There are a number of factors that determine whether or not a song sounds good. And recently, the definition of what’s good has been changing.
Due to the accessibility of recording equipment and production tools, like the high-quality samples we offer here at Unison, more and more people have gotten into recording their own music.
We think that’s fantastic—everyone has the opportunity to bring their musical ideas to life. But there are a few things that still separate the professional recording studios and the bedroom producers, and one of the most noticeable is whether or not your studio is soundproof.
This might seem like something you can live without, or even like an impossibly expensive task to tackle. But trust us, it’s completely doable with a reasonable budget, and it will make a world of difference when it comes to the quality of your tracks.
Whether you’re just recording vocals to go with one of our MIDI chord packs, or you’re going for instruments like guitars, drums, or live piano, soundproofing your space is an excellent decision—and not just for you, but for the people around you as well.
There are plenty of reasons to soundproof your recording space—some that benefit you, and some that benefit people that live near you.
But universally, every reason you should soundproof your studio comes back to one benefit: your music sounding better.
You may or may not hear it, but there’s a ton of noise inside your house or apartment, even before you factor in all the construction and traffic that’s outside. All of this seeps into your recordings when you’re working, and this can make things seriously difficult to get the clean end-product you want.
Low-frequency noises from your fridge or heavy machinery nearby will end up in your recording, though you probably won’t notice them until you’re trying to compress your vocals to boost the gain.
Suddenly you hear the grinding mechanism that keeps your fridge cold that you never thought about, or there’s a low, rumbling thud that interrupts your favorite lyric.
You can try to roll these out with EQ, but making sure that they don’t get picked up in the first place is the best practice and only way to get a truly clean take.
Whether you’re in a one-bedroom apartment or a house full of roommates, you probably have people around you. And you might feel a little self-conscious about all of them hearing you trying to record the new rap verse you wrote after making a sick track with the Secret Sauce Sounds pack from Loge21.
Soundproofing your studio gives you the peace of mind that you’re isolated. You create a space dedicated solely to the music that you’re working on without any interruptions.
Maybe you don’t have any issues with people hearing you, but not having to worry about neighbors complaining that you’re yelling or playing your guitar too loud will definitely save you some hassle, too.
This sort of includes the last two sections, but it’s worth repeating: soundproofing your studio will get you much better recording quality. The absence of low-frequency noise will make a night-and-day difference.
And soundproofing your space will heavily cut down on your reflection noise. Reflection noise is what happens when you make any noise at all in your space, and it bounces off any hard surface around. It actually bounces around so much that it takes significantly longer to reach your microphone, resulting in some potentially nasty phasing issues.
You might be able to roll out some low-frequency bumps, but you’ll have an extremely hard time doing anything about reflections apart from just claiming that you meant it to sound like that.
If you still aren’t sure what we mean by reflection noise, try recording yourself rapping or singing in a highly reflective room like your bathroom. Of course, you wouldn’t normally record there, but it gives you an exaggerated example of how irritating the bounce-back can be.
Soundproofing can be a pretty expensive task if you want to go all in. But there are options when it comes to affordably reducing the amount of noise coming in and out of your recording space.
If you have heavy doors, you’re already in a great place. If you have light, hollow doors, then you might consider replacing them if you really want to soundproof your studio.
Otherwise, make sure to seal off the empty spaces underneath and around your doors. This will significantly help shut out the outside world. Strip kits can help tighten up your doors and aren’t too bad on the wallet.
Or you can take it further and install an all-around soundproofing door kit, which will provide even more sound reduction.
Your windows are a major enemy when it comes to soundproofing your studio. Whether you have big, street-facing windows in your apartment or smaller ones in your room, you want to make sure they’re taken care of somehow.
If you’re looking for serious upgrades, we would suggest investing in triple-pane windows, but they’re going to cost you. You could also opt for double glazed glass windows, which are a little more affordable and perform similarly well.
If you’re really balling on a budget, consider a window cover that sits over your existing windows and blocks out most sounds trying to come through. You could get the professional version or find a way to attach a very heavy blanket (or two) to your windows.
Blankets might seem like a good route because you already probably own them, but it isn’t as easy as it looks to get them set up, and they don’t exactly look professional.
Wall space can be tricky because you probably have a lot of it. And depending on if the walls were constructed with an open drywall design or a thick brick layout, you might need some extra help with them.
Again, blankets come to mind for the particularly thrifty engineers. And blankets can certainly help with reflection noise, but they aren’t going to stop much else.
If you were planning a renovation-sized soundproofing project, then a wide stretch of padding would be a great choice. It isn’t too expensive in the grand scheme of things, and you can conceal it if properly installed.
Otherwise, you might investigate foam sound blocks that break up the waves in your room and reduce the amount of noise traveling around, both inside and out.
You wouldn’t necessarily need to cover your entire studio space, and these can really add up if you try to do so. Experiment and find out exactly how many you need in your space to get the results you want.
Soundproofing your space is a majorly important step towards high-quality recordings. You can spend a lot or a little, but the goal is to create a room in which you can create the music you have in your head at the quality that you want it to be.
Whether you purchase new doors or line your walls with foam, any amount of soundproofing is going to increase the quality of your recordings and, therefore, the quality of your music.