Introduction: Making a Cheap Recording Studio!

About: I'm Connor. I play drums, guitar, piano and make films. My favorite things are chocolate, cake and chocolate cake. That's enough for an about me, right?

This is how you make a recording studio on the cheap. Mine cost about �1200 but i have loads of extras that you don't really need. I'm guessing you could get one going for about �200 if you have a computer. Or if you really need to go cheap you could make one for about �5 if you have a microphone already. This is ideal for people who need high quality recordings quickly and cheaply (if that's a word)

I used this studio to make this music video

Step 1: What You'll Need

USB Mixing desk (i used a Alesis 8 track) from maplin electronics for 100 quid.
Computer (i use a macbook white) for �700 and odd
Speakers (i use a marshall amp and an Ashdown bass amp) which I just had

Other stuff

Acoustic guitar need condenser microphones. I got mine from maplins for 15 quid.

Drums need drum microphones. These are rip offs and i don't have any ;)

Electric guitars and Bass's can be plugged straight into desks as well as powered acoustics but it's best if it runs through an amp first (although garage band has amp effects and the desk has 100 built in effects)

If your a right nerd:

I use a big ass rack effect running for the sake of it
Also, I have a tape recorder running through the Tape in/out on the desk
And another computer (and it uses sony acid) which i use for making 'buzzin' rave songs :D

Step 2: The Alesis Desk

This is the biggest part of your recording studio. In a nut shell it takes all the inputs going into it and transfers them via USB to your computer. Software then can record your song. This desk has 1 sound-card thing in, meaning It only records to a stereo track.

The alesis is damn complicated but i'll help here.

In english:
WTF is the control room: I use the control room output for my amps so I can hear my laptop's output. I use this because i can completely mute the mix by not patching the mix to control room. This is because I hate headphones and it means i can mute amps so i don't get feedback.

The mix out?: This is meant for the monitors i think but i don't have soundproofing between me and the band so i use this for their headphones/ monitors.

Tape in/out: can be used for any input or out put: I use it input for my other computer and the output runs to a sub-woofer.

Phantom power:

A condenser mic doesn't usually create it's own power so The phantom switch on the back on the desk should be flicked on. Moving coil microphones don't need this.

For more info read the manual!

Step 3: Recording

I use garage band as is it really simple to use.
To record a song:
Get the levels right use the softwares visual bar to monitor input levels. If it's too loud to you but not the software (in my case) i can knock the control room volume down, keeping the master up. Make sure all inputs are at correct levels. The bar in the software should peak just above the middle.

Mute any outputs that cause feedback: When podcasting I mute the monitors by not patching the mix and 2 track to the control room.

Set up panning eg. mix guitar to the left if you want etc.

Do some test recordings (to listen back patch the 2 track back to the control room)

Then record.

If you intend to overdub record drums and Bass first
Then guitar
Any other instruments


Note: For recording two channels at once (instead of one stereo), pan one channel to the left, and one to the right. Then, in software, make 2 tracks and select the desk's left channel on one and the right channel on the other.

Step 4: Ending

You can use this gear for loads of things, I use it for:
Overdubbing audi on my films
Making songs
Playing music REALLY LOUD with out distortion
Podcasting (find Here)

The cheap way.

I did mention an easy way which cost me sod all. At school we have these jack socket to stereo headphone splitters. I nicked one and shoved it into the sound input in my PC. I plugged into an amp and problem solved :)