Mike Cahill from Redfin invited us to contribute some insights to help navigate the process of building your own home music studio!

Colder weather is approaching, and the average American’s options for outdoor activities are beginning to dwindle. While winter recreation can be a blast, there’s truly no better time to hunker down and enjoy our favorite hobbies than from the comfort of your own home. What better way to do that than building your own at-home music studio? From equipment to acoustics, we’ve got you covered with tips on creating the ultimate home music studio from the experts who know best. Whether you’re in Roseville or Greensboro, read on to learn how you can create an authentic studio-like experience at home.

Create a space where you feel inspired to work

Know the kind of environment that makes you want to work, and set up your studio that way. If you like to focus with minimal distraction, your studio should have the functional sparseness of a meditation room. But you can spark creativity by filling the space with meaningful things to get your mojo working. – Nashville Guitar Guru

For both teaching music lessons and writing/producing music, the key to a successful home studio comes from an ability to focus. Things like; setting up your space in an isolated part of the house, strategically hanging sound absorption panels on the wall, bass traps in the corners, and making sure the doorway is fairly well-sealed help keep the studio quiet both inside and outside. Of course, studio monitors, an interface, a computer monitor that allows for easy workflow, and an ergonomic layout of instruments also help to keep things flowing smoothly – I use JBL 5 inch studio monitors with an Apollo Twin interface and speak/sing into a Rode NT1-A all day which helps to save my voice from fatigue. I play and teach piano, guitar, bass, drums, voice, banjo, and clarinet regularly so it’s important that I can get to these instruments quickly and be heard from multiple areas in my room. – Collingswood Sound

Don’t underestimate the importance of proper sound treatments

My first recording studio was a spare closet where I attached blankets from Value Village to the walls.  When we moved to a smaller house in the city, we constructed a pop-up recording booth using only PVC pipes, moving blankets and zip ties, all from the hardware store (I have step-by-step instructions available here). Having a properly treated recording space is more important to your sound quality than having the most expensive microphone, and you can do it for not much money. My clients have always been happy with my sound. – Suzanne Amey, Genuine VO

Nine times out of ten the missing element in a home studio is acoustics.  Incredible instruments, microphones, and gear will only get you so far in a less than stellar sounding room.  It is so hard to trust what you hear, perform your best, and feel creative and inspired when working in a room that is a boomy echoey mess.  The key to creating the Ultimate Home Music studio is to focus on the sound and feel of your space so it is inviting and inspiring. – Music City Acoustics

Mic placement is key

One common mistake people make is mic placement. But that’s mostly down to pop culture. Too often we see presenters in movies and TV shows either an inch away (practically kissing the mic) or two feet away shouting. Both sound awful. Get the best sound using just your hand as a measurement. Stretching your pinky finger and thumb out, place them between your mic and mouth. That’s the perfect distance, so you won’t sound too quiet or too loud. – Radio.co

Incorporate soundproofing and acoustic treatments

While gear and software are incredibly important, the money you invest in your recording space will pay off far more. Study acoustics and buy an SPL meter. There are so many things you can do in post, but if your room isn’t up to par, you’ll spend way too much time trying to create the desired sound through effects and plugins as opposed to efficiently creating amazing mixes.- Audio Realms Studios

Having an isolated space and proper acoustic treatment in your home music studio is crucial for clean recordings and a pristine listening experience. Absorption panels, acoustic foam, bass traps, and strategically placed floor rugs will help combat sound reflections from hard, flat surfaces, and diminish the presence of flutter echoes. Unfortunately, professional soundproofing is no small investment; you’ll either need to remodel your room or invest in a sound isolation booth. However, you can still partially lower your noise levels by sealing off air leaks, reinforcing the door, and covering the windows with soundproof curtains or drapes. – Whisper Room

Make sure to treat all parallel surfaces in your room (i.e. walls directly facing each other, or the floor and the ceiling) with acoustic panels. Place bass traps in your corners to avoid or pad 90 degree corners. Next, you can determine where you want to place acoustic panels to avoid early reflections using the ‘mirror trick’. Start by creating an ‘equilateral triangle’ between your two speakers and yourself, to make sure you’re in the acoustic ‘sweet spot’. That means you should have the same distance from you to each speaker, as well as between the two speakers. While you’re sitting in the ‘sweet spot’, have a friend move a mirror across the surface of the walls to your left and right (only the part of the wall between you and the speakers). At any spot you can see one or both of your speakers through the mirror, you’ll want to place acoustic panels to avoid early reflections. – StringKick    

