8 Powerful Home Studio Lessons

I’ve been recording in my home studio for years.

I’ve recorded in a hallway at my parent’s house, in a dorm room at college, in a tiny (and really messy) bedroom I shared with a roommate, in church sanctuaries, in lots of apartments, in a log house, and finally in 3 different rooms in my current house.

The one common theme? NONE of those places were designed to be studios.

That’s the beauty and the frustration of working in home studios. All those imperfections make for a challenging (but immensely rewarding) environment for making music.

Over the years I’ve learned countless valuable lessons, but today I want to share with you eight of the most POWERFUL lessons I’ve learned. These are things that have made a dramatic impact on the quality of my recordings.

Here we go… (more…)

Take a Minute to Celebrate Your Studio

It’s Independence Day here in the US.

That means lots of food, fireworks, and celebrating.

We have a lot to celebrate. I’m actually celebrating a few personal victories this month by buying a new guitar! (I’ll tell you all about her once she arrives.)

I’m immensely thankful that I live in the US, a land of freedom.

But I’m also immensely thankful that I live in the 21st century, a time of insane technological advances. For a minimal investment, normal folks like you and me can start making and recording great-sounding music.

And for that I’m stupid thankful. (more…)

Key to a Comfortable Recording Session

Ugh…it’s so hot in here.

I say that a lot in my studio.

It’s kind of the nature of the beast, right? You’re recording in your home studio, AKA spare bedroom, and you don’t want to capture the sound of the air conditioner in your recordings, right? Right.

Some noises you can’t control – like computer and hard drive noise. But at least you can turn off the AC while you’re recording.

Especially if you’re using a sensitive condenser microphone on a fairly quiet source, I highly recommend turning off the AC. I’ve mentioned before that noise isn’t as big deal, but it’s always a good idea to eliminate obvious noises if at all possible.

But one thing happens…especially if it’s July…in Nashville. Heat.

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Why Noise isn’t a Big Deal

In your recordings in your home studio, are you constantly worried about noise? Be honest, it’s okay if you are.

That is something that I have struggled with my entire recording career. Homes, apartments, houses — they’re just not very quiet. A professional recording studio is acoustically treated and isolated. If you walk into a pro vocal booth, it is dead quiet.

But the question I have for you is this — is that really that important? Here’s what I think: no, not really.

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One of the Most Overlooked Steps of Recording

When I started recording more seriously, I was spending most of my time in professional studios. Fancy studios are awesome. You’ve got a pretty control room with a big console, patchbay, and couches. You’ve got a nice big tracking room, and you’ve probably got a couple of extra rooms or vocal booths thrown in there.

All this is great. For us home studio folks, chances are the musicians we record are no farther away than the other side of the room. Most of us don’t have the luxury of multiple recording rooms, vocal booths, etc.

While all those rooms are nice, I found that it’s VERY easy to fall into a trap. When you’re setting up to record something, you’re running back and forth from the tracking room to the control room, patching mics to preamps, checking levels, etc. It’s really a lot of fun. Then you turn up the monitors in the control room and start listening to the instrument you just mic’d up.

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How Should I Connect My Preamp to My Interface?

2143443898_5c1e3c9f6d.jpegAfter posting the review of the Presonus Eureka, several of you asked me how to exactly connect an external preamp to an audio interface.

While this may seem simple enough, a lot of home studio owners are doing this wrong. It’s not the end of the world, don’t worry. However, you need to know the proper way to connect these things, since it might adversely affecting the quality of your recordings.

Mic Input vs. Line Input

What is the purpose of a preamp? Why does it exist? As I mentioned in Intro to Preamps, microphones produce a very low-level signal. Without a microphone preamp, the signal remains unusable.

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