Being a music YouTuber is a lot of work, but it’s for sure the greatest job in the world. I recently decided I wanted to make it as easy as possible to shoot video and record music in my space, so I convinced my landlords to rent me the remainder of the 400 square foot garage (until now I’ve been shooting everything in 100 sq ft of it) to build into my dream studio.
It’s got 360 degrees of recessed RGB backlighting so I can shoot in any direction with colored backlight, and it’s automated with voice commands through the Amazon Alexa app that connects to the Phillips HUE system.
I’ve got all my camera and recording gear set up and ready to go whenever inspiration strikes, and everything is optimized for fast and easy creativity.
Here’s all the stuff I used in building it and putting it all together.
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Lighting was my primary focus when designing the space, since it’s the most important factor in video production. Here’s everything I used in building my lighting setup:
Sowilo Designs Bifröst LED Light Strips, controllers and connectors – these are the recessed LED strips that go all the way around the room. They integrate with the Phillips HUE system so you can control them as if they were native HUE strips, but they’re WAY brighter and more powerful. It was a bit of a learning curve to get the whole system installed but their customer support is excellent, they guided me through the whole process.
HLG Power Supply for LED strips and plug for power supply – this is what powers the LED strips
Phillips HUE Smart Hub – this is how you connect and control all your HUE devices via wifi
Phillips Hue RGB Smart Bulbs – I use these as overhead bulbs throughout the studio, mainly for just regular work lights but sometimes for video as well
Aputure LS-300D II LED light – this is my primary key light for shooting video when I’m not sitting at the desk, it’s very powerful and looks great
Aputure Light Dome II – this is the diffuser I use on the 300d, having very soft light is extremely important for good looking video
Aputure Light Dome Mini II – this is my diffuser for the GVM light that’s my keylight for shooting at my desk
Aputure MC lights – these little lights come in very handy for all kinds of stuff. They’re USB charged and magnetic and very bright for how small they are
Neewer RGB 960 colored panel light – this is a powerful RGB panel light that I use for all kinds of stuff like lighting backgrounds and adding color to just about anything.
Neewer Small LED Panels – general purpose small lights, I use these as fill lights a lot
Neewer lighting snoot – this narrows the range of a given light, I have it on my hairlight for my desk shooting setup
GVM 80w LED light – I have 4 of these that I use as key and hairlights
Godox Bowens mount barn doors – I put these on any light that needs a bit of control
Kasa Smart Plug Mini and Smart Strip – these are how I control powering on and off anything that doesn’t have integrated automation controls. Once the Amazon Alexa app recognizes them, you can integrate toggling them on/off into any routines and voice activations.
Neewer Backdrop rollers and mount – these make it easy to have different looks for shooting video and photos, you can put 3 rolls of backdrop paper on them and roll them up and down when you need them.
Savage Seamless backdrop paper – industry standard matte photo paper, I got the 140″ wide ones which are very expensive AND you have to ship them freight which is even MORE expensive – I recommend checking Craigslist locally first.
Walls and Treatment
Getting the walls right so they looked how I wanted them to and were also treating the acoustic problems of the space was a huge challenge, but in the end it was very worth it. Here’s what I used to do it:
Rockwool Safe ‘n’ Sound Insulation – insulates your room for temperature as well as broad-spectrum sound absorption. Never quite as good as professional sound treatment, but it gets the job done.
Duck canvas for covering the walls – acoustically transparent fabric I used to cover the stud walls with the insulation. I went with white so I could make it any color with the LEDs.
1×2 wood for fabric frames – I used 1x2s to build the frames that I stapled the duck canvas to.
2×4 wood studs for frames – just your basic 2x4s to build the stud walls.
Trigger clamps for holding canvas in place on the frames while you staple – these are clutch for all kinds of stuff.
This is what I use to get my music made.
Universal Audio Apollo x8p 16 channel interface – this is my primary recording interface. It has 16 in/22out and 8 onboard preamps, as well as a lot of internal DSP for processing their plugins without using your CPU resources. It is extremely powerful and easy to use.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin Quad interface – this was my primary interface for several years. It’s also very powerful, but much more compact.
Kemper Profiling Amp – the digital amp that’s any amp. I use this mainly to capture the amps I have.
