The Anatomy Of The Perfect Home Music Studio
If you think that the only way to create a professional sound is to go to a commercial studio, then think again. Thanks to advances in technology, it’s perfectly possible to get studio-quality sound at home.
In this post, we take a look at some of the key ingredients of the perfect home music studio. We cover everything from electronics to sound insulation.
Before you begin buying lots of equipment, you’ll first want to consider which room in your home is ideally suited for a music studio. In general, you’ll want to pick rooms with proportions close to the golden ratio: 1:1.6 as these tend to produce the best acoustics.
Next you’ll want to consider other factors. For instance, you can get a better sound in:
- Larger rooms compared to smaller ones
- Irregular rooms (such as those with bay windows)
- Rooms with flat or convex surfaces
- Rooms whose proportions are not direct multiples of each other
You don’t have to perfectly meet all these requirements to build a good studio. Just choose the room in your home that comes closest.
The next thing you’ll want to do is perform a sound check to test the room’s acoustics. These are determined by the amount of sound absorbed and reflected by the surrounding materials.
Hard surfaces tend to be more reflective, while soft surfaces absorb more sound. In some cases, high reflectivity is okay. However, in most cases, it needs to be controlled. That’s why you regularly see professional music studios with carpeted walls and ceilings. It’s an attempt to reduce reverberations.
Rugs, drapes, and couches all absorb sounds. These are great materials to use if you plan on playing at high frequencies. You can either use regular upholstery for your walls, or use cheap, stick-on sound-insulating material.
Sound is essentially a series of small vibrations in the air that the brain transforms into recognizable noises. For this reason, you’ll need to focus on minimizing sound transmission through your walls so that you can separate the studio from your neighbors and other family members.
There are many ways you can decouple your studio from the rest of your home. These include:
- Installing specially-sealed ducts and grills to prevent sound from flowing out into other rooms
- Adding air spaces between walls to create a sound barrier
- Using floating walls combined with padded insulation to isolate the studio from other rooms
- Using underlayments and mass-loaded vinyl for equipment isolation
Install Your Equipment
Lastly, once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to install the equipment. You’ll need an audio interface, microphones, studio headphones, monitors, a looping pedal, stands and various cables. At a minimum, you’ll want to budget for around $1,500, though you can easily spend more.
How much you pay depends on your level of enthusiasm. If you are just a hobbyist (and you’re not planning to create any professional music), then regular, mainstream equipment will suffice. However, if you are part of a band, you may need to increase your budget.