Why do my headphones sound muffled? How to fix?
Here's an article to answer your question "Why do my headphones sound muffled?" and some tips on how you can fix it.
Creating your own home recording studio can be a large initial cost, but over time it can pay for itself. If you are a professional singer, songwriter, or composer, being able to go to your private studio whenever inspiration hits can be a highly effective way to create your next masterpiece.
A home recording studio can cost anywhere from $300-$10,000+ depending on the type and quality of equipment needed.
The longer answer is that putting a price on a home recording studio is difficult. It entirely depends on just how much you care to invest, and whether you are focused on a budget build or want to pull out all the stops and move into the professional range immediately.
A budget build can cost as little as a few hundred dollars for everything you need to get started creating, while a professional recording studio can easily reach the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars range without breaking a sweat. And this may not even include everything you could have.
It’s normally recommended to start with the basics and expand as you go. If your recordings start to take off, you can use the income from successful releases to purchase more equipment like a synthesizer if you want to create hip-hop music and improve your recording quality as time goes on. However you prefer to build your home recording studio, there are many aspects to consider when it comes to figuring out how much it may cost.
From the bare bones basic list, to the elaborate professional set-up, there are a variety of items that every recording studio will need.
There is no shortage of microphones on the market these days, and not all are created equal. You’ll also be forced to consider what type of microphone you want to use in your home recording studio; dynamic or condenser. Each offers their own range of pros and cons, and some work better with vocals while others work better with certain instruments.
You might also find that you need multiple microphones (or maybe even a microphone gain), and in fact it’s not uncommon for both budget and professional studios to have a microphone specifically for vocals and a variety of others that match well with different instruments. Deep tones of bass instruments, for example, may sound much better on condenser microphones while soprano vocals do better on dynamic. You’ll need to test the microphones to see which sound better to you, and provide the results you want from your own recordings.
Some of the better known microphone brands on the market today are
In addition to having a microphone, or selection of microphones to suit your needs, you will also have to be sure that each one has a proper stand or shock mount, as well as pop filters to help improve the quality of the final recording. Luckily, your biggest investment in this category will be the microphone itself as the stands and pop filters are usually very budget friendly.
Hopefully you already have a computer that can handle USB connections and run your digital audio workshop software with ease whether you want to use Pro Tools or REAPER, otherwise the purchase of a new computer can set you back a decent amount of money.
If you do need to purchase a computer for your recording studio, always be sure to purchase the strongest computer you can reasonably afford. You will likely be putting a fair bit of strain on the system by running multiple audio tracks, recording software, playback software, and more. You will want to focus on a strong CPU and good amount of RAM to aid in your multitasking abilities and navigation speed.
For some models to consider, a MacBook Pro is a great choice that is extremely versatile when it comes to multitasking with digital audio workshops. You can find a powerful MacBook for less than $800 in most cases.
Also consider almost any laptop from the Asus brand as they normally put a decent emphasis on powerful CPUs for relatively reasonable prices. However, Asus will be much more expensive than a MacBook so if you are just starting out and not prepared to shell out $1200 or more for a laptop, there is no harm in going for a more affordable computer or tablet to get your feet wet with.
When searching for the best headphones for your studio use, don’t skimp on quality here. Your headphones are not just for listening to your recordings, but also for properly mixing your tracks. You want to be sure that you have a great sound quality from both earphones to get the best and most professional sounding mix.
Chances are good that you’ll also be wearing your headphones for extended periods of time (especially if you’re a drummer), especially if you’re locked into your studio pumping out track after track for your new album. You want to ensure the headphones are extremely comfortable as well as durable to hold on for the ride.
While the type of headphones you choose ends up being personal preference, most professional recording artists will use closed-back headphones for the recording process. These headphones provide noise isolation so you can focus on the parts of the recording that matter most in that moment.
For mixing, it’s not uncommon for artists to use open-back headphones during the mixing process. They don’t offer complete noise isolation, but are a great budget friendly option for new or semi-professional artists to get started with.
