Basics of Home Recording: A Guide to Building and Using Your Home Studio

So you're interested in recording music at home. Maybe you're looking to cut a slick demo to help your band land better gigs, or maybe there's that one song you've been playing on your ukulele on repeat that you just need to get out into the world. You might want to record your church choir, start that new podcast, or lay down some vocal tracks on top of that hot beat you already mapped out in Ableton Live.

No matter what your musical aspirations, you're in luck—there has never been a better time to put together a home studio. Since the 1990s, the availability and accessibility of high-quality recording gear has steadily expanded, as has the wealth of information on how to put it all to use. Yet for all the resources and tools that exist, how to get started on any home recording journey can still be a confusing and intimidating enterprise.

On this page, we've brought together a collection of resources we've built over the years on Reverb designed to help new home recordists get up and running. Start at the top with our Basics of Home Recording series, and then move on to more specific tips, tricks, and other topics below.

Basics of Home Recording

Our Basics of Home Recording series takes you from start to finish through the process of assembling a basic home studio, recording various instruments and vocals, and getting things ready to mix and finalize in your DAW recording software.

  • Setting Up Your Studio with Monitors and Acoustic Treatment: In this post, we explore the basics of setting up the physical space you will use to record and mix music. Don't worry though, even if you don't have the space to treat a room, you can still glean some useful insights here.

  • Choosing Your First Audio Interface and DAW: This article explains the very basic equipment you'll need including an audio interface—the central brain of any digital recording system.

  • A Guide to Microphone Types and Placements: If you plan to record acoustic instruments, guitar amps, drums, or vocals, you'll need at least one microphone. Here we explore the different types of microphones and how to use them.

  • How to Record Acoustic Guitar and Vocals: If you're a singer-songwriter who plays guitar (or any other instrument really) take a look at this post for some guidelines on capturing guitar and vocals at the same time.

  • Mic'ing a Drum Kit from Start to Finish: Drum recording is a true art form with tons of variables to consider. This installment lays out the basics on how to capture the best sound from your kit.

  • How to Mic Your Electric Guitar Amp: Take a look here for the basics on how to properly mic a guitar amp. You wouldn't want all those pedals and juicy amp tone to go to waste, would you?

  • Recording Vocals in Your Bedroom: Read this article for insight on how to capture clear, vibrant vocal tracks even in the most humble of surroundings.

  • Basics of MIDI and MIDI Controllers: MIDI is a digital protocol used to interface all types of gear and software within a recording setup. In this post, we lay out the basics of what MIDI can do.

  • Tips to Prep Your Tracks for Mixing: Once you've recorded your instrumental and vocal tracks, spend a few minutes to clean up the files in your DAW before you start mixing.

  • Basics of Equalization: Most tracks will benefit from some frequency equalization. Here we explore the basic concepts and techniques involved with applying EQ as a first step in the mixing process.

  • Compression and Dynamic Processing: You may have heard of compression in the context of recorded music before. This post lays out what that actually means and how to use it.

  • Applying Reverb and Delay to Your Tracks: Today, all types of recording software give you the ability to apply basic effects like delay and reverb. Get the lowdown on how to do so in this post.

How to Record and Mix Specific Instruments

The above course should provide a good starting point for most home recording projects and home recording studios. Take a look at the articles in this next section for some more specific tips and advanced skills for recording and mixing different instruments.

More Tips and Tricks to Improving Your
Home Recordings

Once you have a good grasp of the fundamentals as outlined above, take some time to poke around these next articles. This selection includes tips on general improvements to sound and workflow, and other topics meant to expand your recording skillset.

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