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 🙂

Two that come to mind are Moog’s Werkstatt (if it makes it back into stock) and Korg’s MS-20 kit.

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!

This being said, if you succeed, nothing will stop you from assembling other elements: pre-amps, audio mixer

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.

Have fun!!