How To Setup Your Bedroom Studio On A Budget!

Author : Mark Grossane
February 02, 2023

How To Setup Your Bedroom Studio On A Budget!

With the digital age upon us, the rise of the bedroom producer is here. You no longer have to go to a professional studio with all the bells and whistles to get you started on your journey into the production world and making quality material. A simple yet effective setup can support your needs as you begin to wet the beak. Whether you are producing pop, rock, techno, house, or experimental we got you covered with the basics you’ll need to get you on your way.

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Building a home studio on a budget can be tricky, but it is possible! Here are some tips to help you get started for around $1000:

The Space

The space in which you decide to build your production nest plays an imperative part in the image your monitors will paint. Avoid rooms that are a perfect square and have low ceilings if possible. These attributes will account for most image problems when trying to get an accurate perspective of your track. The video below breaks down  key aspects on how to setup your room for optimal performance and is a excellent place to start.

Watch: Transform Your BEDROOM Into a STUDIO (On a BUDGET) 


1. CPU

In theory, any average consumer system or business laptop can be used to record and produce some basic music. In practice, modest computer specs reveal their limits when the complexity of your production scales up. So be aware as you beef up those projects it can weigh down the cpu and slow down the process.

Investing in a high-performance computer with a 64-bit operating system would be a good start. It has to champion a significant amount of tracks, plugins, and sample libraries without choking up. Budget for it generously and buy the best you can afford at the given moment.

We are going to imagine you already have a computer as to stay within the budget but refurbished older models can still get the job done with out breaking the bank. A logical expectation for a used laptop that fits the minimum specs would start at around $500 and the newest model probably around $1200-1400.

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2. DAW

Now its time to choose your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Your DAW will be your blank canvas to create on. Doing some research will go far to allow you to get the most out of your purchase. Different DAWs can be associated with certain genres so also looking at tutorial videos for the style of music you want to start out making can have give you an insight on how the work flow will be.

DAWs will also vary in price. Ranging from free to over $500 depending on which version and company you choose to go with. Putting aside enough money to get a mid range to full version is a good decision if you already have an idea of what you’re doing. A lite version (typically free) is a good place to start so that you can try before you especially if you have limited experience.

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3. Audio Interface

The audio interface is your bridge to getting the sound from your DAW to come out of your monitors and headphones. This necessary piece of equipment comes in many variations and companies. A solid start is a Focusrite 2i2 which will allow you two outputs to hook your monitors up to, a headphone port for headphone monitoring, as well as a mono input to connect and instrument or microphone.

Factoring the number of inputs and outputs you might need comes down to how much equipment you plan on using. So the more instruments you have or plan to have you have you might prefer to have more inputs in order to have more options on stand by. Or if you are a mixing engineer having more outputs for reference monitors could be a better option.

You can get a Focusrite or another great affordable and well made audio interface for about $100-$160 dollars.

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4. Monitors & Headphones

Having a solid pair of headphones and monitors are essential. These items will probably take up the bulk of your bank, but having a quality image of your sound is the most important part of the game. Quality studio near field monitors from companies like JBL, Adam Audio, or Yamaha are a good place to start. For a typical bedroom studio the 5″ models will accommodate best and provide an accurate mirror of a large system.

Watch Now: 3 Tips For Choosing Studio Monitors

There are two different types of headphones closed back and open back. Closed back headphones are headphones that are completely sealed around the back of the ear cups, only allowing sound out only where it can reach your ear. This means that while your music might not be quite as natural-sounding as it would on an open-back set of headphones, closed-back headphones will block out a lot more outside noise, yielding much better isolation.

A good example is the Audio-Technic MX-50, priced at around $150 dollars these headphones can be seen being used by many well know artists and producers.

Open Back Headphones allow air to pass through their ear cups from the rear of the speaker driver. This means that resonances and low-frequency build-up caused by the rear enclosure aren’t a concern. Many expensive high-end headphones have open-backs because it allows them to sound more natural and clear, giving the best possible presentation of your source material. Beyerdynamics DT 990 is great open back with a good price point at around $130 dollars.

Watch Now: Open-Back vs. Closed-Back Studio Headphones- What’s The Differnce?


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5. Accessories

Once you have done your homework and decided on the above decisions its time to tackle a few more options. Allocate some money to be put aside for things such as:

  • Acoustic sound treatment for the room
  • Speaker stands
  • Instrument cables
  • MIDI Controllers

Sound Treatment

If you have ever been in a professional studio you can tell the room has been designed and treated to create the most optimal listening experience. Acoustic sound treatment is placed strategically to limit  reverb and reflections in order to limit potential interference with what you are trying to hear. Depending on the shape of your room, the size, and the location of your work station will determine the best way to approach treating the room to ensure you are hearing an accurate portrayal of what you are creating. Treatment options vary based on quality and styles,  and even can be made by hand if you are tool savvy.   Refer to the very first video in the article to gain some knowledge about how acoustic sound treatment works and where it should be placed.

Speaker Stands

Part of a proper studio set up would entail that you have your studio monitors placed in a particle way to ensure quality and accuracy. This might require a stand, potentially something that is standalone or something can connect to your desk or table. The below video will give you some key information on the quintessential rules for monitor placement.

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Instrument Cables

Instrument cables are going to be needed for connecting your audio interface to your studio monitors via a 1/4″ or XLR cable. Any additional instruments will also need to be connected into the audio interface via a cable. These cables can range anywhere from $15-$90 depending on length, and the quality.

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MIDI Controllers

MIDI is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors that connect a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and related audio devices for playing, editing, and recording music.  Controllers such as keyboards, drum machines, and sequencers will give you access to controlling  synths in your DAW in real time instead or programming in the MIDI notes. While they are not completely necessary at first they can definitely play a major roll in your process once you find the right one for your workflow.  Companies such as Novation, M-Audio, and Akai make amazing products at a good price point. I highly suggest getting to a music store that has some display models so you can test out the difference in size, key feel and pad quality.

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Start Building Your Set Up

Once you have your space and are ready to start acquiring gear you will have a better idea on how to balance out what you splurge on based on your needs. Having a $1000 is more than  enough to get your bedroom studio up to speed.  The process of getting your studio up to par with something that resembles a pro studio will be a factor of trial and error and time, but putting in the effort to learn and try different variations of these products will also help you grow your understanding of what works best for you.

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