Building a home recording studio may be overwhelming to a beginner at first. Thinking about it, there are a lot of things to buy as well as items to consider. Not only that, you’d also think about if they are within your budget range; moreover, would satisfy your musical and creative needs to make sure you get the best sounding tracks from your gear.
So, the best way to build a home recording studio is to plan your set up.
Building Your Home Recording Studio
It is most likely your bedroom or a spare room that will serve as your first recording studio within your house. If you have the money to build a professional, or should I say, a studio of commercial standards; then, why not? However, we will start at the initial stage – a home studio for beginners. So let’s start planning your very first home recording studio project! Here are the items to check during the planning stage:
Setting Up Your Recording Room
How To Choose The Right Room
Your Recording or Listening room plays a very important role in your music creations. If you have a good-sounding room, your mixes will sound good. If you have a bad-sounding room – your recordings will turn out bad. However, there’s no such thing as a perfect room. All rooms create sound issues. Do you know why? It is because all rooms are enclosed. And in an enclosed room, sound bounces li:ke a happy fellow! So, in choosing the right room, you need to look at:
✓ Room Location
The room’s location is very important. Please, do not think that you can use whichever room that you have in your house for your home studio. Remember, this is where you will spend most of your time recording and mixing your tracks. This will also house your gear and musical instruments.
Your room shouldn’t be situated near a very busy and noisy area. The noise will bleed through your recordings; thus, giving you never-ending issues to fix in your tracks. Do you want to hear the busyness of a nearby street, or the honking of cars, trucks, and buses that drive by? Do you want to hear your neighbors shouting at you, annoyed by the loud noise you are creating while making music? Or the worst is, the sound of animals like barking dogs and chirping birds? I don’t think you want that while recording your next best song!
However, if there’s no other way; then, the only way is for you to build a room within a room – in simple terms, ‘soundproof’ it. The only issue with this is – there’s no inexpensive way for anyone to build a room within a room. It is costly as well as time-consuming. Nevertheless, if you know that this can work for you, do it.
So, choose the quietest area in the house.
✓ Room Area
When you are looking at room area, this is where you need to give it some serious thought. Some say, you must choose a bigger room; while, others tell you to choose a smaller one. From what I learned from Joe Gilder, founder of Home Studio Corner, the dimensions of a room are exactly what you need to look at.
And a room with good dimensions result to the best-sounding room.
So, what’s the requirement for a room with good dimensions?
Here are two room dimensions:
7’ x 9’ x 11’ and 8’ x 10’ x 10’
Which room would be best suited as your studio?
The room dimensions pretty much determine the frequencies that will give you the most problems. To find out what the problem frequencies are, here’s a simple formula to give you the accurate numbers:
Speed of sound/wavelength = frequency
(1130/wavelength = Hz)
In the example above, let’s solve for the problem frequencies:
1130/9= 126 Hz
1130/11= 103 Hz
So, in this room, there are three problem frequencies and they are all bass frequencies. So, the next thing to do here is to fix these trouble frequencies by installing bass traps.
Let us solve for the frequncies of the next room:
1130/8= 141.25 Hz
1130/10 = 113 Hz
With these dimensions, you’d probably think right now, that the room gives you the same frequency issues.
However, this isn’t really the case. You must choose a room that are not divisible by the same number or a common number.
In room 1, the room dimensions are not divisible by any common number nor by a same number. But, room 2 is divisible by 2. The number 8 is divisible by 2, 4 and itself. Multiples of the problem frequencies will cause big problems. Whereas, room 1 only has 3 problem frequencies because they cannot be multiplied exponentially anyhow by any divisible.
Which is which?
The result is – the best room between the two is the first room. Your room will sound much better with acoustic treatment, because you know you will not just “deaden” the sound of the room, but have the confidence that the acoustic treatment’s purpose is effective – making your room perfect for your recording needs.
Carpets are not good for your studio. Period.
If you have a hardwood, tile, concrete, linoleum, and laminated flooring, these are all great for your home studio.
Carpets absorb high frequencies, acting as a low-pass filter. Because of this, the room sounds boomy, which results to more problems in the long run. If you install Bass traps or LENRD (Low-End Node Reduction Device), it will not be effective because the sound of the room has already fooled your ears.
So if you have a room with these floors, you are good to go then.
Acoustic treatment is a must in any home recording studio. If your room is super small with low ceilings, and walls everywhere, these factors negatively affect the sound of your room. However, since we cannot have a large room that professional studios have, our next best option is to treat the room and improve its sound by adding acoustic treatment.
Your room is for recording, mixing, and listening. Even though it is not at par with professionally built commercial studios, what our mindset should be is always to create radio-ready music – music that can compete in the global arena.
Rooms untreated have uneven frequency response; thus, affecting what you hear. With this in mind, acoustical treatment helps improve our ears to record, mix, and listen.
Example of Acoustic Foam: Acoustic Panel Studio Foam Wedges
Home Recording Studio Essentials
One more thing, you must have a good mixing desk as well as a comfortable studio chair.
Of course, you need tools to record your music and mix them to radio-ready songs. As a start, you can use a PC/Mac or a Laptop. Check out the resources page for my recommended tools for your home studio. The items listed there are of utmost quality and budget-friendly, perfect for a beginner. 😊
When building your home recording studio, you are crafting for yourself is a space conducive for music creation. That’s why you need to make sure that it is very comfortable and designed to make you create more and more music. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time in that room you are building! So, think creative and productive.
Alright folks, until the next topic!