Music Tech Focus

Create Your Own Pro Studio

The first thing I’d like to say is that I’m no acoustic scientist or physics expert. I like to think I’ve got reasonably good ears, as I’ve been writing music with computers for nearly 20 years, but I approached my first studio space – as I’m sure many of you have or will – with a series of scruffily handwritten notes and bookmarked web pages. The aim of this piece is not to list and describe in great detail the specifics of how to mathematically treat your space, although we’ll touch upon that later, but more to give a real-world account of the process I went through in finding and treating a small-to-medium-sized studio. Hopefully, you’ll find some of the information useful and we might be able to shed some light on certain factors that you hadn’t already considered. My previous room was relatively large and in the ground floor of a house, with zero treatment (assuming you don’t count bookshelves), and with a linen cupboard set up as a makeshift vocal booth. Across nearly nine years, I learnt this room as well as I could, and was able to produce and engineer release-quality material, but to say it was a struggle is an understatement.

A dedicated studio space will give you a proper working room, where you can get into the right mindset

Why a studio?

It’s true that you hear stories of artists releasing highly successful tracks that were engineered in a bedroom, but if they’re serious about making music their career, then most will quickly move on to a more specialised space. You can achieve a lot by learning your speakers well, and also by using a decent set of headphones, which will bypass any room problems. However, a dedicated, treated studio space will not only allow you to trust your monitors better, but will give you a proper working room, where you can get into the right mindset and invite other artists or musicians to work in a more professional environment. The benefits of having this room at home include increased security, zero commute and a decent kitchen. However, if you end up working with a lot of artists or clients that you’ve never met before, you might not be so keen to invite them into your living space. There are also far more distractions, as you find yourself spending your lunch break watching those three episodes of Family Guy that you saved on your Tivo box.

If you’re lucky, you might find an established complex, set up, soundproofed and ready to go

For me, it was important to have an independent space where I could set up all my equipment with my writing partner, and to separate my home and working life. So it was that my process began with trying to search out a studio room. If you’ve already got a space, be it at home or elsewhere, then you may be more interested in next month’s part 2, where we discuss measurements and treatment.

I began my search last summer in Bristol. The size of the town or city in which you live will have a massive bearing on the cost and number of studio rooms that are available to rent. Being a hotbed of music and culture, I expected Bristol to provide plenty of

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