Can I Get Your Whacky Crazy Home Studio Advice?

new home recording studio

What is your home studio like?

Everyone has their own spin on their home studio, and I’d love to hear what yours is like.

The reason I’m asking is that I’m moving in the next few weeks.

That means a complete overhaul of my home recording studio, with a chance to step back and take a fresh look.

And with a new studio comes an opportunity of improvement and testing new things in the acoustic treatment department.

I’m probably going back to Joe Gilder’s Understanding Your Room for all the basic “Oh shit I should have remembered that in the first place” advice, but I’d like some off-the-wall ideas from you guys.

My new home studio will be in a similarly sized room as my old one. It will be a bit bigger so I’ll have more space, but that also means more space to cover with acoustic treatment.

I’m taking this opportunity to really get it right this time. My old room sounded great, and I got some nice mixes out of it, but I’m certain I can make this one sound even better.

What advice would you give someone starting out their home studio?

In this case, I’m not starting anew, and I certainly have a few ideas of what works and what doesn’t, but I’m always up for some crazy advice?

What say you? Let me know in the comments!

Image by: Amsterdamized

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  • Foxscan1

    Hmmmm…good one and each answer raises more questions!  I guess the best first piece of advice I could give anyone thinking of setting up a home studio is to ask themselves what it is they want to do (musically) as this will have a direct bearing on equipment purchasing decisions and room treatment – all of which costs money!  I think this is important because if one doesn’t decide what you wish to specialise in, the studio will end up being a jack of all trades but master of none and with such a haphazard approach there is no way you are going to please everyone nor be able to attract the kind of customers you want.  You’ll also have space issues with such an approach, you’ll either have too much or not enough.  Also, your equipment rack will be all over the place!
    So, decide what you want to do, research the equipment necessary to be able to do the job, set a budget (not forgetting acoustic treatment, a decent DAW and QUALITY cables) and get the best you can afford.  Don’t always follow trends but get what will be useful to you.  Just because a piece of equipment says it works at 192KHz doesn’t mean you have to get it. If you understand the numbers then 192 means nothing if you are recording at 24Bit anyway(another post perhaps??).
    If you can’t afford (say) an expensive Mic Pre then look at the software equivalent that gives you mic modelling, ditto for quality compressors, although my old analogue ears tell me they are not the same as the real thing, they are nonetheless pretty damn good and at a snip of the price as the hardware equivalent.
    One could argue that there is possibly no  ‘one right way’ of answering this question, but mistakes based on bad research or decisions are all too often expensive lessons to learn.

    Hope this has been useful to someone :0)

  • Foxscan1

    I realise my comment below doesn’t actually address what you asked for Bjorgvin :0) it was meant more as a general opinion for anyone setting up a studio for the first time.  Hope that’s ok.

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Haha. No problem. Your comments are well appreciated.

  • DanGTR

    The biggest issue I have with home recording studios is the amount of noise generated by computers, fans and etc. in the listening area.  I’d suggest looking at using
    /modifying the closet to function as a noise room. You can take all of the noisy things, place them in the closet and get their noise out of the room. If you put some acoustic foam on the walls of the noise room you’ll have less noise finding its way into the room from under the  door.  You might have to put a vent fan or AC feed into the closet to keep the gear from overheating. The extra work is worth the payoff in a quieter control room.  That’s the first step to a better mix, not having noises on recorded tracks or frequency ranges of tracks masked by noises in the control room. Once you get a computer or hard disk recorder out of your control room you’ll be suprised at what you can hear coming from the monitors.

  • Jose Diaz

    My old studio was a 10 x 11 spare bedroom. By coincidence I’m in the moving process too. The new place will be a 9 x 12.
    My old studio had a large bookshelf I had a collection of various sized books on along with a headphone amp and old PC game boxes. That was a good way to break up some echo problems the room had. I also had a few large pieces of unframed artwork on a couple of the walls. On one wall I went so far as to hang an empty picture frame 3 x 4 with a scrap piece of cloth drapped over it. All three windows had either sheets pinned over them or a large advertising tarp. Being next to a truck stop ment a lot of bleed-in happened.I just did re-takes as needed which was suprisingly not very often. The occasional thump-car and motorcycle, or “jake-braker” never really broke my sessions down.
    The old place was pretty cluttered but it worked sound-wise. The new place has carpet. It will be a challange in some respects. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to upgrade to bass-traps and acoustical treatments of some sort.

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Oh man, I hate the truck drive-bys. I’ve had that happen to me. My new place will be in an even quieter neighborhood(read: farther away from the train tracks….)

  • Robsommerfeldt

    One thing most people do as an afterthought is how to hang your cables when not in use and also, how to store any instruments so they are out of the way and not resonating while you record/mix.  I have no solutions, just bringing it to mind.

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Thanks Rob. My cables are in my “box” and My instruments haven’t been giving me issues so far. 

  • Dhsbluegrassband

    Start off small.  Don’t buy a ton of expensive equipment that you’re probably not going to know how to work properly anyway.  A DAW with CD burner is a great way to get started and for the most part is user friendly.  Experiment, practice, and most of all, have patience.  

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Oh I’m not buying anything new. I’ll maybe make a bass trap or two if the room needs it. 

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Red Room Recordings

    Shoot for setting up in a room with Height:Width:Length ratio of 1:1.6:2.6 – This is supposedly the most ideal ratio for a control rooms acoustics.

  • Gdh1532

    The first thing for me……….analyze the room. You said you wanted to take the time to do it right, analyze the room. Find the problem frequencies, then treat the room accordingly. Pay attention to details as you treat the room. You may not need as much wall or ceiling treatment as you think. Make or buy some nice bass traps.

    Watch your cable routing try to keep your patch cables away from you power supply cables.

    Organization, a place for everything and everything in it’s place.

    Lighting make sure you have adequate lighting, and the lighting doesn’t cause interference.

    Plenty of power, enough outlets and circuits.

    I usually use my closets for storage, but I’ve seen some turned into isolation rooms, soundproofed with cables connection built into the door, or walls.

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      I might do a combination of room treatment and then ARC for the rest.

  • Djjpaul20

    space and convenience. I think when you get in your new crib, if you put things in order in a neatly way, you get a since of comfortability. This will put you at a relax state when you get ready to mix and master. If you got wires every where and things all over the place, it’s overwhelming. Make sure you are in a spacious and comfortable enviorment for your gear. That’s the way I would want it. All I have is a sony vaio laptop with sony headphones and cubase. Ay if you got some kinda of cheap audio interace you don’t won’t, send to 132 centerville ,la 70522. I’ll send a donation and the good lord will bless you. Thanks! lol

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Thanks for the comment. You’re absolutely right. The space needs to feel right .

  • Jolynn Pandolfi

    i usually use an external headphone amp for convenience.”

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