Recording in a home studio can be great, but we’re all aware of its shortcomings. If we are lucky, we have a dedicated room to record in. However, we have to use that room as both a control room and a tracking room. Simply put, if you are recording a musician, that musician is in the same room that you are recording in.
That’s not always a problem, and it can be a lot of fun. When I recorded my buddy Kevin‘s vocals for his album, he stayed in the room with me while recording. We had a lot of fun together and made fun of each other. It was great. 🙂
But sometimes it’s nice to have some separation.
The problem with recording in the same room as your computer is, obviously, there is going to be a lot of noise. Computers are loud, hard drives are loud, and sometimes even pieces of gear are loud. If you’re using a fairly sensitive microphone, then all those noises are going to get picked up in the recording.
Sometimes this is okay. Sometimes it’s not.
The second problem is it can be fairly crowded. The room I currently use as my studio in my house is a fairly small room. Once I add a desk for my computer, a separate desk for my rack gear, and space for guitars, there’s not much room left.
I had a session recently where I was recording upright bass and there was also a producer in the room. That’s three people in a small, little room. Needless to say, it got crowded.
The third problem with recording in your control room is that it can get hot. I’ve mentioned before some ways to make it more comfortable in the studio.
While recording, it’s a good idea to have all fans and air conditioning off, obviously. The problem then becomes how long can you record before it gets too hot in that room? If you have multiple people in the room, along with multiple pieces of gear, that’s a recipe for a nice, toasty recording experience.
Again, none of these things are deal-breakers, but they are inconvenient, and there are some ways to avoid them.
Luckily for me, the closet in my studio is adjacent to the closet in the bedroom next door. Those two closets share an inside wall. This is perfect for expanding my recording setup.
Here’s what I did. I took a power drill and got the largest drill bit I could find. Then I drilled a hole through the wall inside the closet into the next closet. This was perfect because it wasn’t changing the actual walls of the house, and I wasn’t leaving any visible holes in the walls. The holes were in the closet, which wasn’t a big deal.
I then ran cable through the hole, into the next room, and (voilá!) I’ve got a separate tracking room. This is especially great for guitar amps because I can have the guitarist in the room with me, but the loud amp is in the next room.
It’s also great because now because the microphone is only picking up what’s in that room, and not this room, all the noise that my computer produces is no longer an issue.
Not great for everything
While this is a great solution, I doubt many people can acoustically treat two rooms in their house. Our wives are nice enough to let us treat our rooms. It’s probably asking a lot to treat two bedrooms. 😉
That leaves us with a microphone in an untreated space. For loud things like trumpet and guitar amps, this isn’t really a problem. For vocals, it might not be very good. As I’ve mentioned before, acoustic treatment is what helps you capture a nice, tight, dry sound. If you are recording in an untreated room, that becomes an issue.
A second problem with having a second tracking room is it becomes almost impossible for me to record myself in another room. I won’t be able to see the computer or do anything on the screen while I’m recording, and I would end up just wasting time while I run back and forth between the rooms.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you do to get some separation between yourself and the musicians.