Know how you’re going to power your equipment

When setting up a home studio, the most important thing is the power that is going to supply your equipment. When you have good clean power, your equipment will operate with optimal performance. Power that is dirty will cause additional noise or referencing problems that translate into your recordings. In the United States, your AC power should be 120v and getting a professional power conditioner is beneficial for protecting your valuable audio and computer equipment. – David Hughes, Shine On Studios   

Pay close attention to what your monitors are doing

Quite often we find our clients placing their monitors in completely the wrong position and they are always amazed at the world of difference the placement of the monitors can make, this is something you can do for free and without any professional help. Play a series of test tones at low frequencies and walk around the room to learn where your pressure differentials are. These should be +/- 3dBA max! These pressure differences highlight the location of low frequency high and low spots and will help you to pinpoint the exact locations within your room where low-frequency information is distorted. – Sound Zero

Consider implementing room-correction software

Implementing room-correction software is one of the most effective things you can do to improve your home studio setup. These types of tools use microphones to model your room’s frequency response and automatically adjust the output your speakers provide to compensate for these problem areas in your environment. Maybe your room makes bass frequencies too loud (a common issue), but proper room correction tools can fix these types of problems. By using a room correction tool you’ll end up with a flat, accurate sounding home studio environment, all the while spending a mere fraction of the money normally needed to create such an accurate sound. – eMastered

Invest in a quality chair

Chances are you’ll be doing a lot of sitting, so make sure your chair is giving you the ergonomic support you need. And even when you have a good quality chair, you still need to get up and take a break every so often. A few minutes of rest is very good for your body, eyes, and mind. – Liberty Park Music                                                                 

Keep your gear as accessible as possible

When setting up a home music studio, the biggest thing I’ve learned is to make instruments and gear have spots where they are both accessible and have a cool vibe for filming and writing. Having to take things out of cases, look for cables/pedals/gear, and then put everything back at the end of the day can take a lot of time away from creating music, so make a plan of where things can go and still look good before you create your space. My favorite things I’ve done for my music space include getting guitar hooks/standard from String Swing, looking for pieces that help hide cables, setting up a wall with good natural light for filming, and keeping my cases I don’t use often in a storage space. – Haley Powers Music

Select equipment based on the priority of its application

Unless you just won the lottery, making decisions on equipment selection for a home studio is one of the most challenging parts of the process. When I started my career in a small home studio, I took into consideration what type of sessions I would be doing most often and carefully selected the best options I could afford for that specific application. As my business grew, I began to add gear based on what would serve my projects in the most impactful way. For example, when choosing a DAW, ask yourself, which program is best suited for my workflow and the styles of music I will be working on? When choosing microphones and outboard gear; which pieces will provide versatility for the different applications they would be used for? As you begin to narrow these down, consider each piece of gear as a long term investment in the quality of your work. Remember that spending a little more now could earn you much more in the future if it will improve the quality of your work. – The Record Shop Nashville

A home studio should be a place for creation, where you feel comfortable spending time and letting ideas flow freely. Investing in high quality gear the first time is priority. Get yourself a good quality, reliable interface from the likes of PreSonus or Focusrite that won’t interrupt your sessions. Good quality cables from the likes of TourTech are reliable and won’t let you down and some acoustic treatment from Auralex is a great way to ensure you’re getting the best out of any room. Don’t let bad equipment stifle creativity. Invest in the best you can at the time and watch your ideas really come to life.- PMT House of Rock

Let your studio grow with you

The setup I use works equally well in a single-family house as it would in a condo, which is where I started; at that time, I was doing everything through headphones so I wouldn’t disturb my neighbors.  By using an adjustable wood shelf (originally marketed as a TV stand) I’ve been able to get all my gear into a small space and still have easy access to all controls.  As I moved into larger houses, I was able to adapt to the new environment with more equipment. – Beginner Guitar Lessons

Educate on the science of sound and electronic devices

Know and educate on the basics of the science of sound and electronic devices. In order to build student confidence and minimize anxiety, it is necessary to educate students on the basic science of sound and electronic devices used in lessons or practice. Remind students that what they hear from an electronic device is not how they sound in real life since these built-in or external microphones from our phones, computers, recording devices, etc. only capture certain wavelengths in a given sound. – Martucci Music

Like Rome, your studio won’t be built in a day 

Start where you are. Don’t wait until you feel like it’s the “right time” to get started on creating your studio. We put things together piecemeal over the course of several years, buying a few things here and there, and eventually built up to what we have now. And we’re still adding, building, and changing. – Brown Mountain Lightning Bugs

Originally published on Redfin
November 19, 2020

What Nashville Recording Studio Rates Depend OnGoing to a Nashville recording studio and producing your project at a professional level can be a big investment. It’s essential to know what to expect before you decide to seek the services of professionals to help realize your music dream. One question people commonly ask is about what they would have to pay in case they decide to go to a Nashville recording studio for their work. Contrary to popular belief, though, there is no simple answer to that question. Here are some of the most important questions to ask when researching recording studios and record producers.

