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Starting out as a beginner, you may have various questions about home studio essentials, how to make a home studio, or even just how to record music at home.
Obviously the biggest concern for a lot people who want to make a DIY recording studio is the price.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Recording Studio?
A good home studio can be built for around $3000 or $4000.
However, there’s no exact number.
This is something that heavily depends on your budget and the equipment you purchase.
If you’re looking to build a small recording studio, obviously the price will be lower.
What Do You Need for a Home Studio Setup?
Regardless of whether you want something more professional but still a simple home recording studio, or you just want to build a basic bedroom recording studio, the equipment you need remains the same.
I highly recommend you make a recording studio equipment list for things you plan to buy, and check items off of that list as you purchase them.
Below is a comprehensive list of ideal music production equipment for beginners.
1. A Computer
Any Mac or Windows computer with a powerful processor and at least 8GB of RAM is necessary.
2. An External Hard Drive or Solid State Drive
Most computers will run out of space quickly with music project files and plugins.
An external hard drive is a good place to store your projects and stay organized.
3. A Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW
This is recording studio software that you will use to make your music with.
Great options include Ableton Live (Mac and Windows), Logic Pro X (Mac), and FL Studio (Mac and Windows).
4. An Audio Interface
This item is what you plug microphones or instrument cables into in order to get your sound to go into your computer.
This is a screen that goes between your mouth and the microphone to prevent popping noises from when you say your “p” or “t” sounds.
8.2. A Reflection Filter
A reflection filter goes behind the microphone and works to prevent sound from going out farther into your recording studio room and bouncing off of walls.
8.3. A Microphone Stand
This is self explanatory, it holds the microphone.
8.4. A Shock Mount
A shock mount stabilizes the microphone in the stand.
9. XLR Cables
These cables are what you’ll use to connect the microphone to the audio interface.
10. Instrument Cables
You’ll use these to plug a guitar or guitar amp into the audio interface.
11. A Desk
Make sure you choose one that’s big enough to hold the computer, monitors, MIDI keyboard, and audio interface.
12. A Chair
Find one that you’re comfortable sitting in for long periods of time in front of your computer.
13. Acoustic Panels, Diffuser Panels, and Bass Traps
These are one of the most important things you’ll need for a studio, as they directly affect the sound that you hear.
They can get pretty expensive but there are a few different companies that sell acoustic treatment packages with these items in them, which is usually cheaper than buying each piece separately.
Choosing a Room for Your Home Recording Studio
An ideal room for a recording studio is one that is big. The bigger the better.
This allows for more room for gear and musicians, but a bigger room also provides you with better sound.
Not only should you choose a big room, but you should also choose one that is quiet.
Things like cars, chirping birds, and other outside noises will pose a problem when you record if your room is not one of the quieter ones in your home.
How to Make a Recording Studio in Your Room?
Take everything out of the room that you can. Clear up as much floor space as possible, and take down any paintings, posters, or anything else that is on the wall, and get rid of anything that vibrates.
Set up your acoustic panels and bass traps.
Arrange your desk/work area to your liking.
Arrange the rest of your room as you see fit.
Acoustic Treatment for Home Studio
What are Room Acoustics?
Room acoustics are the way sound behaves in an enclosed space.
Acoustic treatment for a home studio, or any studio, is extremely important.
When sound comes out of a speaker, it bounces off of walls or any other objects in its path.
This results in an inaccurate representation of the sound you hear coming out of your monitors, which will directly affect your final mix.
There are three items that you will need for acoustic treatment:
1. Acoustic Panels
– these absorb the mid and high frequencies.
Make sure you get acoustic panels that are 3-4 inches thick, or more.
Panels that are 1-2 inches thick won’t have enough substance to really make an impact on your room.
2. Bass Traps
– these absorb the bass frequencies, but most are porous enough to also absorb mid and high frequencies.
– these reflect sound and cause it to spread to different areas of the room.
How to Acoustically Treat a Room?
Analyze your bare room for how much absorption and diffusion you already have.
Mount absorption panels, diffuser panels, and bass traps based on your analysis.
Once you’ve removed everything that you can from your room, it’s time to figure out what you’ll need to do as far as acoustic treatment goes.
Walk around your room, stand in as many areas as you can. Yell, clap, talk, sing, make noise.
Listen carefully to how to sound travels and what it sounds like to you.
You could get one of two outcomes (worst case and best case, respectively), but you’ll probably have a mix of both:
A metallic ringing sound that is harsh and unpleasant to listen to (usually occurs if your room is small and square-shaped).
A mid to large reverb that is pleasant to the ear (usually in large rooms with diffusive objects).
