Setting Up A Home Studio… Again

Although it’s certainly possible to create an album using only a laptop and a pair of headphones, a dedicated room that you can use as a home studio is a very welcome luxury. But what are the key points to watch out for?

Lofty Ambitions

If you own your house, you could spend quite a bit of time and money on creating a sophisticated recording environment – from constructing a suspended floor-and-wall room within a room, to building a custom studio in the furthest reaches of the garden.

For most people, such radical engineering isn’t really practical, so you need to cover the basics first. Sound on Sound have a guide here which looks at the first step – choosing which room to put the studio in, considering the pros and cons of each. In my case, the decision was to move Nantiploop Studios into the attic.

Theoretically, a studio in an attic isn’t the ideal location, as it can be difficult to soundproof. For good soundproofing, the main things you need are mass and isolation – and lining the walls of the attic with thick concrete panels isn’t really an option. I also didn’t want to create a suspended floor – and to be honest, as my music is largely electronic anyway, my requirements are somewhat easier to accomodate than those of, say, a death metal drummer.

Working The Angles

For many people, the room itself will be predetermined, so it’s just a case of making the most of what you have. Rooms with non-parallel walls are good – which is the case in my attic, and it also has a curved ceiling.

For a studio, hardwood flooring is recommended, as carpet tends to absorb mid and high frequencies, but has little impact on bass – the potential result is a room that sounds quite muddy. Although I have carpet in the attic, my speakers are not very bass heavy, so I’m hoping I can get away with it by adding some bass traps.

Another consideration is resonant frequencies and phase cancellation – these issues can be addressed with acoustic treatment on the walls/ceilings.

This guide by Bobby Owsinski provides a few useful tips for home studio setups. Some other suggestions on DIY acoustic treatment can be found here, including a tip for creating a suspended floor by resting it on tennis balls…


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