What you are going to the Nashville recording studio for

This may sound fairly intuitive, but the main determinant of what you will have to pay for the services of a recording studio is what exactly you are looking for them to do. If you are new to the recording world and are looking to complete a basic demo recording of yourself and your instrument or backing track, rates could range from under $100 to a few hundred (per song) depending on the quality of studio and whether it is a “demo factory” or commercial facility. Maybe you are an seasoned artist with some recording experience, and looking to take the next step in your career with a “master” quality recording. In that case you should expect to budget in the thousands. If you are creating a “full-band” it is also important to decide whether you have players that your trust to play on your record, or if you want to rely on the producer to hire your studio musicians. I believe the most important aspect of the process is defining what you will be using the recording for. Will your music mainly be sold at local shows, on a major tour, or through online distributors. Are you planning to promote your record to independent or mainstream radio? Are you confident with your creative direction as an artist? Or are you looking for a producer to help you discover that in the process? The answers to these questions will help you define, from a business aspect, what a reasonable investment is for your project, and what type of recording studio is the best fit.

What payment plans the Nashville recording studio offers

Generally, recording studios charge depending on how much time you spend in the studio. Most recording studios also offer packages for creating a complete album. These can include recording, mixing as well as mastering.  Generally, studios will offer a discounted, project rate when combining services. Most studios will require a deposit to secure your scheduled session time. Some studios offer an option to pay as you go, and others may provide payment plans and financing. It is very important to determine when payments will be due in order to budget properly for your project, and not get stuck with something half completed.

What Nashville Recording Studio Rates Depend On

How to find the best Nashville recording studio rates

The best recording studio rates are not always the lowest prices in the market. Nor are they the most expensive. It is important to find a balance between who you feel most comfortable with to capture the vision of your project, and who can do that within a budget that is realistic. Go out and talk to many different recording studios. You are sure to find a range of prices. However, it is pretty easy to tell what you are going to get for your investment if you ask the right questions. Find out what projects the studio has been working on lately. Ask to hear some recent recordings that were produced at the facility, with a similar budget that you have, and by the same crew as you will be working with. Learn about their creative process, and what to expect in each phase of production. Ask if you can speak with other clients, similar to yourself, that the studio has recently worked with. Once you survey the market, you will have a better understanding of the different types of studios that are available and the costs associated with them. Finally, go with your gut and don’t get sold on the, “we make hit records and can make you a star” pitch. With the proper research and careful consideration the decision will be easy to make.

If you would like a quote from The Record Shop, contact us and we can discuss your project in detail to find the best option that fits your individual needs.

How to safely save & transfer Pro Tools sessions computers

For everyone working on a Pro Tools, it is extremely important to know how to move projects or sessions around. The migration can be to a different Pro Tools-based studio or How to safely save and transfer Pro Tools sessions computersto another computer. If not carried out carefully, this might lead to loss of really crucial data and a lot of hard work.

Before moving the Pro Tools session to a different system or location, it is needed that you safely save your session in your computer. The porting of projects can be done on different computers but the issues also arise in case the destination computer has lesser capabilities than the source. In case there is a same kind of computer where you are moving, we can take care of the sessions easily.

Firstly you need to carefully check the session file itself that you want to move along with the related media files. If your files are distributed across different locations, this can be another issue. So, it is important that you consolidate all your files- both audio and video files from different drives to a single location. This will help you in moving the Pro Tools session easily on an external removable drive. This could be a portable flash drive that can help in storing the session file to make the transfer easy.
Open the existing session from the existing drive in tour Pro Tools program. Go to File option in the top menu bar and click on Save Session Copy while checking the box Copy All Audio Files. A new session folder is created in the new location that will contain the copy of the session document and it will contain a folder containing all the Audio files used by the project. You can create different drives at the destination for huge data files.

Once you copy the files to the new location or a new system altogether, you will re-link the data files to the Pro Tools on the system. Also, while transferring the files, make sure that studio you are going to use on destination is compatible with the previous versions and it is safe if it is of same or higher version. In case of PC to Mac system transfer or vice versa, PC-Mac compatibility has to be ensured too.

