How to set up your home recording studio

To get it right, it requires a lot of plug-and-play. But it is always good to know how to start.

Your room = your studio

Basic rule is: Pick a quiet room. The ideal room with maximum sound isolation is:

  • made of dense walls – for example bricks
  • underground – means no neighboring rooms = no sound
  • downstairs – no sound from below
  • single story – no sound from above

Every room is unique and everything in that space will affect the sound.

If possible , avoid square layouts. The worst possibility is a cube. Also, long elongated rooms are not appropriate. It is best to have a rectangular room.

Bigger room usually have better acoustic than a smaller one. However, there can be other issues that you would have to deal with – like for example standing waves or large amount of reflection. Acoustic treatment to this kind of room requires a lot of further investment.

Smaller room can have a problem with lower frequencies as they don’t have space to develop and this can lead to MIXES that don’t sound well to larger speakers. Only remedy for this is to listen while mixing at lower volume.

If you are restricted to using one particular room with its shape and size, look out for high reflective surfaces that can create a large amount of reflection and also can play with your stereo image. This can be a nightmare. If you have any large windows, cover them by large and heavy curtains. 

Hard flooring – tile or wood flooring work the best. Unlike reflections from the walls, reflections coming from the floor are usually adding pleasant quality to the sound. Also, carpet can work well.

Ideal room for studio consist of 3 main features:

  • high ceiling – the benefit here is that you can incorporate diffusers that can give you special quality in your mixes and recordings
  • irregulary shaped walls – with parallel walls certain frequencies resonate longer, while other get cancelled out. That can lead to distortion of the natural frequency of specific instrument or bad balance and cheap room sound
  • textured walls – flat walls reflect sound too predictably. That’s why randomness  is our friend

Listening position. Finding sweet spot

You have to take into consideration this fact:

Sound coming from your speakers needs a space to develop.

Therefore, follow these 3 rules:

  • your workstation should not to be too close to any walls
  • if your room is rectangular, smart is to position your self in line with the longer part of the room
  • positioning monitors are crucial. Some of them are rear ported and therefore they need to be placed at least 12 inches away from any hard surface. Read the instructions by manufacturer
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How to find the sweet spot?

Sweet spot is the ideal position between you and your monitors. To have it correctly, you should be able to draw equal isosceles triangle between your ears and your monitors.

This is the sweetest spot: you are getting a perfect stereo image and you are able to hear all frequencies your speakers are reproducing.

Now it is time to apply some acoustic treatment to your room.