Aside from listening to your recording from your studio headphones, we also recommend you listen to your recording from a loudspeaker or studio monitor (even a 4 ohms or 8 ohms speaker will do). I personally recommend that you try using the Mackie CR3-X and if you want an in-depth review, we have it here.
After the computer, the acoustic treatment for your actual studio space can set you back the most money. Getting the right acoustic treatment is important as well as costly, but if you are serious about creating the highest quality recordings (especially important for drums), it can be a very worthwhile investment to make.
Acoustic foam is normally what most people will start with, and this goes for both beginner and professional level home studios. Each panel is made from high quality, fire repellant foam that usually measures 12 by 12 inches square. The panels usually come in packs of 12 and can cost up to $60. You will want an ample amount of panels covering the walls and possibly even the ceiling of your studio to prevent the amount of reverberation of sound waves in your space.
If you hate the idea of securing a few dozen or more small square foam panels to your walls, you might want to consider acoustic panels. These are normally much larger and are made with fiberglass or polyester. Their sound absorption qualities are much better than the foam, so you won’t need nearly as many to get the same effects. Unfortunately, they are much more expensive and a set of six panels can cost up to $200.
While the foam and fiberglass acoustic absorbers are both great for absorbing higher frequencies, they can’t do much for the lower notes created by bass instruments. Bass traps come into play here, and will help prevent the deep sound of a bass wave from bouncing around your studio. If you plan on using bass instruments in most of your recordings, placing bass traps in the corners of your studio is highly recommended. A pack of four traps can cost up to $100 but the improvement in quality of the sound you record is extremely noticeable.
If you’re searching for a way to unlock your full potential as a recording artist, having a recording studio in your home can be the first big step. It will give you a comfortable and relaxing space dedicated entirely to your creative passions.
While the differences in a budget and professional level studio comes down to what each individual person considers expensive or affordable, there is no doubt that having a recording studio in your own home can help save money over the long term. There are many home studio recording starter bundles that will help you save money as well. Say goodbye to external studio rent fees, commute costs, separate insurance costs, and more by simply being able to walk from your bedroom to your recording studio in mere minutes.
Having your own home-based recording studio can also give you a spacious and private spot to collaborate with other artists. If you’re serious about creating new music or vocals, inviting other artists into your professional looking space can help increase the creative juices of everyone involved.
The initial costs of building your home recording studio is, of course, the brunt of the cost but don’t forget about the ongoing maintenance as well. While you won’t need to worry about additional rent fees as you would if you were renting a studio space in a commercial building, you will still need to use more energy than normal.
Electricity costs will depend on your living area, but if you are making use of a variety of audio recording software, speakers, electric instruments, electric microphones, lighting, and other related equipment energy costs can build up over time.
Also take into account the additional cost of home insurance. Will you be insuring your recording studio equipment? What about musical instruments? If there is a fire in your recording studio, will your equipment be covered? How much will your homeowners insurance premium go up when you add this additional equipment to your list?
Always be sure to think about these more hidden costs. Regardless of the additional expense in maintenance, it will still end up being quite a bit less than if you were renting a studio space outside of your home. You’ll also eliminate the need for commute costs, and can easily record at 3 in the morning if the inspiration arises.
While creating your home recording studio can be costly at the start, you should never let that discourage you. If sound recording of some form is your passion, there is nothing wrong with starting on the lower end of the equipment price range and working up to a more professional set-up.
You should also never feel required to purchase new equipment exclusively. If you do your research beforehand, purchasing used or refurbished equipment can not only save you quite a bit of money but still get you the high quality piece of gear you hoped for.
Having a home recording studio can not only give you an excellent hobby to spend time on, but can also help you find ways to relax in the hectic world around us. In fact, you may even be able to turn your part-time hobby into a full-time career. You’ll never know until you take that first step and get started!