Home in on Your Own Home Music Studio
You are just 6 steps away from creating your own home music studio for your recording and jamming sessions
Issue: Nov 2014
A music studio at home may not be such an impossibility; Inside shares some tips on what to do and where to buy your essentials
If you are even part way serious about your music, chances are you would like a place to play it loud and proud. You might even want a place to record your rendition to share on the internet.
There are, of course, music and recording studios for the renting. But they will cost and you will not have access to them whenever inspiration strikes.
Enter our DIY steps to creating a music studio at home.
Step 1: Seek Out Your Space
Find a place away from common corridors, common walls with neighbours, and filled with windows to ensure that your home music studio will not disturb others or have sound from outside leak in
Find a place in your home as far away from the maddening crowd as possible.
“The best rooms are those which do not share a common wall with a neighbour or the common corridor. This helps prevent sounds produced from disturbing others. It also reduces the likelihood of outside noises from interfering with your music.
Rooms without windows (as low and mid frequency soundwaves travel through glass very easily) are naturally better choices, too,” said Kevin Foo, music producer and co-founder of Beep Studios, the largest music recording studio in Singapore.
Next, pick a room with odd dimensions. Square rooms have parallel walls that create standing waves (where sound waves of equal amplitude bounce off each other as they travel in opposite directions). These make sounds louder in some parts of the room than in others
Step 2: Soundproof Your Place
Soundproofing serves two purposes: it keeps your sound in and other sounds out so you have a clean recording.
“The most effective soundproofing method for home studios is to attempt to create a 'room within a room',” said Foo.
Dry wall like this can be used to stuff inner walls and ceiling to create a room within a room
This involves creating a two-inch air gap between the walls and ceiling. The inner walls and ceilings need multiple layers of sheetrock (a plasterboard made of gypsum layered between sheets of heavy paper sometimes also called dry wall) in between. Windows (if there are any) need to be double-glazed, shut tight and sealed with sealing strips. Putting an inner metal, industrial-insulated door a few inches from the original outer door will also help to keep out the sound.
Where to get help:
You can get sheetrock and sealing strips at DIY stores like Home-Fix and Self-fix.
Step 3: Tune Up Your Room
Now, you need to tune your room. The aim is to minimize the natural reverberation of sound in the room because every time sound is reflected, its frequency and tone changes ever so slightly. The resulting sound is less pure and more echoey and hollow.
“Make sure that the room does not have plain, flat, untreated walls. The use of sound diffusers on walls (anything from bookshelves, art pieces and other irregular surfaces) to absorbers (from thick curtains, an open wardrobe filled with clothes or professional acoustic foam tiles) will certainly dampen the sound within the room,” suggested Foo.
For the floors, lay down thick carpets and rugs, place floor pillows, or get a plush sofa (if you have the space). These will deaden the echo in the room. Don’t forget the ceiling. Attach foam sheets at various points across the ceiling.
Acoustic foam is one way to absorb reflected sound in the room so that the recording is purer
The more professional way is to use acoustic treatment - absorbers, diffusers, and bass traps - to reduce resonance and create balanced sounds. Absorbers absorb sound reflections so that what you get is direct sound from you to the microphone. Diffusors scatter the reflections resulting in a more natural tone.
Finally, the bass trap. Sounds in the lower and mid frequencies tend to get trapped more than others. Bass traps mounted in the corners of the room (where bass sounds tend to collect) help to neutralise bass frequencies
Where to get help:
You can get acoustic conditioning panels at Yamaha.
Step 4: Gear Up Your Studio
A microphone, a microphone stand, and headphones are just some of the equipment you need for your home music studio
There are a few key pieces of equipment you will need for your home music studio:
- a microphone
- a microphone stand
- a music stand
- an audio interface – this connects your microphones and instruments as well as monitor speakers to your computer to help it handle analog to digital conversions.
- a recording device – your computer equipped with a sequencing software that record either analog audio from a microphone or MIDI data from electronic instruments. The software will let you edit and mix multiple tracks, add effect, and export the audio files.
- a mixer – this can take a variety of different inputs (microphones, guitars and keyboards) and connect them to a pair of speakers, along with the instruments (drums, keyboards, guitars) and relevant amplifiers
- monitor speakers – these are different from stereo speakers because they broadcast the audio exactly as it is being recorded with no alterations or distortions.
Where to get help:
Yamaha is a one-stop place to stock up your home studio equipment.
For software and computers, Funan DigitaLife Mall is a good place to shop.
Step 5: Lay It All Out
You need two working areas in your home studio: a desk for sound engineering and a recording area for playing your music. Care needs to be taken when placing your monitor speakers. They need to be positioned a few feet away from the wall at ear level when you are seated. Have them angled slightly inwards towards your head so that they form an equilateral triangle with your head.
Step 6: Lights! Air! Action!
Don’t forget ventilation when you create your sound proof room or you won’t have the breathe to create to your music
A soundproof room is essentially an airtight one. So, make sure you have an inlet and an outlet with a fan. An acoustic be box will need to be built over the air vents to prevent sound from getting in or out.
Once you have your two work areas sorted, you need to decide on lighting. Make sure you have enough to read music scores and lyrics in the recording area. Free standing lamps are preferred because they can be easily removed if you opt for mood lighting.-
There you have it – six steps towards a home music studio. Jam away in peace and make beautiful music!
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