The year is 2017, and amazingly,
There are a lot of benefits of having your own recording studio, such as being able to record anytime inspiration strikes and not rushing through recording because you want to cut costs on studio time. Similarly, you can decorate the space however you see fit for your music, and the fact that it is your own recording studio can be an empowering realization — especially for struggling musicians.
Before we get into how to have the best recording studio around, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect sounding room and that every room can have its acoustics improved.
Whether you decide to build it on your own or call in acoustic design specialists, then there are some essential characteristics that you need to take into account if you want your recording studio to offer the greatest possible sound experience.
1. Location Considerations
Just like when buying a house or taking someone on a first date, “location, location, location” is the primary consideration when it comes to building or designing a recording studio.
While the space may seem large enough at first, you have to envision its size after it has been soundproofed. Is there natural light in this particular spot? If the answer is no, are you going to be able to create the next worldwide hit in something that resembles a prison cell?
2. Design Considerations
Most recording studios have three different parts:
- Control room – the technical hub of the recording process
- Studio – the performance area
- Booth – a smaller performance space
The science of acoustics focuses on how sound waves behave in an environment and the size of the recording studio room is the principal acoustic feature. When designing your room, keep in mind that the science of acoustics comes into play in recording, tracking, mixing, and mastering. In other words, acoustics can make or break a track or an album.
No matter what you fill the room with, the ratio of the length to width to height will influence the acoustics of the space. Whatever you do, do not have a recording studio with equal dimensions (such as L 10 feet x W 10 feet x H 10 feet), nor have a room with repeating dimensions (such as L 16 feet x W 10 feet x H 10 feet). Trust me, just don’t go there.
Instead, study the “Bolt Area,” which is a simple, straightforward chart that will help you plan out the favorable room dimensional ratios. By using this ratio evaluation, you are ensuring that your recording studio has a uniform distribution of modal frequencies. It has actually been said that a dome or an igloo is the ideal shape for a recording room!
3. Breathing Considerations
Ironically, the breathing considerations of the space are often one of the most overlooked characteristics when it comes to designing a recording studio. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you and your bandmates are unable to breathe while recording, the track is probably not going to end up playing at one of the top nightclubs in Dubai!
On one hand, you need all doors and windows to be sealed to prevent sound leakage. However, you also need to consider the supply of air into the studio. To assist with this, plan to have an inlet and an outlet with fans spaced evenly apart. Then, around these air vents, you must build an acoustic box.
4. Equipment Considerations
Once you have the design of the studio down pat and are confident that you are going to be able to breathe in there, then it is time to contemplate on the equipment that is needed. For beginners, I would suggest these nine items:
- A computer
- DAW/audio interface combo
- Studio monitors
- One or two microphones
- A few cables
- One mic stand
- A pop filter
- Ear training software
Once you have these nine items, you are well on your way to possessing a functioning recording studio. Over time, as your skills and needs increase (along with your worldwide record sales), you can continue adding to your line-up, but remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your recording studio.
In addition to these sound characteristics, the best recording studios also have lighting that fits the space. If you are looking to build or create your own studio, you want to consider full lighting for setup and cleaning, work lighting that can be changed throughout the session, and mood lighting to get your team’s creative juices flowing.
While it may seem like an overwhelming task and a great deal of effort, keep in mind that when it is done, it will be your recording studio. It all has to be worth that, right?
Joe Chidiac, Managing Partner of Pulse Middle East, specializes in audio visual and lighting system integration with a 12-year track record of leading in large-scale projects in the Middle East. Mr. Chidiac holds a BA in sound engineering and music technology and moved to the Middle East right after his graduation.
Before becoming a very successful businessman in the AV and lighting system integration industry, setting up his own business, Mr. Chidiac had worked with multinational companies from which he gained a wealth of experiences in system integration. He is passionate about his business and mostly spends his free time exploring new ideas and constantly educating himself on new trends and technologies.