Renting out a recording studio gets expensive, so now many musicians and content creators convert one of their own rooms instead. Nowadays anybody can buy the specialist equipment and technology that turns any room into a competent recording studio. While it’s an upfront cost, it’s almost always cheaper than renting studios for yourself.
Here’s a short guide on how you can set up a recording studio at home, from which room is best to the equipment that you’ll need to get started. You can learn more about home recording studios and the best accessories that every studio should have at multitrackhq.com.
Choosing A Room
Before you start thinking about anything else, you need to choose a room in your house that can be converted into a recording studio. The average house will have two or three rooms that can be converted but maybe you only have one. If that’s you, don’t worry, you can still make a good home recording studio out of what you have.
It’s much easier to tell you what to avoid than what you should look for since choosing a room with any of these four features will harm the recording studio quality. Avoid these four things:
1. Small Rooms
The bigger the room, the better. When the room is larger, you can fit more equipment into the studio which is great for musicians that own many instruments. It’s also much easier to tame the sound profile of a larger room than it is a smaller one through the use of paneling and other means.
2. Pour Acoustics
Speaking of paneling, you should avoid rooms that have a poor acoustic design. For many homes, the bedroom is the worst room in terms of acoustics. Why is this? First, they tend to be smaller compared to other rooms in the house. Second, they typically have lower ceilings that sound waves bounce off of. Lastly, the walls are internal ones made from drywall that are positioned parallel to one another, again making sound waves rattle around.
The better acoustic rooms are large with high ceilings and lots of irregular surfaces, preferably on asymmetrical walls. Most rooms in a home don’t have those features, which is why equipment is needed, but you should try to choose the best acoustic room in your house.
3. Noise Pollution
This is an obvious one, you should avoid noisy rooms. Even a room that’s relatively quiet will be amplified by one hundred times when run through a high-quality microphone. Pick a room that’s protected from the sounds of plumbing, neighbors, cars, and nature, like wildlife and loud weather.
Remember that your studio will be a source of noise for others, so try to pick somewhere that doesn’t disturb your neighbors. Great studios let you make as much sound as you want throughout the day.
4. Loud Flooring
Hard but quiet flooring like concrete or hardwood is best for studios. Tiles can work too but it depends on the specific material the tiles are made from. Many look for carpeted rooms when making their studio but carpeting will wear out quickly under foot traffic. Even if the carpet doesn’t wear down, it doesn’t absorb low frequencies and so harms the acoustic profile of the room.
Preparing The Room
After removing as much as you can from the floor and the walls, especially anything that vibrates, you should add acoustic treatment. This means you add bass traps, acoustic paneling, and preferably diffusers. Bass traps absorb low frequencies while panels catch the mid and higher ones, and then diffusers clean up the rest.
Then you should add a desk and a chair, those are the centerpiece of every recording studio and serve as a mixing area for a sound engineer (which is likely also you when you have a home studio). Next, you need to set up a recording area in that room.
Move your gear into the room and connect it where needed. Start simple at first, you can always upgrade your studio later, and use the signal flow concept. This is where audio signals pass through all your gear seamlessly because of the connective cables used.
Lastly, you need to add your studio monitors. Remember that good positioning is the most important thing with monitors. Get stands that are adjustable for height, width, and angle, and then place them so that their sound waves reach the position of your head when sat at your desk.