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Home Music Studio Essentials: Gear You Need to Create Licensing-Ready Tracks

Launching a royalty-free music licensing side business opens up passive income potential for musicians without touring demands. By selling your music on platforms like Artlist, MusicBed and AudioJungle, clients can use your tracks in their videos, podcasts, games, apps and other projects for set fees.

But producing quality songs, scores and audio that meet licensing standards requires having the proper home studio gear to record, mix, master and deliver professional-grade results.

This guide covers must-have equipment across instruments, mics, software, soundproofing and more for crafting radio and film ready music able to generate consistent sync licensing sales. Let’s dive in!

Computer and Recording Hardware

A sufficiently powerful computer and external audio interface are the core foundations:

Computer

A powerful PC or Mac laptop or desktop. Look for at least 16GB RAM, 1TB storage and dedicated graphics card. Apple M1 chips work very well.

Audio Interface

External box with audio inputs and outputs. Connect mics, instruments and monitors. Essential for recording into a DAW. Recommend Focusrite, SSL, Audient, Apogee, Universal Audio.

MIDI Keyboard

Full sized keys help play software instruments more naturally. Look for semi-weighted actions. Brands like Native Instruments, Arturia, Novation, Akai.

Headphones

Get quality studio headphones from brands like Sony, Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic. Open-back headphones provide a spacious mix environment.

Studio Monitors

Add studio monitor speakers for accurate audio representation. Models from Yamaha, KRK, Presonus, Mackie, ADAM are all solid options.

Pop Filter

Foam pop filter positioned between mic and voice removes harsh “p” sounds during vocal recording. Essential for professional results.

Microphone Arsenal

Quality microphones suited to different sources are crucial for capturing professional recordings:

Large Diaphragm Condenser

Versatile studio mic excellent for lead vocals, acoustic instruments and radio-ready voiceovers. Brands like Neumann, AKG, Shure, Rode.

Dynamic Mic

Live performance-ready mics great on drums and distorted electric guitars or vocals. Shure SM57/SM58 are standard.

Small Diaphragm Condenser

Precision mics ideal for acoustic guitars, piano, string sections and auxiliary percussion. AKG, Rode and more all offer choices.

Shotgun Mic

Directional mic perfect for field recording sound FX and samples. Rode VideoMic line provides affordable options.

Lavalier Mic

Clip on mic for vocals. Captures crystal clear speech and interviews. Giant Squid makes excellent lavaliers.

USB Mic

Simple all-in-one USB mic to quickly record podcasts, YouTube videos and basic vocals. Blue Yeti or Rode NT-USB provide quality sound.

Recording and Mixing Software

A suitable Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software is mandatory for audio recording, editing, mixing and production:

Ableton Live

Leading choice for electronic music production thanks to session view, instruments and live performance features.

Pro Tools

Longtime industry standard DAW for recording, editing and mixing. Powerful for working with live-recorded audio and MIDI.

Logic Pro

Mac-only DAW seamlessly integrated with macOS. Includes huge library of pro instruments, loops and production tools.

Presonus Studio One

DAW gaining popularity thanks to intuitive interface and features. Very affordable yet still professional grade.

Reaper

Feature rich DAW with essentially unlimited track count. Very customizable. Just $60 for personal license but missing some instruments and effects.

Cakewalk by Bandlab

Fully featured free DAW. Excellent option for beginners wanting professional tools without cost. Just lacks some instruments and content.

Virtual Instruments and Effects Plugins

High-quality virtual software instruments replicating real sounds are essential for realistic mockups and final productions:

Native Instruments Komplete

The ultimate bundle of synths, sampled instruments, effects and other plugins for all styles. Industry standard.

Arturia V Collection

Recreates iconic analog synth and keyboard sounds like Moog, Prophet, Wurlitzer, Buchla, Hammond organs and more in software form.

Spectrasonics Omnisphere

Powerhouse synthesizer for unique atmospheric pads, textures, leads and bass patches. Used extensively in trailer music.

Toontrack Superior Drummer

Realistic virtual drum kits and percussion players for replicating live drums in the box. Customizable kits and extensive grooves.

Spitfire Audio

Specializes in deeply sampled orchestral libraries for realistic strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion and choirs. Top quality.

XLN Audio Addictive Keys

Accurately captures legendary electric and acoustic pianos like Yamaha, Fender and Steinway for extremely realistic piano sounds.

Slate Digital

All-in-one mixing suite with excellent EQs, compressors, tape emulation and analog modeled effects for professional results.

Acoustic Treatment and Soundproofing

Controlling sound reflection and isolation makes a massive difference in recording quality:

Acoustic Panels

Mount acoustic panels on walls to absorb reflections and flutter echo. Brands like GIK Acoustics and Auralex offer solutions.

Bass Traps

Corner mounts reduce low-frequency buildup and muddy “boominess”. Place strategically around room.

Decoupling Isolation

Useisolator pads or floated floors to decouple speakers from vibrating surfaces. Tightens bass.

Sound Dampening

Add material like mass loaded vinyl behind wall panels to reduce sound transmission and noise bleed.

Seal Leaks

Seal gaps under doors and HVAC with weather stripping and soundproof window plugs. Minimizes noise intrusion.

White Noise Generator

Produce constant background noise to drown out external disruptions during recording when soundproofing alone isn’t enough.

Additional Helpful Accessories

These extras help optimize workflows:

Equipment Racks

Keep gear neatly organized together in studio racks and carts. Brands like OnStage make affordable options.

Monitor Speaker Stands

Get monitors at proper ear height using solid stands from companies like Ultimate Support and Monoprice.

Cable Management

Keep cables neatly tied and suspended overhead with devices like cable drops, raceways and cable ties to minimize clutter and trip hazards.

Music Notation Software

Write and print sheet music, charts and lead sheets with notation apps like Finale or Musescore. Helpful for composers.

Click Tracks

Use external metronomes or in-DAW click tracks to help musicians keep steady tempos during recording.

DI Unit

A direct box routes instruments cleanly into your interface and prevents impedance mismatches. Radial Engineering makes top quality DIs.

Ongoing Learning Resources

Music production is a never ending learning journey. Continuously study proper techniques:

  • Produce Like A Pro YouTube Channel
  • Recording Revolution YouTube Channel
  • CreativeLive audio production courses
  • LinkedIn Learning audio engineering courses
  • Mix With The Masters tutorial courses
  • Recording magazines like TapeOp
  • GearSlutz and Reddit communities
  • Audio engineer interviews and podcasts

The technical quality bar is high for music to be accepted by major licensing catalogs and earn consistent royalties. Invest in professional gear, learn industry standard production methods, soundproof your workspace, and continually expand your skills. This home studio foundation will empower you to craft radio and film ready tracks able to generate lucrative sync licensing sales around the world 24/7.

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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