Home Studio Recording

With the exponential growth  in technology, and in-an-instant information access, it is now much easier to establish a great recording head-quarters, in the comforts of your own home, capable of delivering industry-standard quality.


While I don't claim to be the guru of home recording, I have owned and operated a home studio for the past 20 years; what's unique about this is that I have transitioned with the evolving trends of DAWs (Digital Audio Work stations) interfaces, computer-platforms, setup and various room treatment applications.


I will not claim the rights to the methods, that from trial and error, have subsequently become my ideal setup and work flow, as it pertain to DAWS selection; Platform; room calibration and hardware- however, I will offer my opinion, and leave you to research the information I have given you, and subsequently arrive at your own environment of choice.


Digital Audio Work-Station (DAWS)

DAW selection, contrary to years past, really boils down to work-flow, preference, and intrinsics (or brand loyalty) But truth be told, these days, companies have upped their DAW performance considerably, leaving it up to the consumer to decide which one will work best for them.


One of the biggest issues, over the years, was combating latency, when using an audio interface; my AI of choice was MOTU, which was, and still is, a great brand.


(Latency- definition: the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer)


I have used quite a few DAWs over the past 20 years, including, but not limited to, Garage Band, FL, Logic, Abelton Live, Reason, Nuendo/Cubais Protools; however, the one that stood out for me, as it relates to my personal work-flow, was Studio One.


(Work-flow- definition: the individual process established in order to allow for creativity in arranging and composing  music; considering items, such as, but not limited to, production speed, ease of use, seamless and creative access, connectivity etc.)


My personal preference, by far, is Studio One 4, by PreSonus, on an Apple platform; I have also found the PreSonus, as a brand, to be extremely reliable, with some advantages being: reasonable price points, compared to the industry standard; ease of use; generates creative flow; staying current; created by musicians, for musicians!



Few other reasons I chose Studio One

  • I love the PreSonus brand - I purchased the STUDIOLIVE 16.4.2 AI - which came with Studio One Artist, now known as Studio One Prime. I loved the board and the software, and have not looked back since.
  • Studio One is very practical and easy to learn - it makes the process of music creation fun, exciting and seamless.
  • It is perfect for my specific needs and work-flow; not to mention they create lots of hardware to help handle work-flow - for example: devices such as FADERPORT V2 which allows for direct connectivity to the DAW, with items such as motorized fader, start, stop and pause; creating automation without using the mouse etc.
  • Studio One allows you to mix and master in one DAW, permitting the inclusion of things like meta data, live recording streaming, wireless mixing with use of an iPad, and wireless connection for monitoring- which means, individuals connected to the network, can customize their mix, and be as hands on as they want to be.
  • offers great visual representation for things like EQs, Compression & Limiting, especially great for those now learning the ropes.




Sound Card/Audio interface/Sound module

There are so many sound cards to choose from, but I figured, if I am going to use Studio One as a DAW, I might as well use their hardware too; and boy do I ever use their hardware - I really think they need to endorse me... i'm kidding even not kidding ;)


I currently use 3 different sound cards:

in the main studio: STUDIOLIVE RM 32 AI, in conjunction with the the Monitorstation V2, STUDIOLIVE CS18 AI and FADERPORT V2


Room 2: STUDIOLIVE 16.4.2 AI


Live: PreSonus Audiobox 44 VSL



Music Mixing is extremely individualistic in its overall nature; in other words, out-of-ten, your mix will please 7 individuals and annoy 3. The goal, I believe, is to stay consistently above par, as it relates to your final mix; if all people hate your mixes, then, maybe begin evaluating your process - but hate is such a strong word :) - I digress.


Attending various types of concerts, listening to many different styles and eras of music is a great way to gain perspective on mixing, I sat with many producers and engineers to learn and gain perspective. Whatever you do, please learn how to be effective in both analog and digital - if you learn on digital, analog will be a tad bit overwhelming-the reverse is a bit more forgiving, since all digital processing is created to emulate analog interfaces.


Mixing Instruments

Consider taking the time to understand where each musical instrument sits  within the range of frequency.  Although you are free to challenge the norm, its important to know and , somewhat, understand the rule, of any culture, before endeavoring to break them. You should also consider treating your room in order to maximize the the ability to create consistence with regard to your mixes. These two treatments along can mitigate the process of having to listen to your mixes in the car, then on your phone, then in the home system; it can be so very time-consuming.


Room Treatment

2" acoustic foam panels are a great option, cosmetically; however, building your own can be fun and leaves room for much more personalization.


I purchase my acoustic panels from Amazon and Foam Factory (hyper-linked for easy navigation)


I have also created my own panels, not for cost factor, but more or less the cosmetic appeal, since I use my home studio commercially.


I purchased materials from The Homedepot - you could also purchase what you will need from Rona.


EMS DIY video, for studio panel creation here



Mic Selection has been said to be quite crucial to the home recording process, and in some regards, I agree. I say this simply because it depends heavily on the application of your home-studio - if you use you home-studio to create ideas and demos, why would you invest in a $3600.00 Neumann U 87 Ai, I mean, unless you are buying it for the storage box, so you can store your cigars; only then does that transaction make sense ;)


Remember, these are only my personal opinions; please don't take offense to any of my recommendations.


