Recording gear can be expensive. This is news to no one 🙁
If this is a concern to you, there are ways to minimize cost… And beyond savings, to take ownership of your gear in an entire new way: make it.
Here are 4 step program for doing just that.
Step 1 – Solder your own audio cables
A home studio requires yards and yards of audio cabling. XLS, 1/4″… In all imaginable combinations and times. Ranging from 10 to 40 Dollars/Euros a pop, cables are also an un-exciting way to spend your budget.
Making your own is therefore a great option… and the lowest hanging fruit in our DYI approach. It requires little investment both in terms of tools and technical expertise.
Here is a tutorial of how to sodder XLR cables:
Here is a very theatrical tutorial on how to sodder 1/4″ jacks:
Step 2 – Assemble an analog synth
If you passed step 1 without a scratch, the next step could be to assemble a DYI analog synth provided by the majors… This is still IKEA level stuff 🙂
Here is a timelapse of the Korg MS-20’s assembly and demo:
Step 3 – Make your own compressor
If you passed step 1 and 2 with flying colors (and actually enjoyed it), you can take it a couple notches further…
Need a compressor?
Instead of paying some 2000 Dollars/Euros on a classic Universal Audio 1176 compressor, why not build one yourself? For less than 500 Dollars/Euros in parts, some 200 Dollars/Euros in tools (re-usable for your second 1176) and between 8 to 12 hours of your time.
Look at this timelapse to get an idea of the process:
If you think you are up to it, I recommend you watch Don Bonin Youtube Channel. He is passionate and generous.
What is trickier here if finding the parts. A handfull of suppliers specialize in this field. They will provide you with the schematics and parts. Hairball is the one used by Don. There are others…
A word of caution. This is no longer IKEA-level stuff. There is soldering, there are components, there is calibrating, there is live current… You have been warned!
Step 4 – Make your own programmable synth
Finally, if you feel hardware tickering isn’t enough for you, here is a DYI option with software.
Have you heard of Arduino? Very nifty things can be done with this open source hardware/software platform.
a few small manufacturers have caught on and are selling products based on Arduino circuitry + software. Paul Soulsby’s ATMEGATRON 8-bit monosynth comes to mind.
Making your own is also possible. The Arduino site has a “playground” dedicated to this.