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DIY At-Home Recording : Home

Have you been looking to build your own at-home studio for podcasting or music production, but you don't know where to start? This workshop will get you balling on a budget. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a studio at home; you can put toge


DIY At-Home Recording

This guide will help you set up a recording space at home and introduce you to various digital audio workstations, whether you are making music or podcasts.

Library Studio

Visit the Studio to learn about services to help you improve your multimedia projects and effectively use technology and tools.

Digital Audio Workstations

What is a DAW?

A DAW or Digital Audio Workstation, is a computer software that records and programs audio. There are an array of them but this guide will focus on the ones available in the UTC Library Studio, and they can often be used to make both music and podcasts. If you would like help using any of the software listed here, please reach out to



This software is free for everyone and with streamlined capability Audacity offers easy entry to recording. Because it is free, it is very popular with musicians and podcasters alike. In order to create beats in Audacity, you may need to download additional plugins.


A program that is free and compatible with all iOS devices. It has a great help tool and limited software to help learn the basics of recording, programming, and producing music. GarageBand can also be used to record podcasting.



Adobe Audition is a great intermediate audio editor, and offers more options and effects than Audacity. Audition is commonly used by professional podcasters and journalists. It can also be used for general recording and music.


Another iOS product, with a similar interface to Garage Band it is great to transition from it. With advanced and more expansive features, Logic still maintains a user friendly attitude with strong preset sounds and effects. Logic's user interface is also unparalleled, it is sleek, smooth, legible, and comprehensible. I recommend it to artists looking for more features than the beginner DAWs.



I've listed this DAW as advanced more so because of its user interface and a consistent difficulty to dive into. Ableton's complexity leaves a tool for everything from timing changes to slicing samples, but it is hardly streamlined and can be hard to get a workflow in initially. Use this DAW if you have a general understanding of them and want to dive into a wealth of engineering and production knowledge.

Native Instruments

Native Instruments software isn't to record vocals, but I'd like to plug it while we're talking studio DAWs. It's a production program paired with Native's Maschine software. Learning these tools will result in live looped performances or fully fleshed out beats. 

Music Recording

Ideal Recording Space for Music

When making music, the best space is a large room with high ceilings, asymmetrical walls, and irregular surfaces. This can be hard to find for at-home producers, because bedrooms tend to have lower ceilings, be fairly square, and have drywall surfaces. With some easy to find materials and careful set up,  you can modify your room to make it better for recording and production.

Paneling with BlanketsDiagram of a room where the ceiling and floor corners are highlighted in red and the edges of the walls are blue lines.

Our goal here isn't to create a perfectly soundless room, it's to get it the best we can. Mixing has come far in the 21st century and getting our rooms as dampened as possible is the goal.

First, gather some blankets to hang up on  your walls. Hanging up three or four blankets around your space will create a noticeable difference in the acoustics of your room. Tack up your blankets across the corners of your room. When you hang these up in the corners they are absorbing the sound that would be bouncing sporadically without them. Using the diagram as a reference, focus on the corners, then the dotted lines, then the hard lines when paneling.

Source ehomerecording studio


Microphone and Monitor Placement

A diagram of monitor placements showing right and wrong ways to set up a production station.Set your microphone up in the center of the room, making sure that a blanket or comforter is behind the microphone. This blanket will absorb the sound that comes back at the performer and microphone. If this blanket isn't there, the audio will bounce off the hard wall and hit the microphone a second time, muddying the sound.

If you are using stereo monitors, you want your production station to be placed on the longest wall, with 1-2 feet between the wall and the monitors. You want them to be placed so that your head is perfectly between the left and the right speakers at an angle, so that when you are seated you create an equilateral triangle with them. They should also be several feet away from you and slightly above your head when seated. This will give the audio frequencies enough space and time to travel to your ears so that you can hear the full sound.

Source ehomerecording


Other considerations

It can be very difficult to get a perfectly quiet room in a home studio because you can't control the noise other people make. Instead, make efforts to reduce background noise like fans or air conditioners running when recording. If you live with other people, consider recording when you are home alone, and keep pets out of your recording space. Avoid setting up microphones near windows where they are likely to catch more noises from outside, like vehicles driving by or birdsongs.

Don't want to create your own sound treatments?

The Studio has a sound-treated Audio Suite that is great for recording vocals and acoustic instruments. UTC students, faculty, and staff can reserve it online for up to three hours at a time, and it's free!

Vocal Templates

What is a Vocal Template?

A Vocal Template is a project file or preset (on Garage Band and Logic) that you can open and there will be a project session full of tools and tracks centered around recording vocals. Attached are some templates to get you started or to give you an idea of how to create your own.

To start using a Vocal Template, download the file from the Google Drive link, select destination, then open it into your DAW.

Using a DAW

Each one of these templates focuses on recording efficiency. There are tracks for multiple takes of Hooks, Verses, and Bridges to prioritize taking several takes, then listening through to see which is the best! Once you have recorded on a single track you can turn it down or mute it and start the next!

We recommend looking up EQ, Reverb, and Compression tutorials. These three tools are how you get a demo or early mix sounding solid enough to share or send to an engineer. Understanding and employing these three tools are all it takes to make a great foundational mix.

Podcast Recording

Your Ideal Recording Space

Before you start recording, you should scope out a good place to set up your recording equipment. Your ideal space should:

  • be pretty quiet,
  • have lots of soft surfaces like carpets, curtains, or blankets,
  • have few hard surfaces like windows, hardwood floors, or tile, and
  • have enough space for you to be comfortable.

DIY and at-home podcasters tend to use a couple of methods to create this ideal recording space: recording in a closet or under a blanket. Let's look at some pros and cons of each of these solutions.

Recording in a closet

  • Pros
    • Man sitting in a closet recording a podcastFree.
    • Private. A closet door is a great way to keep roommates, children, pets, or other podcast interrupters out of your recording.
    • Hanging clothes are a great form of soft surroundings
  • Cons
    • Small. Most closets tend to be pretty small, and feel smaller when the door is closed.
    • Dark. Most closets don't have lights in them, and who wants to sit in the dark while they're recording?
    • Not much space. Closets typically don't have a lot of space for you to set up a comfortable recording space, like for a chair or a table for your equipment.

"Podcasting on the road in Omaha - good acoustics in Deb's closet, I hope. The new TKC is on its way soon." by LenEdgerly is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Recording under a blanket

  • Pros
    • Microphone under a blanketFree.
    • Portable -- you can put a blanket over yourself anywhere.
    • No hard surfaces.
  • Cons
    • Hot. Recording under a blanket can get really hot.
    • Like a closet, recording under a blanket can be dark. It's already going to warm under the blanket, and adding a light to the mix will just make it hotter.

"#podcasting studio: moving blanket, Samson usb mic." by GregoryH is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Now that you know what you need in a recording space, you can start putting your at-home recording space together. 

Make Your Own Recording Cube

A recording cube is a portable tool you can use to capture high-quality spoken audio. You can buy a recording cube, but they are often both expensive and not very durable. This video shows you how to you can make your own recording cube.

Don't want to make your own recording cube?

You can check one out from the Studio along with a microphone or audio recorder!

Helpful Links and Studio Guides

Helpful Links

These links have additional information about recording high quality audio at home.

Studio Pathfinders

These pathfinders will help you get started with the DAWs available in the Studio.

Ask a Librarian