"HOME STUDIO - THE BEST YOU CAN GET?"
Your home-made music need not cost a fortune!
The all important sound deadening [acoustics]:
If you have 32'x16' I would use it and make it work! If you have 10'X8' even better! Small and cozy makes great 'sound'.
32'X16'? That is a huge amount of space for a home studio. In almost any town or city you can buy brown sound board that comes in 4'x8' foot sheets for $6 and it is really even as far as sound absorption. There is a cheap way to make a sound-proof studio within any space. Buy yourself 2"x2" timber to put on the walls. Buy also, the huge poythene sheets that builders use to make the underside of concrete floors waterproof [comes in a monster roll].
Cover the walls completely with the polythene [this provides a dew point waterproof membrane]
- Measure out and attach the 2"X2" timber to the wall in a framework to attach to sound board to.
- In-fill the spaces between the framework with rockwool.
- Attach the sound board to the framework to give a smooth surface.
5200 in small dabs will work great. The 5200 or similar will keep the boards from vibrating like they would if you nailed them or screwed them. Silicone would be the ideal...but expensive
You only need to put a toothpaste strip around the outside edges. After it dries you can lay your favourite cloth, panelling or be creative. I prefer coloured Hessian with 2"X1" oak strip, brass screwed [with cup washers] in a regular pattern to hide the sound board joins.
The floors have all kinds of options.
It is important to realise the amount of sound that goes downwards, vibrating through the floor and into the structure of your house, flat, apartment, bungalow. We have all heard the low, bottom end rumble coming from a late night disco?
There is a simple, inexpensive solution which will give you a 'suspended' floor...the best for sound insulation.
You might think I am crazy but super balls seem to all be made of 2 halves stuck together. You can buy 100 of them for $25 or less and cut them in half as stoppers to hold up a ply flooring. Carpet pads and carpet will do the rest.
And now the ceiling.
Ceilings can be easy or hard depending on what's up there to attach to. Your big problem will be when you try to record and your kid is dancing to hip hop upstairs. You will have to chase everyone out when you do tracks.
There are two things studios try to do.
- One is to make a soundproof room
so the sound won't get out.
- The other is to sound treat the room so the outside sound doesn't get in.
The second point is far more important.
The 'sound' of the room.
You will often hear and read that, say, Abbey Road number One Studio has got a phenomenal sound. That is never said in the context of what sort of music is being made, what sort of band is playing, is it live trumpets etc., is it wild Marshall Amps at full tilt? ..... is it a 100 person Gospel Choir?
So 'the sound' is purely dependent on the context of the music. For instance, in the 60's, Decca Studios built an awesome studio at their premises in West Hampstead, London to record Mantovani and his huge orchestra....what a perfect sounding studio [for that orchestra]. I saw a jazz session recorded there with some of the biggest musicians around at the time...Wow! I then recorded there with my band.....yuck!
It had no warmth for vocals or for small instruments...it had this long 'large hall' reverb that you couldn't get rid of in the mix.....the album was for Italy [gave us a Number One there] and the Italian producers liked that big, long reverb sound.
Back to the home sound deadening.
If you do what I suggest, above, walls, floor, ceiling, it won't cost much at all and you will have a pretty good, dead, sound.
That means that you can record almost every type of instrument/vocal in there. By adding good 'today' effects you will be in total control...by the way, you will get pretty damn awesome vocal sound! And acoustic guitar will be to die for!
Dead Room V Live room?
If you install the sound board you will have a dead room. If you add strips of hard panelling you will have a little bit of room sound. You can adjust, add, subtract to give the room the sound you want and like.
I, personally, have large hardboard pieces to lay under acoustic guitar players to create customised acoustics. By using good quality earphones [Beyer DT100 is the world-wide Industry standard] I can adjust the positioning of the reflecting hardboard surfaces to give me the sound I want for the track. I used this technique to record Classical Guitar, on a dance track, for a recently released album with Brian May and a load of my guitar friends [The Gathering].
If you lay a hardwood floor you will have a really live room and if you have a roll out carpet then you can adjust the room acoustics to suit anything.
Of course if you lay marble - then you get that Phil Collins drum sound...but Hey! That wouldn't sound good for your Destiny's Child style vocals?
