Building a Home Recording Studio From Scratch
By Space Coast Daily // June 7, 2019
The Space Coast is all about technology, isn’t it? NASA is just down the road and influences everything all around it, from private enterprise to clubs to do it yourself enthusiasts. After the shuttle program shut down, a lot of the energy and excitement went with it. It seemed like everything was on the downhill slide.
But with the revival of the space program, fueled by private companies like SpaceX, interest in high tech gadgets is coming back as well. From laptops and PCs to smartphones and smartwatches, electronic equipment is coming back to the Coast. Jobs are being created and people have money to spend once more.
Maybe this is a good time to revive your own tech hobbies for fun and profit.
If sound is where it’s at you, at microphonegeeks.com, they have everything you need to build your own recording studio right at home. You can learn about live microphones for recording live sessions. If you’re on a budget there are USB microphones. Of course, if you’ve got money there are studio mic, shotgun mics and more.
A good place for kids to learn about audio and studio recording is the summer STEAM program – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. The four-week course offers a wide range of high tech projects and world-class speakers.
Do It Yourself
If you’re not a kid or don’t have any, or you’re more interested in tackling things on your own, don’t despair. You can find plenty of ideas and help to get your homegrown studio off the ground. Microphones are just the start.
Acoustics And Soundproofing
Bare walls do funny things to sound that the best microphone in the world can’t overcome. Echo and reverb will cause all kinds of distortion in the sound coming to your microphone and it can’t discriminate between what to pick up and what to ignore. You need to give it a little help by covering the walls with acoustical or soundproofing material.
Acoustic foam absorbs sound instead of letting it reflect off the hard surfaces in your basement studio. It can also help absorb and block noise coming from outside. The result is peace and quiet free from distracting noises or brassy echoes. Acoustical foam is available with a sticky back so you can put it on the ceiling, walls, windows, doors, and even wrap it around noisy pipes.
Soundproofing vs Acoustics
We’ve been using the terms soundproofing and acoustics as if they were interchangeable, and to many people, they are the same, but in fact, they’re very different.
Soundproofing makes a room quieter because it absorbs and blocks external noise. It doesn’t do anything about the noises inside the room, it just keeps external ones from penetrating the room and being picked up on the mic.
Acoustic treatments will absorb excessive internal sound in the room to prevent distortion, reverb, and echoes. Acoustic treatments allow sound to reach the microphone when it is coming directly from the source, but not from the sides.
Methods Of Soundproofing
There are four basic methods for soundproofing a room.
Materials that are dense have a lot of mass in a small area. An ounce of metal is dense but an ounce of feathers isn’t. They both weigh the same but have different densities. Dense materials don’t vibrate in response to sound waves. The denser they are, the less they vibrate. The less they vibrate, the less sound gets through them. You can add a special kind of vinyl that has extra mass, called sheetblock, to the walls of your home studio. It does a good job of soundproofing.
When two items are touching, vibrations from one can transfer to the other very easily. Decoupling them involves isolating them from each other with the use of dense pliable materials such as rubber or heavy foam. Double walls, which contain a layer of air, can also act as decouplers.
This is the process of turning kinetic energy of sound into heat, thereby preventing sound from moving past the damper. Green Glue is a well-known damping agent when it is used between sheets of plywood or drywall.
Filling Air Gaps
Cracks and crevices develop over time in even the most well-constructed house or building. Those cracks and crevices offer easy passage to sound waves. Plugging those holes with acoustic caulk is cheap and easy.
Do It Yourself
Making your own recording studio is hard sweaty work but it isn’t complicated. All it takes a little bit of money and a lot of elbow grease.
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