How to safely save & transfer Pro Tools sessions

For everyone working on a Pro Tools, it is extremely important to know how to move projects or sessions around. The migration can be to a different Pro Tools-based studio or to another computer. If not carried out carefully, this might lead to loss of really crucial data and a lot of hard work.

How to safely save & transfer Pro Tools sessionsBefore moving the Pro Tools session to a different system or location, it is needed that you safely save your session in your computer. The porting of projects can be done on different computers but the issues also arise in case the destination computer has lesser capabilities than the source. In case there is a same kind of computer where you are moving, we can take care of the sessions easily.

Firstly you need to carefully check the session file itself that you want to move along with the related media files. If your files are distributed across different locations, this can be another issue. So, it is important that you consolidate all your files- both audio and video files from different drives to a single location.  This will help you in moving the Pro Tools session easily on an external removable drive. This could be a portable flash drive that can help in storing the session file to make the transfer easy.

Open the existing session from the existing drive in tour Pro Tools program. Go to File option in the top menu bar and click on Save Session Copy while checking the box Copy All Audio Files. A new session folder is created in the new location that will contain the copy of the session document and it will contain a folder containing all the Audio files used by the project. You can create different drives at the destination for huge data files.

Once you copy the files to the new location or a new system altogether, you will re-link the data files to the Pro Tools on the system. Also, while transferring the files, make sure that studio you are going to use on destination is compatible with the previous versions and it is safe if it is of same or higher version. In case of PC to Mac system transfer or vice versa, PC-Mac compatibility has to be ensured too.

 

How to back up data to an external hard drive

Data backup has become a necessity today for every computer or mobile phone user.  With the continuous use of internet, malware attacks are common. There is a threat to your data from fire, disk failure or theft. This could lead to sudden loss of precious data for the users. Hence the need to save our crucial files and data is of utmost importance to our generation and back up is the key. There could be times that you run timely backups on your machine or Personal device but the disk fails or is lost. Therefore, we should always back up our data on an external hard drive.

Backing up data to an external hard drive is an easy to follow task that shall be carried out regularly i.e. weekly or monthly depending on the usage. The external hard drive is a small and portable hard disk drive where you can store data of large size and this can be stored for a long time for later use.

How to back up data to an external hard driveThe external hard drive can be connected to your computer by using a USB cable. The hard drive can be configured when used for the first time. The drive can be named and password protection can be provided for security purposes. The hard drives come in different sizes ranging from 500 GB to 8TB or more. These have become cheaper as compared to the other back up options and these come in different USB versions. 3TB hard drives with USB3 are considered very reliable and fast where as 4TB will become better giving way to 8TB. 

The drive, once connected to the computer shall be always scanned for viruses or any malware. Once it is successfully connected, the hard drive will appear as one of the drives of your computer but in an external way. Then the data files that we want to back up can be copied and pasted at the hard drive location. You can also drag and drop the files directly to your hard drive and your files will be easily copied. It is also important to eject your hard drive carefully before removing it. This will ensure the correct functioning of your drive.

Once you back up your data on the external hard drive, it can be easily accessed at any later stage and copied back to your machine or another computer for use.

Choosing the right reverb for different instruments

Making music today involves a lot of advanced techniques and instruments and use of reverb is one of the significant parts of the process. Reverb is created using the reflection of sound repeatedly to give a complex sound pattern and it is needed to add the space sense in the voices recorded by close mic recordings in the studio. Due to the complex natural process, artificial reverbation is added to the recordings.

The part of choosing the right reverb for different instruments can be crucial as it can affect the quality greatly. The kind of space that you want to recreate or emulate is an equally important concern.

Natural room based reverbs also need attention for the material of the walls.Choosing the right reverb for different instruments
The first step is to think about the kind of music and song for which you are looking for a reverb. The tempo, lushness and wetness of the song have to be considered too. For a vocal reverb, you have to also consider the rhythm of the track as it has to be in sync. For jazz music, convolution reverbs are generally preferred where as synthetic reverbs are suitable for pop music.

For different instruments like guitars, usually plates and springs are popularly used. Choose according to the size of the place you want. Be aware of the monitors, acoustics and headphones that you want to use for the right balance. Equalization with the effects have to be carried out intelligently too. If you keep in mind these things, it can help you reverb suitably.

Synthesis & Best Ways of Using Synthesizers

‘Synthesis’ means process of making something new and sound synthesis is a kind of Music Technology for generating sound. This electronic instrument creates or imitates a sound using software or hardware. It has various components that help in creating the sound by shaping electric signals.

