There’s a common misconception about what a recording studio looks like, where it’s suppose to be and how it’s made. Not only have things seriously changed in the last several years due to advancements in recording technology, so has the “ear” of music industry professionals.
More and more professional, chart-topping recordings are being made in homes. Yep – you heard me right, I said in homes. Just like the one you live in.
For instance, groups like Modest Mouse, Ray LaMontagne, Weezer, and Blink 182 have all recorded recent albums in regular ole houses. There are many others too and the list is growing every day. Both Modest Mouse and Ray LaMontagne have even won national music awards for recordings from albums made in home recording studios.
You might be wondering what happened that created this shift in “studio design.”
If you know anything about recording Music recording studio production, and you probably do if you grew up watching music videos, the image you have of what a studio should look like and feel like isn’t a house. You probably expect there to be hardwood floors, a vocal booth, vaulted ceilings, dead rooms full of foam padding and a separate control room where the engineer sits. Although some of these things may still be in the new professional home studio designs, none are necessary, and many of these studios lack some or all of these features.
First off, there’s been a growing trend in studio recording practices that’s putting the “old school” pro studio design out of use. The best engineers in the business are looking to find more natural sounding environments to make recordings in. There were a lot of stale sounding recordings that came out of the 1980’s and even the 1990’s and a lot of engineers attribute this to the studio environments of those days. People don’t live in “perfect sounding” foam padded houses and that’s certainly not where they listen to music at. Most people listen to music in normal rooms in their homes, in their cars, at concert venues and sometimes when they’re at band practice in their garage.
The trend now in recording – and I believe it’s a good one – is to capture the natural, “imperfect” sounds of a room in the recordings. By making recordings this way, the sound of the recordings imitate real life listening environments much better and often result in a more realistic, believable sound that most listeners appreciate more. And because of this growing practice, many modern recordings sound more alive and realistic than they have in years.
Secondly, it’s not as difficult as people think to create ideal recording environments within their homes. When recording, sometimes it is a good thing to have that dead room sound, or some other feature offered by the old, architecturally perfect studios. But the thing is, you don’t need your studio to be architecturally perfect to emulate the sounds captured in such recording environments. With modern effects and cheap options for controlling the acoustics in a room, just about every recording environment you could imagine can easily be imitated within your own home.
So what does all this mean to an average musician?
It means a lot actually. It means that you should definitely consider creating your own recording studio rather than paying an outside studio. You don’t need a fancy studio to make good recordings. You really just need enough space to play and mic whatever instruments you plan on recording. Even a drum set, probably the biggest of all instruments, usually doesn’t need anything more than a small room. With a little understanding about the nature of acoustics and a few cheap items (that you may already have) to control the acoustics in your recording space, you are good to go!
For whatever reason, if you can’t record yourself, and plan on going to a studio, don’t be put off by home recording studios. There’s a good chance that they can do everything you want done, even without the typical studio setting. They might even be cheaper because of it!
Brandon Robertson is “The Home Recording Guy.” Sponsor of The Independent Musician Source.
As a studio owner and veteran musician he’s an expert at making great sounding recordings in home environments and on a low budget. He’s teaching musicians all of the world how cheap and easy it is to record themselves and avoid wasting time and money at recording studios. His love of independent music has driven him to do whatever he can to support DIY and independent musicians everywhere.