How to Make a DJ Home Studio - Getting Started
- Written by Rodrigo Marques
If you are thinking of making a DJ Home Studio, a recording studio can be the tool that was needed to jumpstart your career as DJ, starting and/or expanding your portfolio of followers in SoundCloud, Spotify and other amazing tools that are taking away from anonymity, talented artists around the world. Let's take a look at the first steps you need to take to start your own DJ Home Studio and a path for you follow in order to produce your first mashups, remix and reedits. Come on?
Choose a Good Hardware for Your DJ Home Studio
Technology has been changing rapidly and the way we produce music also benefits from it. Four years ago I commented in a video that probably in the future people would be using smartphones, and could even produce music using just that little Gadget. If in the past computers were limited in power, today almost any PC is able to meet the needs of a Home Studio.
I said "almost" because cheap PCs usually don't have much quality in their hardware, and this can cause a lot of problems throughout your creative process. You just want to use your computer without worrying if it will crash or if your recordings are even being saved. Usually, in the desktop world, you find some settings that are what we can call "the minimum of minimum" in terms of hardware. This causes a number of complications such as overheating, which causes crashes and decreased the life of the system.
A good idea for you that want to use a desktop computer is to get a little more knowledge and assemble your computer yourself, this will ensure that you will have a machine capable of meeting all your demands for at least for the next 10 years. Assembling a computer may seem expensive and technically inaccessible to most people, but evolve every day and learn new skills is the only way I know to overcome life's challenges and win the majority of our goals.
It's okay if you don't want to set up your computer because it's a bit more difficult, so if you still want a cool computer, I recommend you buy something that is 50% more expensive than the cheapest computer.
If you don't want to use a desktop, you don't think it's worth having a computer that can't be taken anywhere, so the only way to make it work is to use a notebook. Although the notebook looks like a robust computer and apparently do everything on a desktop, you will find some limitations in notebooks, especially when we take it to the limit during professional use in your Home Studio.
One of the great weaknesses of notebooks is cooling. If you're an Eskimo, maybe a notebook can do anything you want without complaining. On the other hand, if you live in the USA, a country with a diverse climate: sometimes very cold in the North and extremely hot weather in the South-East and South-West regions. A Home Studio in Tampa Florida that uses a notebook, would have problems with crashes, loss of performance and in the end, you would be blaming Windows for this. I like to joke that Windows does not work well in hot countries, but the fault of everything is in the cooling, in the operating temperature of the system.
If you are going to buy a notebook, choose the one that has the greatest cooling capacity possible.
A DJ needs an audio interface with minimal latency to run a series of real-time software that makes all the difference. I mentioned here some very interesting audio interface for beginners, such as M-Audio Fast Track Pro.
Software for DJ Home Studio
There is a very large variety of music software on the market and you probably already use some software and don't want to switch it to another. I see software as tools and it's okay to have more than one tool when we have more than one problem to solve.
If you are already accustomed to the interface, the position of the controls, how the program works, then it may seem very strange when you try to use other music software. This is absolutely normal and expected; It is part of human nature. Even with all this discomfort, I recommend that you try to master at least five powerful tools for Home Studio, including those that are most used in the world of DJ like Ableton Live and Virtual DJ. With these two DJ software, you can do a lot of amazing things inside your DJ Home Studio.
Obviously, you will need to use some audio editor software, so you will be able to choose between free Audacity and paid Sound Forge Pro.
If you want to do mashups, Ableton Live will meet any peak of more aggressive creativity.
For a live performance, Virtual DJ will hand you a very similar to a DJ turntable interface, plus a number of features to DJ in "on the fly".
VST plugins have an absurd utility for anyone who is producing audio with minimal creativity. You will need the 5 essential plugins for any Home Studio that are: Compressor, Maximizer, Reverb, Delay and Stereo Expander.
A Process to Guide Your Music Productions
All of the elements we mentioned here may seem strange, but each of them is used to solve a problem and these elements are just tools. All you need to understand is how each of them works and how they interact with each other so you have the system and theory you need to make your DJ Home Studio work and do everything you can imagine.
I can assure you that 80% of a DJ Home Studio, capable of producing a legitimate product, is made of the human material, their education, their skills and knowledge about how audio works. Within our Home Studio Course (Coming Soon) I talk about how audio works like using these tools to produce quality audio and most of all: how to work and generate a value using these tools.
Now a final mark to you that tries to set up your own DJ Home Studio, as this is only a brief introduction to the subject... I recommend you put your focus on increasing your knowledge since knowledge increases your awareness, which above all, increases your power to accomplish everything you desire.
This was a brief overview of your first steps towards creating your own DJ Home Studio. I hope this post helps you to keep walking and evolving every day, as a professional and as a person.
An extra tip from Rodrigo: If you want to know How To Build a Home Recording Studio From Scratch And Get High Quality Audio Using a Production Process, I recommend you take a look at our kindle book right now.
We believe that a Home Recording Studio can change the future of many entrepreneurs and artists who need to show how great their talents are. Enjoy it!