Home Rap Recording Studio Setup For Beginners On A Budget [2020]

Nobody wants to wait to record that hit that won't leave their head. That's why a home recording studio is important.
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Studios fall into three basic categories, Home studios, Project studios and Commercial studios.

It’s pretty obvious what a home studio is. Many people working in the music industry, and even the TV and film industries, have their own studios at home. They put them in the spare room, the garage, the basement, an outhouse – even in a corner of a bedroom sometimes. And there is no reason why a home studio shouldn’t produce recordings that challenge top commercial facilities.

Obviously, in a top commercial studio, helpful staff will make it easier for you to do your best work, the equipment and acoustics will be first class, and you will probably be working with top musicians too – there may even be a restaurant and bar!

Of course, the top studio is always going to be that little bit better – but it really is just a little bit. You can do professional work in a bedroom. Sometimes simplicity sells, and you don’t always need a twenty-four track studio to make a killer track or a viral hit for that matter.

There really isn’t any difference between a home studio and a so-called project studio. A home studio is a project studio that you have at home, so that’s easily dealt with. So what’s the difference between a project studio and a commercial studio?

Simply, a commercial studio is available to all comers at an hourly or daily rate. Make a booking, do your stuff in the studio, pay the invoice, and collect the recording.

A project studio is something owned by one person, or maybe a partnership, where the owner or owners work on their own projects.

Commercial bookings are not welcome in a project studio because…

A) They are taking up studio time that the owner would probably rather use.

B) Once you start hiring your studio out as a facility you become involved in many more health and safety regulations and your insurance premiums will probably go through the roof.

So Let’s Discuss Your Home Recording Studio Options

When you get started you need to make a decision. How much money are you willing to invest in your music?

Of course the higher the budget, the higher quality hardware.

But not everyone has hundreds or thousands of dollars lying around to invest in building a home recording studio. I’m going to get into some different studio builds & recommendations. This will cover a few different things from the gear you need to acoustic treatment.

Before I get into this, you need to understand that you will need to have a decent computer to record on. You don’t need a custom $5,000 machine built. You can use a basic laptop as long as you have the requirements needed to run your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and to connect your microphone/interface.

Items That Every Recording Studio Needs.

Your Cost: approx. $140

Pop Filter ($12.99 – $69.00)

Pop filters or pop shields/screens are a noise protection filter that sits in front of a microphone to reduce or eliminate “popping” sounds caused by hard sounds like your P’s & B’s inside of your delivery. The air that this causes is fast-moving and can distort the sounds recorded if that air hits the microphone. Pop filters are in place to “slow down” that air so it doesn’t hit the microphone as hard.

You can Build a DIY Pop Filter yourself for a few dollars with some stuff from the dollar store. But let’s be honest, if you include your time driving to the store, the gas you use, buying the stuff, and then making it, you are undervaluing yourself. So spend $15 and grab a decent pop filter and spend that other time marketing your music or writing your next hot 16.

NOTE: I am always for the DIY Rapper / Musician that wants to save every penny. But, in my opinion, if you can buy the product for less than $20 you need to value your time over money.

Mic Stand ($19.99 – $69.99)

You need a mic stand! Even if you are just starting and have the Blue Yeti with the desk stand, it won’t work! Trust me! When you are delivering your vocals you need to be unrestrained. Your diaphragm isn’t completely open when you are sitting down so you’re not going to sound as good as you should.

There are a ton of options out there but you need to keep in mind what kind of mic you have and the weight. Some of the cheaper mic stands out there will fall as soon as you put a heavier microphone on it with a boom arm.

So be sure to look at the reviews and find the best stand for you.

There are two basic options. You can have a basic stand or a boom stand.

Basic Microphone Stand

A basic stand which is just the base and the pole that the mic attaches to will work but has some major issues. If you are like me, you like to move around a bit while you’re recording. If you’re not careful you can step on, bump into the stand easily. Now you have to start over again. That is where the second option helps.

Microphone Boom Stand

This, in my opinion, is the go-to. Of course, you need it to be a decent stand and arm to hold your microphone without falling**.

