Now more than ever producers, musicians, and mixers may be looking at building a studio at home – but there are some important things you should bear in mind when you’re getting started making the perfect recording spot.
We recently spoke to Redfin about the must-know advice for people setting up their own music studio at home. Along with many other great musical voices, our tips were combined into a brilliant piece on what to consider when setting up a home studio which you should read here: www.redfin.com/blog/ultimate-home-music-studio.
In the process of speaking to the RouteNote Sessions team who have plenty of experience in building their own music studios at home, in a vehicle – true story – and our very own recording studios at the RouteNote office they gave me so much good advice that I thought it would be rude not to share what wasn’t used in Redfin’s article with all of you.
So, make sure that you check out Redfin’s article for a bunch of great tips from a variety of wonderful companies. Then join us for a dive into what RouteNote’s own home studio veterans have to say on the matter to ensure your recording studio is great even on a budget and with restrictions.
Barny is our audio engineering extraordinaire. With extensive knowledge and experience in all elements of music recording and production he is one of the biggest reasons our recording studio at RouteNote exists as it does. Here’s what he had to say:
One of the biggest problems with home studios, is not being able to isolate the power supply to the studio from the rest of the house. This means you tend to get hums and pops in the audio when things like the fridge or central heating turn on/off.
If you can afford it, you can buy transformer isolated power supplies, but they are pricey. Otherwise you should at least get a power conditioner for your studio which everything runs from. Also avoid having dimmer switches on the lights in the house as this will add a lot of noise problems.
Beyond the power supply, Barny recommends:
- If possible, arrange the room so that the speakers face down the length of the room (so the back of the speakers are against the shorter wall)
- Get a comfy chair
- Place the speakers at ear height when you’re sitting in your comfy chair.
- Avoid putting speakers in the corners of the room if possible, and as far away from the back wall as your room can handle.
- Have the speakers placed so that the speakers and your head form an equilateral triangle.
- Try adding bass traps in the corners of the room, and acoustic panels/diffusers on the walls. Alternatively use books shelves etc to help break up the reflections.
- If using outboard equipment, invest in a patch bay – it will save a lot of time!
- Become obsessed and spend every penny you ever earn on more equipment until you have too much, and need a bigger house.
Ed-vice from Ed
Ed heads up our session team and has been a driving force in getting artists in so that we put their wonderful sounds down onto tape (not literal tape, that ish is expensive!). Here’s what Aunty Ed-na had to say:
Acoustic absorption vs Reflection – Depending on the shape/size of your room as well as the type of surface your walls have, any ‘semi’ professional home studio should be acoustically treated for the best possible audio listening experience. Absorption can help soak up nasty frequencies, while reflection can bounce around certain frequencies to create a more balanced sound. Acoustic panels are easily to build and there are tonnes of articles and tutorials online on how to get the best out of your rooms sound.
Monitor choice – This is really up to taste/preference of sound as well how big your pockets are. Examples of questionably decent studio monitor companies include: Genelec, Focal Shape, Mackie, Neumann, KRK, M-audio, Yamaha.
Audio interface – For any home studio set up, its very likely that you will require a decent audio interface to run your gear through, or just be able to record onto your laptop. Whether its a fancy mixing desk with USB capabilities or just a simple 1 input dedicated audio interface, this is something almost every home studio will need to have.
More gear doesn’t mean better tunes – Some of the best producers today literally use 1 microphone and their laptop to create all of their music, you can have all the gear in the world but if you don’t know how to use it what’s the point yo? Get to grips with your preferred DAW/Audio software and you will likely find plug ins and internal native instruments/effects that can do everything you need (although toys are very fun).
Aesthetics (this may not apply to everyone) – Something that is often neglected in the home studio world is aesthetics, we all know that a tidy space makes for a tidy mind, and your home studio is no different. Ensuring that all of your gear is easily accessible and your workspace is tidy will no doubt result in a better creative flow without unnecessary distractions. A couple of LED strips behind your monitor or under your desk will really splice up your set up.
Marley is the master of the mixdown. Another vital member of the Sessions team, his skills ensure that the sounds we record are great at the time and then the best they can be when they’re down on the track. Marley added this nugget of truth for you all:
Having an odd shaped room is a good asset to your studio, this is because square rooms create standing waves that can hinder listening experience. A standing wave is when a sound wave bounces off the wall and doubles up on its self, a bit like a ‘wedge’ if you are a surfer.
The more odd shapes in your room like sofas, book shelves and ornaments will help to diffuse the sound: Like a lamp shade does with light. This randomises the waves of sound. Good monitoring rooms will have as little parallel walls as possible, maybe a pitched roof and some odd random shapes to counteract the standing waves.
We hope that these tips will help you on your journey to creating the best music you’ve got inside of you from the comfort and ease of your very own home.
Are you screaming at the screen because we didn’t include something? Let us know in the comments below and share the love.