So what are the basic steps for a home studio setup?
1) SOUND EQUIPMENT
Of course, maybe one of the simplest approach ... running Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) on a laptop computer! However, don't expect too much ... afterall, a laptop computer is not meant to give a quality sound recording.
If you want a more quality sound recording, this could be a starting point:
- a Shure dynamic microphone, such as SM58 http://www.shure.com/americas/products/microphones/sm/sm58-vocal-microphone
- a Behringer Mixer, such as the entry level Xenyx 502 could be an expensive option http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/502.aspx
For even more professional quality, the industry standard of many studio round the world goes to the Avid like:
- a Avid MBox Mini, http://www.avid.com/US/products/Mbox-Mini, running ProTools
- a AKG C2000B http://www.akg.com/site/products/powerslave,id,221,pid,221,nodeid,2,_language,EN.html
If you feel happy to use Apple and its Mac OS X, a Mac Mini is a very good entry level option for working with the Avid MBox option (http://www.apple.com/macmini/). If you will use Audacity to do your recording, a Core i3 or i5 PC will do the work well. For recording purpose, the demand for processor or I/O performance is not very high. So, most modern computers today can meet the requirements.
3) RECORDING ROOM
Don't feel that you must have a studio-like environment in order to do a audio recording. In fact, many people's home are quiet enough to record a very decent and quality recording. A quiet room, without too much outside noise may be good enough.
However, often more of a problem is the undesirable reverbation (or echoes) produced by your room. Remember when recording sound, we're handling waves which can be reflected by reflective walls, windows, metalic surface, etc. So, certain treatment is necessary. Carpets, thick blankets, thick curtains can put to good use, to reduce undesirable sound reflections - that's exactly why bedrooms are good places for a sound recording!!
For a more professional approach, you may try ready-made recording booths like the Whisperrooms (http://www.whisperroom.com/)