Depending on your harsh-to-pleasant reverb ratio, you’ll need to add the correct amount of acoustic panels and diffusers.
If you have more of outcome #1: you need more absorption (more acoustic panels).
If you have more of outcome #2: you need less absorption.
Most medium to large sized recording studio rooms don’t need diffusion panels, so you likely will need acoustic panels and bass traps, but you can always experiment with diffusion panels and see if they improve your sound.
Exception 1: A Bedroom Studio
If you’re making a budget recording studio in a small bedroom, it’ll probably already have a fair amount of absorption with all of the items in it.
To manage any extra potential sound issues, a few bass traps should be okay to absorb bass frequencies, which are usually more problematic in small recording studios.
A bedroom studio isn’t ideal because of the low ceilings and small room size, but if that’s all you have to work with, you can still make do.
Exception 2: A Studio Where You Need a Flat Sound for Recording Vocals
If you’re on a small budget, you probably won’t have the money to make a whole vocal recording booth.
If you also plan to use reverb plugins, natural room reverb can cause problems.
In this case, you will need your room to sound drier (less natural reverb).
Having an extra dead/flat/dry room will affect the sound accuracy that comes out of your monitors.
With this trade-off, you’ll probably have to mix mainly with headphones.
The drier you need your room to be, the more absorption panels you’ll need.
Where to Place Acoustic Panels, Diffusers, and Bass Traps?
Acoustic panels: on the walls; make sure they’re staggered (panel, skip one, panel, skip one, etc).
Diffusers: on the walls, also staggered.
Bass traps: in the corners of the walls and where the walls meet.
How to Hang Acoustic Panels, Diffusers, and Bass Traps?
You can purchase specific mounting/hanging hardware for acoustic panels, diffusers, and bass traps.
Audimute has some really reliable acoustic treatment mounting hardware.
Home Recording Studio Design: How to Arrange Your Desk and Room?
The general idea of how a desk should be arranged is that the computer is in the center and the studio monitors are on either side of it at ear level.
Everything else should just be laid out in a way that is easiest for you to access each piece of equipment.
Some people use multiple desks, some use just one. Whatever works best for you should be fine.
Your desk will obviously be the most important part of the room.
Ideally, setting your desk up fairly close to a wall is best, so that the sound from your monitors has a good distance to travel before reflecting off of the opposite wall (or being absorbed by acoustic panels).
As for microphone placement, make sure your microphone is a good distance away from the desk in order to avoid picking up the sound of the computer fan.
If you have a guitar amp in the room, make sure it’s also away from the microphone to prevent any interference from the electromagnetic waves that the amp gives off.
Keep in mind whether you’ll be recording and making music by yourself or if you’ll be doing it with other people as well, as this will affect your decision on where to place things in your studio.
Keep watch for some future blog posts on further recording studio ideas and design.
Recording Studio Software: DAWs, Effects Plugins, and Virtual Instruments
As far as recording studio software goes, digital audio workstations, or DAWs, are where all the magic happens.
It’s where you record your tracks, mix, and master.
Some DAWs are better for certain genres, some are good for pretty much anything.
Since you’ll be spending pretty much all of your time in a DAW, make sure you find one that suits your needs.
Keep in mind that all of these DAWs have a learning curve.
Some popular DAWs include:
Pro Tools by Avid (A big industry standard, great for most genres)
FL Studio by Image Line (Best for electronic and hip hop music)
Live by Ableton (Extremely versatile, great for any genre, but excels in electronic and hip hop)
Amp or instrument plugged directly into audio interface
Mic’d amp or instrument to audio interface
MIDI keyboard directly to DAW
Important Concepts and Terms to Remember
Mixing: combining different instruments into channels and using audio effects to process them.
Stereo: a two-channel audio signal.
Mono: a one-channel audio signal.
Clipping: a form of waveform distortion caused when a digital system or amplifier is pushed past its maximum limits.
Gain staging: making sure the level of each instrument going into the signal chain is relatively the same as when it comes out of the signal chain.
Signal/effects chain: the path an audio source goes through to reach the master output track on your computer.
Headroom: how much volume you have before the master track starts to clip.
Leveling: balancing the volumes of each track.
EQ: a hardware or software effect that allows specific frequencies to be increased or decreased.
High pass filter: an EQ curve allowing all the high frequencies to pass through.
Low pass filter: an EQ curve allowing all the low frequencies to pass through.
Panning: the distribution of a sound in a stereo sound field.
Compression: a hardware or software effect that reduces the volume of a waveform when it reaches a certain level in volume.
Reverb: the effect produced after sounds bounce off of different objects.
