5 Tips to Improve the Audio Quality of Your Home Studio
- Written by Rodrigo Marques
The concern of all who have or think of setting up a recording studio at home, is with the audio quality. Let's check out some easy-to-apply tips to improve the audio and not have surprises at the time of mixing.
These tips apply in large part to the digital recording studio model, with a PC as the center of audio processing. You can apply some of these tips to other studio models and recording situations.
1) Quality Cables
Most of the problems encountered in audio during a mix are caused by broken cables. It is common in the studio that the cables get loose on the floor, so the swivel chairs with their wheels run over the cables, causing the cable to break, which can leave the circuit open. A broken cable may experience RF interference from the vicinity, contaminating the audio with the signal from a radio station in your city.
You need to be kind of a techie in electronics, at least you must have some skill with the use of soldering iron and a good multimeter, this can help you save meters of cables and some money by recycling.
Imagine that you will record the voice in the studio using a broken cable? It does not really work.
2) Microphone Positioning
In the class on acoustics, we show how to prepare the walls of the studio to avoid reflections of sound waves on the walls and the consequent phase cancellations. If you are microphoning an instrument, the basic rule is to check where the instrument's sound is starting from. Another factor is how the room's sound interacts with the instrument. Position the microphone by positioning between these factors and get the sound you want.
In case of vocals, the type of microphone can influence very much the quality of the voice and its acoustic characteristics. Try positioning the microphone a foot away from your mouth with an anti-pop filter in the middle. That's one way to improve your microphone without having to change it.
3) Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning is the great villain and great studio guy. How to live without it in hot states like Texas and Florida? Prefer the modern Split models, those in which the noisy part is in an external module. You don't deserve a recording with a lot of background noise, just not to sweat your shirt. Another thing that will thank you very much are the studio equipment. Your computer's performance for recordings will improve as well.
4) Recording in 24bit
When possible, record in 24bit. You can record amazing things in 16bit, but if you want more dynamics in your recording, you'll need to represent your audio with higher bandwidth. Old tape recorders had similar bandwidth, so you'll be closer to the nostalgia of analog studios, but with the control of a digital studio. You can take advantage of all that extra power to improve studio acoustics via software, for example.
5) Electrical Grounding
I left the most interesting tip for the end: the electric ground. Yes, you need to be on planet Earth to do this, but it will be very good for the life of your computer and whatever you are connecting with it. Get an electrician and ask him to make a decent grounding in your electrical system (if your home does not yet have an electrical grounding path).
I removed a lot of electrical noise just by applying that tip. For example: the 60Hz noise will disappear through electrical grounding. It's like a black hole for noises and your desktop computer will thank you. To begin with, you will no longer take those shocks when you are handling the audio cables from your Home Studio.
I hope you can apply some of these tips to your Home Studio.
An extra tip from Rodrigo: If you want to know How To Build a Home Recording Studio From Scratch And Get High Quality Audio Using a Production Process, I recommend you take a look at our kindle book right now.
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We believe that a Home Recording Studio can change the future of many entrepreneurs and artists who need to show how great their talents are. Enjoy it!