In this modern age of Youtube stars and indie music, it is becoming far more common for people to record their own music at home. However, if you really want to record like a Pro then you need the right conditions, not only to block out background noise but also to help your musicians get into the right mood to play. The best way to guarantee this, aside from going to a professional, is to create your very own home recording studio!
Of course, creating a high quality recording studio is hardly a project for someone who just likes to play around with a sound board. A project like this requires careful planning, as well as a big investment in terms of time and money. You will also need to think carefully about how much space your ideal setup will require and whether this can be accommodated in an existing room in your property, or if you will need to consider constructing a new outbuilding.When creating your own home recording studio it can usually be a good idea to speak to a specialist company. However, an interior designer with experience in creating such spaces will also be able to help. They may also need to help of a builder to erect partition walls and install soundproof panels and insulation, along with a carpet fitter to install sound-absorbing carpeting. Depending on the complexity of your recording setup, you may also need to hire an appliance installer.
The first step in creating a home recording studio is to decide on what kind of equipment you will need. This is not just about budgeting: your choice of equipment will also decide on how large a room you will need for the project.
Consider whether or not your recording studio will need:
Experience will be a big help here, so if you are not used to working in a recording studio yourself then you may want to consider speaking to someone who is. For example, unless you are planning to have bands or large groups use your studio, you will not need to invest too much on audio inputs. Similarly, if you are mainly working with digital software rather than physical instruments, you may want to consider investing more in your computer setup.
Once you have a list of what you need, make a plan of how much space the equipment will take up. This is where having an experienced interior designer or appliance installer can come in handy, as they will be able to suggest space-saving measures such as wall-embedded speakers.
A recording studio can take up a great deal of space and not just because of the equipment involved. In order to soundproof your studio, you will essentially need to build a ‘room within a room’. Soundproof panels will typically need to be placed on the walls and ceilings, and you may even have to install a ‘floating’ floor. All of this will insulate you from distracting outside noises while also reducing the amount of sound reverberating around the room. In short, the room you choose will not just have to be able to accommodate all of your gear, it will also need enough space which can be sacrificed for soundproofing.
If you do not have a suitable space in your property, you may want to consider designing and constructing an outbuilding. While a project like this will not typically be classed as permitted development (especially if you are planning to make recording a business), you should have no trouble provided you have enough outside space.
Basements tend to be the most suitable rooms for creating home recording studios, as not only do they typically provide ample space but they also tend to lack one particularly annoying feature: windows. Hard surfaces like glass will bounce sound around the room, and windows will also let in noise from outside. Do not simply assume that soundproof windows will solve this problem, as these very rarely live up to their name. Other suitable spaces include garages and lofts. However, you should keep in mind that although converting a room which was not previously used for living space will make it easier to install everything you need to record properly, a project of this size will also be more expensive.
Finally, you should think about your neighbours and housemates before making a final choice of where to create your recording studio. This is not just about avoiding too much outside noise; you do not want to risk upsetting people by being too loud! In a worst-case scenario, a neighbour could complain to your local planning authority, which could force you to take your brand new studio apart.
When it comes to soundproofing a room, a bit of experience goes a long way. There are a multitude of tips and tricks out there, especially online, but the truth is that your best guarantee of being able to record high quality music will be to have your room sound-proofed by a qualified interior designer.
As important as ‘soundproofing’ is, you will also need to think about ‘sound absorption’. This simply refers to being able to control the acoustics in the room by stopping soundwaves from bouncing around. If you ignore this you will get echoes and reverberations on your recordings, reducing the overall quality of the sound.
Let’s start with the walls. You will most likely need to erect new partition walls, with high density acoustic insulation behind them and soundproof panels installed on the front.
Your floor will usually need a ‘floating floor’ over the original, with an acoustic underlay between them. Thick carpets and rugs can be a great idea, as these will absorb noise and muffle footsteps. Remember, your flooring should be separated from the walls, as this will reduce the amount of noise transfer.
Your ceilings, similar to the walls, will usually have a second ceiling installed beneath it, again with acoustic insulation and soundproof panels. Remember that any soundproof panels or boards will need to be attached to either wall studs or sound breaker bars, as this will reduce the amount of sound vibrating through the walls and ceiling.
The key to decorating a recording studio, aside from making sure that your decor does not compromise your soundproofing measures, is to create a space that encourages creativity. Musicians tend to be able to pick up on the atmosphere and ambiance in a room very quickly. If you look at the homes of famous musicians, you will usually see that their decor reflects their style, as this helps to encourage their creativity.
Ask yourself what kind of music you will be recording in the studio, then try to choose a style which suits that music. The internet can be a fantastic source of inspiration here (as we said, far more people are recording at home these days!) Why not add some posters of your favourite musicians, or a few vinyl records for the wall? Remember, the more time you spend planning your perfect recording studio, the happier you will be with the end result!