Your Home Studio’s Best Results

Posted on November 19, 2010

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If you’re recording at home, and most people do, getting it set up for the most productivity can be a harrowing experience. It falls into that category that your desktop does. You know where to find jus what you need, but someone else looking at it gets a headache just trying to find something as simple as a play button. Here are a few ideas to help initiate a successful work area for getting a top-notch recording.

1. Before you start moving furniture around, make a drawing or a planned layout for the key elements of the studio. Plan easy access to the recording controls, and lots of space for moving amps and monitors into the places they’ll need to be. John uses a Marshall, but when Steve comes he’s going to load in his Peavey. With planning, you can have the space for both, or at the very least – a clear path to swap them out. Having to lift and carry stuff over couches and coffee tables can be a real pain!

2. Isolate an area to hang cables that get used most often. Label them if you have to and be sure to spool them up and return them to their specific pegs after use. It guarantees that when you need to use it, it will be right where you know it is. Hanging on it’s own peg, every time. With a little label on it, you can be sure it will go to the right peg each time too.

3. Electrical tape, for the reason above, and many others, is key to have around. Masking tape for writing the channel you recorded the solo on, the volume it was at and the effect levels is good too. Keep tape handy, it’s your best friend!

4.  It’s never a bad idea to have a small refrigerator around with a trashcan next to it. Everyone is always looking for a cool water bottle, and if you’ve got it in the studio, you’re going to keep people from walking away from the work and taking their mind off the process at hand. I like to have a coffee maker in studio too – I live for that brown water.

5. Keep the telephone line outside the studio. The last thing you need is the distraction of a ringing phone, or more than that, the distraction of the bass player talking to his girlfriend while you try to match levels. Have all methods of conversing out side the studio actually be outside of the studio.

6. Probably the most important thing to do is keep that studio clean and orderly. When you call it a night, or a morning – lots of people work over night; give it a walk through and return the tape, the cable, the empty bottles and the papers to their respective places. It is the sure fire way to shorten the hunting time spent tomorrow looking for that black magic marker, the coffee cup or the lyric sheet you need to get ramped up for day two.

7. While the recording gets going, one of the most frustrating things is figuring out where that patch was in Isotope 4, or how to get the reverb the way you know it should be. Keep a shelf with manuals in the recording booth and don’t be ashamed to sue them. It’s good to know where the Help Button is on the software too. Most modern software has a feature to walk you through what buttons do what things in the recording process.

8. Once the recording sounds great through your studio speakers, throw a copy onto a CDR and take it out into the Mustang and hear it through the factory audio speakers. You can judge each recording on the studio speakers; it might play with heavy low end or hissy high ranges on the home stereo. As you listen to it on other systems, you’ll get an idea of how the finished product in the studio will sound outside of the studio and you’ll learn more about tweaking the finished product in the studio next time around.

All these ideas are just a few thoughts to keep in mind when getting ready to record at home. It’s a great alternative to going in the studio for rough tracks and you can really come up with some top-notch recordings at home. Make sure the work area is primed for the best success in the shortest amount of time. It’s a benefit to yourself as well as those who will come in and offer their best effort to get it done right.

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