Music studios come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large and roomy, while others can be quite small. All music studios, despite their size, face similar challenges. The sheer amount of recording equipment and gear can easily become chaotic and difficult to manage or the room itself may pose sound quality problems for recording. A well-organized studio takes everything into consideration, the equipment, as well as the way the sound travels around the room.
Make Equipment Accessible
Organize the equipment in your studio in a logical and easy-to-use way. Keep everything accessible and in reach. The power conditioner, for example, powers all the other recording gear in the studio; verify its backside is readily accessible, because it may be necessary to plug in or unplug different types of equipment. Put essential equipment, such as a rack tuner, preamps and digital converter in a rack case to keep everything in one spot and protect the gear at the same time. Arrange the primary recording equipment, such as the computer, computer keyboard, digital audio workstation and mixing board in a comfortable work area that allows the engineer to watch and interact with the musicians at work. This usually includes a glass partition or window between a separated control room and the recording studio.
Wires and Cables
The wires and cables in a music studio can easily become unmanageable, but the engineer or musicians must know where the cables go. Label the cables or wrap them with different colors of electrical tape to identify their specific functions, which helps to keep track of what goes where. Labeled or color-coded cables and wires will also save a lot of time and hassle when it is necessary to replace a bad cable or wire. Place a protective cover over cables and wires exposed to foot traffic. This not only protects the cables and wires, it also protects the equipment they are plugged into while preventing costly tripping hazards.
Live music venues are usually designed with natural acoustics in mind. The high ceilings and large space of a theater produces natural reverberation and allows the sound to travel. Music studios use acoustic panels to recreate the sound and natural reverb of a much larger room. In a smaller room, sound waves become trapped and bounce back and forth in one spot. This interferes with sound frequencies by boosting some and clipping others. Paneled diffusers disperse the sound reflections around the room, improving the overall sound quality for recording. While recording, it is essential that you can critically listen to the music. Add studio speakers designed with a flat frequency response to the control room. They make it easier for the engineer to critically evaluate the sound quality while it is being recorded.
Many studios keep a variety of musical equipment, such as amplifiers, keyboards and drums in the studio. Make a list of all the musical equipment in the studio. The list should include the serial number and a description of the item. This ensures that studio instruments aren't mixed up with the gear musicians bring to the studio. Create a designated area to store the gear when it is not in use. Place frequently used guitars on secure guitar stands. Store the less used guitars in guitar cases. Protect guitar amplifiers with hard or soft cases when they are not in use. Store drums and drum gear in drum cases if they are rarely used. Store smaller gear such as guitar pedals, microphones and guitar cables in cabinets or on shelves.
Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.