HOME STUDIO DESIGN PART II
To give you an idea of how different each home studio design might be, let's take a closer look at the design recommendations for each of the examples. Of course each will be dependent on the budget, so I will give multiple examples for each. Because specific equipment purchases are so unique to each situation, I will discuss in general terms where the money will be primarily spent.
In Example 1, the musician with the alt rock band is a classic garage or basement setup. Even if a garage or basement is not a possibility the basic recommendations will be the same.
With a higher budget and available basement or garage space, I would recommend basic sound isolation and acoustic treatments for the studio space. Spend the majority of the money on a good multichannel interface, mics, and equipment related to recording a group of live musicians.
With a lower budget, rather than skimping on quality, I might recommend that they buy a smaller but similar quality interface, fewer mics of similar quality. Rather than spending money on acoustic treatments for the basement or garage, keep the studio in the bedroom packaged to be mobile. This way the setup can be brought to any location for recording including a rehearsal space if necessary.
In Example 2, the Songwriter is best suited to have a dedicated room for writing. Money will be focused on creating a comfortable and streamlined work environment since they will likely be there for long periods of time each day.
With a higher budget the focus of the home studio design will be all about good acoustic treatments and quality, not quantity with equipment purchases. A good quality mic that matches the songwriters voice well is a must. If the songwriter needs extra sounds or samples, a good virtual instrument library may be in order with a good midi controller.
On a lower budget, acoustic treatments will be selected for function more than aesthetic. A lesser quality mic that matches their voice well and a smaller midi controller. It may be necessary to go with good headphones over cheap speakers. Software like Logic, with a large sound library, may a good starting place over sample libraries.
In Example 3, the engineer, with the goal of a commercial facility in the future may be inclined to build a larger recording space perhaps in a garage or large basement. The acoustic design, equipment and furniture purchases, will be focussed on a future vision of what the commercial space will look like.
On a higher budget, I would suggest that as much of the home studio design, acoustic treatments and equipment purchases as possible be made with the idea of being used in the future commercial space. Acoustic treatments suspended in a way that can be easily removed without damage. Equipment racks designed and wired with the commercial space in mind. All equipment purchases of the highest quality affordable. Maximize every dollar spent as if purchased for the future facility.
On a smaller budget, again the focus will be on quality, not quantity. No engineer that works in a professional facility will tolerate lots of low quality gear. Basically get less of everything, but make sure it will be useable in a commercial studio. You can add additional gear as needed.
In Example 4, the music producer needs a home studio design that will serve as a development space for new artists. Depending on the musical styles and space available, the producer will need a variety of quality musical gear that will be readily available should the inspiration strike.
With a high budget, acoustic isolation and a comfortable space is a premium. Musical instruments, drum machines, keyboards, sample libraries and everything creative will be at a the ready. A good multichannel interface that allows all instruments to be simultaneously connected without looking for cables or patching will keep the space simple and productive.
With a lower budget, more focus will be made on virtual, rather than real instruments. The plug and play capabilities are necessary here to allow for quick creative inspiration. Just enough acoustic treatments to keep the demo material sounding solid.
In Example 5, the Beat Writer will need a mobile writing environment. It will be better to spend the money on quality of gear rather than acoustic treatments and studio furniture.
With a high budget, I would have custom cases built for all gear much like a DJ setup. The road case will serve as the table from which the artist will work. High quality headphones are a must. When a studio gig arises, the setup can be unplugged quickly, case lid placed on, and out the door in 5 minutes. Maximize the quality and flexibility of all equipment purchases to suit the programming style of the beat writer.
With a lower budget, money will be saved by using gig bags or a standard case. Spend the most money on the primary programming interface and less on peripheral items that are secondary to the work. Although this will involve more breakdown and setup time for gigs, custom cases and accessories can easily be added later as funds become available. In either case, the home studio design will be simple and focused on mobility.
Each scenario will vary greatly based on the person's technical abilities. The key for each home studio design is to maximize creative time over technical time. I have purposefully stayed away from specific equipment recommendations in this article because those choices are too dependent on the individual using the studio. Some can handle complex gear without issue, some need a plug and play setup that's simple and effective.
By and large, my recommendations lean toward the most ergonomic and simple setup. possible. The more complex a setup, the more likely you are to be disrupted by technical issues. Simpler is always better.
Home Studio Design Part I
Home Studio Design Part II
Home Music Production Part I
Home Music Production Part II
Return to Home Recording
Return to Home From Home Studio Design
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