For as long as there have been recording studios, there have been industry standards for studios
Go-to signal chains, test tones, and standardised technical practices that have become something of a studio shorthand, with the aim of maximising efficiency on the clock and taking the guesswork out of what is the extremely complex process of making modern music.
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This kind of standardisation is commonplace in the world of professional studio production, but as the gap between commercial and home studio becomes increasingly more narrow from a technical standpoint, so too are we seeing an increased sophistication in the kind of specialisation and optimisation of signal chains in the home recording space. This means that several pieces of ‘prosumer’ gear have ascended above the pack, becoming something of an ‘industry standard’ within their own right and in turn becoming part of the fabric of the modern home studio. But what is the quintessential home recording workflow in 2022 and what pieces of gear have come to symbolise this movement?
Well, if you were ever looking for a definitive glimpse into the current state of the art, perhaps you could look no further than Aussie distributor Jands and their massive ‘KRK Home Studio Giveaway’ taking place this month.
In what is the biggest giveaway of its type in recent memory, the good people at Jands are giving away an entire home studio setup, end to end. That’s everything from the MacBook, to the mic, monitors, the software, hardware, and everything in between. A simple squizz of the gear list and it’s hard to imagine a more ideal studio setup for the budding producer, artist, or engineer.
The centre of operations here is undoubtedly the MacBook Pro, running Ableton (of course). The combination of portability and processing power has made the MacBook Pro the de facto for a whole generation of home recordists and it’s easy to see why. This laptop is more than capable of handling all of your recording, processing, and transportation needs, and given the kinds of high quality plugins and VSTs available these days, you need plenty of grunt under the hood to keep up with the multi-channel sessions stacking up.
Ableton is no longer just solely the live ‘DJ’ platform it was once known as, recent incarnations have seen the software transform into a brilliant recording and editing platform, with its own unique workflows and routing options. The tools now offered by Ableton are out of this world and manage to package it all into an interface that is more user friendly than so many other digital audio workstations.
As far as getting your sound recorded, a combination of both MIDI instruments within Ableton and recording audio with a microphone is going to provide the most versatility.
The Novation Launchkey USB MIDI Controller Keyboard has become a familiar go-to in home studios all over the world. Their intuitiveness and mappability makes them a natural fit for modern in-the-box composition and beatmaking. If you are not a natural piano player, then the 25-key model is perfect for everything from punching in synth bass lines into the software, which can then easily be shifted into the right location.
One of the biggest points of difference between pro and home studio is in the treatment of the acoustic environment. To combat the influence of the room, home recordists have trended towards the use of large diaphragm dynamic mics for vocals and instrument applications, and there is no more famous microphone of this type than the iconic Shure SM7B, which has become a something of a modern classic in recent times.
Being a dynamic mic, it’s not so sensitive that it will pick up every unflattering nuance in a less than ideal acoustic environment, and its ability to provide clear diction and a reinforced low end make it an awesome choice for voices of all types. It also doubles as an awesome instrument mic as well, particularly on guitars and hand percussion where it can handle a high sound pressure level with ease.
Now, getting the sound into your software is the next big consideration and this is where we start thinking about interfaces and A/D conversion. Of course, you’ll want something that offers both microphone and line level inputs, as well as a Hi-Z input for running instruments directly without a DI box, which is also a handy addition. The Focusrite Scarlett series of audio interfaces really have this part of the market cornered, offering a range of high quality compact boxes of varying channel counts, that all punch way above their weight in regards to conversion and component quality. These provide a simple, but effective front end from which to work from, while also providing an integrated headphone and monitoring controller.
Speaking of headphones, if you haven’t tried the KRK KNS 8402 headphones, you really should. These are pretty new on the scene and are an ideal set of closed-back headphones for this sort of home recording setup. With good isolation and minimal spill, they are perfect for maintaining signal purity in your open mics, while simultaneously providing an extremely articulate reproduction of your sound.
But, when you want to really hear what you’ve been creating, the main course is really the monitors, and being a KRK-branded giveaway, this is a component that is sure to get tongues wagging. In the nearfield, we have a pair of iconic KRK Rokit 5’s tied together with one of KRK’s awesome S8.4 Subs to give some solid control over the low end. On top of that KRK are also throwing in a pair of their awesome KRK Rokit 7’s for the mid-field, perfect for A/B comparisons and cross-checking for bigger systems. For anyone mixing at home, that would just about be a dream home studio setup right there.
So, wouldn’t it be incredible to have this dream home recording studio all for yourself? Well, you can with a massive promotion from Jands who are giving away this dream KRK Home Recording Package to one lucky customer. All you have to do is purchase a select KRK studio monitor or headphone in June, follow the prompts at the link below, and you’re in the running!
Follow the link here to find out more!