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Thursday, 18 February 2016

My New Studio Space

Good morning (or evening) everybody! I’ve got some great news! I have recently been lucky enough to move from my tiny little apartment into a nice big house. I know what you’re all thinking, “bigger studio space”.

Well, that was my first thought too. And now I’ve finished the basic setup even before finishing the bedroom… or any other room in the house for that matter.

So my better half won’t talk to me any more, but that’s cool because I’ve got a great space to make some music instead. When setting up this space it was very important that it looked good, sounded good, and was nice and functional as a creative environment. 

Picking The Mixing Position

As you may know, there’s a lot of text on the internet about where the best position is for putting your mixing desk. Most claiming that you must have your listening position 38% into the room and you should have a friend carry a speaker around the room while listening to find the optimum position.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a designated studio and has to be used for other things so I picked a spot that was the best logistically while still not being a terrible space. It’s on a short wall (which is good) It’s in the centre of the wall (which is good) and there’s not too much flat space behind me.

The other spot I had picked as a potential spot for my mixing space was alright, however there was a big open window behind me which showed a big open sky. This has nothing to do with the sound, but I knew that if I had my computer screens there, they’d be constantly washed out by the reflection of this window. No use mixing if you can’t see what you’re doing.

Second Listening Space!!!

Now, this is a feature that I think is pretty awesome. I have a great set of home sound system speakers and a nice stereo that I can hook up to my sound card out of another set of outputs. This sound system is pointed at the lounge area of the room in a nice stereo setup.

This is a great feature. Not only do I get a sound system to use for entertainment that’s hooked up to a computer with spotify and all that other stuff for personal listening and lounging about, I also get an instant reference listening position without having to run anything off or leave the room.

I believe that having ways to reference your mixes in different environments is more valuable than any set of studio monitors or headphones can be. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars on a good set of studio monitors, but you’ll always be subject to the limitations of what those monitors can provide you in the space that they’re placed.

This setup is a great way to have my setup with a permanent referencing space and also a great place to show clients how their  mixes are coming along while they chill on the couch. Plus, having the couch there gives some much needed sound absorption.

Everything At My Fingertips

One thing I really wanted to focus on in this room was functionality. While I don’t want to have everything sitting out all the time, I wanted to use the space in a smarter way so that everything that I want to use is easily accessed when I need it. 

For this reason I changed the position of my keyboard. If you’ve seen photos of my old studio, you’ll notice that I had a whopping great 88 key keyboard sitting across my studio desk. This was great in that it was right in front of me when I needed it, but it did get in the way of me accessing my preamps and was not very comfortable to play in that position… also it couldn’t have done much for the sound.

For this reason, I put the keyboard up on a stand next to the studio desk. This means that it’s still right there when I need it, it’s just a little less cluttered and a lot easier to play. I also got to keep an upright piano from the previous owner that sits right behind the keyboard which is pretty cool.

I have all my guitars set out on a 7 rack guitar stand that’s tucked away but easy to reach. On top of that I have a single stand to keep one guitar at really easy reach if I’m picking it up and putting it down a lot.

I’ve still gotta figure out how I want my amp and Axe FX set up, but that shouldn’t be hard. I want to take it slow to make sure I keep things nice and neat so I don’t end up with a messy room that’s hard to look at. 

Acoustic Treatment

Unfortunately I've got to keep this room looking like a social space and can't go all out on sound deadening. As much as I'd like to get heaps of traps, panels and clouds, it's just not too practical. 

Luckily for me the room actually has few flat parallel walls and there's blinds covering most of 2 walls (including the one behind me). These won't absorb heaps of sound but they will tame the high frequency slap back. 

I'm also lucky to have carpeted floors and couches strategically placed in the back 2 corners of the room, acting as a bit of a bass trap. 

Although I don't have plans for too much sound deadening, I would like to add some panels in the critical early reflection positions. This will likely mean having a panel either side of me, a cloud above my head and something in front of me to clean up my stereo image. 

This is a great space and an awesome opportunity to make some sweet, sweet music. I'm looking forward to modding this space to my personal tastes. 

If you have any comments or suggestions on things I sho

uld do, feel free to leave me a message in the comments section below. 

Happy mixing!

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