KHE ACS 4×4 FX Amp Switcher – this is a very hand piece of kit that I use to switch between the amps I have. I made this video showing how I have it hooked up to switch between amps and channels with my Stream Deck, which is very wild and futuristic.
Two Notes Torpedo Reload – this is an all-in-one load box, DI, and reamp box. It’s the heart of my reamp setup and I can’t live without it.
Rode Procaster broadcast mic & pop filter – I use these mics for my vocal mic for live streaming.
Rode NT-1 Condenser Mic – I use this mic to record my vocals.
Rode NTG-3B Shotgun Mic – this is my primary video mic, I usually plug it straight into the audio handle on the FX3 and it makes my voice sound amazing.
Countryman Type 85 DI Box – best DI box I’ve used, this is what I use to record my guitar direct for everything.
Behringer Model D Analog Synthesizer – a recreation of the MiniMoog analog synth.
IK Multimedia UNO Synth Pro – a cool new digitally controlled analog synth that I haven’t really gotten to play around with yet.
Fredenstein Bento2 2-Slot 500 Series Chassis – a rackmount chassis to house 500 series modules.
API 512c 500-Series Preamp module – this is a 500 series version of the legendary API preamp. I have the NT-1 plugged into it all the time.
Revv Generator 120 MKIII 4-channel guitar amplifier – the king of high gain amps, my favorite amplifier of all time.
Revv speaker cab – I have 4 of these, one of them even has speakers in it.
Engl Savage 120 MKII 4-channel guitar amplifier – another god-tier amp, my second favorite one on earth. Top-notch German craftsmanship.
Engl Ironball SE 20-watt guitar amplifier – another great Engl amp, the reason I like this one so much is because it has awesome effects built in which makes it perfect for live performance.
Synergy SYN-50 50-watt guitar amp head – the analog amp that’s lots of amps. A modular preamp system with a boatload of officially licensed preamp models that you can get makes this amp incredibly versatile.
Revv G20 20-watt guitar amp head – a tiny beast of a high-gain amp head
Revv D20 20-watt pedal platform guitar amp head – a tiny clean amp head
Focal Trio6 BE 8-Inch Powered Studio Monitors – these are amazing studio monitors that never lie to me. They’re powerful enough that I’ve never had to push them past like 2 to fill the room.
Focal Alpha 50 Evo Powered Studio Monitors – my favorite small monitors, for about a 10th of the price of the Trio6’s you can have amazingly flat monitors. I use these on my stream desk setup.
Focal Listen Pro Closed-Back Reference Headphones – great headphones for any studio application – monitoring, mixing, and just regular listening.
IsoAcoustics ISO-430 Monitor Acoustic Isolation Stands – these are VERY important to have, both for decoupling your monitors from your desk and for tilting and positioning your monitors to point the right way.
Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro ISO Camera Switcher – I plug my cameras in here via HDMI to stream and record and switch between them.
Burns Synergy Module Cases – this holds all my Synergy modules
Roland RD-64 MIDI controller keyboard – my main MIDI controller keyboard, 64 fully weighted keys. Discontinued by Roland but you can still find them used.
Roland TD-27KV V-Drums electronic drum kit – an amazing electronic drum kit that I primarily use for joyfully bashing away in total belligerence, but also for entering drum parts via MIDI into Pro Tools.
Alesis Strike Multipad drum pad – the same but smaller
Here’s everything about the desks I use, and all the stuff that’s on them.
Zaor Alto Sit-Stand Desk – studio sit/stand desk, the one I use for streaming and when I want to work on things standing up. Discontinued by Zaor as far as I can tell.
FlexiSpot Kana Standing Desk – a nice, simple bamboo-topped sit/stand desk
Anker 7-port USB hub and 14-port USB hub
Autonomous ErgoChair Pro – my primary chair for sitting and editing/shooting/recording. Very comfortable and adjustable.
Alienware 34in Curved Monitor – a big ol’ curved monitor that is very color accurate.
Ergotron Monitor Arm – got this arm to hold up the monitor off the desk so I could keep the desk clear, and also to be able to move the monitor around wherever I needed it.
ASUS ROG Swift 27″ PG279Q Monitor – I have 2 of these, one for my streaming desk and one for my mobile monitoring station.
