hi guys, i'd like to build my own studio in my room just like Kevin Parker or Mac DeMarco. I don't know much about it so it'd be great if you show me a good way to do it. I've already started saving money but i'm not exactly sure for what. I want to record: guitar, drums, bass, synth and vocal. I know I need some mics, headphones, studio monitors, studio mixer and a good software. And my question is do i need anything else and how to record songs properly?

Here are some pics:
Last edited by strokes96 at Apr 22, 2015,
Plenty of advice to get you started in the stickies.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > MXR Custom Badass 78 > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
Laney VC30
Marshall TSL602
Jet City JCA22H
My SoundCloud
could tell me why do i need a studio mixer when there is one in a computer software? I'm totally confused. guitar > amp > Mics > studio mixer > mac? that's how it works?
Quote by strokes96
could tell me why do i need a studio mixer when there is one in a computer software? I'm totally confused. guitar > amp > Mics > studio mixer > mac? that's how it works?

You don't need one, you're right. In both of these pics, neither guy is using a computer - the first pic has an all-in-one recording unit and the second pic has a PA system and no recording gear in sight other than a MIDI controller (which suggests a nearby computer).

You don't need a mixer for your rig for a long time, if ever. Just read the stickies (ugh, I'm that guy now) and pick an interface and a mic or two, some good monitors, and then start messing around until you get the hang of things. Then once problems arise, you can look for appropriate gear to solve those issues.
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
Quote by strokes96
could tell me why do i need a studio mixer when there is one in a computer software? I'm totally confused. guitar > amp > Mics > studio mixer > mac? that's how it works?

If you read the stickies, you'd know the answer.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > MXR Custom Badass 78 > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
Laney VC30
Marshall TSL602
Jet City JCA22H
My SoundCloud
Since you're clearly a noob I'll explain (most of this should be available in the stickies tho). All you NEED to start recording live instruments is:

1. Microphone (Dynamic for E-guitars/drums, Condenser for vocals/acoustic instruments)
2. Audio Interface
3. Computer
4. DAW (Recording Software)
5. $$$$$$$

Now I'll elaborate:

1. In order to capture a sound you need a microphone. That much is obvious. But there are two kinds. Dynamic microphones are simple, rugged instruments. They are often used on guitar amps and as close mics on drums because they can withstand high levels of sound pressure and simply tend to flatter loud, distorted sounds. The most famous microphone ever is a Shure SM57. It costs $100 and you will use it for the rest of your life. Buy one.

The other microphone is a condenser mic. These are "fancy" mics that are super sensitive and record sound in great detail. They will pick up the sound of the entire room. Unlike dynamic mics, they require 48v Phantom Power to work. Phantom Power should be built into your interface, so there's no need to worry. Because they are so sensitive, these mics are great for recording vocals, cymbals, or acoustic guitar. They often have exaggerated high frequency response, which is very flattering on vocals. The downside is that these mics are expensive. Budget mics that I recommend are the Audio Technica AT2020, Studio Projects B1, AKG Perception 420, and MXL V67G. Don't buy a cheap condenser mic! You're better off with a lowly SM57 than the cheap mics from MXL, CAD, and Behringer.

2. After the mic, you need an audio interface. This is the center of your studio. It allows you to get sound into your computer. It is sometimes referred to as a soundcard. Modern interfaces plug into your computer via firewire or USB 2.0. If you have a laptop, it's unlikely you have a firewire port, so you're probably looking at USB. Great interfaces include the Focusrite Scarlett series, PreSonus Audiobox, and the Steinberg UR series. Each interface comes in different models. The more expensive models simply have more inputs and outputs. If you'll only be recording one or two tracks at a time, then all you need is a unit with 2 mic inputs. If you'll be recording drums or several live musicians, you'll need as many as 8 inputs, and several outputs to route to different monitors/headphones/hardware.

3. Next is the computer. I assume you already have one. Anything made within the last 4 years should suffice for now, but as your projects become more complex you'll need to upgrade to something with a fast processor and plenty of RAM. If you want to play MIDI instruments in real time, a fast computer is also necessary.

