How to build a recording studio for rap music
A passion for music
Ever since I was young, I was surrounded by great music at home, at my grandparents, at school. My parents always said to me that music is the mirror of our soul, it's a way of toning down when we are angry, it's a way of bringing back the joy in our life when we are sad. As years passed by, I grew up listening to the greatest artists of our time (Michael Jackson, Dr Dre, Prince, Elvis, Tupac, Eminem) and I have always wanted to hear my voice on a rap song. At that time, that dream was almost impossible to achieve because everything was so expensive and items required to build a recording setup were really hard to get. I was young, and getting the money for a professional recording studio was out of the question. So, there, my journey into home recording studio for making rap music began. I studied every magazine I could find, I learned what is important for creating rap music, I discovered a passion for writing rap lyrics.
Big ideas, small studio
There came a time when listening to rap music was not enough anymore, I needed to do more. Everything changed when I understood that I could build my own home recording studio right there, in my own bedroom. I used my old PC, I bought 3-4 pieces of equipment and in 1 week I had my first single. Not that hard, right?! I was 16 at that time.
Why should you build your own recording studio?
There are so many answers to this question, I can't even decide which one suits you better. One of the reasons is the price: building a home studio is not that expensive. Of course, if you have a large budget you can just go to a professional recording studio and work with real sound engineers. But in most cases, young folks like us want to do everything themselves. And this is not bad, considering that if you get the proper equipment, you can produce amazing songs, right there in your home garage or in your bedroom. You should build your own recording studio because technology is cheap, because everything is so easy to find these days, because following your dreams is the most important thing in life!
Minimum Home Studio Equipment
What you probably don't know about a home studio is that it's really easy to spend a lot of money on audio equipment and get really poor results. Remember that expensive things are not necessarily great, and the value of an item is not in the price. That can be a good indicator, but it is not a direct representation of its quality. If you are on a tight budget, you should also look for reviews before you buy. Some mics are cheap, but they will not bring any value to your recording chain.
In order to build your own home recording studio you will need these items:
* Condenser Microphone
* Audio Interface
* Acoustic Foam
* Pop Filter
* Mic Stand
* Recording/Mixing Software
If you are on a tight budget, buy only the condenser mic, the audio interface and the pop filter. I assume you already have the laptop.
Which is the most important piece of equipment?
The perfect equipment for a home studio
This part is probably the trickiest of them all. The first time I searched for an online store, I was dazzled. There was me, looking for home recording studio equipment in such large categories, with so many available items. So many mics to choose from, so many audio interfaces, so many speakers, so many options. So if you find yourself in the same situation like I was back then, you should follow these steps:
Pick the right condenser microphone
There are many mics out there, some expensive, some really cheap. But the price should not be the only quality indicator, you need to take everything into consideration. I would choose a really good mic around $200. And by far, the best is Rode NT1a, a mic that features great technology, it has great reviews from users, and it comes with some goodies in the box.
The Audio Interface is important for your setup
The next in the recording chain is the audio interface. Remember that any condenser mic requires some sort of phantom power, so take that into consideration when buying an audio interface for your PC/laptop. My best bet is on the M-Audio Products. M-Audio Firewire Solo US35030 Firewire Audio Interface is a pretty decent choice at a really good price. If you want something better, you can go with Saffire products, they have great reviews on online music stores.
For cheap acoustic foam you can use egg crate, or you can just buy 2-3 pieces of acoustic foam from Amazon. They are not that expensive.
You can get any type of pop filter and mic stand. You'll be needing a pair of closed headphones, but I'm sure you can manage that by yourself. I recommend you to buy pretty decent pair of monitors. Just choose some cheap M-Audio monitors. They will do the job for start.
The best mics for a rap studio
Things you should consider
- Practice your skills and be sure your rhymes are tight. No equipment will fix that.
- Establish your budget before going into the shopping spree.
- If you are on a tight budget, buy only the necessary items: the condenser microphone (AT2020), the Audio Interface (M-Audio), mic stand, pop filter.
- A mixer is optional, and if you have a good audio interface, you can skip it.
- Mixing and mastering your song is important. If you don't know how to do it, ask someone else to do it for you.
- When your song is finalized and you are happy with the result, it's time to upload your music on Youtube. Try to spread the video on social networks.
- Home studio microphone
People say it's difficult to make a music studio, but if you have the knowledge you will learn that it's not that difficult.
- The Best Audio Interface under $300
The audio interface of your home recording studio is important, because it converts the analog signal captured by the microphone to digital signal for you to work with in the recording software.
- Affordable Focusrite Home Studio Package ($244)
A review on Focusrite Home Studio Package. Extensive details on every item included in the package.
- Home studio setup under $1000
A complete setup for a rap studio on larger budget.