Essential tips for building a music studio at home

Now more than ever, producers, musicians and mixers may be considering building a studio in their homes, but there are some important things you need to keep in mind as you start creating the perfect recording location. .

We recently spoke to Redfin about some must-have advice for people setting up their own music studio at home. Along with many other great musical voices, our advice has been combined into a brilliant article on what to consider when setting up a home studio which you should read here:

Speaking with the RouteNote Sessions team who have a lot of experience building their own music studios at home, in a vehicle – true story – and our own recording studios at the RouteNote office, they told me gave so many great tips that I thought it would be rude not to share with you all what wasn’t used in the Redfin article.

So be sure to check out Redfin’s article for a bunch of great advice from a variety of wonderful companies. So join us for a dive into what the home studio veterans at RouteNote have to say about making sure your recording studio is great even on a budget and with restrictions.

Barny is our amazing sound engineer. With deep knowledge and experience of all elements of music recording and production, he is one of the main reasons our recording studio at RouteNote exists as it is. Here is what he had to say:

One of the biggest problems with home studios is not being able to isolate the studio power supply from the rest of the house. This means you tend to get buzzes and pops in the audio when things like the fridge or central heating come on/off.

If you can afford it, you can buy transformer isolated power supplies, but they are expensive. If not, you should at least get a power conditioner for your studio that everything works from. Also avoid having dimmers on house lights as this will add a lot of noise issues.

Beyond the power supply, Barny recommends:

  • If possible, arrange the room so that the speakers face down the full length of the room (so that the back of the speakers are against the shorter wall)
  • Get a comfortable chair
  • Place the speakers at ear height when seated in your comfortable chair.
  • If possible, avoid placing the speakers in the corners of the room and as far from the back wall as your room can support.
  • Position the speakers 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. You can also use book shelves etc. to help break up glare.
  • If you use outboard equipment, invest in a patch bay – it will save you a lot of time!
  • Get obsessed and spend every penny you earn on more gear until you have too much and need a bigger house.

Ed leads our session team and has been a driving force in bringing in artists to put their wonderful sounds on tape (no literal tape, it’s expensive!). Here is what Aunt Ed-na had to say:

Sound Absorption vs Reflection – Depending on the shape/size of your room as well as the type of surface of your walls, any “semi” professional home studio should be acoustically treated for the best possible audio listening experience. Absorption can help soak up unpleasant frequencies, while Reflection can bounce around certain frequencies to create a more balanced sound. Acoustical panels are easy to build and there are tons of articles and tutorials online on how to get the most sound from your rooms.

Choice of monitor – It really depends on sound tastes/preferences as well as the size of your pockets. Examples of dubious studio monitor manufacturers include: Genelec, Focal Shape, Mackie, Neumann, KRK, M-audio, Yamaha.

audio interface – For any home studio setup, chances are you need a decent audio interface to run your gear, or just to be able to record on your laptop. Whether it’s a fancy mixer with USB capabilities or just a simple dedicated 1-input audio interface, it’s something almost every home studio will need to have.

More gear doesn’t mean better tunes – Some of today’s top producers literally use 1 microphone and their laptop to create all their music, you can have all the equipment in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it, what’s the point? Familiarize yourself with your favorite DAW/audio software and you’ll likely find plug-ins and in-house native instruments/effects that can do everything you need (although toys are great fun).

Aesthetics (this may not apply to everyone) – Something that is often overlooked in the home studio world is aesthetics, we all know a tidy space makes a tidy mind, and your home studio is no different. Making sure all your gear is easily accessible and your workspace is tidy will undoubtedly result in a better creative flow without unnecessary distractions. A few LED strips behind your monitor or under your desk will really spruce up your setup.

Marley is the master of mixing. Another essential member of the Sessions team, his skills ensure that the sounds we record are great in the moment, and then great when they’re on the track. Marley added this nugget of truth for all of you:

Having an irregularly shaped room is a good addition to your studio, as square rooms create standing waves that can interfere with the listening experience. A standing wave is when a sound wave bounces off the wall and folds back on itself, much like a “wedge” if you’re a surfer.

The oddest shapes in your room like sofas, book shelves and ornaments will help spread the sound: like a lampshade with the light. This randomizes the sound waves. Good monitoring rooms will have as few parallel walls as possible, perhaps a sloping roof and odd random shapes to counter standing waves.

We hope these tips help you on your journey to creating the best music you have within you from the comfort and ease of your own home.

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