Home Studio - help!

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Exciting news! I should be getting my first dedicated music space soon! Biggrin

Now, the budget only allows for a corrugated steel shed, so nothing that nice. Pretty sure it'll sound terrible at first, so I'll be adding insulation, acoustic panels, wall shelves (for storage, but also to break up reflections a bit) and definitely bass traps in every corner.

Is there anything else I can do for cheap? It doesn't have to be professional-studio quality, but I want it to sound as good as possible.

I'll be doing vocals (clean, growl, falsetto, male), guitars (acoustic, amp, normal or with loads of distortion), flute (when I can afford one). I also have e-drums and keys, but they can record direct. I'll also be getting monitors, as well as listening to CDs in there.

Any advice would be very appreciated! I'm excited! It should be up and running before 50/90 starts. Biggrin

Congratulations @cblack! My music space is shared in a multi-purpose sort of office converted from a bedroom. So I don't have much in the way of suggestions to offer except maybe that I found a couple of books on home recording that had helpful ideas. First thought I have is, if this is about recording quality, maybe before spending a lot of time or money to deaden the sound of the space, maybe test the space sound for recording with your mics (maybe just for vocals) and record guitars direct. If the shed modifications are is about making the space comfortable or containing the noise (in our case we have close neighbors), then yeah, we have to do what we have to do.

Mine is not really a dedicated space, as I am a hobbyist and do not have any additional room acoustic treatments. Certainly there is a room 'sound' from the sympathetic vibrations on acoustic instruments and items on the shelves around the room. There also are occasional background noises from outdoors and through the walls. My signature sound ROFL ! However, I can leave my basic recording gear setup year round so that I am easily ready to record in songwriting challenges such as 50/90. Because of our neighbors, or depending on the song and time of day, I do sometimes close the windows to record.

I can't help but smile at the thought of a shed as a dedicated music space remembering that 'easyshed' was one of the spammer usernames in FAWM 2019 and some of us had a bit of fun with it in a challenge to name easyshed as a collaborator and we ended up with more than 14. One of the few instances where a spammer crossed the finish line.

I was gonna mention Easyshed too, @AndyGetch!
Great minds think alike!

@AndyGetch thanks for the info! The space is mostly to give me more space. Right now I have guitars in my bedroom, keys and e-drums in the spare room, vocals in the kitchen, and a roving laptop... Can't even keep an amp miced because the stand would mean I can't open my bedroom door lol.

So it's mostly about space. I'm somewhere in-between hobbyist and professional, though, so I want as good a sound environment as possible.

And like @Fuzzy and you, I remember Easyshed too! Forgot the username, but remembered a spambot getting a bunch of collab credits. Biggrin


Oh, and how do I tag people? Using @ didn't seem to work...

You're welcome @cblack. To tag on this forum enclose the @username with square brackets [ ]

Thanks, @AndyGetch!

dzd's picture

@cblack I too record in a steel barn and I actually love all the natural reverb it provides, but I also don't care about vocals(they're always an afterthought for the most part). I find myself not just micing the amps while stuffed into a corner, but also setting up room mics as well at varying distances. So like @AndyGetch said I'd definitely try a few different setups before even worrying about any "dampening", unless its for outside noise. Some people pay lots for plug-in/etc to find a "natural" sounding reverb, so you might want to always keep that an option, and there's no easier way to give everything the same reverb treatment than that being the actual sound of your room............ If you want something isolated and "clean" you can always just throw a heavy blanket over an amp/mic or yourself/mic, or build a small isolation box in one corner or something. I'm in a fairly big space, that doubles as an actual working barn....... so your results may vary, but with an amp cranked and mic right on the speaker, there's no ambient bleedthrough, and congrats! It's super nice to have everything in one spot.

If you want to really go all out and find a unique sound make your shed a big speaker box and re-amp all your tracks and record it "live" on 1-2-6-7? mics

This is an interesting thread. I've been reading it.

It's almost like, how do I toast bread? What kind of bread? Toaster oven, or slice toaster, or on an iron skillet on the stove.

As I start to see unfolding and why I offer "this", as you come across challenges, - not getting what you want, or trying to "this way" but not (then how to), can be far easier to engage, (as already suggested, - great minds Smile ) .

Yes, some folks look for an acoustically "dead room".

However, alternately, if you observe the "Focus" videos on MTV as e.g., they are in a room with a glass wall, facing a mirror or hard surface on a hard floor, - "reverb" and "natural", etc.

So a singer songwriting with only a guitar and two mics might love a metal barn, or retired shipping container. While another, like a drummer, may immediately hang sound blankets. (My acoustic drum kit is between two hard walls and it's loud, so can't practice w/o pad or mic'ing the kit back into HP's to protect my hearing.)

So, some "science" can be interesting to be aware of, and for e.g., in one venue that was 200 feet deep, standing at the back, from the stage, -- I could see a mouth move, *then hear the vocal. (Yes, in a room that size, and quite acoustically dead and dead spot absorbing too).
-- So, the "human body", what you record for?, or you cat/dog/goldfish :), generally perceives things (generally) in 15% increments/decrements of improvement/decline.

So, e.g., when Cody talks about his Steel Building, and his room mic is a "mere" 10 - 20 feet ? away, - it is a significant delay, - reverb and can have another mic facing the hard wall as well to catch the bounce as well as the delayed arrival then mixed with the dry, direct in signal, - 3 signal paths. - Generally speaking, all things considered, plenty of "reverb".

So, one has to consider what kind of road their walking prior to picking out shoes, 6 inch Pumps, or Hiking Boots, etc. Or, do we want to be flexible.

I'll end with the flexible thing.

One way to overcome every environment, as well, Cody mentions, - sound blanket tent, etc. And, as I do, for my demos and I work in a noisy environment, - direct into the Mixer (you can be in a Blender and it won't matter, - zero ambience), and as I do, if for e.g., you have a SM57 and are less than 1 inch or closer, no touch, while you are "singing", mic'ing, it's only picking up me/instrument and, I don't have to work at projecting. As well, there is an effect of recording a noticeably lower tone to the voice (Proximity effect), or instrument - attack.

So, if you have general concerns or very specific, - then get specific, post jpg's and etc. - first thing, "my sounds not right", - post picture of your Signal Path. Or hand draw it and cellphone picture it.

I'm not a fan of many "pic" sights, so what I do, is load it as a graphic on say, my BC page, copy the pic URL, then post that, hosted "there", - how to post pics on FAWM too, URL only with .jpg ext, etc.

Well, I had a moment, if that helps. If not, well, as always, sorry 'bout dat Smile just ignore it then Smile Someone else will be relevant shortly I am sure Fool

The shed has been quoted! Mum knows a guy who can get it cheaper, so when we give him the quote, he'll order it for us. Also got the lights figured out! Got a triple-light on a circular base and some smart LEDs for half-off (last of a discontinued line)!

The studio is progressing!

Also figured out what insulation and plasterboard I want. Not sure on the price. Want to get a quote. And figured out the paint colour! I lay down a bunch of sample cards in my bedroom and blasted them all with the smart LED I bought for my bedroom with the studio lights. (Same brand.) One colour in particular responded the best under various light colours.


It sucks to have to say this, but make sure your shed is secure. Music gear is an all-too-attractive target and an external building is a lot more tempting than a domestic residence. I'd hate for you to learn the hard way that some people are bastards...

...I guess it depends how close to your house it is, but I'd be thinking about some form of security system at a minimum. Where I live is okay, but I'd never risk high-end gear in a shed.

I suggest razor wire and Dobermans.