Build Your Home Recording Studio For Cheap
After training for a year with a fantastic voiceover coach, I set about creating my in-home recording studio for as little money as possible. I had just spent money on training, a demo, and a new desktop computer so money was as scarce as a cheeseburger at a vegan convention.
I applied for a business credit card but I decided I didn’t want to go into debt to create a studio.
Keep in mind that I’m a techno-newbie when it comes to voiceover equipment but I know enough to be dangerous. Here’s what I bought and how much I paid to outfit my in-home recording studio.
Check out a video tour of my set up here:
Carpet padding is ugly. But it works beautifully to keep sound from bouncing off everything. I created my studio in a small, interior, walk in closet in a spare bedroom. It’s probably 5x5 with 9ft ceilings.
Auralex, while beautiful, is costly. I calculated I’d need about $800 worth of Auralex to cover the walls completely. Yeah, no. Not happening.
Thankfully, my in-laws had just had new carpet installed in their home. Wherever there is new carpet, there is bound to be new carpet padding. BINGO. They were able to discard their leftover carpet padding and I was able to have soundproofing material in my closet. Win-win!
To attach the carpet padding to the walls of the closet, my husband first nailed strips of thin wood along the top where the wall meets the ceiling. Then he staple gunned the carpet padding in sheets hanging down. A flap of it hangs down across the closet door as well so that I can easily pull it back when I step into the ‘booth’.
Audio Interface: Focusrite Saffire PRO 14 Digital Recording Interface $76
I love eBay y’all. Once I’d narrowed down the brand and model of audio interface I wanted, I searched eBay and watched a few used ones to see the range the Saffire PRO 14 was selling for.
I feel like I got a good deal on the gently used one I bought for $76 from a guy who had upgraded his studio. I’m not sure of the price of a brand new one but looking at www.guitarcenter.com, a used one in ‘excellent’ condition is about $110. I’m positive you can find an even better deal on eBay.
For those new to eBay: always check a seller’s feedback to ensure no negative reviews. Ask questions of the seller to gain comfort before you bid or purchase.
Microphone: Neumann TLM 103: $610 - $55 = $555
Ah, the microphone. The idol of the voiceover world. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know much about microphones. I do know to stay away from USB mikes. I do know that I did all my training on a TLM 103 so that’s what I knew I sounded good on. So off I set to purchase a new Neumann TLM 103.
Until I realized how much they cost brand new. In the words of Homer Simpson: “DOH!”
Brand new, this microphone can cost upwards of $1,000 y’all.
I had to continue to remind myself that although I have caviar taste, I have a canned tuna budget.
So off to eBay I went, searching for a used TLM 103. I found a listing where the seller was also selling his Scarlett Solo USB audio interface with the TLM 103 as a package deal. I knew I didn’t need the Scarlett but this particular listing was the cheapest one going at the time. I think in part because the Neumann TLM didn’t come with its original, coveted, wooden box. Caring nothing about that, I ‘won’ the auction for a total of $610. Once I received the microphone and the interface, I created a listing on eBay to sell the Scarlett and received $55 for it. Net, I only paid $555 for a $1,000 microphone.
Ancillary Items Purchased: $192
I won’t go into all the boring details about the accessories that I purchased but these are items typically needed in a home studio as well. Again, eBay is my go-to and it does have sellers offering good deals on brand new items. I’m also a prime member of Amazon.
Prolink Monster Classic Pro Audio Microphone Cable 20 ft. - gold contact XLRs - $35 new on eBay
Microphone Shock Mount Stand - $35 new on eBay
Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones - $49 new on eBay
Musician's Gear Die-Cast Mic Stand Black: $18 at Guitar Center
Sterling Audio STPF2 Professional Mesh Pop Filter: $22 at Guitar Center
In total, I spent about $823 for my in-home recording booth. And to think I would have spent that much alone on Auralex had I decided to use that instead of the free carpet padding!
What about you reader? What’s your set up in your home studio? Leave a comment!
Dana Vanhoy is the Jackie O of VO. If you need corporate polish she’s the voice you want.