If you’re a musician who is looking to build a home recording studio, it takes more than assembling instruments and a computer in any available space. A professional, high-end studio is created with attention to acoustics, the right kind of monitors, and much more. If you want your recording results to sound truly impressive, don’t miss these essential features. Based in Miami, FL, as professional recording studio builders, here’s our advice.
Many argue that studio monitors, or speakers, are the most essential tool to achieve a professional sound. Unlike the speakers one uses for recreation, a studio’s monitors should have a flatter frequency response to provide a neutral tone. That way, the audio isn’t enhanced, so you can objectively evaluate your mix. Beginner home studios will often start with the KRK Rokit 5 G3 monitor. You may have seen their distinctive yellow cones before in studios you have visited or seen in images. For a bit more advanced technology, the Yamaha HS8 are mounted to minimize vibration and improve performance. And for truly high-end monitors, Genelec M040 includes a downward-facing bass port for smaller rooms and energy-friendly Class D amplifiers. You’ll want to arrange your monitors at ear-level and avoid reflections, which we’ll discuss below.
You have your piano, guitar, microphone, monitors—how are you going to record your first song? First, you’ll need an audio interface, which is the hardware used to connect the computer to the rest of your gear. From there, you’ll need a quality Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW, which is the software used to record, edit, and mix. Some musicians choose to purchase each separately or in a combination software. You won’t want to skimp on a DAW, as you’ll be very limited creatively. The highest-rated DAWs include Presonus Studio One 4, Cakewalk SONAR (Windows only), FL Studio (formerly known as Fruity Loops), and Ableton Live.
Audio cables might not sound like the most exciting aspect of a recording studio, but your cables should perform so seamlessly that you forget their existence. It takes more knowledge than you may expect to assemble the right cables. First, one must decide between analog cables, which transmit information through electricity, and digital cables, which sends data through binary code.
In a studio, there are two types of analog cables: balanced and unbalanced. They’re used to transfer the mic level, instrument level, and line level. Balanced cables are relatively immune to interference from radio frequencies and electronic equipment, so they are the standard for professional audio. However, due to the design of electric guitars and other instruments, it’s not always possible to start with a balanced signal. In that case, a conversion is an option. If you use digital cables, you’ll need an interface cable, MIDI cables, optical cables, and BNC cables, which are similar to a coaxial cable used for TV.
Though the two are often mistaken for each other, acoustics and soundproofing are not the same thing. A professional studio should be arranged and treated with acoustics to create a crisp, neutral sound and eliminate reverb within the room. This can be done with absorption panels on the walls and foam bass traps. However, too much absorption can create an uncomfortably ‘dead’ sound. To avoid this, you can maintain balance with diffusers to scatter sound.
Soundproofing minimizes the amount of sound that travels in and out of the studio. You’ll want to add mass to your walls to eliminate vibrations and fill air gaps. Place your computer and microphones far apart from each other and add acoustic treatments behind where the musician or singer will stand.
For the perfect studio space, it takes an expert to know how to design and arrange the room correctly. That’s why serious musicians trust David Frangioni to create world-class studios. From Ozzy Osbourne to Kiss, he and his team have helped legendary artists. Contact us here to get started on your studio today.