With the boom arm on these stands it helps keep you from bumping into the stand or accidentally stepping on it.

**If you don’t have the funds to get a really good stand you can go with a more affordable stand and put counterweight the other side of the boom arm to keep it from tipping over.

Headphones ($100+)

Please keep in mind that this is not just the regular headphones you have laying around the house. While those will work, your mix will sound a lot better if you have Studio Monitor Headphones. These deliver more of a flat sound so it sounds better on all other types of headphones once you release your track.

I’ve been using the KRK Systems KNS6400 headphones for about 6 months now and am IN LOVE! When it comes to mixing my music, these headphones have drastically changed the final product. For the quality, I would expect to pay at least $200 but you can get these on Amazon for about $100.

While there are other headphones out there, I believe these will work with most studios.

Cheap Home Recording Studio Options.

The Bedroom Studio (approx. $175) {With Stand, Pop Filter & Headphones: approx $320} – I personally love this setup because you can be up and running in no time for the cost of a day at a professional studio!

For this option, you can set up in your bedroom as a recording studio, without needing a lot of work or money. In fact, this entire set up is cheaper than a single full-day studio session at a professional studio.

Not a lot of people have the space to do what they want, YET. But almost everyone has a small space somewhere in their house (likely a bedroom) where they can put up a mic stand, put on headphones and go to work. So that’s the goal with this option.


Bedroom Recording Studio Gear List

The Microphone – Blue Yeti USB ($129.99 on Amazon)

This is one of my favorite microphones! I’ve had a yeti for almost 10 years! It is truly a “plug & play” microphone. It has a “mute” button on the front. (Which comes in handy when I’m doing music reviews.) It also has an overall volume control nob on the front.

On the back it has an easy to use “Gain Control” and “Pattern Setting”

Blue Yeti Pattern Settings

Below you will find the Blue Yeti Pattern Selections and how each selection is best used.

When it comes to recording vocals for studio releases, Cardioid is the best setting. If you have a 2 part verse with different artists, record the tracks separately! Your engineer will thank you!

Shock Mount – Auphonix Yeti Shock Mount ($27.97 on Amazon)

This isn’t a “must” because if you’re careful and don’t move when you record you won’t really notice a difference. BUT, it will make your life easier just in case if you accidentally hit your mic stand it may be the difference between using that take or having to redo it.

I did find a shock mount that is actually fully compatible with the Blue Yeti line of microphones! The cool part? It’s under $30!

USB Extension Cable (approx. $15 on Amazon)

This is to make sure that your cable is long enough so you are not standing on top of your computer to record. I recommend you get at least a 10-foot extension cable. If you can’t find longer cables, you can always get two 6-foot cables but just know that you will likely lose quality in your recording.

NOTE: I recommend you purchase “Gold Plated” cables. These will help make better connections for USB & audio cables.

gold plated usb cables

That Is All You Need!

Well, at least it is all you will need, hardware wise, in order to start recording. (As I said above, not counting your computer)

Simply follow the directions to set up your mic on your mic stand with your shock mount and the pop filter. Then take the USB cable & extension and plug it in!

You Are Ready To Record!

Now let’s move forward with the software we need for our home recording studio.

What Recording Software Should I Use?

There are a lot of different options when it comes to the software you use. Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) can be better for some than others. Some artists prefer ProTools, others like using FL Studio. I personally use Adobe Audition. You can use any DAW you want.

The most important thing about selecting the right DAW for your home studio is to make sure you are comfortable using it. I’v used Adobe Audition for years, which is the only reason I still use it.

If you are just starting out, I recommend you go with either ProTools or FL Studio. I say this because if you are wanting to see tutorials on YouTube or something like that, you are more likely to find tutorials on those! The big thing to know is there are a lot of those tutorials that go deep into many different things that are specific to those DAW’s.

For now, if you need some help with your mixing, I recommend you check out Devvon Terrell. He does a lot with mixing tutorials and also offers mixing and mastering services.

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