how much does it cost to build a recording studio

Building a recording studio isn’t a simple task at all. And you need to consider many things. You all ways except valuable and meaningful for your money that you’re going to put on something. So, when you’re putting your money to the recording studio building. There are way many things to consider and the cost will be a major factor. If you are a newbie, trust me you can’t decide your own what is good and right for you. You need an expert or a professional for that. So, I am here to guide you through all the aspects that you need to build a recording studio and how to manage the cost.

First of all, the cost to build a recording studio may differ from person to person. It can be a low budget or a high budget or maybe average. Whatever your budget is, there are instruments and equipment in the market that suits your budget. But there is something to consider if you go to a low budget, the quality decreases, and vice versa. So, I recommend you to always go for the quality. Because quality is so much importance when it comes to music production. But what to do if you are a student or an unemployed person and you can’t afford the best and quality products? There is a tip for it. Stick with the article to find it out what it is.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Recording Studio

What you need to build a recording Studio And Cost for them

First, as an introduction, let’s talk about the uses and purposes of these. A computer is to run the digital audio workstation ( DAW) and connects all necessary items to the DAW from inputs. DAW is software that prosses data signals or the software that is to editing, mixing or mastering audio files. An audio interface is a device that converts analog signals into digital signals that can be read and processed by a computer. The microphone is to record analog audio signals. and there are two types of headphones to consider before buying. Studio monitors are to hearing the right and perfect sound of what you are mixing. Acoustic treatments are used to control the sound waves that travel around the studio.

Computer

A computer will be your first and main equipment that comes to your head when you are starting music production. But maybe you have a personal computer. so, let’s find out is that the best computer for your studio or you need to buy a new one and the cost for them.

When you are buying a computer for there are many things to consider. Main factors are shown below,

  • Budget
  • Speed
  • Portability
  • flexibility

The most main thing you are going to consider here is the budget because you are going to find out the cost. I hope before talking about the budget first I should talk about other factors as well because they are so important to you when you are choosing a computer for music production.

First of all, there are 2 kinds of computers. Laptops and desktops. What will be best for you? This depends from person to person because laptops and desktops have there own pros and cons. If you are a traveling music producer or you have two produce music in more that one place, a laptop will be the best suite for you. But if you are going to build a professional studio, you need a powerful computer, and here a desktop computer will be the best suit for you. Keep in mind that, usually the desktop computers are more powerful and cost-efficient than laptops. So, if you are on a low budget, a desktop will be best.

Pros of desktop computers

But not only that, there are more advantages if you are choosing a desktop. Desktops are usually faster than laptops, it’s because of the large housing and big fans. The heat produced from the CPU blows out rapidly and keeps it cool, so the processing speed doesn’t get slow. There are more inputs and outputs on a desktop computer than a laptop. This is very useful for a professional home studio because in a pro studio there are a lot of things to connect to a computer. And the other most important thing is flexibility. As we all know desktops are upgradable. You can even start with low performance and upgrade as you develop later. Finally, the cost will be less if you choose a desktop computer for your studio.

Pros Of Laptop Computers

Because there are many advantages to desktop computers more than a laptop, it doesn’t say that laptops are bad. Every single famous artist or music producers use laptops for their creations. If you are a student or an employee, buying 2 computers for 2 purposes is a stupid thing. So, in this case, a laptop is a great choice because you can take it to your college or to the office and also make music form that. But the cost of laptops is higher because of its portability.

Cost for the computer

There are 2 options for you when you are buying a computer, a used one or a brand new one. If you are buying a brand new one, there is a lot to consider because a used computer can have issues and problems and the sellers will never say that to you. If you are buying a new computer, that will be great. A good laptop to your recording studio will cost from $800 to $1500 and a cheap laptop will only cost around $100 – $300. If you are buying a desktop computer, try to assemble a computer yourself with the recommended specs, it’s better than buying a branded one.

Recommended computer specs for music production
  • RAM – 8 GB (4 GB minimum)
  • CPU – i7 (i5 minimum)
  • HDD – 500GB – 1TB

DAW

When you are buying a DAW, the most important thing to consider is the capability. Some DAWs work only on Mac and some will only work on Windows. But most of the DAWs work on both Mac and Windows.

Popular DAWs

  • FL Studio
  • Logic Pro X
  • Ableton
  • Pro tools
  • Studio one

DAW is software so there are even free editions of some DAWs with minimum abilities. If you are a beginner, it’s better to go for a free edition first and you can reduce the cost when you build the recording studio. Below are two free versions of DAW that you can download free.

