Having a home studio is probably one of the best feelings in the world of an artist, songwriter, or music producer. It gives room for non stop creativity, fast paced transition from basic song ideas to finished products and of course, the absolute undeniable comfort of being at home. Having a home studio is also very cost effective. Why pay expensive rent for a studio space when you can organize your home space into a studio at your own budget and churn out great sound quality for your productions, especially if you’re just starting off your career? Plus if you have to factor in transportation costs, it does save you a considerable amount if you don’t have to leave your home to work, right?
Setting up a home studio is quite easy. Basically you select the equipment that are needed for a regular recording studio and arrange them in your own comfortable home space. So you'll be looking at getting a good computer with recording and mixing software, a quality microphone with its stand, cable and pop filter, an audio interface, headphones and studio monitors/speakers and their stands, and most probably a midi controller. These of course will need a desk to house most of them and a comfortable chair for you to work with them on.
However, having a home studio is pointless if you’re not going to work in it, or at least, work in it efficiently and effectively. It will end up being a waste of convenience, home space and in most cases, inspiration. As a music creative, inspiration is key in the quality of your work. Maximizing every or most of the opportunities your creative juices present you is highly important in keeping your music evergreen. Hence it is also paramount that your creative space doesn't hinder your growth and productivity.
Home studios, while presenting the opportunity for convenience and ease of making music, could also create a limitation to this same problem it's meant to solve. Productivity levels might drop by virtue of some improper decision making in the setting up of our home studios. Overlooking some of the important necessities a studio is meant to have can also go a long way in really reducing the comfortability of making music in our homes or bedrooms. Quite honestly, little changes made to this respect would definitely take a couple of steps closer to improving the quality of music you make in your home studio.
Achieving success is nearly impossible without productivity as a musician. While setting up your home studio workspace, keeping in mind the importance of workflow continuity is key, and so having a workspace that’s comfortable to keep the workflow going is also paramount. In no particular order, The Tunedly Team has listed out 7 things or scenarios needed to improve productivity and comfort in a home studio.
A cluttered space, more often than not leads to a cluttered mind. For a lot of people, a neat workspace leads to a greater sense of focus and motivation. Having your home studio neatly and tidily arranged helps to improve the flow of activities. Placing studio equipment at positions that require less body motion to reach them will certainly improve your chances of getting more things done. Cables and connectors should also be connected without each of them intertwining into each other. If possible, reducing the number of wires visible on your desk is a great idea as well.
This also goes beyond just your physical arrangement. How you save/store your music projects on your personal computer is also very important in keeping your productivity and comfort topnotch. It can be a very distressing experience when you can’t find the location of a project you're desperately in need of. Even when you don’t need it urgently, not finding it can create some form of minor anxiety within you, which can cause an overall disorientation and consequently increase your stress levels, thereby taking a huge toll on your productivity and comfort.
Proper studio ergonomics will aid in keeping your workflow smooth and enjoyable. When you own home studio equipment and environments don’t frustrate you, it’s easier to get a lot more done in comfortable fashion.
Clearly you will need to get furniture for your home studio. It is very likely that you might just want to use some of your previously existing furniture in your home. While this may be more cost effective, it may not necessarily be the best when optimizing for productivity. Getting a table that’s large enough to accommodate your studio equipment and give you enough working room is highly pertinent and recommended. A comfortable studio chair is also very important. Your chair should be able to support your back and keep your muscles free when you work long hours.
How and where you place the studio furniture is also important. There should be space conducive enough to move around your desk, be it to simply record vocals, play an instrument or even accommodate a collaborator should you have one over. If there’s enough room space, getting a comfortable couch in your home studio will also be very useful when you need to take short breaks off your computer, or when you wish to listen to the songs at a distance from the speakers.
Acoustic treatment should never be overlooked. Recording in a treated home studio improves the quality of your recordings before they get mixed and mastered. This in turn helps you present quality professional mixes. Acoustic treatment is basically controlling how sound is reflected and balancing its diffusion and absorption to make better recordings. But in the context of this write up, ear fatigue is what you'll be looking at warding off.
As a musician, your ears are one of your greatest assets. If they are frequently and easily tired from listening to loud music and from having weird frequencies bouncing around your studio, you’ll find it difficult to hear accurately. It is important that you should be able to comfortably listen to music longer in your home studio. This will reduce the number of breaks you take while working, thereby increasing your productivity, hence the need for acoustic treatment.
Having to start afresh for every recording can be a bit demanding. Sometimes the thought of setting up all the plugins, effects returns, channels, busses, FX, labeling tracks, dialing in a vocal sound etc. before actually starting a project can kill the drive to create. There are even times when you’re highly motivated or a sudden interesting melody comes to you. Chances are that before you’re done setting up your DAW for actual work, you’ll be tired and less motivated to continue.
Having a preset or a template saved for whenever you feel a rush of inspiration is vital in boosting your productivity and comfort. So instead of spending thirty minutes to one hour preparing for a project each time, just have a go-to preset done and saved once. This way your creative and productivity process isn’t delayed one bit and your comfort, not undermined.
A daily routine helps to keep your activities in check. Setting out time for each task of our lives, including working in our home studio helps us to get things done and less muddled up. Having a home studio means you can get your recordings done at any time of your choice, escaping the confines of a routine. But having a home studio also means openness to procrastination where you don’t get a lot done, or getting too excited about making music and doing too much at the risk of a burn-out.
What you want is to be able to create day-in, day-out, without missing out on any other aspect of your life. Adopting a routine aids in this, in keeping you productive for the long term. It is however just not enough to write out an actionable time-table, dedication is key. On days when you don’t feel like producing or writing, sticking to the plan helps you get up from the bed or from other tasks to get some music work done. And on days when you feel so motivated you want to keep working (which can be a good thing sometimes), a routine helps you know when to take a break for the day.
Productivity and comfort in the long term is vital if you’re going to keep a home studio, so knowing when to start against all odds and when to stop even when you don’t want to is important.
Eradicating distractions cannot be overemphasized. Anything avoidable that can take you off your work is counterproductive. Your social media updates can wait. Allowing every random thought that pops into your head to stay long will soon leave you crying about how unproductive you’ve been. Except there's an emergency that can not be left unattended to, it’s best to limit the amount of distractions we allow into our creative processes.
Not everyone has the strength to go long hours at work without breaks. Taking short breaks help us stay fresh and comfortable. They also come in handy in situations where nothing seems to be working right. In times like this, it is very easy to become frustrated and disoriented. Patience helps us remember that there will always be days like that. It is very easy to hit a mental block, close your computer and never return. It is also possible to take a short break, give it time and start again. If a project still doesn’t give off the right vibe when working on it, perhaps opening something else will.
Staying productive and being comfortable while at it goes a long way to help achieve our music goals. Being able to achieve those goals from the comfort of your home studio is definitely a huge flex of its own. This however can be a bit difficult to achieve sometimes. Too much comfort of being at home can render one unproductive. Overlooking some needed home studio essentials will contribute gradually to loss in productivity. Having a productive and comfortable home studio however, will most definitely improve the quality of the music you make.