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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How I Built My Home Studio Cheaply (Inexpensively)

In my last post I talked about the technical part of a home studio and what you will need to actually record. Today I'd like to discuss the physical layout of my studio and how I was able to create a space for very little money - which is good because the bulk of your money should be invested in the hardware and recording software.

First, it's important to find a space that is quiet - or as quiet as you can find in your home. This could be as simple as a closet in your bedroom. The main thing is to find and area that has minimum sound. Windows are a definite no-no. In my home, we have three children ranging in age from 11 to 5, so you can imagine my challenge in finding that special quiet place!

I chose a small area in my basement to build my humble studio. The space is at the bottom of the stairs and measures about 6 feet by 15 feet. No windows, and it was enclosed on three sides by sheet rocked walls. I framed out the fourth wall and put a door in, thereby enclosing the space and making it a room. The ceiling in our basement is low, which is a good thing for a recording studio. The less room there is to have sound bounce around the better. The ceiling was not sheet rocked which was another good thing because it allowed me to properly insulate for sound.

When shopping for insulation, I came upon a type that was not fiberglass and was actually considered soundproofing insulation. This was a great find because I didn't have to worry about inhaling fiberglass during installation and could literally use my bare hands to rip the insulation and shove into all the small spaces.

After loading up the ceiling and the newly framed wall with insulation, I made another cost saving and labor saving decision. Instead of sheet rocking the ceiling (holding up heavy sheet rock over my head didn't appeal to me one bit), I bought drop ceiling panels - that's right, just the panels - and screwed them right into the beams of the ceiling. This provided another layer of sound absorbing material and saved on head room (remember, my ceiling was low to begin with).

The last step was to throw down an area rug on the cement floor and presto, my home studio was complete. A nicely sound minimizing room that is small and extremely functional. Don't get me wrong, I still have to tell the kids to be quiet when I'm recording, but the space is about as soundproof as I could have ever hoped for when I started out.

In my next post I'll talk about how I created an inexpensive surround for my microphone.

Until then, keep talking!


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