TCM MASTERING: HOME MUSIC STUDIO – PART 1 YOUR ROOM

TCM Mastering: Home Music Studio Tips and Information

Part 1 – Your room

When we started out in the music industry, the only place you could record music properly, was in a dedicated and usually expensive recording studio. Fortunately for us, we worked in studios that allowed us to make use of their facilities when they weren’t being hired out…..a fantastic perk!


Nowadays with all the amazing technology that is relatively cheap and available to every musician, you can create world class music at home.

Many home recording studios today have been set up in a spare bedroom, a basement space or garage – based around a laptop computer running music software like Pro Tools or Logic for example.

The main problem with studios at home is the leakage of sound into (planes, traffic) and out of the studio (annoying the neighbours) and the control of sounds in the room itself.

The best solution for containing sound is to build a room within a room. But for most that’s not going to be feasible or financially possible.

Basement rooms work quite well because a lot of the sound produced gets absorbed by the ground. Garages are also popular if they’re detached from the house.

Click here for a Sound On Sound Article about the differences between Acoustic Treatment and Soundproofing.

When sound is produced it travels in waves. The waves then get reflected off surfaces and objects in the room. Different frequencies of sound get reflected differently. These reflections or echoes can cause problems when monitoring the sounds coming out of your speakers, because you not only hear what’s coming out of the speakers but you also hear the reflected sounds too. This can give you a false impression of the stereo width and it can make your music sound unbalanced and muddy, lacking clarity and definition.

Every room adds its own colouration and the purpose of treating a room is to minimise the colouration. The solution is to break up the sound waves and the easiest way to do that is to effectively deaden the natural echo in the room.

I remember that when I started my first home studio as a kid, I used empty egg boxes stuck on the wall (not the greatest of solutions and quite ugly!), these days you can find cheap acoustic foam tiles that will do the job very well. Alternatively if you are good with your hands, you can make some simple acoustic boxes to fit on the wall.

Simple treatments such as covering windows with a curtain, hardwood floors with a rug or replacing that hi-tech table and chairs with a soft sofa can make a huge difference to the acoustics of your room.

You don’t want to deaden your room completely, just enough to make the monitoring process effective and true.

But be aware that acoustic tiles and rugs won’t do much to reduce the amount of sound leaving the room…they will affect the sound inside the room.

A cheap option to prevent sound leakage from your room is to isolate the instrument or amp rather than the whole room.  You could make a small isolation box for an amp which will greatly reduce the amount of sound escaping your room.

Remember room acoustics is just one part of getting a great sounding track. Having the best gear that you can afford, knowing solid sound recording techniques and a good pair of ears are just as important.

Professional studios spend a large part of their construction budget on acoustic treatment. So it’s difficult to compete with the big boys and girls of the studio world when you treat your own studio space. But it’s surprising how much can be done with a little effort, experimentation and research.

Room acoustics is a complete and complicated subject in itself. So we cannot go into too much detail in this blog. But we’re happy to go into the acoustic treatment of rooms in more detail at a later date, if there’s enough interest. If you want to find out more on this subject now, try Googling ‘Room Acoustics’ or ‘Studio Acoustics’ for more in-depth explanations.

The next blog in the Home Music Studio series will cover the gear options available.

If you already have a working Home Studio and have some music tracks that need that final polish. Check out the TCM Mastering site. And if you have any questions just drop us a line.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Music, Recording Studios, Sound Recording

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

2 Comments on “TCM MASTERING: HOME MUSIC STUDIO – PART 1 YOUR ROOM”


  1. […] Recording drums in many Home Studios is not going to be the easiest task. For starters a full kit takes some time to tune and set up properly. Second it takes up a fair amount of space if it’s set up all the time. Third, they’re rich in transients and they’re not the quietest of instruments. So keeping the sound in your room and not annoying neighbours is something you may need to consider…..check out this blog which discusses ‘Your Room’. […]


  2. […] Recording drums in many Home Studios is not going to be the easiest task. For starters a full kit takes some time to tune and set up properly. Second it takes up a fair amount of space if it’s set up all the time. Third, they’re rich in transients and they’re not the quietest of instruments. So keeping the sound in your room and not annoying neighbours is something you may need to consider…..check out this blog which discusses ‘Your Room’. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: