The DIY artist’s guide to building your own studio…
Written by Leni - 21 March, 2019
From soundproofing your studio to setting the room acoustics, we sum up the six most important considerations when building your first home music studio.
The first major consideration when building a home studio is the location; is there room for soundproofing? Will noise escape? Is the room big enough to give you enough space between your monitors and the walls? A well-designed space can be the difference between smooth sailing and total frustration. The general rule is the bigger the room the better, while also considering noise pollution (like neighbours or street traffic) and flooring (concrete or tile is best).
Once you’ve chosen your studio location, it’s time to prepare the space for recording. Clear the floor space, take everything off the walls and remove anything that vibrates. Begin with an empty room and position your gear where it sounds best (not where it looks best).
While there are a whole heap of sound test equipment pieces available on the market, if you’re anything like us and on a budget, you can test the sound yourself. Ask a mate to hold one of your monitors while playing a track. Get them to circle around you (standing 2-3 metres away) while you stand in the centre of the room. Listen for the place in the room that best supports the ‘sound-field’ (the bass is usually the area where you’ll hear the greatest difference depending on where you’re standing).
Where does the bass sound the most solid? Where does it hit you the strongest? Once you’ve found a few potential spots for your speakers, find the position where the speaker seems to sound closest at the further distance. Look for thick, bassy sounds and position your monitors here.
Whether you’re a seasoned producer or DIY artist just starting out, there are two areas that are key to every music studio.
First, a desk/mixing area for the producer (which includes a computer, mixing desk, audio interface, studio monitors etc). You don’t need the latest MacBook Pro with all the add-ons, but we do recommend a current Macbook Pro or iMac. You’ll also need to purchase a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to record and mix. Avid’s Pro Tools is the industry standard, but you can also explore Logic or Ableton Live.
If you’re planning to use vocals or live instruments in your production, you’ll also need an Audio Interface. We recommend the Scarlett 2i2 or Universal Audio Apollo Twin. Next, you’ll need to set up a recording area for the musician / singer with microphones and instruments. The Rode NT1A Studio Kit is a great choice for all first-time studio builders.
Ever noticed the foam panels on the walls of recording studios? They don’t just help you soundproof the room for an outside listener, their real purpose is to absorb sound reflections inside the studio. Without these, you risk those reflections being recorded. With acoustic absorption panels, the only sounds being recorded are the ones directly coming from the instrument or microphone. Pick them up online or at your local music store.
Positioning your speakers too close to the wall will make bass frequencies echo and amplify around the room. Keep the backside of your speakers at least a metre away from the wall (set them up against the longest wall in the room to minimise sound reflections) and angle them toward you on each side — your head should form an equilateral triangle with your monitors.
Headphones don’t accurately reflect how your audio will sound when played through speakers. So while they might help you keep the peace with your housemates, you need to test your sound through speakers. Listen to your track at the same volume it will be played at, before turning the volume down to check the intricacies and detail.
Congrats, you’re now on your way to a solid home studio! Ready to release music? Sign up to Amuse to release your music to TikTok, Spotify, Instagram and more.
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