There seems to be a perception that professional studios, hate the idea of home studios. I suppose this comes from the digital take over of everything else like newspapers, magazines and anything else you can download. The truth is a home studio will never have the budget or flexibility of a professional studio, so there should be no reason for hostility. That’s why most major artists, still prefer recording at professional studios with trained engineers and producers. But there is still incredible value in having a home studio. You would probably be surprised to find out that most professional industry people probably have some variation of a home studio! That is because we have the resources today to work on similar programs and digital effects that we would in the professional studio. Home Studios are not only fun, but a great place to hone your skills for your career.
I often liken home studios to flight simulators. You can practice and perfect how to fly a flight simulator, but I would want a trained pilot flying my plane. I’m a huge aviation nerd as well, I admit I’ve spent hours logging in hours on my virtual 747, but that does not mean I’m ready to hope in the cockpit of a real one. The same goes for an engineer or producer. Just because you can do something on a virtual studio does not mean you can sit behind a Neve or SSL and run it flawlessly.
What I DO love about home studios is that you can have absolutely no idea what you are doing with mixer, mic or compressor and learn exactly how they work. It’s pretty well known that studio time is VERY expensive, even the cheapest in the Nashville area is above $500 a day. A home studio gives you the opportunity to work out the kinks and build your confidence when you do enter a real studio. The most important to a studio is the fact that you can’t physically break a computer generated console, instrument or gear. Just like the many times I’ve crashed my 747 into the ground…
There are some incredible home studios out there, some that might rival the cost of a professional one. I personally helped a gentleman buy over $10,000 in gear, and that was just the first day! I’ve included some cool pictures from some even I am envious of. Take a minute to soak it in. I’ll wait.
I know.. I’m drooling too…
But just how can YOU learn at home.
This is a great place for ear training, just like a musician engineers and producers need to train their ears to hear correctly. Learn what sounds good and how to recreate it. Learn what settings to use on compressors, limiters, EQ… There are a ton of things that can change the way a sound sounds. There are books and online programs where you can learn this. Including Jason Corey’s “Audio Production and Critical Listening” or Online sites like Smakmypitchup.com
A great place to play with microphone placement and set up for recording is at home! In the good ol days, producers, engineers and musicians had to get creative to achieve a certain effect. This was before the time of plug-ins. We’ve actually posted quite a few blogs illustrating the cool and creative ways to record sound naturally. But this is a great place to try to mic an amp and listen to the different positions and results.
Microphone types and Uses
You can buy a Dynamic and Condenser Mic for under $100 on ebay or other stores, they don’t have to be top of the line, just a way for you to test the difference between the two. A cheap pair is also good to play around with to see how they work and why.
One skill that often gets over looked by most recording students is the practical side of studios and repair. Every engineer should know how to solder and the basics of electrical circuitry. Go out to Radio Shack and get a check soldering iron and some solder. Practice making cables by soldering tips on and even on some cheap circuit boards. This will separate you from the pack. Sure there are stories of engineers and producers out there that just walk in to a job without ever soldering. But the reality of it is, you are going to enter a studio as a peon. Every skill that you have in your bag will come back to put you ahead of the pack. This also opens many other doors with manufacturers and technology firms. Plus you will never fear a bad connector or broken power supply again.
We have done at least 3 DIY acoustic blogs in the past month.
At home is the IDEAL place to play with monitor placement and sound reflection. Try different rooms, go over to a friends house and work in their room. Having knowledge of Acoustics can lead to a huge opportunity. Auralex has great resources available to help you with sound dampening as well.
Taking the time you have at home to learn these skills will give you the skills you need to compete and even stand out. So while you are sitting at home make the most of your time by working on these skills!
Keep an eye out for our first e-book on the topic coming out next month!
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