Download FL Studio Free

Download Ableton Lite Free

Paid DAWs

Audio Interface

Most of the audio interfaces come with DAWs. If you choose this kind of bundle you can save more money. Buying an audio interface and a DAW separately can cost you more.

Sometimes you may think, do I really need an audio interface for my recording studio. Keep in mind, you can work without an audio interface but with an audio interface, you can improve the quality of the sound. There is a huge difference in sound with an audio interface and without.

The cost of an audio interface won’t cost much. A Focusrite Scarlett Solo will cost about $109 and it is the most common audio interface among music producers. But this has only one instrument input and one mic input. If you want a combinational input, you can go for Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 which will cost $150. And if you are on a very low budget, there are options for you as well. Behringer UM2 is the cheapest interface for your studio, which will cost only $39. And also, Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Solo is the best interface that you can afford, even most famous artists like Charli Puth uses this.

Microphones

I’m sure, microphones will be the most annoying and difficult equipment to choose to your recording studio. I think the reason for that is, a microphone is the most important item in a recording. And also, you know that there always a difference in every microphone in the market. And you get confused about what to buy. Most importantly, the quality of the sound and the cost go parallel. When the cost is high the quality of the sound capture is also high. And when the cost is too low, the quality also the same. Sometimes the records are unusable from low budget microphones. So, always try to buy the best you can afford when it comes to choosing a mic for your recording studio.

But before that, there is a lot to consider before buying. There are condenser mics and dynamic mics in the market. So, if you don’t know about that please check this article on microphones. My recommendations, Rode NT1-A is the best and popular mic which costs about $195 and Audio-Technica AT2020 is also the same which costs only $99. These two are condenser microphones which often use in recording studios. Or if you want to go for a very low budget, Neewer NW-800 will cost only $19.

When it comes to dynamic microphones, Shure SM7B is the most famous dynamic microphone in the world, no doubt. If you have done researchers, you may see this mic. But is cost $399 and if you can afford it, it will be the best mic for your studio. If you can’t afford it, Shure SM58 that costs only $104 will be the best alternative mic for Shure SM7B.

Headphones

I will never say a headphone is a must for music production but if you have one that will be great. Using Headphones is a great help when mixing. If your studio monitors distract and keep annoying from outside, using a headphone will overcome that affects. If you can’t afford a studio monitor, buying a headphone will be a good fit for that.

There are two types of headphones you can buy in the market. Close-back and Open-back headphones. However, open-back headphones are used in mixing and closed-backs are used in the recording. So, you decide what you really want. You can buy a good headphone for under $150. Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X will cost $91, which is one of the best open-back headphones in the market. And Audio Technica ATH-M50x is also one of the best closed-back headphones which will cost you around $169.

Studio Monitors

Studio monitors will be one of the main and most attractive equipments that you will have on your recording studio. And also it is the most useful item when mixing and producing. If you want to learn more about studio monitor check this article on best studio monitors. KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 is the most popular studio monitor among music producers all around the world. The reason for this is, this monitor is very budget-friendly and quality is so great. Even Charli Puth uses this kind of monitor in his creations. This studio monitor only cost $299. And if you want a monitor better than that, Yamaha Hs5 is a good fit for you. This monitor is usually known as the legend in monitors, but it cost about $350 for the pair.

How Much Does It Cost To Soundproof A Room
Credit: unsplash

Acoustic Treatment And Soundproofing

Now, this will be your last step to build your recording studio, and let’s calculate the cost for that too. But first of all, let’s find out what and the difference between this acoustic treatment and soundproofing. Sometimes you might think these two are the same, but they are not. They are completely different. After you buy all your studio stuff, that doesn’t mean you are good to go. Without these two, the sound of your recording even might get worst. Acoustic treatment and soundproofing is a must to a recording studio. But, what are the purpose of them? Actually, here is the difference and purpose. Soundproofing is avoiding the sound from traveling inside to outside and outside to inside. It’s like sealing your studio from the outside world. And Acoustic treatment is controlling the sound traveling inside the room.

The cost of acoustic treatment and soundproofing a room depends on your studio size. If your room is much smaller, the cost also will be smaller. Acoustic treatment can be used in walls as well as celling. But it is not necessary for the wall if you are in a low budget. If you do your acoustic treatment in the right way

3 basic elements on acoustic treatment

  • Bass Traps
  • Acoustic Panels
  • Diffusers

Bass Traps

When you are buying these 3 elements, give the first prior to bass traps. This is why. Usually, bass traps are to take care of low frequencies, but it can also absorb a little amount of high and mid frequencies, which is the purpose of acoustic panels. But acoustic panels can’t handle low frequencies.

