Join Bobby Owsinski for an in-depth discussion in this video A typical musician's needs, part of Music Studio Setup and Acoustics.
Before you begin to swing a hammer, or set your credit card down to buy materials, it's a good idea to really analyze your needs first. If you're not careful, it's easy to overlook a number of critical items that at the very least can bug you later. For instance, if you're a band that gets together on weekends, and wants to use the studio to record, your needs will be quite a bit different from that of a keyboard or guitar player who wants a song writing studio. Likewise, if you're an engineer who wants a studio to record clients, you'll most likely proceed in a different manner than a musician engineer who wants to set up a studio for him or herself.
With that idea in mind, here's some suggestions on ways you might want to design your space. The midy or mixing room. Some studios are never meant to do any live recording and are built around the dov of choice for mixing, song writing, or creating beats. In this case, the most important element is based around how many people will actually be using the room at the same time. If your writing with another person, you want to make sure there's plenty of room available for both of you to maneuver as well as lots of room for a controller or two.
Drummers. If you're a drummer, you'll most likely want to set up your room so that it has a nice ambiance to enhance the quality of your drum recordings. For this situation, an all-in-one-room works a lot better instead of a separate control room. For making your plan for this kind of room, you want to determine how to best position your DAW recording gear so you can easily get to it. Most DAWs now are capable of remote control from an iPad or tablet computer. You can position this remote on a small table or desk next to your drums or on a mike stand with a clip mount.
So, you can easily record without having to keep getting up and running over to your DAW. With well thought out gear positioning, you can effectively do your own drum recording session without the need to hire an engineer, or have a second person on the session just to run the recording gear. Guitarists. If you're a guitarist, you'll probably want to utilize about 70% of your space for your control room and DAW setup. But, if you don't intend to go direct and use an amp simulator, you'll also need a well isolated room for your guitar amp so you won't disturb the neighbors.
You'll probably also want to have an isolated area where you can record an acoustic guitar if you need to. The all-in-one room. It's now both possible and common to have an all-in-one room with both a recording area large enough for a band or rhythm section, and a listening area. Keep in mind that if you have an all-in-one room like this, you'll be working with headphones instead of speakers for most of the time that you'll be tracking. This is because you wont be able to use your monitor speakers while recording in order to prevent any leakage or feedback from the speakers to the open microphones.
Vocalists. If you're engineer or producer who'll be working with singers, it's most likely you'll need a small vocal booth so that you can work free of headphones. This, of course, takes up some space. But, you'll get the added advantage of being able to overdub other instruments as well while having the isolation of a commercial facility. Voice over artists. Voice over artists don't need as much space to set up their home studios since they use a vocal mic at close proximity for the majority of their work. Many voice over artists have built very comfortable spaces in their homes that allow them to engineer and do their voice over at the same time.
Voice over work requires a fair amount of isolation so that you're not bothered by outside noises, which can ultimately be a factor in how successful this type of studio is. Engineers. If you're a recording engineer, wanting to build a room to service your music clients, you'll probably want to build a separate control room and tracking room. In this case, it's important to determine the proportion of space that you'll need to be comfortable for long, drawn out sessions. If you're going to record drums and full band sessions, you'll need a much larger proportion of your space designated just for tracking.
But, if you'll only be doing vocals and miscellaneous overdubs, you won't need your tracking room to be as large. If you don't fit into one of these categories, most likely you''ll determine your needs if you can answer the following questions. Do you need a separate tracking area? How important is the sound of your recording area? Do you need to control the recording gear remotely while you're playing? Do you want to record and mix in the same room? Is a vocal or voice-over booth necessary? By being clear on what you're trying to achieve, you'll be a lot more satisfied with your studio when you're finished.
- Design ideas for your studio setup
- Understanding what soundproofing materials don't work
- Increasing isolation in your space
- Timing a room's reverb
- Purchasing acoustic materials: what and where
- Making your own soundproofing elements
- Do-it-yourself acoustic panel construction
- Creating a reflection-free zone (RFZ)
- Buying pre-made acoustic treatments