There’s loads of advice out there for setting up a Home Studio but they mainly focus on sound proofing and microphones. So I'm going to share with you some of the must have accessories that I have in my Booth. These are little things that just make life a little easier or convenient, save you space or help you keep the place looking a bit less cluttered.
Some of these might be quite obvious to you but for people setting up a home studio for the first time you might find this useful. A lot of these products are from Amazon I'm afraid. Whilst I'd like to support smaller, independent retailers, Amazon & eBay are often the only game in town, especially during Lockdown & when you're on a budget. I'll try & provide links where applicable...I'm not making money referring you to these products these are just things I personally like. 1) Cantilever Desk Mounted Boom Arm. From £35
Some people prefer to record whilst sitting and others while standing. The beauty of Cantilever boom arms is you can do both with minimal adjustment. This one is a T20 by a brand called Tonor and I got it on sale for £19.99 (usual price is about £35 which I think is very reasonable for the quality.)
2022 UPDATE - I've now switched to a different boom arm with concealed springs as I was worried about the noise/vibration of the springs when you accidentally touch the stand. This one also extends higher, allowing me to mount the Neumann U87 upside down, giving me better sightlines and I'm less likely to knock it when gesticulated wildly!
I have a great heavy duty tripod mic stand but with the legs splayed out it just took up too much space in the Booth. This gives you maximum space to move around & gesticulate wildly. Make sure you've got it the right way round because I found the cradle kept drooping with my heavy Rode Condenser Microphone, then I realized I just had it flipped the wrong way so it was out of balance. Duh. You can use a counterweight if this happens to you. I'd recommend getting the biggest stand your space will accommodate. They do a T30, so if you're very tall, you have a heavier mic or you like to mount your condenser upside down, perhaps go for that one. I find the T20 doesn't quite give me enough height to accommodate the popular Sennheiser MKH 416, which works best when it's above you & pointed down. So I can add one of these Gooseneck Extensions to give me a little extra height. They are about £4 or so but they won't support a heavy condenser mic.
I actually have the Sennheiser mounted on a random mini tripod so I don't need to dismantle my main Microphone and this is where the next accessory came in really useful... 2) Microphone Thread Adapters, around £5 for a selection
These have saved me so much time & stress. Some shock mounts & stands come with a 1/4 inch fitting, others with 5/8 or 3/8....with these on hand you can adapt or repurpose equipment and make it fit, which is what I had to do with the gooseneck extensions which had really weird fittings. I have a whole box full of various sizes both male & female ends. They will be really useful as you expand your Microphone collection.
3) Desk Mounted Monitor Bracket, £25
This is something I discovered recently & I love it. It was a brand called Bracwiser, again off Amazon, came with very good assembly instructions & different screws depending on the monitor you're attaching. The monitor in my booth mirrors my laptop screen outside but when I stand to record it's too low on the desk even when I added a riser. For reads where you want to get in close to the mic, or microphones with a tight pickup pattern you then feel you can't move your head to look down at the screen or the pop filter obscures your vision. This baby brings the monitor up to standing height and it swivels & pivots so I can position it far enough away to avoid reflections. It's also freed up a lot of desk space as it's mounted on a clamp so you don't have to drill into your precious booth walls. I do love things on a clamp! Which brings me on to.... 4) Foldable Headphone Holder Clip, £12.99
Yes it's essentially just a hook for your cans but with the clamp fitting you can mount it in a convenient location without nails or adhesives breaching your sacred voice over forcefield. This one was £12.99 which seems a little expensive for a hook but it does allow for both horizontal and vertical mounting by twisting the little screw on the pivot with an allen key. I use it all the time so thinking in terms of fashion the 'cost per wear' is probably 1 pence 👍😉
Speaking of headphones, hopefully you are using a decent pair, they really are vital for good monitoring and mastering. Sennheiser, Audio Technica and Beyerdynamic are probably the most popular brands I've seen in studios. You want a nice neutral pair that is giving an accurate, uncoloured representation of the sound.
5) An Extra Long Headphone Cable & headphone jack Adapters are another useful buy.
I have my interfaces in the booth with me so I can tweak & monitor levels. But I edit outside the booth on my laptop & ideally you should be editing using headphones via the interface and not your computer's soundcard. You can get headphone splitters & amplifiers that would let you run one pair of phones in the booth & one outside but I didn't really want to spend another £100+ on another pair or have to keep switching cans. I just use a 3 metre 6.35 to 3.5 Stereo Adapter cable which is more than long enough to stretch outside. Most studio quality headphones come with a 6.5mm jack, some headphones come with 3.5mm which is the size you'd need to plug into a phone or laptop, so again, worth having a few adapters on hand just in case. Though most good headphones come with these anyway they have a tendency to go walkabout. 6) Mini Bluetooth Keyboard, £15 https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07C69ZRYV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I actually got this of wish.com and it's one of my more successful Wish purchases. Any ladies who have ordered clothes off there know what I'm talking about! Now that I have my monitor floating in the air I have plenty of desk space for a full size Bluetooth keyboard but in my old recording space I didn't even have a desk so I'd use this. It does everything a normal keyboard does plus there's a mouse pad too. It's really useful when doing long form narration as you can keep hold of it and use the scroll button to move down your script without having to bend down and operate a mouse. It lights up too! So pretty. Plus it turns itself off after no activity so you don't burn out the batteries. 7) Active USB Extension Cable
Typically your audio interface like an Audient, Focusrite, Apollo etc. Comes with a pathetically short USB cable. It's probably fine if you're running it into a fanless device like a MacBook or a Surface Pro as they are quiet enough to have in the booth with you. But I use a much more powerful laptop outside the booth. So usually this means ordering a 3m plus USB cable.... however some manufacturers do not recommend you use a cable longer than 2m or you can start getting audio glitches and dropouts. I also heard a few people say their interfaces wouldn't even work with the cable they bought. So how do you solve this issue? With an active USB extension cable. It does what it sounds like it does, like bringing your laptop's USB port closer to you in the booth. Get one with a high transmission speed & ideally gold plated connectors. They're about £15 depending on the length. I also use one to power my Logitech webcam as the cord it came with was pretty short & even if it wasn't I don't want to be threading and unthreading cables through my booth's cable management system whenever I want to use the webcam on a different device. BONUS ACCESSORIES Do you have any of the following in your booth like I do...? • A convincing looking fake plant or flowers to bring some softness & femininity to an otherwise dark & manly space • A random cuddly toy or piece of geeky memorabilia that makes you feel good when looking at it. Bonus bonus points if it's a character you've actually voiced. • A surge protected power adapter... boring but sensible, might possibly save your equipment one day. • Box of tissues for when clients make you cry • Throat Spray/throat pastels & other random concoctions for those heavy duty sessions • A selection of pens & pencils you no longer use because everything is digital and a notepad for when writing was a thing. • Coloured LED lights, the novelty of which wore off quite quickly but gets you compliments on zoom calls • Multiple pop filters...why do I have so many? I don't even remember buying them, they just appeared 🤔 • A box of random cables that you'll sort out...one day • A Microphone that you never use but can't bring yourself to get rid of. What are your must have accessories or studio hacks and do you have anything really random in your recording space?