If you’re a musician, having your own place to practice and record is incredibly important. Unfortunately, renting out time in a recording studio can cost anywhere from $50-$500 per hour. Most independent artists and bands just don’t have that kind of cash.
But, if you’re willing to utilize your resources and put in a little elbow grease, you can completely transform an unused space in or around your home, or even in your community into a music studio for you or your band.
You’ve heard of the term ‘garage band’ before — and may even be one, but there are other unique places to consider using, including empty churches, a storage shed, an unused business, or even a school practice room.
But, if you truly want to transform your studio space, it’s a good idea to choose a location that you or someone in the band owns so you can really make it your own. Once you have the perfect location, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to completely change it into the perfect space for practicing, recording, writing, and connecting with your bandmates.
Let’s look at a few tips you can use to make the most of your unused space.
Any musician will tell you that one of the most important features of a solid recording studio is making sure it’s soundproof. The last thing you want is for noise from traffic outside or people in other areas of your home to leak into your recordings.
Soundproofing isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of insulating the space which you can either do with soundproofing foam or panels. If you really want to renovate your space, you might even consider tearing down some of the drywall and installing better insulation. But, if you’re using an old building or room, take precautions when renovating. Buildings that were constructed before the 1980s may contain asbestos. When it’s breathed in, it can lead to:
A dry cough
It can also linger in your lungs for years and eventually contribute to diseases like lung cancer or mesothelioma. Simply put, if you’re tearing down walls or doing construction within your studio space, make sure you know the materials it was made from and how to keep yourself safe while working.
What You Need to Record
With your space ready to go, there are a few key things every studio should have. First, you’ll want to make sure you have adequate power access. You will have dozens of cords for instruments, amps, and recording equipment. Having a power source is essential. You’ll also need computer stations for recording purposes. Those stations should be well organized because they will be hooked up to cables and equipment, and might be a tripping hazard if you don’t keep them clean.
Your computer(s) will also be useless without making sure you have access to a strong WiFi signal. If you’re using a room in your home or your garage, you may be able to get away with using your existing WiFi. If not, you may be able to use your phone as a mobile hotspot to get WiFi wherever you are.
Other than that, don’t automatically assume you need the most expensive equipment on the market. A few of the key pieces of equipment you’ll need to get started include:
An audio interface
While higher-end recording equipment might give you slightly better quality, most recording devices today sound great and will allow you to put out crystal clear cuts to your fans, or record professional-sounding demos for labels. As long as you have the basics and know how to use them, you can set up your music studio on a budget.
Recording Like a Rockstar
Once you have the right space with the right equipment and accessibility, it’s time to have a little fun with it! One of the great things about utilizing your own unused space is that you own it, and you can ‘decorate’ it however you’d like.
Remember, a music studio isn’t just a place to lay down tracks. It will turn into a space for you and your bandmates to spend time together and brainstorm ideas before recording them. You’ll share serious conversations, a few laughs, and bounce suggestions off of each other. So, it should be a space that inspires creativity and motivates you to be your best.
Everything from the paint color(s) you choose to the decor you hang up will make a difference. For example, if you’re transforming a storage shed or garage that doesn’t have bright lighting, you’ll want to use paint that works well in low lights. Some of the best colors for low-light rooms are:
You can also take the practice of color psychology into account. Some colors can spark creativity better than others, and brighter shades can give you more energy and improve your mood.
Don’t be afraid to make your music studio your own. Hang up some of your band’s accomplishments, or posters that inspire you. Set up a snack bar to keep everyone happy and content during long hours of practicing or recording. It should be a place you can all come to not only to be inspired but to relax and get closer as a band. Keep these tips in mind for the ultimate studio transformation that you can put together from almost any unused space.