The best place to fix your bass trap is the corners of your studio because corners are the places where the bass foams or created. But there is some factor to consider when placing bass traps. Check here to learn more about bass traps.

The cost for the bass traps differs according to their density and quality. Usually, bass traps cost around $50 to $100 which comes in 4 or 8 packs.

Acoustic Panels and Foams

Acoustic panels are to handle mid and high frequencies. While handles frequencies, acoustic panes make your studio more attractive. So, everybody tends to place acoustic panels in their studios. There are two kinds, acoustic foams, and acoustic fabric panels. But their purpose is the same.

Acoustic foams are usually cost less than acoustic panels because panels come with a frame made of fiberglass. So, it is a little bit pricey. If you are in a low budget, I highly recommend you to buy acoustic foams. But you need more of them. Acoustic panes come with 6 to 12 in one pack and the average size will be 12″ * 12″ and also there are different patterns to choose. Please consider, the patter doesn’t affect sound absorption, it just for decoration. So, choose the pattern the is good for you. The average cost for 12 packs will be around $20. So first, you must calculate the area of the wall you need to place the foam and decide the quantity of acoustic foam you needed. Read this article for more details about acoustic panels.

Acoustic panels cost much more than foam. But the pros are, you don’t need many panels to handle frequencies because of panels absorb frequencies better than acoustic foam. With fewer pieces of acoustic panels, you can handle the mid and high in your recording studio. Usually, six panels cost around $100 to $200.

how much does it cost to soundproof a room

As I mentioned before, soundproofing is blocking the sound that entering from outside the room or blocking the sound going outside the room. But if your recording studio is a place with a calm and quiet situation, nothing too much to bother with this. So, if your studio located in a place where close neighbors, soundproofing is important. If you are free of these problems, you can skip this and save money for other purposes.

Ways of soundproofing a studio

  • Installing mass on walls
  • Damping
  • Decoupling
  • Filling air gaps
  • Putting a rug to the floor
  • Spray foam insulation

To know about these things in detail, read this article “Soundproofing“. However, Soundproofing is not like acoustic treatment, sometimes we need a professional for that and cost much higher depending on the studio size. Sometimes soundproofing a room can cost from $1000 to $2000. So, it’s up to you deciding whether soundproofing is necessary for your studio.

Credit: stoneheavysound

Conclusion

Building a recording studio is not always an easy thing. And the cost is very high to build a quality recording studio. So now, let’s do a summary of cost, the final average cost to build a recording studio.

Average cost Low budget

  • Computer $200
  • Audio interface $40
  • Microphone $20
  • Headphones $90
  • Acoustic treatment $30
    • TOTAL = $380

Average cost medium budget

  • Computer $800
  • DAW $100
  • Audio interface $109
  • Microphone $195
  • Studio monitors $300
  • Acoustic treatment $200
    • TOTAL = $1704

Average cost High budget

  • Computer $1500
  • DAW $500
  • Audio interface $740
  • Microphone $400
  • Studio monitors $600
  • Acoustic treatment $500
    • TOTAL = $4240

Now you can see how a good quality studio will cost you. But what to do if you on a low budget and want a quality music production. But first, you can use your own personal computer for this, no need to buy a new one. Or if you still don’t have one you can buy a used one. By buying a used one, you can buy a better performance computer at a low price. Buying a DAW will not fit for a low budget, you can use free versions of some DAWs or Logic Pro comes with the Apple computer, so no need to spending money for a DAW. So, buying a used Apple computer will be a better choice.

However, for a quality music production, you need a quality audio interface and a quality mic. So, go for these two in the medium budget list. You can use a headphone as a studio monitor. Therefore, you can save the cost to build your recording studio. Also, No need to go for acoustic treatment and soundproofing, that’s useless. However, there are many ways to build your own acoustic treatment and soundproofing. Check the Acoustic treatment page for those details.

So, I hope this article helps you so much. Furthermore, It’s an honor to guiding you to build your dream recording studio. Also, please leave feedback below. And your experiences too.


Dilshan Hiruna

Dilshan Hiruna

Author

Cost to build a recording studio is the most common problem for all newbies. With my experiences in the music industry, I have brought you a full and clear guide on the cost to build your studio

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