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1. Four Questions
2. You’re working on a budget , after all
3. Controlling the Acoustics
4. Room Arrangement
5. Early Reflection Points
6. 50 Percent Rule
7. Bass Traps
You can start by answering these four basic questions:
1. What is the purpose of
your home studio?
Are you recording new ideas to demo to your
band or producer?
Recording, mixing, and mastering finished tracks to submit to a music supervisor?
Is this your band’s DIY album for distribution
Are you planning to record other people’s material?
Deciding on the reason you are getting into home recording is the first step toward setting realistic goals. As a general rule, the more musicians and acoustic instruments you intend to record, the more expansive your studio will need to be in regard to equipment and gear. In addition, the number and type of live instruments you intend to track will dictate the requirements of your space’s acoustic environment.
2. What space do you have available?
You need to find the best available, distraction free environment. Your garage may seem like a
natural location to set up your home studio, but
if it’s always damp and it houses a boiler, washer, and dryer, or you live on a street with busses rumbling back and forth throughout the day, it’s probably not your ideal space.
Very often, a spare bedroom or home office
makes for a good home studio environment —
though bear in mind that distractions abound
at home. Normal sounds like the doorbell,
phone, bathroom fan, or heating/AC system can
be the death of a perfect take. Do your best to
isolate yourself from household sounds wherever you decide to record.
3. Are you planning to record a full band
or one or two musicians at a time?
The spare bedroom might be perfectly isolated,
but can you house your gear, monitors, amps, and microphones and still have ample room to perform comfortably? What if you’re tracking two
musicians at once? Or three? The physical dimensions of your available space are contributing factors to your ambitions for your project studio.
4. Are you using your space for overdubs
and mixing, or are you planning to track everything in your studio?
This will ultimately be the biggest decision you
make before you start down the road to researching, purchasing, and installing your home recording set up. But the truth is, to get a professional sound out of something like a drum kit, you’ll need space, you’ll need to manage the
acoustics in your room, and you’ll need lots of
mics and stands. These purchases add up and
will deplete a modest budget very quickly.
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