4. Recording programs are referred to as DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation). Some are tailored for electronic music production (FL Studio, Ableton Live), but it sounds like you want to do live instruments. Some software is only available on Mac or PC, so you'll be limited by what kind of computer you own. Fortunately, all the major DAWs have roughly the same capabilities. If you're not doing this professionally, there's no real reason to use one DAW over the other or use ProTools. So your deciding factors should be workflow and price.

Try a bunch of DAW demos and see which one is easiest to use and try to find one that fits your budget. If you're on Mac, you already have Garageband. This is MORE than enough to get you started. If you're on PC (or looking to upgrade from Garageband), the popular programs are Studio One, Cubase, Cakewalk Sonar, Logic, and Reaper. Keep in mind that besides Reaper, they're all quite expensive. I recommend that when purchasing an audio interface you look for one that comes bundled with a "light" version of a DAW. Anything is better than nothing, but keep in mind that while a light version of ProTools may come with your interface, it is EXTREMELY expensive to upgrade to the full version. I highly recommend Sonar if you are on PC because even the cheapest version allows unlimited tracks and comes bundled with great software plugins. The latest release (SONAR X3) is very stable, and upgrades are cheap in comparison to something like ProTools.

So that's what you need to get started. Be prepared to spend A LOT of money. If you're not completely sure audio production is something you want to do, I highly recommend that you back out now and spend that money on a professional recording studio that will give you far better results. If you're really set on trying it out, grab a 2 input interface and a used SM57. Use the bundled software and just start recording things. If you really enjoy it, it'll take years, but you'll slowly build up a collection of microphones, preamps, software, interfaces, etc.

And just to help you better estimate the cost of getting involved in this hobby/profession, here are some extra things you'll undoubtedly want:

1. Mic Cable
2. Mic Stand
3. Pop Filter (essential for recording vocals - gets rid of popping from 'P' sounds)
4. Studio Headphones/Monitors (I recommend headphones because you can get great ones for a little over $100 and they eliminate the poor acoustic properties of a home "studio")

And here are some things you don't NEED, but may find suitable to your workflow:

1. MIDI Keyboard/Controller (for playing software instruments/controlling software parameters)
2. Headphone Amp (to power multiple pairs of headphones when recording more than one person)
3. External Monitor (so you don't go blind looking at all the tiny software buttons)
4. Wireless Mouse/Keyboard (so you can hit the Record button without being in front of your PC)
5. VST Plugins (depending on your software, the stock ones might just be terrible :/)
There is a wealth of knowledge on here and Google about the basics of home recording and how to get started, but you can't just buy all the gear, set up the room and be a successful producer, it takes years of practise, if you're just starting out you're only going to be setting yourself up for disappointment when your $10,000 home studio delivers you shitty results (no offence, this is just the reality EVERYONE's mixes start out terrible when they're learning) and you might get discouraged. It's going to take a lot of time and effort but most of all time, I hate to be negative but these guys you see have spent years to get where they are, it takes more than just replicating their gear to get their results. If I were you i'd focus on the basics, get a solid little home setup, and start recording. Make terrible recordings, keep on doing it, practise as much as you can, learn how to use the gear you buy and build your mixing skills. A good engineer with years of experience will give much better results on a little M-audio and an Amp Sim than a beginner will in a million dollar studio with no mixing experience.
Thank you guys for your replies! I do appreciate it. There's one more question, I cannot find DBX 165A anywhere, is there anything else I can buy to make my drums sound like Tame Impala/Led Zeppelin? I saw that Kevin uses it to record his drums and I really am into it.


drums come around 0:30
Last edited by strokes96 at Apr 23, 2015,
haha ive been dreaming of doing the same thing one day, kevin parker has an amazing set-up. it's obviously taken him years and his full-time job is pretty much songwriting/playing with his gear. I tried making my own little home studio on a budget of $0 here's how it turned out lol

Presonus bundles Studio One Artist which is actually few grades above Garage band. Actually, you can do full album on it, only doiwnsiude is that it cannot take outside vsts and virtual instruments.

Reaper is pretty good for around $70. Tracktion is around that price as well.

Some of the other DAWs could be rented monthly, pay as you go. Sonar, Audition, Samplitude could be rented monthly. Sony Acid, full fledged DAW under $200. Just a few of the options.