if my younger me would have taken the chance if I saw it. So long story short when I look back and think about all those years lonely in front a music software trying to make it sound better, the thing that pops up is “if I knew then”. And it’s ok, but now I know, and what can I do with this intel?

The answer is study. Simple. Not particularly pleasant for most people but it’s the only way to know things now (or within a reasonable time) so your you of 10 years form now won’t look back and thinks as I do. It’s better if you first gain the skills and ability to work on the market instead of spending this amount of money, or more, on a brand new studio setup you don’t know how to fully use.

To this I can suggest that the material you have access makes the difference. I lost many hours reading music blogs in where there was no learning to me. Or youtube video of tutorials that couldn’t help because I couldn’t see the full process. Maybe they were useful and it was just me who couldn’t understand them. But when I started learning with other material, I saw the light at the end.

What to look for

I first started with general music history books you find every where, to know have a directions and technical terms to rely at. Then I bought always more in deep books form libraries or online about Mixing and Mastering, tools and techniques, composing, synths & drums machine, copyright, photo editing, recording, guitars, piano, sing, and on and on and on. Always from the general to the focus topic until I become better at things, then I started to study related topic to music like music publishing, music marketing and so on.

Then I wonder, why I didn’t before? I guess I wasn’t ready. Now I work to pay my bills, I do music because it’s what I love and I study a lot to get better and be ready if chances are coming this way.  If I have done the correct choice when i was younger I could have spared myself such struggle. Still it’s forth to me, no matter what.

I’ve been looking for a sound engineering course to achieve a degree for a while, but I’m not in a financial position to do this kind of investment now, so what I do is keep learning as much as I can. If not precisely music, I study related topics to improve my chances, because when the moment it’s going to be, I must be ready to put my self on study as hard as I can and achieve this degree.

My setup


If you are following me on instagram already, you recognised my setup. Below you find a clip in where I show a bit of it (there are more if you look around on my IG).

Here is a list of my gear on my personal studio setup:

  • Luna Universal Audio
  • Universal Audio Apollo Twin Solo
  • Universal Audio UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt Octo Core
  • Machine 2 Studio Komplete hardware and updated software
  • Reason 8
  • Nexuss
  • Sylenth
  • Roli
  • Wave Lab elements
  • Logic X
  • Allen & Heat Qu32 digital mixer
  • Yamaha HS5 pairs Studio Monitors
  • Drawmer CMC2 Compact Monitor Controller
  • Tascam SD-20M Audio Recorder
  • Headphone AKG K 702

Music some times isn’t about a natural talent, but an unnatural will to know and do. This is my case, there isn’t such other thing that makes me feel how creating music does. There are a lot of struggles and always would. If you want to make music to gain money quickly remember to invest lots of them, other ways without the will of your soul there is no game.

If you have the financial situation that makes you able to invest in your music, think about what kind of investment you want to do and keep an eye open for scammers (too good to be true). I felt in few of them myself. I did it knowing it’s part of the risk (still avoidable).

Conclusions


About studies I stumbled on Coursera, it’s an online study possibility for those how don’t have access to common schools classes. If you can’t go back to school for any reason you can study from your computer or your mobile device. Some courses are to be pay, others are free as long as you don’t want a certificate. Now I’m studying music theory among others topics important to me. I’ve got to say it’s working, I’m learning a lot and you can tell from the latest track I released.

Anyway

If you know you are the one who can make it on the music market and you feel you just need to posses an awesome home studio, follow my advise: get a degree on this and then build your own studio with the money you make working inside the music market (this is the advice I needed back then).

If after all this you still convinced, then this other tip is for you: you don’t need to posses all the gear (sure not at the beginning), or all types, or the most expensive (after you do money from music, invest a part on your gear not the other way round); you need a pair of reliable studio monitors (like the Yamaha HS5 or other pristine alike so you listen what you are really doing) a decent powerful Analogic / Digital audio interface (usually named as A/D D/A interfaces), a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and a comfortable and good spot (there are lot of online and on books about how technically prepare a room to become your studio).

Lot of things are important for a studio setup, still some of them you can purchase for reasonable price other are a bit expensive. Today lass than yesterday.

An overview on why

Don’t wast time and money on some strange interfaces to add or install. Study and do research about A/D D/A interfaces MADE FOR MUSIC and upon your work flow try them BEFORE buying!!! Once you spent money on your studio setup.

I think those are fundamental because are the core system of your audio processing, from there you get a good or bad quality depending on what you use and how.

Those are the ones that allows you to record on your DAW and to records a full orchestra separated per tracks in just one take depending of the type (go study about music recordings) (for example on my studio setup I have 2 of them, the Apollo Twin that now has also a recording system Luna,  and the Qu32 mixer).

If you are a solo artist you don’t need that much. You’ll find out what you really need, instead of what you’d like.

My studio it’s a mix of what I needed and what I liked. There are things that I don’t even use or use very little (like the centred black screen you see in the clip below).

At the end

If you read the full article, thanks, I hope this do for some kind of help and equally enlightening over the difficult side of self music learning and productions. There are not just bads, the goods side you’ll find on the other posts spread by songs or releases. It’s a rollercoaster where you spend a life building something, struggling to get there and when you done you get that feel you were looking for… and then repeat.