I never could have imagined the joy of a home music studio. In 2020 we built a home music studio in our basement. Timing gave us the ability to turn our basement TV room, rec room, and extra bedroom into a home studio.
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This studio has become a gathering place for my teenage sons and their friends and for my husband and his musician friends. It kept everyone occupied during the pandemic and civil unrest in our city. Now it provides a designated space to go to and do creative work. And it allows me some peace upstairs!
Our journey to a home music studio
When I first met my husband he was a visual artist and a drummer in various local bands. He lived in an old warehouse building that had been turned into artists’ lofts.
It was a great place–about 1500 square feet of open space with gigantic wood posts and beams, brick walls and huge arched windows. The warehouse loft was a great big space to work on messy projects.
When we got married and had our first child we lived in this incredible space. Our baby’s crib was actually in one of my husband’s large art installations.
My husband and his band had an official soundproof practice space in the basement of the warehouse. We lived with and in art.
We realized we needed a different kind of space
But we realized we needed a different type of space to raise a family. So, we moved to a small post World War II starter home in a quaint neighborhood. It was a good move, but we lost our sense of “studio.”
My husband continued to work on his art but was relegated to the garage. Once in a while he was able to play his drums in the basement of the house, but could only do so when no little ones were sleeping.
As our family grew, we moved to a slightly bigger house six doors down the block.
This house had a slightly larger footprint and therefore a bigger basement. For many years the basement was half storage and laundry room and half semi-finished playroom/ TV room.
My husband’s drum set sat in the corner at the back of the unfinished storage room. He again was working on his art in the garage.
The birth of a studio
As our children grew up and left home, we were able to reclaim the playroom portion of the basement. We still had two teenagers left at home, so we needed an out of the way place for them to hang out.
My husband had the big idea of setting up a studio area in the ex-playroom. He wanted to set up a spot to teach students online and to mix music for small projects requested by students or musicians.
Our idea was that this studio would be a place the teenagers could gather with their guitars and computer. And my husband could have a desk, computer monitors, keyboards, amplifiers, cords, and all the gadgets that go along with a music studio.
They could all kind of hang out together. And with this, the Home Studio was born.
It gets loud
My husband set up his drums in what used to be a makeshift bedroom in the back of the basement and called that the “Drum Room.” This area was not sound insulated at all. The whole house rattled and shook each time he played. I am sure the neighbors can still feel and hear drumming reverberating through the ground to their house.
When I pull up in the car and they are in the basement drumming, I can hear it all the way down to the curb. I kind of slink into the house.
Drums are just so loud! I don’t know what can be done about that. The boys can turn down the volume on the electric guitars, but not so on the drums.
Setting up the home music studio has helped. It has provided a designated space to store all of the music equipment and gear. We can “go to the studio” and work on hobbies and creative production. It is separate from the rest of the house.
Some tips for setting up a home music studio
Step 1: Find an appropriate space
Since our basement was where the available space was, that dictated where the studio would go. Being underground probably does help absorb much more of the sound but sound does travel through the ground, and I am not sure which neighbors we are disturbing. Luckily, young, childless people live on both sides of us. We live in the city, so our houses are close. It would be MUCH better to live out away from everyone noise disturbance-wise.
Step 2: Purchase an audio capture device
My husband’s next step in building the home studio was to purchase an audio capture device. This device converts analog audio into digital audio. It comes with software that allows musicians to capture sound, compose music, edit music, and then mix the music to a final product.
Step 3: Learn how to use the audio capture device and software
The next step in the home studio journey was to learn to use the audio capture device and the accompanying software. These things are complex and watching YouTube videos just did not cut it. My husband realized he needed some kind of online instruction or course.
After some research, my husband chose an online instruction course called Musician on a Mission. He thoroughly enjoyed learning how to identify his current skills, how to mix sound, and how to build up to providing a full-service sound engineering studio.
Step 4: Soundproof
In my mind this step should come first! Living in a house with a drummer and kids playing electric guitars, I would argue this should be first. But my husband says that once you have developed the fundamental skills and basic tools required to operate a full-service studio, THEN it’s time to soundproof. The soundproofing is more for improving the quality of sound in the studio than it is for preventing sound from going to other areas of the house. So the soundproofing is for the musicians, not the family of the musician! In my opinion, if loud noises are entering the house–through whatever means–soundproofing materials should be in place.
Step 5: Build a Body of Work
After the obtaining the skills and the tools for a home studio, it is time to build or continue to build a portfolio, a repertoire, your body of work. Collaborate with other artists and musicians to record or document work and develop a reel or portfolio.
Step 6: Experience the joy of a home music studio
You are running a studio.
I wholeheartedly predict that home studios are going to be the next hot trend. What do you think?
More to come as the home music studio gets to work.
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Loved this article! Looks fun.