The studio side of the door can be treated by tacking a duvet / eiderdown / quilt....use a blended colour or die the cover to suit. You can also use a proper foam mattress, covered with a colour blended sheet...this gives 'proper' results.
|Get on over to the greatest site for performers CLICK HERE
Better sound, better mind!
The niftiest way to break up the reverberation from flat parallel walls is to install book shelving. You should have tons of books...you do read? So, what better way to break up sound than with mind improving, knowledge, books....will impress your studio visitors?
The high ceiling can always be a problem.
You can stretch Hessian or simple bed sheeting across the room at a convenient height [as low as possible, retaining comfort for 7 footers!] This can always give an interesting decorative feature, if tastefully done.
You can also do the Pro trick:- make up 6'X4' blockboard plates with foam applied or even the expensive eggbox or plastic acoustic compensators from Studiospares or an equivalent studio suppliers. These are expensive, but look 'the business'. You will know them. Usually black/grey soft acoustic tiles with big dimples...about 500mm X 500mm...costing approx £7.50 each [$10?]
The plates are then hung from the high ceiling, by chains, to present a flat low ceiling at selected parts of the room.
Most $fortune making records are recorded in comfortable home environments
Dec and his brother Con record their 64th album: "Christmas Love Songs".
Bass traps - what's it all about?
When I glance through studio suppliers catalogues I just cannot believe the emphasise on 'bass traps'. The supposed areas in a studio where bass frequencies are amplified
Considering that a 35Hz signal wave is 16 feet long [yep!] then most rooms will hardly ever get to hear that frequency!
The only area to be mindful of 'bass traps' is in the corners. Just like avoiding parallel surfaces in a studio or recording space, likewise, be aware of right-angle corners...they will collect bass frequencies....mind you, you would have to stick your head in the corner to hear them!
The solution is to devise a simple method of making the corners disappear. Either by framing them out with the blockboard or having those long pillows tacked in place one above the other....died to your theme color, this will work well and look good. The Studio Suppliers will sell you foam inserts for corners, but sit down before you ask the price.
Keep in mind, though, before you go crazy, that many GREAT songs have been recorded in garages with carpet hanging around to absorb sound. Performance is the key to everything. The magic is in front of the microphone - every time!
The big room in the basement will bring everyone together. If you want to partition off a control room, you can use the sound board, rockwool, 4x2 partition technique. Put a double window in and that knocks out 30 DB of sound. A few more layers and you really kill the sound.
Most modern day recording rooms don't bother with control rooms. Good earphones mean that the engineer/producer/musicians can be in the same room as the vocalist...he/she can be three feet away....great for producing. Behringer do a fine, inexpensive, multi earphone, rack amplifier that will power lots of earphones. I love working that way. It is so easy to convey to the vocalist what you want, so quick to stop and chat before the next take. That is my preferred way.
It also makes it so easy for self production. The separate control room idea can be a pain in the butt....save for drum recording or 'whole band' recording. Most recording is done track by track these days....much more precise and controllable.
Be careful of noise when working with an open mic. in the room with the recording equipment.
I have written reams about making sure the equipment is working at it's quietest. But, be careful of power amp. hum and fan noise [keep the power amps in a separate room]. Computer fans can be a nuisance.
I tend to switch off all unnecessary effects etc. when recording into an open mic. I also avoid the 'chair creak' and, most of all, switch the recorder on and off quietly...that is the biggest cause of extraneous noise!
Do a test recording of 'silence' - using a good quality studio condenser mic. [Stagg MC0-7 is my current favourite]. I think you will be shocked at the amount of inherent noise in your studio which a good mic. will pick up!
The one room studio is king!
Most newly built commercial recording rooms are catering for the 'one room studio' lovers. In fact, they will just have the token recording booth - just big enough to take a drum kit. This room will have variable acoustics to take care of any recording tasks.
The best reference book for all contacts is 'Uncle Dec's Lil' Instruction Book - Vol II' CLICK HERE
- Behringer Powerplay Pro [multi earphone rack amp.]
- Beyer DT100 Earphones [Industry Standard]
- Acoustic tiles, wall, floor and ceiling professional treatment material: Studiospares
- Stagg MC0-7 condenser mic. [Guitar, Amp. and Keyboard Center]
[UK office hours]