Recording Essentials: Sound Treatment & Studio Monitoring

Here at RNL Audio, we’re huge fans of the Rodes web series Studio Rescue. The recording world is seeing more and more budding producers and engineers make a name for themselves from the skills they’ve developed entirely from their home studios. As well we see top notch industry professionals move their business from expensive, inaccessible analog recordings studios to their spare bedroom working almost entirely “in the box.”

A home studio set up is going to differ from person to person. This much we know. But some things that will remain consistent across the board are the need for proper sound treatment of your space, a pair of quality studio monitors, a reliable DAW, a capable microphone, and an audio interface to connect them all together. After these few essentials we get into the realm of toys.

There are plenty of online resources to help you find a great pair studio monitors for your home studio, but before you decide you want to ask yourself a few questions like: are you looking to mix your own music or just record? What is the size of your room and what are the dimension? What kind of music will you be producing? How much can I afford to spend on a pair of monitors?

These questions are imperative because mixing will require a pair of speakers with a flat frequency response, meaning no hyped frequencies giving a biased reproduction. You will need to treat your room accordingly. If you are just recording, then perhaps a pair of monitors with some hyped up bass may give you some extra push and draw a better performance out of you.

The dimensions of your room matter greatly because certain frequencies will build up or reflect in such a way as to deceive the listener as to what they are actually listening to. Small rooms lack bass because the length of a bass sound wave is typically longer that the length of the room, depending on the fundamental. This explains why most amateurs play their mix on another sound system and they sound muddy; they are turning up the bass to overcompensate for the lack of bass heard in their room.

For a small home studio, we recommend the Presonus Eris 5 as they have the flattest frequency response, perfect for mixing. The rear allows you to tune the Highs and Mids to your room and offers a bass filter roll off switch to cut low frequencies at either 80 or 100 Hz should you be pressed against a wall and getting some build up in the low end. If you’re room is medium sized then consider the Eris 8 which are built with a larger woofer and has a lower frequency range.

As the Eris 5 only have low end down to about 54Hz we recommend picking up a subwoofer to use intermittently to carve out the right frequencies in the low end.

Homemade sound treatment and a pair of great sounding studio monitors can all be purchased for under $1000.00. Do a bit of research and ask yourself the questions listed above. The right research will go a long way and get your pumping out radio ready mixes in no time.

Resources: Hollagully, Produce Like A Pro