Studio Size Doesn’t Matter - It's How You Use It!

career building career tips diy home recording studio home recording home studio home studio setup music business music career music industry music recording musician musicians pro level recording Nov 15, 2021

STUDIO SIZE DOESN’T MATTER - It’s How You Use It!

I remember the studio I had in my bedroom when I was in high school. We moved around a lot when I was a kid (hence the name Nomad), and in every house we lived in I always asked my parents for a bigger bedroom than my two brothers. As my gear collection grew I would convert the basements of these houses into make-shift studios. With blankets and pillows propped up along the walls, I created little sound-dampened booths. In one place, I even used a closet. Upon moving out on my own, I would use the spare bedroom in the various apartments that I inhabited. If I didn’t have a spare bedroom, the living room became my studio. All of my relocating over time turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I’ve lived in so many different types of places that it taught me how to maximize the minimum resources available to me. 

TCM Pro Tip: If you live in an apartment, aim to secure the top level corner unit and put your studio in the room that has no shared walls. 

 

🔊 🎛  📻  THE RIG

Back in the day, I started out with a dual cassette boombox rigged up so I could record guitar tracks on one side and drums on the other. Then I got a vintage 1-inch reel to reel machine, and eventually the Tascam Porta-One 4 track cassette recorder. I was indirectly learning the basics of engineering as I laid down track after track.

 

⏯ ⏹ ⏺ ▶️  ENGINEERING DEGREE 

I didn’t have to go to school to study engineering because my primary objective was to perfect my craft as a musician, producer and composer first. By default, I was learning the necessary engineering techniques to get me through for what I needed to accomplish. However, I really appreciate the people who do become devout engineers. Whenever I work with a legit engineer, I always consider it a treat! 

But some of us don’t always have the luxury of working with an engineer. Most of us are pretty much relegated to doing it all ourselves. Many times I’ve seen the DIY approach discourage people from tackling their recording projects and I’m here to encourage you. If you feel like you want to dive into the world of home recording but don’t know where to start, then start with The Career Musician's FREE Studio Gear Checklist.

RECAP

  • Size does NOT matter! The most important thing is that you try to keep some of the reflection dampened and from pinging off the walls.   
  • If you have a square room it can be a little more difficult as the sound waves can bounce around in a cyclical vortex. Again, it’s important that you dampen the walls by hanging some diffuser materials on them.   
  • A desk is a desk. You can spend $50 - $100 on a desk, or you can use the old dusty one in the attic. It does not have to be a fancy studio console desk that costs thousands of dollars. If you can sit comfortably and type with efficiency, then it's sufficient. If there's enough room for your computer and two nearfield monitors (aka studio monitors) then you can forgo the speaker stands on the checklist included in the guide.

 

I've done many sessions on tour busses with less than ideal amounts of space! Not to mention hundreds of hotel rooms with various dimensions and countless tiny backstage rooms.


I remember when I was on the 2005 American Idols Live Tour (the year Carrie Underwood won), I became good friends with the production manager, Patrick. I would always ask Patrick to get me a small room anywhere in the hotel where I could set up my studio for the day. Between sound-check in the daytime and showtime in the evening, I found myself with so much time to kill. In that time, I would be in my make-shift hotel room studio making the most of my limited resources. The takeaway here is that if I can “MacGyver” a pro-level studio out of hardly anything, then you can do it too with just the essentials. For a list of essential gear, download our FREE Home Studio Checklist, and I’ll see you in the studio!

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