Debunking Myths about Setting up a Home Studio

There are a lot of myths in existence about home studios that can hamper people’s ability to create a studio that is tailored towards the type of music that they wish to create or even put them off creating a space in which to record sound altogether. Home recording is an area in which a mountain of mistruths exists. Perhaps the most common fallacy that people like to spread is the idea that there are rules to having a home studio that extend beyond ‘make it as effective as possible at recording music that sounds good.’ A studio does not need to be a work of art and does not need to extend across seven different rooms. It simply needs to capture the essence of what is being recorded.

The Myth of the Million-Dollar Studio

Another common misconception that people have about home recording is that you need to spend your entire life savings in order to be able to afford the necessary equipment. An article in South Florida’s Sun Sentinel newspaper described a man who got a loan of thirty-five thousand dollars to set up a home studio as starting it on a ‘shoe-string budget’, perfectly demonstrating the perception that you need to plough everything that you’ve got into a studio in order to achieve the desired sound quality. In reality, it is possible to purchase all the necessary equipment for a mere eight hundred dollars if you shop around for the best deals and don’t insist on having the best possible gadgets known to man. This might require getting into a small amount of debt, as not everybody has eight hundred dollars to spare, but won’t be likely to bankrupt you. Remember: the main advantage of a home studio is that it costs significantly less than paying for studio time!

Soundproofing with Egg Crates and Carpets

Lots of people believe that they can use literally any material for soundproofing when putting together a studio. There is a misguided idea that egg crates achieve acceptable results. In reality, they are made of light, porous cardboard and do nothing for soundproofing. Putting carpet on the walls is another way in which people sometimes attempt to soundproof a room. This is also ineffective, as it doesn’t affect low frequencies and they are the ones that require controlling for good isolation. According to Sound on Sound magazine, the term ‘soundproofing’ is misleading because in the majority of real-world situations, it is possible to reduce leakage but not to eliminate it altogether. There is a simple rule for reducing leakage: the more solid a wall is, the lower the amount of sound that will be transmitted through it.

Recordings Done on Analogue Gear Sound Better

There is a myth that the sound that you get from analogue gear is better than the sound can be achieved with digital gear. This is simply not true. Digital recordings result in higher fidelity to the original sound sources and bring about a better, cleaner quality of recording. There is a certain warmth to analogue gear brought about by a mild level of distortion but to say that it produces better sound is a fallacy.

Outboard Processors are Needed for High Quality Sound

Some people mistakenly believe that it is essential to utilize a reverb unit or outboard compressor in order to get decent sound. This is not true either, as you can get sounds that sound good by using plug-ins. It is hard to spot the difference between BombFactory BF76 and the outboard that it was modeled on unless you have listened to both for years. Outboard compressors are virtually always better; that is no myth at all. The myth is that they are a necessity if you want to get a good sound.

There Are No Concrete Rules

So there you have it; you don’t need to spend a small fortune on a home studio, analogue doesn’t automatically trump digital, egg crates are no use whatsoever for soundproofing and although outboard processors are better, you still don’t need one to achieve a high quality of sound. There are no concrete rules for putting together a studio. Do whatever works for you and try new things until you discover what is best for your purposes. Experimentation is part of the fun of home recording and will ensure a personal touch to the way in which you capture your sound.