Whether you plan to build a home recording studio or set up a professional facility, one of the most important questions you will have to answer is how much space you need.
There are several factors to keep in mind when trying to figure out space requirements for a studio. You will have to determine the budget you are working with, the equipment you want to fit in, and the type of recording you want to do. Giving careful thought to all these factors will go a long way in avoiding potential problems in the future.
A small recording studio typically needs a desk, a computer, monitor speakers, and an audio interface.
Factors to consider in creating a recording studio
What type of recording studio do you want to build?
The first thing to consider is the type of recording studio you are looking to create. Do you expect to record full bands, or will you be focusing mainly on solo singer/songwriters? Will you need to record entire ensembles, or would you be satisfied with recording one instrument at a time? Answering these questions will help you determine the most appropriate type of studio for your needs.
If you are looking for a modest space to record demos, or songs with individual musicians or solo-artists, you don’t need much more space than a typical guest room. If your goal is to record bands or multiple musicians at once, then a larger space, such as a basement or two combined rooms, will be helpful, as you will want sufficient space to house a recording space and a control room in which you could do your mixing. Having separate areas allotted for these different tasks will allow you to work more efficiently and possibly even work on multiple projects simultaneously.
What is the best size for a recording studio?
In general – the bigger the space, the better for recording. Tall ceilings, irregularly shaped, wide and long. But for many people, a space like this doesn’t exist at their home.
If you plan on recording only vocals, you can get away with a relatively small room, and compensate for the recording space size with tricks like artificial reverb, to mimic a larger space. In fact, an area the size of a closet is often all you need. But if that sounds a bit tight, a small room is a good place to get started with.
If you are planning on recording a full band, you will need considerably more space. You will need to accommodate everyone comfortably and have enough room for the instruments and necessary equipment. As a room size, this translates to approximately 20 feet by 20 feet.
Your choice of recording equipment will also determine your space requirements. If you have limited space available, you might have to hold off on buying a large mixing console or studio monitors and instead settle for smaller models.
You could also consider investing in a more powerful computer and use software instead of analog equipment. Hardware EQs, compressors, and other rack-mounted units take up a considerable amount of space, which you could save if you go with software alternatives.
What is the average size for a home recording studio?
Your home recording studio will need to have sufficient space to accommodate a full computer system, your audio interface, and your mic setup. In most residential rooms, the average 10 feet by 13 feet, with 8.5 feet ceilings will work just fine.
Of course, having even more space would be beneficial even if you don’t plan on using it all right away. Ultimately, you want to be able to record without feeling cramped or getting in each other’s way.
Planning the layout of your studio
After you have chosen the equipment and set up space for it, the next thing to consider is how you will make use of the area. It is always helpful to plan out the room’s layout for ergonomics and maximum efficiency. This is especially important if you have limited space and don’t want to struggle to work around your equipment.
Make sure that you have enough power sources and that electrical outlets are conveniently located. There is always something else that needs to be plugged in, and you don’t want to have to disrupt a recording session because a power outlet is just out of reach.
If you have a reasonably large space, consider dividing it into two sections. You can allot one area for recording, and do your mixing in the other section. This could help enhance your workflow and allow you to work more efficiently.
The acoustics of the space
If you are serious about getting quality results, pay close attention to the acoustics of the room. Acoustics play a significant role in the transmission and reception of sound, both of which are crucial for recording and mixing.
For recording purposes, as we mentioned before: the bigger and taller the space, the better for recording. This is because bigger spaces tend to have more pleasing natural acoustics. Larger spaces prevent sound waves from bouncing back and messing with your perception.
The material of your walls and floor will also affect how sound is perceived. Hardwood and concrete are often favored for their reflective qualities, but you might need some dampening to control the sound reflections. Things like acoustic paneling, bass traps, and even furniture like couches or filled bookshelves will help control the room sound. If you are recording a drum kit, consider using a rug to section off that area in your studio and provide additional dampening.
Consider the noise factor as well. While you are inside your studio, listen for sound coming in from outside. If you can hear your neighbors or the cars driving by outside, you will need to soundproof your room to prevent external noise from seeping into your recordings.
Think about how much sound you will be making. Just as you want to prevent sound from coming in, you will also want to prevent it from leaking out. This is especially important if you live close to other people, as you don’t want your activities to result in a noise complaint. Soundproofing your room so that sound doesn’t leak through will allow you the freedom to record as much as you want, whenever inspiration strikes.
Make sure that your recording area is soundproof.
Creating a recording studio is one of the most challenging projects you could undertake. It will entail a lot of time and effort and cost you a fair bit of money. Ultimately, however, the work and expense will be worth it, and you can expect a rewarding recording space in which you could give free rein to your musical creativity.