Does Home Recording Studio Equipment Really Matter?

Does high end studio gear (read as really expensive) matter in the home recording studio?

Well yes it does and no it doesn’t. Let me explain.

When I first started recording I was using a Tascam 424 MKII 4 track recorder and a really cheap Radio Shack (yes Radio Shack) microphone. Did these recordings sound good? No, no they didn’t, but was it the fault of the equipment or was it the operator (me)?

The problem was me.

I am going to be honest with you, it was me. You could have handed me a most expensive microphone and best microphone pre-amp and put me in the best studio in the world and my recordings still would have sounded bad. The truth is that I didn’t know how to make good recordings and the limit wasn’t the equipment but my knowledge of how to use it. The limit was also my hearing. I didn’t know what to listen for yet. I only knew that I was capturing sound with my microphone and recorder.

Skip ahead about a decade.

I had been spending a lot of time in studios as an intern. I had been running live sound for shows and concerts for a few years and I had gained a lot of experience. Now I knew how to use gear and find the sweet spots to record instruments. I understood best recording practices and had spent years training my ears to hear what things should sound like.

Now I could have taken that same recorder and microphone and been able to get useable results. I had been working with an engineer for a few years who challenged me from day one. My mentor always told me, “a bad engineer will always blame the equipment, a good recording engineer can make anything sound good.” What he was telling me was I wasn’t as limited by my equipment. My limit was my knowledge of how to use that equipment. Even in the home recording studio, limits are determined by knowledge and ability not the equipment.

the truth is we are limited by our knowledge not our home studio.

This is why I am such a huge advocate of you learning as much as you can about recording. You may be in a home recording studio but that isn’t your limitation. This is especially true in this day and age when our phones are capable of multi track recording and capable of recording better than that old Tascam was! A small basic interface today has better converters and more power than the first few generations of interfaces that cost 10s of thousands of dollars.

So my challenge for you is record in your home studio, learn as much as you can. Study great recordings and try and emulate what they sound like. Don’t fall for the latest and greatest studio equipment craze. Don’t fall for “upgradeitis” but use what you have. If you follow these principles you will be on your way to making great music in your home recording studio.

If you haven’t already received my free studio gear guide sign up for it! It’s absolutely free and will help you get good solid equipment within your budget for your home studio!

Cheers

Don’t forget you can download my free home studio gear guide here