Delay: a hardware or software plugin that delays when audio is played through it.
Saturation: a subtle form of distortion that is pleasing to the ears.
Distortion: an audio effect that creates a (potentially unwanted) fuzzy sound.
Stereo imaging: refers to space in a mix.
Sidechaining/sidechain compression: compression that is triggered by another source of audio.
Automation: input information that can be used to control specific parameters of different effects.
The Whole Production Process
If you’re looking to be hands on in the complete production of a song, from its very start to the very end of it, this is basically how a generic production process would go if you were to break it down in an organized fashion:
In the composition stage, you would write your lyrics, music, etc, and basically come up with all the melodies and riffs.
For a lot of people, composing happens throughout the creation of a track, not just a pre-recording thing.
Obviously in this stage, you would record your instruments, vocals, and anything else you might want to put in the track that would..
Guitarists out there may have already spotted that these are traditionally the first four strings of the guitar.
For this reason, baritones are easier to transition to for those who have played one of these instruments.
The chord shapes are the same, just without the lowest two strings.
If you have played other types of ukuleles and wish to keep to the GCEA tuning, this may involve changing some strings, but it can be done.
In terms of those most likely to play these types of instruments, and where they fit in to band setups, it is a real case of personal preference.
There are some great youtubers out there doing solo performances with baritone ukes.
Whereas a Soprano ukulele, for example, may sound a little “thin” on its own, the baritone options cover more frequencies.
This “thicker” sound enables it to be used in solo performances.
For bands, whether folk or otherwise, this type of ukulele can sit nicely in songs as a rhythm section instrument, playing chords and driving the track along.
The rich tone of a baritone ukulele is also often favored by jazz players.
Is Baritone Ukulele Good For Beginners?
There is no reason you can’t learn on a baritone model, but there are some areas to be wary of if you plan to go down this route.
If you are an absolute beginner and plan to learn ukulele on a Baritone, you should definitely be careful with the tuning factor.
If you ever wish to move to a tenor or soprano ukulele, for instance, you will need to revert to the traditional GCEA ukulele tuning.
This will effectively be like learning your instrument all over again.
If you have large hands, you may find the baritone ukulele is easier to maneuver around, there is more room between the frets, which are naturally larger.
It will feel more natural to someone with a bigger build.
Sometimes the smaller models can feel like you are trying to contort your fingers to do something they’re not really capable of.
In this respect, baritone ukuleles are a good choice for beginners.
How Much Does A Baritone Ukulele Cost?
The answer “how long is a piece of string?” would be a cop out, admittedly, but it is an appropriate sentiment as a response to the question of how much baritone ukuleles cost.
In truth, a good quality baritone ukulele can cost upwards of $500, but this is on the more professional end of the spectrum.
If you are looking for a cheaper ukulele, you can find products for around the $100 to $200 mark.
These aren’t always the best quality, hence our reviews, designed to weed out some of the products which may not do the best job for your needs.
We’ve even got sections for the best baritone ukulele under $100 and the best baritone ukulele under $200 to help you make the right choice for your budget.
Best Baritone Ukulele Brands
Whichever type of ukulele you are looking to buy, there are certain brand names which crop up again and again.
Kala is a name you will very quickly become familiar with, and they offer more baritone ukuleles than any other brand on the market.
You may well expect them to be the industry leaders, with such a rich, Hawaiian history.
Their product range extends from value-for-money beginner models all the way to top-of-the-line ukuleles suitable for performance and recording.
Other brands seen regularly in the search for baritone ukuleles include Luna, another Hawaiian manufacturer, and Oscar Schmidt, an American company which has been functioning for almost 150 years, making guitars, ukes and even autoharps.
Believe it or not, the company started out selling door-to-door.
They have come a long way, offering some impressive baritone models.
There are fewer baritone ukuleles on the market in comparison to concert, soprano or tenor ukes, due to the slightly more specialist nature of the product.
That said, we were not short of great options when compiling this list.
Top 6 Best Baritone Ukulele Reviews
On to our baritone ukulele reviews.
We have considered every aspect of the buying process and the wide variety of consumers looking for a ukulele in our reviews.
Whether you just want a cheap baritone ukulele which will do a decent job, or want the best sounding baritone ukulele there is, we have recommendations based on your individual needs.
Here are the top 6 best baritone ukuleles for 2019:
Cordoba is a brand which manufactures many ukuleles in the other sizes, but the 20BM model is their first foray into baritone.
This is a ukulele with a rich sound, which is deeper than some of the other baritone ukes we’ve played.
Whether this is a good thing or not is down to personal preference.
The Cordoba is made out of mahogany wood, and has a beautiful natural wooden pattern.
