Recording Studio 101
In this series, we will describe the basic equipment needed for a recording studio. You’ll also find some links to related articles that detail our own recording studio here at Tresbear Music in Dickson, TN.

This article is the first in our Recording Studio 101 series. Here, we start with the first piece of equipment required in order to create a functional music recording studio. Given modern standards, we’ll focus on digital recording rather than analog recording.

Digital audio workstation

Function: Recording, mixing

The first thing a recording studio requires is a way to record the music; that’s where the digital audio workstation (DAW) comes in. A DAW is an electronic system designed to record, edit, and play back digital audio: essentially, it’s a computer with audio recording software software installed.

There are two types of digital audio workstations:

  • Integrated digital audio workstation: Consists of a control surface, mixing console, A/D audio converter, and data storage combined into a single device
  • Digital audio recording hardware & software: By far the most common type of DAW

As computers have become more powerful and more affordable, digital audio recording software is the answer for most recording studios these days. One of the best, most practical features of a digital DAW not available on analog recording equipment is the ability to undo or reverse one or more edits. Most digital audio software comes with a bundle of plugins which give the software features it does not have out of the box. Most such plugins are designed to simulate external audio hardware one might see in the high-end professional recording studios; examples of such effects processors include reverb, distortion, equalizer, flanger, phaser, chorus, and compression.

The most recent addition to the digital DAW lineup is the smartphone-based DAW, also known as the Mobile Audio Workstation (MAW); these are used to record and edit audio on the fly… by journalists on location, for example.

Digital audio workstation components

A computer-based digital audio workstation has four basic components:

  1. Computer: Platform for audio interface & DAW software; provides processing power for audio editing
  2. Audio interface: Sound card or other hardware to convert analog signals into a digital signals
  3. Digital audio editor software: Pro Tools is the industry standard, but there are many others
  4. Input device(s): For adding/modifying music data

Next comes the microphone: Microphone research, final decision: Miktek C7

List of basic equipment needed for a recording studio

We will eventually address each of these items.

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
Audio interface (often purchased with DAW)
Studio monitors

Resources: Basic equipment needed for a recording studio