Every time the movies show someone recording, they’re in a cool little booth–they’re never just out in the open. There’s a reason for this: that’s what real recording rooms look like.
However, if you’ve got home recording equipment and a closet, you can set up a great recording booth. Here’s a look at the process.
Choosing a room.
Your logical first step will be choosing a room. You’ll probably have more control over your sound by choosing a small wooden room; the purpose of a recording booth is to isolate sound, so you don’t want anything that will echo too much or create inaccuracies in the sound reproduction of your songs.
I like a room that’s just big enough to fit a guitarist and a microphone in. I use the recording booth primarily for singer songwriters or just singers. However, if you usually record another type of instrument, you’ll need to plan accordingly. You’ll also be limited by the number of rooms in your house–consider closets first.
Alternately, you might decide to build a small recording booth if you’re particularly handy. If you go this route, be careful to leave enough space for sound dampening materials, and consider building the end of an audio snake right into the wall. This will make it easy to plug in microphones (we’ll get a little more into that later in this article).
Think about isolation.
Like I said earlier, isolation is extremely important. To improve isolation, you’ll need to use acoustic dampeners and insulation materials.
Commercial home insulation works amazingly well in my home studio’s recording booth. It’s on the outside of the wood and above the room in the ceiling. You can also buy expensive sound-dampening materials from a professional music website if you can afford it. You’ll get great isolation from these materials.
Some people swear by egg containers; try a few of these to see if they work. Cut the bottoms off and glue them to your walls. This is a great low-cost method.
You’ll be in the best position if you have drop ceiling, as you can run the XLR wires that you’ll need for your microphones and the 1/4″ cables that you need for headphones and instruments straight to your board through the ceiling. If this isn’t an option, think about investing in a sound snake as described above.
Once you’ve ran wires and done a little insulating, experiment. See how changes to the room will affect the sound of recorded instruments and vocals. You’ll get the most out of your home’s new recording booth if you’re a little bit adventurous.
Do you have any other tips for setting up a home recording booth? Post in our comments section below.