In the past, having a recording studio at home was nothing more than a pipe dream. These days, making release-ready music at home is more accessible than ever!
That said, creating the studio of your dreams is about more than just setting some equipment in a spare bedroom.
To get the best sound possible, careful planning and some remodeling is a must. Here are some things to know when building your own home studio.
Gear is Only Half of the Equation
If you’re thinking about building a home studio, you’ve probably poured hours into choosing all the gear you want. Selecting all that studio gear is one of the most exciting parts of the process!
That said, focusing on the gear alone is one of the biggest pitfalls people make when planning for their studio.
The truth is that the quality of the space has a much bigger impact than you think! A poorly-designed and finished space is not going to do you any favors. In fact, bad room acoustics may work against you during the recording and mixing process!
Before you start sinking money into equipment, consider focusing your budget on getting the best room possible.
Anyone can create a crude home studio set up in a basic room or closet. But to get professional-quality sound for your tracks, you’re going to need to spend a pretty penny on constructing and remodeling the space you choose.
Room Choice Matters
The first thing you should do is find a suitable space for your home recording studio.
You can get some pretty decent results with several types of rooms in your home. Spare bedrooms, garages, or loft spaces are fine. But the best choice is going to be below your feet!
Basements are fantastic for home studios. With help from a basement finishing and remodeling company, you can easily create a high-quality studio with all the features you need. Here are some core reasons why basements make good home studios.
First and foremost, basements tend to be much easier to remodel than other rooms in the home. Sure, they have their own unique challenges. However, those obstacles are no problem for a skilled remodeling team.
If you have an unfinished basement, you have all the bare bones you need to craft your studio from scratch.
Large Floor Plans
Another big perk of using your basement is the ample room they provide.
Large spaces are much more effective for recording than smaller ones. In a confined room, the sound will simply bounce off the walls and create tons of reverb.
Open basements provide that extra space to let your music breathe! Plus, you can create individual spaces for different tasks. Why do everything in a single room when you can create a separate recording booth and control room?
Natural Sound Management
Your basement will still need some work to manage sound coming in and out. But, a lot of the core foundation work is already done for you!
Basement walls are typically about eight inches thick. Behind that, there’s nothing but earth.
Sound travels through walls because of mechanical vibrations. The key to true sound management is to add density that can stop those vibrations in their tracks. Basements naturally reduce sound transmissions as there are no adjacent rooms.
Soundproofing Starts Behind Your Walls
There are a lot of misconceptions about studio soundproofing out there. Contrary to popular belief, you’re going to need more than just basic foam and blankets to stop sound from coming in or going out.
You have to look at soundproofing from a construction standpoint.
As we mentioned earlier, sound moves through walls and ceilings with vibrations. To make the room as quiet and contained as possible, you’ll need to make some modifications
One of the most effective ways to stop sound from escaping the room is by decoupling walls. Basically, this technique involves creating an air gap between party walls. Think of it as building a room within a room.
The goal here is to prevent studs from touching, thus preventing vibrations from traveling through.
If you’re building in a basement, there’s no need to decouple external walls. But, you will need to decouple the ceiling! Usually, this is done with floating joists.
Adding density also reduces sound transmissions. The principle here is to give the sound waves more material to travel through. This effectively stops the waves from exiting the wall or ceiling.
During your remodeling project, you can:
- Add more insulation between wall studs or floor joists
- Install mass loaded vinyl
- Apply multiple layers of drywall
- Spray expanding acoustic foam
All of these techniques increase the density of the walls and floors, reducing the amount of sound that is entering and leaving your studio.
Acoustic Treatment is Crucial
Even after your new studio is built, you’ll need to take some steps to improve the sonic properties of your space.
No studio space is going to be perfect. Even with the best studio monitors that money can buy, you’ll have to deal with sound issues.
Reflections are very common. As sound leaves the source, it will bounce off the walls and wreak havoc on what you hear. Reflections can create standing waves, which make certain frequencies stand out. They can also cause phase cancellation to remove frequencies.
The goal of acoustic treatment is to address those issues head-on! Knowing the shortcomings of the studio will improve the environment and create a truly neutral sound.
There are a couple of ways to do this. The most basic is through acoustic foam panels. They help to absorb sound so that it cannot bounce to an adjacent wall. You can also use bass traps in the corner to improve low-frequency response or diffusers to scatter stray reflections.
Whatever the case may be, acoustical treatments can make a dramatic difference! Take some time to get the treatment just right and you’ll never have to worry about those issues again.
Over To You
Building your dream home studio is a fun process. However, it involves a lot more work than most think!
Keep these tips in mind throughout your remodeling project. When you take the time to create the perfect space, your music will sound better than it ever has before!
About The Author: Giorgio Passalacqua – Music has always led the path and I’ve been following doubtlessly. After many years of recording in studios as a singer of a swing/cabaret band, I decided to create my own home recording studio and built a blog about it. It involves exactly the things I love the most which are writing, creating, and learning. And that’s why I called the blog Sounds Wow. It really does! Soundswow.com
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