In the “do it yourself” world we live in today, there is no limit to what you can accomplish in the comfort of your own home. People are making movies, touring on their own, and even recording full length LP’s. Quality isn’t a gatekeeper anymore. We have access to the technology needed to achieve a professional sound. While professional studios are still an industry standard, the average independent artist won’t seek them out. Pricing of studio time, pay for producers, and engineers is often too much of a financial burden to bare for an up and coming musician. There are many reasons to turn to a home studio. You have your creative freedom, you aren’t restricted by time, and you can record as much music as your heart desires. In my humble opinion, there are absolutely no drawbacks to investing in a home studio. Yes it is a lot of work, yes the build will be stressful, and yes the entire production process may be all yours to finish. If your passion is true, then this should be no problem. It is always worth your while in the end. Here are some tips on building, arranging, or creating your very own personal home studio.
This topic can go a variety of ways. It all depends on where you live, how much space you have, how willing you are to reconstruct (if necessary), or if you rent out a space. For the sake of this blog, I am going to write this assuming you have an unused space in a house that can be remodeled. Building the space entirely would not lead to an entirely relatable article. At the end of the day you build a square space, section it off with control rooms and live rooms, sound proof it, and it’s done. Choosing a space that already exists can present a number of challenges. The recording process is greatly affected by the space in which you record, even the shape. Ideally, you want high ceilings, a more square shape, and no windows. If remodeling is taken out of the questing, then you have to work with what you have. Just try and choose based off of those idealisms. If possible, it is best to go for a basement or second floor space to lessen the possibility of noise complaints. Once your space is chosen, clear out everything in it. You need to be able to envision the different possibilities of configuration. If this is all you have, maximizing the potential and capacity of the space is crucial. Is the room a finished one or not? Either way it is best to renovate. Re-drywalling old plaster walls, tearing up carpet, and adding outlets throughout the room (especially for where you choose to set up your computers, speakers, and interfaces). Solid walls and floor is the way to go, because you are able to control the rooms “wetness” and “dryness”. Start from square one and move forward. This goes hand in hand with soundproofing. Since you won’t be able to entirely soundproof the space, the best you can do is to control the sound. With the floor, add rugs. These are a good way to section off your space as well. A rug for the desk, a rug for the drums, a rug for the guitars, and a rug for the pianos. When controlling the walls, you will need at least two things: acoustic foam panels and corner bass traps. I am not aware of any homemade foam panel builds, but you can build your own bass traps. Hang these around your space and test out the arrangement of them until you feel you’ve dampened the echo of an empty room. The rest is entirely up to you. Where to put your “mission control” and the rest of the gear. You will figure out quickly what works and what does not.
If this space is indeed intended for recording purposes, here are some tips to deal with uncontrollable outside sounds and just downright proper usage of the space when recording. This will differ from instrument to instrument. Let’s start with vocals. I am going to assume you do not have an isolated vocal booth and you just have the one room to work with. It is always best to invest in vocal mic shield for a more isolated and controlled sound. Whether you have a shield or not, I’ve found it is best to position the mic facing a corner so that you are singing out to the room. If you are singing into the wall, the soundwaves of your voice will be lost to the acoustic panels and bass traps. As much as artists try to make their recordings not sound like the room they recorded in, they need to embrace it. That is what makes your recordings special. Therefore, i suggest position the mic so that it captures not just the soundwaves directly from you, but from the room as well. Guitars are easy. Mic up the amplifier by placing the mic directly in line with one of the amps speakers behind the mesh. Wherever the amp is located in the room is ok, just be sure to place a bass trap directly in front of the amp with the mic in between. I have found that have a very dry initial guitar sound is great for mixing. Again you are starting at square one and can always add more reverb to the sound in post production. Lastly would be drums. Recording drums in a home studio is always tricky. You are never going to get best drum sound. The room just wasn’t built for that purpose. Although, there are things you can do to make it better. Place the drums in the very center of there room for an equal amount of soundwaves from each direction. Then place blankets over everything in the room that isn’t an absorbent material. This will ease your time in post production. I hope this post was helpful and an enjoyable read. Thank you!