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Modern Technology and The Homegrown Recording Studio

A high-profile studio facility is where many well-known stars go to record their music, but with big recording budgets now a thing of the past, more bands (and serious regional musicians) are investing in their own multiple-purpose spaces where they can store equipment, rehearse and mix their own sounds.

The evolution of the recording studio began at the turn of the last century, when many electronic innovations first enabled recordings of live performances. Both the first and second world war created technological innovations that allowed for the next big change in music: the sound recording studio.

Compared to mid-twentieth century, today’s optimal sound studios are much more advanced. They’re graced with the finest professional audio consoles produced by the Neve company, among others. Neve consoles have been popular since British electronics designer Rupert Neve started his company in 1961, like the one used at DiaDan Studios (formerly of Nova Scotia’s DiaDan Holdings Ltd.) on Magnolia Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.

From the 1970s onward, Los Angeles recording studios played a key role in the Golden Age of Rock ‘n Roll—when album rock became the dominant force in popular music through the rest of the twentieth century. The aforementioned DiaDan Studios represents the best of modern professional recording, attracting soloists and groups for its 3,000 square foot live room, well-equipped with three isolation booths, a projection screen, and a comprehensive array of gear.

A home studio isn’t going to be as large or complex, however, a professional result can be achieved with some good planning.

Invest in professional design and construction advice

If you want a full-fledged recording studio, to achieve the performance of a professional facility, you will need to hire a designer and invest a lot of money to build it from the ground up. Especially if your home studio is to be a money-making venture, finding professionals in your area that specialize in this type of renovation is a wise investment. The modest outlay can easily be recouped in money saved through doing the job right the first time.

The Right Room

Concentrate on choosing the right room. For example, locating your studio on a ground floor room is best, because you’ll have to isolate your recording space with double walls and floating floors, which add a lot of weight for the existing structure. Perhaps your basement rooms might be usable, but not if the ceilings are too low—not just because of standing room but problems with sound reflection.

A rectangular room with no alcoves, closets or other “holes” provides the most consistent, predictable sound. No triangles or half-moons, either. Only parallel walls so that sound reflections can be dealt with equally.

Structure before Sound

Deal properly with floors, walls, heating and air, before you spend money on sound equipment. It’s easy to upgrade sound equipment, but it’s difficult to fix a room once the work has already been done. Ceilings should be soft to absorb sound and wood or cement floors for reflective purposes. Layers of natural materials work best for walls. When building professional, sound-proofed walls from scratch, layers of natural materials to control sound vibration can result in walls that are 20 inches thick. If that is outside of the budget, people choose to condition their walls with acoustic panels or use moving blankets to “baffle” the sound.

Once all that is sorted, the studio is ready for sound equipment—and your next big hit.

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