Making a successful music studio

Something we seemed to have missed so far … the basics! I’m going to write a few posts to cover some of the key things to consider, when you starting or whatever stage your at, to ensure you can create the grooves flowing through your mind. I’m going to start with the studio environment. Remember making music is a craft, and this is your tool so it’s best to have the sharpest you can possibly get!
I’m not going to go over to much of this to be honest, as there is alot of info out there, some links I recommend you check out and read up are the following articles
Great diagram here for you tech-heads showing the connections between various pieces of studio kit from the excellent tweakheadz resource.
Studio set up guide – again from tweakheadz, this covers loads of items too, here
Computer Music – bunch of tutorials on key subjects like monitors, DAW’s, recording and more can be found here
On top of all that info, a few tips from me that I think are often missed, or glossed over by people who get obsessed with the fine details which in reality few people can control or have choice over.  These are what I feel you really need to consider alongside the above info:
1) Be comfortable with the equipment you use
Ok take advice, read reviews, but above all try kit before you buy. Think how you work and how you work best. The fact is with software now they are pretty much all capable of getting pro quality sound. The differentiator is how they work. Just like some people like lots of detail for directions while others (like ) jus want to know big landmarks.  The same variation goes for equipment and how it’s designed. So make sure whatever you use fits the way you want to work, not what your favorite producer uses… If you have any doubt, especially for the younger of you readers, Irecommend taking something like the tests below to understand your preferences more (this will serve you well in life in general!!)
2) Know the sound of your workspace
Outside of good monitors this is key – you can have the best set up you want but if your space is compromising your sound then your results will always be sub-standard. The best thing you can do is understand the effect of your space on your sound. I don’t necessarily mean to physics level, but that you understand if you have attenuation at certain frequencies, amplifying at others, how your sound transfers to other systems. This last one is key. When you’ve made something reasonable, try it in as many situations as possible. You want the sound you made in your studio to be true everywhere.  If it isn’t, then try to understand why, so you can engineer it out…
3) Ergonomics
If your serious about making music, then your going to be spending an awful lot of time at the mixing desk, make sure you have good chairs, lighting, heating, no environmental hazards, that how you interact with your studio is in an efficient manner and isnt going to cause you any strain injury.
This may be a bit of a naff thing to think about, but the last thing you want is aching back, screwed up hand, you get the picture folks… look after yourself, your gonna need all your health you can get if you want to keep up with the cute ladies, or guys, whatever takes your fancy ;p
4) Inspiration
Yep that little chemical that floats through your mind to give you the ideas… I love it when its flowing fast and everything is working and your in the zone. The environment you work in is key to this, certainly after your initial buzz of producing has warn off and your working late night trying to finish the master piece! With that in mind you need to make your studio somewhere you would happily spend the time in, cool pictures, clean, warm, objects that take you back to great memories, little games to play, thing to do while you figure how to get down that killer idea…
5) Food and Drink
Yep ok so its bleeding obvious, but come on, do you know how late it is while i write this … but that said, if your body isnt getting the optimal fuel there is no way your going to make great tracks. I love a good cup of green tea and some chocolate. nachos are always nice. I’ve lost count of the amount of tropical or jus plan dried fruit and nut mixes i’ve consumed while working away. Plenty of water to keep me nicely hydrated, maybe a dash of fresh squeezed lemon in their to flavour it up and get me some nice vitamin c… that said nothing beats a nice smoke while you kick back and listen to the latest production. Make sure your stocked up and ready to roll before you sit down…
ok folks hope this helps and remember, its journey, you can’t do everything at once but knowledge is key while you move towards your goal. Enjoy it and make sure you send us your finished tracks, we love to hear them… and happy to give any guidance or release them ;p

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