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Author Topic: Cheap Ghetto Home Recording Studio for Students  (Read 7161 times)


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Cheap Ghetto Home Recording Studio for Students
« on: September 24, 2009, 07:12:45 AM »

Chances are, if you're reading this, you're probably in the same shoes that I was in several weeks ago.

I, like many others, am currently a student at the University of British Columbia who's being robbed every year from textbooks and tuitions, which then obviously implies that I don't have the finances to pay for all the fancy gadgets needed in home recording, but I've always had an itch to start up some decent sounding recording. So being the cheap person I've been known to be ever since I began my post secondary studies, I decided to make (rather than buy) whatever I could for the studio out of basic household items (or if not, the cheapest hardware I could get my hands on to modify).  Here's what I did to get something started and at the same time, afford to stay in school.

*NOTE: I know this setup is probably more amateur than any other out there..haha..I just posted this up hoping to give a little hope to some individuals seeking for a cheaper way out in producing some recording that's going to sound a little nicer than those on-board laptop mics. I'm open to all comments and constructive criticism so please feel free to voice out your thoughts. I'm seeking for improvements as I'm a rookie in this area, any comments will be beneficial. Thanks!

Lets get straight to the studio now shall we,

First of all, my mic stands were built from desk lamps(ones with clamps were my preference). The first lamp below was the $10 Ikea "Tertial" lamp. I could have just snipped the lamp head off and just left the stand but sadly, I'm just that cheap, so I decided to save it in case I needed an extra lamp in the future, thus the ugly zip tied thing on the stand. The second lamp below was one that I found lying around my bedroom unused, (I later found out that it was also from Ikea) which I unscrewed the head to remove the lamp and pulled it out leaving just the stand.

In all, I spent $10 for two mic stands.




As you may notice below, this is an attempt to make something that functions as a pop filter, and somewhat, hopefully, resembles one in appearance.

The pop filter was made from an embroidery hoop, pantyhose cutout, electrical wire, and cable organizer.

The only things I needed to buy was the embroidery hoop and electrical wire, which cost a grand total of $4.


Moving on, I built myself a shock mount for my MXL 991 mic. Yes, it looks terrible haha, but it really does work just fine. What i did was I bought an ABS tube at a local hardware store (i'm sure you can find some at home though) and did some sawing to get my desired shape. Sawed some slots in the rings for my 2 elastics on each ring to hold on to, and just clipped a mic clip on the top. I also decided to sand down the edges, spray paint it, and add some home made decals on it for cosmetics (just so it looks like it's worth more than the $2.50 I spent on it.  I can include a full length tutorial on this if several people request it.

Total Cost: $2.50 (ABS tube)



Of course, for any recording studio you need the Mics. Unfortunately, it isn't preferred that you make your own mics. As for my Mics, I got myself a set that works fine for my standards (which are very low). I've read many positive (for the beginners/intermediate)reviews on these mics though. Guitar Center has the set of two for $99, I had a %10 off coupon with that. Be sure to check out Craigslist as well though, you could be missing out on some steals.

Spendings after taxes: About $100.00


And of course, the audio interface, which just like the mic, may cause some troubles if you were to build one yourself from scratch. I did some reading and came to the conclusion that USB mic's will not perform as well as a mic-xlr-interface combination, so even though the USB mic was a cheaper option for me, I went with the mic-xlr-interface combination. I bought the Tascam US 122 from craigslist for a total of $60.


And FINALLY, I have a laptop which some people may not be fortunate enough to have. A desktop will work as well only it may not be as convenient for those who want flexibility in recording locations. I managed to find a laptop that my parents were about to toss out the window because it was running too slow...lucky for me, I just reformatted it and now I have a free laptop used strictly for recording.

*The usb 2.0 cable connected to the laptop from the tascam us-122 interface was purchased from NCIX. It is a Monster 7 ft cable that I bought for only $4.99! retailing for over $20 at futureshop!


My total cost came up to be just a under $200, AFTER TAXES!

**If you'd like any detailed tutorials on any steps above, feel free to leave a comment below.

So to my all my stingy brothers out there: Don't fret, who says students can't afford a basic home studio  Very Happy !



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Re: Cheap Ghetto Home Recording Studio for Students
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2009, 01:19:30 PM »

Quite a first post!

I assumed it was going to be a spam advert, but looks pretty real.

Let's hear some tracks...

pete andrews

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Re: Cheap Ghetto Home Recording Studio for Students
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2009, 03:40:09 PM »

we all started somewhere with something.
now get busy using this and make as many recordings as possible... they will slowly get better... at some point you can then get to winding your own transformers and fabricating your own capsules.
finally, stick around - you'll learn lots here..



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Re: Cheap Ghetto Home Recording Studio for Students
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2009, 10:28:53 PM »

Thats Really cool!  Thanks for sharing-  

btw- What are you studying?

ps for that sort of pricing-and your apparent vision-  I bet you could have a fine side thing making shock mounts..


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Re: Cheap Ghetto Home Recording Studio for Students
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2009, 12:30:12 PM »

Great post!  It will encourage those on the fringe who are afraid recording music will cost them a ton to rethink their opinion and start working on recording music.  One need not have the best of everything to start off.  And as one who has tried it, the do-it-yourself stuff is fun.  I ran across an old mic bar I made to accomodate ORTF, NOS, DIN and DINa I made out of plastic pipe and right-angle screws.  It worked for me and I got some OK pulls with in some bad venues.

The main thing is to get out there and try it.

Thanks, again, for the great post.

BTW -McGill has a great Tonmeister program.  I think it is in English.

http://www.music.mcgill.ca/sr/build/index.php?option=com_con tent&task=blogsection&id=5&Itemid=28
Nov schmoz kapop
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