Sitting somewhere in the mid-range, this is one of the best ukuleles under $300.
Cordoba know that people have their own preferences for tuning ukes, especially baritone, and the tonal qualities remain the same whether you shift to a traditional ukulele tuning or go for the DGBE tuning most baritones have.
Finding a solid mahogany baritone ukulele at this sort of price range is not an easy thing to do, so the Cordoba 20BM definitely deserves its place on our list.
High quality Aquila strings included, ready to be tuned to DGBE.
Made from good quality mahogany wood.
Comes with pearl fret inlays.
Natural feeling action, great for players with larger hands.
This ukulele certainly fits the bill in terms of the romantic image of ukuleles.
The company, while smaller than many of the others on this list, is based in Hawaii and named after a beach, the perfect setting for playing this gorgeous baritone model.
The Lanikai brand describes their products as “real ukuleles for real musicians” and we’d be hard pressed to argue.
The Lanikai may not be cheap, but it is a good quality product that you could absolutely use as a touring, professional musician.
It has an incredibly rich tone, and can be played as a solo instrument without sounding like something is missing.
The body of this uke is made out of acacia. This wood has been carefully selected in order to give a traditional and classical baritone sound.
One word used again and again to describe this particular ukulele is “mellow” as the tone is sweet and rich whether you are playing chords or melodies.
Lovers of this model have also paid tribute to the bass frequencies it throws out, giving a broader spectrum of sound than some of its competitors.
Though this can often be picked up for under $300, it may seem a little expensive for what it is.
It doesn’t use mahogany wood, for instance. However, the build quality and sound are what really matters, and the clever use of acacia gives it a tone which sounds perfect around a Hawaii campfire.
The ACST-B has quite a wide neck, and a wider nut than is normal.
This is great if you have larger hands or feel you need a bit more space when fretting.
The fingerboard is easy to maneuver your way around and feels great to play.
Extremely responsive and sturdy walnut fingerboard.
Holds tune brilliantly due to its chrome die-cast tuning peg system.
Maple binding gives a lovely look to the ukulele, along with its natural finish.
Can be a little on the large side for those used to smaller ukuleles.
Oscar Schmidt OU52-A-U
Two Oscar Schmidt ukuleles make our list, and this is the more affordable of the two.
The OU52-A-U (catchy title, I know) has a really traditional look, with a mahogany body and even an Aloha engraving on the headstock.
Oscar Schmidt is a brand which stands for quality, and even though this is what you could describe as a cheap baritone ukulele, certainly when compared to the rest of their range, it does have enough features to be a solid option for beginners and maybe even intermediate players.
Have you ever been in a position that left you wondering which piano is the best fit for you?
Well, it is easy to be confused with the two available options, digital and acoustic that comes in a thousand forms.
Price is mostly the first thing that will dictate your choice, but does it stops there?
No! I believe there are several other things you should take into consideration just before you decide what to go for.
This does not always go easy, especially if you are a beginner, and you know almost nothing about the pianos.
As a pianist, I am aware of your predicaments. Therefore, I have narrowed down your choices and explained the key things you need to know about digital and acoustic pianos.
A quality acoustic piano produces sounds from real strings and real wood, offering dynamics and a tone color that even the best digital piano cannot match.
Now, this should be a dream goal for every beginner.
You should always count yourself lucky if you get the opportunity to play, and practice on the instrument with such musical responsiveness.
An acoustic piano can come in either upright or grand piano.
An upright piano has a compact body that fits comfortably in houses making it a convenient choice for a regular person to own one.
The pianos strings run vertically, and its keys are reset through a spring mechanism, therefore subjecting it to wear and tear.
A grand piano has a more extended body, which has strings and frame that spreads horizontally.
Due to its body size, the piano takes a lot more space as compared to an upright one.
Its keys are brought back to their resting position by a gravity reset after playing and releasing them.
Another factor that distinguishes between the two is the Inharmonicity.
This is the degree to which frequencies overtone sounds higher than its primary frequency.
Low inharmonicity, therefore, means more accuracy.
The grand piano gives less inharmonicity and more vibrant tone due to their longer strings.
Upright pianos on the other hands, comes with more inharmonicity due to their shorter strings.
This, however, does not mark the upright piano as inferior because several other things are used to determine the sound quality.
Digital pianos are designed to feel and sound as much acoustic as possible.
It’s designed to produce sound digitally: when a key is pressed, a previously recorded sound from acoustic piano will play in a speaker.
Some digital piano goes even further to having their keys weighted, to provide the right touch resistance, and are sensitive to pressure and speed, therefore, giving a range of dynamics (soft and loud).