50 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Owning a Home Recording Studio

50 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Owning a Home Recording Studio

In order to make the absolute most out of your home recording studio, then this article is certainly something you should check out. I say this because there may be a few things that you probably didn’t know about owning a home recording studio that could benefit you in some way or another.

Though most people probably know and understand what all encompasses a home recording studio, those who may have a little less experience will certainly want to learn as much as they can about how to make the most out of their recording space. So, without further delay, here are 50 things you probably didn’t know about owning a home studio.

These things pertain to reasons for having a home studio¹.

1. You don’t have to deal with a rented studio’s engineers.

Dealing with other people that you may not get along with is very difficult. This is especially true in any line of work where creativity is a key component. Having your own home recording studio allows you to either hire your own engineer or do the work yourself. This is certainly a benefit because often when you rent a recording studio you are forced to deal with that studio’s in-house engineer who probably won’t have your best interests in mind and may stunt your creative process.

2. You get to set your own schedule.

Perhaps one of the best aspects of owning your own home recording studio is that you won’t have to adhere to anyone else’s schedule except your own. This certainly comes in handy because there will be no time limit on your creativity. Many musicians and artists will agree that when the creative bug strikes, it’s important to get the most you can out these moments because they may be few and far between.

3. It saves money.

Though you may be in the red for a few months, the money you’ll save in the long run certainly outweighs what you’d end up spending in a rented studio.

4. Having the ability to set your own rules.

Rented studios usually have a very specific set of rules which govern what you can and can’t do. This simply doesn’t apply when you have your own home recording studio. This allows you to have as many visitors as you want and also allow food and drinks in the studio as well.

The following items pertain to the initial decision to build a home studio.

5. You cannot predict how long it will take to set up a home studio.

Even when you have walls, doors, electricity, and lighting, the process still takes time. There is no guarantee that finishing something on your “To-Do List” early, means the studio will be completed ahead of schedule. It’s important to give yourself ample time when setting up the studio because rushing to get finished early almost certainly guarantees later regrets.

6. Setting a tentative deadline is necessary.

Having a reasonable timeline in mind will give the project some much-needed direction and focus.

7. A successful home studio requires a bit of time for research and education.

Unless you are already well-versed in how to properly set up a home recording studio you’ll most likely need to spend some time researching how to do it correctly.Thankfully, there are forums, articles, and tutorials you can use as resources in order to get all the knowledge required to build the best home recording studio.

8. You need to research everything.

It’s important to go the extra mile and learn as much as you can about even the most mundane of topics related to your home recording studio. These can include vocal booth treatment and size, DAW software selection, equipment purchases, and much more. Putting tons of research into your project greatly increases the chance of doing things right the first time around, as this can and will prevent expensive mistakes.

9. Motivation is required.

Building a home recording studio requires a fair amount of work and in order to accomplish this, you must be motivated.

10. Take some time to thoughtfully consider the location of your studio.

You should try and find a spot that is enjoyable, accessible, and convenient since you’ll probably end up spending a lot of time there.

11. A basement or a walk-in closet can be the beginnings of a home studio.

A bit of creativity will be required but sometimes these spaces can be a great start to something bigger.

12. The initial expenses tend to get a bit out of control.

Nearly all home recording studios go over budget, so you may want to save a bit more money especially if you are on a tight budget. Set an initial budget for equipment costs, labor costs, materials, and contingency and do your best to stay close to those numbers as much as you can.

13. It is essential to be organized.

Keep comprehensive expenses and To-Do Lists as they are critical to building a home studio and sleeping well at night. Properly organizing files can really go a long way if you need to find receipts or other documents quickly and easily.

14. There are ways to compensate for unexpected costs that don’t include eating a steady diet of Ramen noodles.

A Do-It-Yourself studio guide gives you numerous ways to avoid spending a ton of cash.

15. A Bluetooth keyboard can be used when trying to eliminate background noise while recording.

All of the work is sent to a computer outside the booth which allows for little, to no sound interference.

16. Adding objects to the studio softens the sound quality.

An easy way to create a better sounding recording space can be accomplished by adding furniture such as a couch or bookshelf..

17. Sounds can leak out from the studio.

It is both detrimental to the music quality and disruptive to neighbors when your studio isn’t very sound proof. You can avoid this by sealing doors and windows with sealing strips made of rubber, foam or vinyl.

18. A well-sealed studio also needs sufficient oxygen.

Ventilation has to be installed, enough said.

19. Elevating the floor ensures that distracting sounds don’t interfere with the recording.

The flooring needs to rest securely on foam blocks to prevent creaking and unwanted vibrations.

20. Two of the best tools for assessing sound quality are your ears and hands.

Walk around an unfamiliar space clapping your hands as loudly as possible in order to listen how different parts of the room respond to sounds. This assessment allows appropriate changes to be made when necessary.