I use 3 mics in the studio, for vocals - I interchange them dependent upon the vocal type, or required vocal climate.


All below items can be purchased from Long & McQuaids Kingston



CAD Trion 8000 - condenser

Shure SM 7B - Cardioid - you will need a cloudlifter Mic Activator, in addition, order to maximize the potential of this unit.

Shure 55SH V2


Guitar Amps

Sennheiser E609 Silver



Shure Beta 52 (Kick Drum)



Shure SM 57 (Snare [top & Bottom,] Toms, hihat)



M-six Pencil Condenser Mics




There are so many different types of monitors out there, and I have tried quite a few of the top end, mid and a few of the lower end ones. Again, it's attributed to the purpose. My very first studio monitors were the Samson Resolve 50A, so quite low end, but they gave me a pretty true response. I have also tried The Yamaha HS5 and the KRK Rokit 10" 3 way monitors, the Yorkville YSM6 are pretty great as well; the Yorkies have an excellent warranty!!I actually own a set and they sit in my second room. But my favourite monitors have been the PreSonus Eris 8, and Eris 4.5 - I currently have them both in my main room, along with the PreSonus Tremblor 10" sub. They sound great along with having a true response and so many configurations to suit a home-studio environment.


In seeking out a set of monitors, look for something with a balanced response - i.e:- not overly low not overly high responses. It's not because you can't learn to mix on them, after a while, you may be able to (huge investment in time though, not to mention inconsistencies) The reasons I would suggest something with a flat response is simply to mitigate or reduce (depending on how much mixing you do) listening fatigue and you simply will hear and be able to analyze your mixes much better.


Studio Monitors

PreSonus Eris 8



PreSonus Eris 4.5 (these things will blow your mind - for the price point compared to the sound response they offer.)



PreSonus Tremblor 10



Yorkville YSM 6



You Should also Invest in a solid pair of headphones. Remember, times are changing: In the not so distant past, music was blasted on boom boxes and massive entertainment systems, now, smart phones/devices are running things; most of us listen to music in headphones, so you have to take this into consideration.


Midi Keyboard/Triggers

Midi - definition: (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a set of processes, created specifically to communicate vast amounts of data, that will enable protocol, such as, but not limited to: function commands: play, record stop - etc; audio signaling: samples, instrument emulation;  and module slaving- modules controlling other modules.


I don't really have much; I currently use the NI Kontact S49 with The Akai MPD18, and I have the PreSonus Atom on order. You just need to be able to connect directly to your VSTs so you don't have to draw in your parts; having both the midi keyboard and the pad controller, some my say is over-kill, but it's all about work-flow, at the end of the day.


Final Tips

Intonation: for goodness sake- change those guitar strings!! I know it's a pain in the but, but (see what I did there? - I digress) your recordings will be so much better off for it. New strings will keep your recordings sounding nice and 'crisp' the rest of the tone is left up to your fingers.


Cables: Make sure you invest in decent cables, to minimize hums and buzzes.


Effects & Dynamics

Less is more- this doesn't only apply to cologne, the same applies to effects and dynamics.



Your Mixes

If you are going to endeavour to mix and master your own material, or anyone else's, for that matter, it would be a good idea to invest in room treatment and calibration.


Having your monitors tuned up with a spectrum analyzer is a process that takes about 15 minutes; the best 15 minutes you will ever spend. 15 -20 years ago, you would have to invest in a costly spectrum analyzer, set up a microphone and go-to-town, now, it is as easy as paying $3-$6 for an ap, vrs hundreds of dollars investing in hardware.


Click Here: This is the spectrum analyzer ap I use to calibrate my monitors.


Outside of spending thousands of dollars, to do an engineering course, one of the most effective methods, other than trial and error, is simply attending several concerts and music events and paying attention to the climate. An indoor climate is different from an outdoor climate, and both are different from studio recording; however, the eq treatment of them all follow the same rules.


Take time to understand the natural tamber of each instrument. learn what frequencies need to be cut and what need to be enhanced. Finally, listen to lots of different styles of music and gain an appreciation for various culture and variations of music.


Final Tip: What ever you do!!! NO LAVA LAMPS.... PLEASE!!!! :) JK!!


I could go on forever, but Ill stop here. Even if you go to school to learn this, it is impossible to learn it all, so I am sure I left out quite a bit, but I believe that if you utilize the information here, you will be off to a great start.


I hope you have found this information useful.




If you would like a more one on one with Ryan, feel free to contact us.


Phone: (613) 530-7565


Address: 754 Grouse Cres Kingston, ON


Email: live@elevationmusicstudio.com









We function as both a music school and professional recording studio, focusing primarily on artist development and management; working to expose creative individuals to the music industry, and prepare them to take on a professional role, through unconventional yet effective approaches.

Elevation Music Studio

754 Grouse Crescent, Kingston, ON


(613) 530-7565







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