Improving your Bedroom Studio
I know we can't all be born super rich and have a professional studio in our mansion. So we'll just have to make the best of the place we're in; our bedroom or other room you have decided to put your music production equipment in.
Here are some simple tips and often-made mistakes.
Don’t place your studio speakers horizontally, just because it looks ‘cool’
The most famous studio speakers (also called monitors, like the screens) are the Yamaha NS-10’s, which are placed horizontally. They are designed to be placed horizontally though. While the majority of the studio monitors are designed to be placed upright. In those monitors the bass producing woofer will be below and the higher frequency producing ‘tweeter’ up.
Because there are so many pictures and videos of professional studios that have the NS-10’s, many bedroom producers think it looks cool to position their monitors, from a different brand, horizontally also. Please don’t do that, as your sound spectrum will be completely ruined. They will not give you a realistic image of your mix.
Remove your studio monitors from their surface
Sound is vibration. Your speakers / monitors produce vibrations. When you place them on a table or other piece of furniture, they will make that material vibrate also. This can impact how you perceive the sound from your studio monitors and can even produce resonance (the unwanted sound produced when several sounds are combined). An easy fix is to try to separate your monitors from their surface by putting some kind of foam between them.
If you google ‘studio monitor foam pads’ you will find many options to achieve this effect. Simple, easy and not expensive.
Get a good pair of headphones
The best way to eliminate the impact your room acoustics have on how you hear your mix is to eliminate the room altogether. By listening to your mix on headphones you completely eliminate the room. You can have an incredible sounding mix of the beat you just made and when you put on your headphones it sounds completely different.
Now don’t immediately go buying the new Beats by Dre headphones for mixing. As always with mixing you want an as neutral as possible one. So any headphone that has the bass boosted, like Dre’s headphone, is not suitable for mixing.
The same goes for the other frequencies. You don’t want the best sounding headphones; you want the most neutral sounding headphones.
Be aware of hard surfaces
Sound reflects. Higher frequencies more than lower frequencies. Any hard surface in your room will reflect the sound back, eventually reaching your ears. That means that a frequency can be displayed neutrally from your studio monitors, but amplified many times over, after it has reflected back from your wall, floor, door, etc., before reaching your ears.
Try putting a carpet on your floor. And if possible, some foams pads on the wall directly facing your studios monitors. Little things like these can make a big impact.
Don’t mix at a loud volume
Ever notice your beats sound so much better when you crank up the volume? Of course! But that’s fooling yourself. Other people don’t always play your tracks like you are in a club. If your mix sucks at a low volume, your mix sucks. Try mixing and making it sound good at a low volume first and if you achieve that, it will sound spectacular at higher volume.
Also be careful with your ears. They can be broken, by playing music at too loud a volume, for too long. It has happened to many music professionals (or simple club visiting young people) and it can happen to you also. Ear damage is irreparable.
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