There is a code of conduct in the studio.

21.  You may become star struck when you sit in your completed studio for the first time.

Every moment spent in your studio should be an opportunity to soak it all in simply enjoy your accomplishment.

22. No regrets.

You’ll never have to leave the studio wishing you had more time to do something differently.

23. The studio is always open.

Bouts of creativity tend to arise at some of the strangest times, but having a home recording studio allows for every little idea to be recorded when they occur.

24. Owning a recording studio allows for unbridled creativity.

Having your own home recording studio allows you to be creative without the stress and burden of having to perform on someone else’s time.

25. There is no substitution for experimentation.

Every studio is different and constantly having to rent out studio time really dampens the amount of experimentation time needed to produce quality material. It typically takes a fair bit of time to fully understand the nuances of a recording space, but you won’t have this problem with your own home recording studio.

26. You have the ability to address problems as they arise instead of trying to fix them later.

Fixing lousy tuning and poor instrument playing might not fit into your schedule when renting out a recording studio, but this won’t be the case when you record from home.

Studio owners need to know these facts about equipment.

27. Today’s home recording technology is professional quality.

Thanks to the many advances in home recording technology your home recording studio can ultimately sound just like a professional.

28. Quality connecting cables go a long way in making great sounding material.

The better the cables connecting your equipment the better your sound quality will be.

29. You cannot predict how long equipment will last.

Keep receipts and a little extra cash in case of equipment repairs and replacement.

30. Only purchase equipment that you believe you’ll still be using in five years.

31. The best choice of equipment is not always the most expensive.

An expensive mixing deck bought to entice and excite clients may not be as wise as one that costs about half as much.

32. The computer you use can be either a Mac or PC.

Go with what you know, but for either computer, get as much RAM as your budget allows as it’s one of the most important computer specifications in terms of home recording.

33. Paying for premium DAW software may not be necessary.

The bells and whistles that come with upgraded versions are often not required to record professional quality material.

34. Quantity is not as important as quality when it comes to microphone preamps.

Buying cheap interfaces with eight preamps is a rookie mistake. These tend to add distortion and noise to recordings and when this distortion and noise become part of the track it gives the music a hard, brittle sound.

35. Monitor speakers should not be confused with stereo speakers.

Monitor speakers are specifically designed to provide unadulterated playback with minimal distortion. Stereo speakers simply project sound for use with home audio systems.

The following are extras people tend to forget.

36. An XLR cable is needed to connect the microphone to the audio interface.

Depending on the interface and speaker connectors, you will need an RCA, XLR, or ¼-inch cable.

37. Cheap and flimsy microphone stands are not stable and will fall over.

Many pros recommend a stand with three legs over those with a circular, weighted base.

38. Consonants, like ‘b’ and ‘p,’ overload the diaphragm of the microphone.

A pop filter should sit between the vocalist and the microphone.

39. It is best for speakers to be on individual, elevated stands.

This tends to make a significant improvement in sound quality.

40. A MIDI keyboard lets you ‘play’ any imaginable instrument.

It can be used to mimic any instrument however you like and are essential for electronic and beat maker music production.

41. The choice of microphone depends on how you plan on using it.

For example, a typical condenser microphone is too vulnerable for handheld use so use a dynamic microphone instead.

42. You need a comfortable chair.

It only makes sense to be comfortable if you plan to log serious hours in a home studio. Invest in a chair with good support and your back will thank you for it.

The following pertains to the business end of a home studio.

43. Home studios provide an income generating opportunity.

You can always make some extra money renting time to clients and you could also make a career out of producing short advertising jingles, recording a podcast or doing voice-over work.

44. A home studio doesn’t guarantee success.

If your home recording studio was built with the intention of making money then you have to know how to get music out to the public in order to get the ball rolling.

45. Network while setting up a studio.

Casually mention the project to potential clients, neighbors, and friends, as well as any contractors you hire to help build your studio.

46. Don’t look for clients until the studio is finished.

Producing the best sound rarely happens overnight and adjustments will most likely be needed. Clients won’t want to use your studio again if their recordings sound terrible the first time.

47. If making a profit is your goal, be wary of competition.

If your studio is open to the public, you will have to deal with a bit of competition from other studios.

48. Prepare a sample track for prospective clients.

This serves two purposes; you learn to adjust to your new studio set up while gaining confidence in the process and you’ll also have a sample product to use as an advertisement.

49. You have to be aware of a client’s needs.

Artists don’t always want a producer, just an engineer or recording time. You can make suggestions from time to time, but don’t overstep your boundaries.

50. Giving clients a break shows appreciation.

Don’t bill for every minute spent in your studio. Major points are gained by not charging clients for small amounts of time once in a while.