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6 Tips for Setting Up Your Home Recording Studio

Setting up a home studio can be daunting, but it's a game-changer for musicians, especially for those specializing in rock and metal. But where should you begin? We're here to break down the essentials, from acoustic treatment to gear selection, ensuring your home recording sessions sound as good as possible.

With modern technology, the barriers to entry have been lowered and this is great for beginners who want to get going. But this also means the competition is higher than ever since almost anyone can get a basic setup. So, let’s get into what some of those basics are!

The Foundation: Acoustic Treatment

Importance of Acoustics in Metal and Rock

Acoustic treatment is not just for show; it's the heart of any serious recording studio. In genres as dynamic as rock and metal, capturing the true essence of the sound is pivotal. Unwanted echoes, for instance, can muddle a powerful guitar solo or make those double bass drum kicks lose their punch. Proper acoustic treatment ensures that what you play is precisely what gets recorded. Even just a few panels placed in the right spot can really make a difference. 

If you don’t have a dedicated space, headphones are also always an option. Modern headphones like the Slate VSX can model high end monitoring spaces that can often be better than listening through a bad room setup.

Room Selection and Setup

The first step? Selecting the right room. Consider rooms that are not too large, to avoid excessive reverb, and not too small, to prevent sound boxing. Ideally, rectangular rooms work best. Avoid rooms with a lot of windows, as they can be challenging to treat acoustically. Once you've chosen your room, think about where you'll place your instruments, equipment, and especially your recording mics. These placements will greatly influence your sound. 

Note: Like the other topics, there’s much more to say here that we will provide in another blog blog with more details, this is just to go over the fundamentals.

Materials and Panels

You don't need to spend a fortune on acoustic treatment. There are plenty of affordable materials out there that can do wonders for your sound:

  • Bass Traps: Placed in room corners, they help reduce low-frequency noise.
  • Acoustic Panels: These are perfect for minimizing mid to high-frequency reflections.
  • Diffusers: Scattering sound waves to reduce echo, they give your studio that balanced sound.

Keeping It Clean & Organized

The Problem with Clutter

Imagine this: you're in the middle of a killer recording session, and suddenly, there's a buzz in your track. The culprit is often something simple like a tangled mess of cables. Not only can they cause technical issues, but they can also disrupt your workflow and creativity. Try to keep a clean space as this is also appealing to clients. 

Cable Organization Tools

With the right tools, cable management becomes a breeze:

  • Cable Ties: For bundling cables together neatly.
  • Racks and Trays: Elevate cables off the floor to avoid tripping hazards and wear.
  • Under-table Organizers: Keep those cables out of sight and mind.

Best Practices

Organizing your gear isn't just about neatness. Label them clearly, especially if you have a complex setup. Having a system in place makes troubleshooting easier and ensures that you spend more time jamming and less time fumbling with cables and other gear you need.

Gear Selection

While any good player can use almost anything, the instruments you choose can often form the backbone of your sound.

  • Guitars: Whether you're leaning towards a solid-body electric guitar for those heavy riffs or a bass guitar that provides the low-end punch, we recommend that you choose quality over aesthetics.
  • Drums: Acoustic drum kits with double bass pedals are iconic in metal. However, if space or noise is a concern, high-end electronic drum kits can be a worthy alternative (especially with how good modern drum libraries are now). 
  • Others: Don't forget about synthesizers or keyboards, especially if you're looking to add atmospheric elements to your compositions.

Amplifiers and Mics

Once you have your instruments in place, it's time to amplify and capture their sounds.

  • Amplifiers: For guitars, tube amplifiers give that warm, organic sound which has been a staple in rock for decades. However, solid-state amps, with their reliability and consistency, can also be a great choice, especially for metal.
  • Microphones: Dynamic mics, with their durability and ability to handle high sound pressure levels, are excellent for loud guitar cabinets and snares. For vocals, a good condenser microphone can capture the range and nuances of the singer's voice.
    • Some examples of popular mics in metal include the Shure SM7B, Shure SM58, Shure Beta 87A, KM84, and many more!

Software, Plugins, and Digital Mastery

DAW Selection

Your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is your studio's command center. There's a variety of DAWs available, each with its strengths. Some popular choices for rock and metal include Cubase, ProTools, Logic Pro, Reaper, Ableton, and more. Choose one that aligns with your workflow and offers the features you need. 

Modern Metal Songwriter Plugins

MMS isn't just about guiding you; it's about equipping you with the best tools. We offer a range of audio plugins designed specifically for rock and metal. These tools ensure your tracks have the power, clarity, and vibe that resonates with the genre. 


Additional Plugins and VSTs

Beyond our offerings, there are numerous plugins that can enhance your music. Among them, Kiive Audio has been making waves with their innovative plugins. Their tools offer unique sonic characteristics that can add that extra analog style flair to your tracks. 

Most modern studios have guitar amp sims, drum libraries, many samples, bass guitar libraries, and many other digital tools. There is nothing wrong with being fully “in the box”, meaning you don’t use any analog hardware. Many modern producers go this route and can achieve great results. It just depends on your budget, available tools, and vision of the music you’re creating.

Maintaining the Right Ambience

The Role of Temperature

The temperature in your studio might seem inconsequential, but it plays a significant role. Electronics, especially those running for extended periods, can generate heat. Overheating can reduce the lifespan of your gear and can even affect their performance.

  • Cool It Down: Consider installing a quiet air conditioner or fan to regulate temperature. The key is to opt for quiet solutions to avoid background noise during recording.
  • Gear Spacing: Ensure that rack-mounted equipment has sufficient space for ventilation.

Lighting the Studio

Lighting isn't just about visibility; it's about setting the mood. Proper lighting can inspire creativity and enhance productivity.

  • Natural Light: If your studio has windows, utilize natural light as much as possible. It's not only energy-efficient but also provides a comforting ambience.
  • LED Lights: They're energy-efficient and can be customized to any color, allowing you to set the right mood for your recording sessions.
  • Avoiding Glare: Position lights in a way that they don’t create a glare on your screens or reflective surfaces.

Controlling Humidity

High humidity can be a nemesis for your studio, especially if you have wooden instruments. Wood can warp or swell, affecting the instrument's sound and playability.

  • Dehumidifiers: Investing in a good dehumidifier can help in maintaining optimal humidity levels.
  • Regular Checks: Especially in seasons with extreme weather, regularly check your instruments for any signs of moisture damage.
  • Storage: When not in use, store instruments in their cases with humidity control packets to prolong their life.


    Building a home studio tailored for rock and metal is more than just buying equipment; it's about creating an environment that nurtures your creativity. With the right tools, ambiance, and community, you'll be on your way to producing tracks that truly resonate.

    While this post only scrapes the surface of what is needed, we hope this helps you understand some of the basic things you need to know about having a good studio atmosphere. Check out our blog for more tips and deeper dives on specific topics covered here!