Desk clamp arms for lights – these are what I use to mount my filming lights on my desk.
Gator monitor stand clamps – I have these holding up my Focals on the streaming desk, they clamp on to the edge of the desk to make more space, and you can also position them however you need to.
Rode PSA1+ microphone boom arm – this holds my microphones on the desks.
The Anchor headphone hanger – this is what I hang my headphones on underneath the desk to get them out of the way.
Dimmable light box – this is what I have to spell out secret messages in my videos
Lisa Raphael Creations (she made the antique radio lamp) – this is my typical YouTuber warm practical Edison bulb lamp.
Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard – best ergonomic keyboard at any price, hands down.
Razer Naga Trinity Mouse – my mouse. It’s cool I guess?
Elgato Stream Deck XL – if you stream, create content, or edit, you need one of these.
Vidami pedal to control YouTube videos – I use this to slow down and loop YouTube videos to learn songs more easily.
Roland sustain pedal – typical keyboard sustain pedal.
Kinesis Savant Elite 2 footswitch mouse click – using a mouse all day gives me nerve pain, so I outsourced the clicking to my foot with this handy device.
APC XS 1500 Uninterruptible Power Supply – basically a giant battery that gives you emergency power when the power goes out.
OWC Thunderbay 8 External Drive – a 16-terabyte ultra-fast Thunderbolt hard drive that I keep all my videos and music recording on.
This is the stuff that holds stuff up in the studio.
Impact Super Clamp – clamp anything to anything else.
Backdrop clamps – I put these clamps on the backdrop paper so it has some weight to it.
Boom arm for shotgun mic – this holds the shotgun mic to the pole on the ceiling.
Neewer C-stand and wheels – beefy C stands for holding lights and all kinds of stuff.
The cameras, lenses, and related gear I use in the studio.
Sony FX3 – Sony’s latest cinema camera, I absolutely love it. It’s very difficult to make this camera look bad. I shoot 95% of my videos on this.
Sony a6600 – my B cam and vlog camera.
Sony a7iii – another B cam that I don’t really like. Wanna buy it?
Blackmagic Studio 4k Plus – my dedicated stream camera.
Sigma 35mm ART f1.4 lens – my main lens.
Sigma 14-24mm ART f2.8 lens – my lens for all things W I D E
Sigma 24-70mm ART f2.8 lens – all-purpose run-and-gun lens – if you only get one lens, this is the one.
Sony G 24-105mm f4 lens – the same but not as fast.
Zhiyun Crane 3s gimbal – this gimbal is too big and heavy, but I wanted one that I wouldn’t have to upgrade anytime soon and do the Inception spin with.
ProAm Modus track dolly system – I use this mainly to shoot smooth B roll slides and music video shots
Manfrotto XPRO Fluid Head – the Blackmagic sits on this so I can adjust it during streams using the long arm.
Edelkrone SliderONE v2 and HeadONE – I use these mainly for sexy B roll shots.
Canon power adapter (for Edelkrone slider) – powers the Edelkrone gear.
Quick release plate – I put these on all my tripods and cameras to quickly pop them on and off, easily worth the price to get a ton and save yourself time.
Aputure Fresnel – another way to focus light.
Smallrig top handle – if I’m not using the FX3 audio handle, I use this.
Smallrig shoulder rig – this is for impressing people and looking like a professional, which I am not.
Vanguard Alta Pro tripod – I like this tripod because I like the pistol grip action.
Padcaster mini teleprompter – this holds your mobile phone and turns it into a teleprompter. I’ve been scripting out my videos more lately so it doesn’t take 948572304958 hours to film them.
30 ft HDMI Cable – I use these to connect my cameras around the room to the ATEM.
20 ft USB extension cable – I use this to connect the USB hub on the streaming desk to the computer across the room
Various HOSA cables – use code ‘geargods’ at checkout for 30% off your order
Chauvet Hurricane Haze 1DX hazer – I haven’t actually tried this yet, but I do have it.
The Bucket – just a regular trash barrel that holds all my tripods, mic stands, etc.
Door handle – I got this fancy doorknob that I can lock/unlock remotely.
Hat rack – holds all my hats. It’s a piece of shit, I wouldn’t recommend it. I had to tape mine together so it doesn’t absolutely fall apart when I move it.