A synthesizer generated sound waves of various shapes and can generate many sounds at once to produce harmonics. It can make new sound or imitate some musical instrument like bass or any natural sound too. recording studio nashvilleA sound synthesizer contains a voltage control oscillator, filter, amplifiers, modulator and envelops. These create the waveform and change different characteristics of sound like volume, pitch etc. Synthesizers have revolutionized the whole music making and hardly any record today is made without them.

Synthesizers are widely used today in music composition using digital computer and for live performance. You can use the synthesizer to their full potential by doing everything with one synthesizer and this will help in creating refreshing sounds.

The synthesizers generally have stereo output and you can record by simply plugging your synthesizer directly using the inputs and adjust the volume. You can also record through an analog preamp as using a preamp can give you the full sound you want.

You can plug your synthesizer into the guitar amp and this will add depth and colour to your music mix. Apart from these techniques, try to learn how to program. You can then use subtractive, additive, wavetable and FM synthesis etc. to create the best music from synthesizers.

So this article is all about Synthesis & Best Ways of Using Synthesizers

How can a track producer pitch tracks and songs to artists and publishers?

For a track producer, it is always a challenge to pitch your songs to the artists and publishers. But with a little technique and tips, you can get the job done easily. You have to keep in mind a few things while talking to the artists on the subject.

The most essential thing is that your song should be easy to learn so that it strikes a chord with the listener’s mind. An easy song with simple choruses will be easier to sing and this can easily create the interest of the artist.

nashville recording studioTry to put the artist in a positive light while singing the song. When our interest is consistent with the artist’s reputation and name, the song can b easily pitched. The song should be viewed from a special perspective so that the artist could feel it as a fresh creation that he should try.

In case the publishers or artists are new, you could even try to get into collaboration with the artist so that the future could be secure too. You should always strive for creating a relationship with the artists and publishers. This will ensure that your work goes into the right hands.

If you target huge publishing companies, they might not feel the worth and need. Hence, the writers initially achieve the success with small publishing firms. You can pitch to the publisher with smaller song catalog who could appreciate your tracks.  So this is article is all about How can a track producer pitch tracks and songs to artists and publishers?

All you need to know about Sampling, Copyright and Clearing Samples

Sampling and Copyrighting is a serious business that needs to be handled carefully these days. To use someone’s recording work without permission can result in disaster today and clearance of samples has become critical.  Her are some tips on all you need to know about Sampling, Copyright and Clearing Samples

If you want to use the sampled music of someone, you require the permission of the owner and this is called as Sample clearance. Sample clearance can be tough and expensive but it is extremely important. It is of two types. First is the clearance from the copyright owner of the music and second one is the company who is the copyright owner of master tapes. In order to avoid the copyright infringement issues, we need to make sure of these permissions from the authorized people.

All you need to know about Sampling, Copyright and Clearing SamplesBoth types of owners are generally the musicians, publishers and the label companies. Hence the first task of clearance to trace the owners of the music and start getting the legal permissions. When you search for the copyrighters, you can take the help of the organizations like BMI (Business Music Incorporated) and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). These organizations generally are responsible for the performing rights and hence their database contains the indexing for the song.

Once you find the publishers and the record companies, you need to get their permission by paying appropriate price for their work. There can be negotiation as per the norms and there are clearance consultant and attorneys for your help too. If you want to use a great sample, make sure you follow the process.

How to manage time as an active engineer and producer

Working in a studio actively on consistent sessions requires serious time management for the engineer or producer. It might look like a trivial thing but following a schedule can help you greatly to execute your work plans efficiently. Otherwise it could turn into a mess and you might not be able to deliver on time. Poor time management may result into disrupting your health and personal life too.  Here are some tips how to manage time as an active engineer and producer.

There are certain time management strategies that you can follow to effectively manage your time. The situation can be such that you find it hard to find a balance between your running sessions and answering emails and calls. Another problem may be finding it difficult to manage time for your personal music and networking with others which can be crucial in the music world. For this also, you might set up a weekly schedule that you can follow strictly.

recording studio nashvilleFor this you need to work out or plan you day in advance so that you get time for your job easily along with eating, sleeping and time for family. Once you have worked out the day with how much time is needed for every activity, it will become a lot easier to make time for your self.  Try to go for as much as automation as possible like scheduling Facebook and twitter posts. You can respond to emails once or twice a day at a specific time while doing some other online work too. Be concise while writing and it will help in effective communication too. Consider your time valuable enough and you will be surprised to see that it works out just fine.