How to Setup Your Home Studio
You’ve just purchased your home studio gear and are eager to set everything up, you look around and without hesitation you set your speakers on your computer, plop your audio interface down on top of them, set your keyboard on the floor, you furiously start plugging cords in to the closest matching corresponding shapes and before you know it, you’ve hooked everything together.
The problem is that in your haste to finally be able to produce sound and lay down your musical ideas, you didn’t take into consideration the fact that their is a much more optimal way to setup your home studio, and this requires a little bit of thought and consideration to the room, environment, and configuration of your equipment.
In any case, taking the following points into consideration when setting up a home studio will help you optimize your space and listening environment, stay comfortable for long periods of work, and maintain efficiency while producing music from home.
The fundamental purpose of a home studio is to be able to bring our musical ideas, songs, and sounds to life.
Everything we do from selecting and buying gear, to setting up and learning the tools is all an effort to achieve those ends, and experience the unrivaled feeling of creating, blending, editing sounds and producing our own music.
What we want is to be able to lay the idea down without the GEAR getting in the way. Likewise, the environment in which you create will either promote an efficient and effective workflow, or hinder your creative and technical ability to achieve the goal, and make our music.
Home Studio Setup Optimization
In addition to the EFFICIENCY of your work-space, which includes where you place what-AND your ORGANIZATIONAL setup, is your listening environment… Your listening environment includes both your monitoring system and positioning, as well as the acoustics of the room you produce/listen/mix in. Most recording studio’s, with more than one room call this a “control” room… This is the centralized command center for monitoring and mixing. This is separate from a “live” room, where the performances are recorded.
Treating and optimizing the acoustics in both “live“ rooms and ”control“ rooms are a highly valuable investment. Since the majority of home studios, especially first time home studio rigs, so often start as the all-in one control room, that’s what we’ll focus on. In this post we will go through setting up your equipment, and effectively assembling your studio space to get the most out of this precious square footage, and then in an upcoming lesson we will address some cost effective best practices for room treatment.
Desks, Workstations and Creativity
The equipment is one thing, ergonomic and as comfortably setup as possible is the way to go. You’d want your keyboards (computer and midi keyboard/controller) easily within reach, and comfortable to work for long periods of time. So naturally you’d need to consider height and angle, and perhaps even a layered approach where your midi keyboard, rests atop a desk that sits at a usable elevation and angle, and directly underneath is the ”pullout“ tray for your computer keyboard.
Im not particularly fond of that because of the ”angular“ disadvantage of not being able to adjust the tilt, and don’t really like posture it puts me in with most desks. Of course there are some workstations that cater to customization options like this but the only options i found where extremely expensive. I think around $1,200 USD for the desks i found. Which may be a justifiable upgrade at some point, but i’m doing fine with what i’ve got for now. (If you’ve come across or know of any cool options please feel free to share them!)
My solution, was to go to the local music go round (local music equipment) and buy an adjustable keyboard stand for stage, and i built and attached a makeshift little computer keyboard stand out of wood which extends out about 10 inches and about an inch lower than the surface of the midi keys. I was able to find the right height, and can comfortably program with my midi keyboard and type for long periods of time.
As for the mouse, which should also be setup to a somewhat ergonomic height took a little playing around with as well, since i’ve basically just used the desktop to mount my monitors so i can view the screen and work without any strain. I’ve just basically had to find the right height level using whatever doesn’t get in the way and doesn’t make using the mouse a painful process.
You can buy a ready made desk from guitar center, or office depot or whatever, if you find something thats comfortable, and affordable. OR you can try to be creative with your approach and be a bit more resourceful… Either way, focus on the height, angle, and placement of the things you will be using most…. You keyboards, and your mouse.
Continue on with Set Up Your Home Studio (part two)