Do you love making music? Or are you an aspiring musician? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then chances are, you’ve thought about building your own recording studio.
And why not? Recording studios can be expensive to rent or lease, and they’re often not very user-friendly. So if you have the space, why not build your own recording studio in your garage? It’s easier than you might think! In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to build a recording studio in your garage.
What You'll Learn Today
- Is a Garage Good for Recording Music?
- How Much Does it Cost to Turn a Garage into a Recording Studio?
- How Do I Build a Recording Studio in My Garage?
- Record Your Own Music – Right in Your Garage!
Is a Garage Good for Recording Music?
When it comes to contributions to music legend and folklore, there’s perhaps no room in the home that’s quite as important as the garage.
After all, the garage is a natural setting where many musicians did their first recording or had their initial practice sessions with the band. “Garage rock” is even its own musical genre, and the garage is where early punk music was born.
Because of this, the garage is one of the first areas of your home that you might want to consider when it comes to recording music. While you can always build a more serious recording space with a separate structure that you rent or buy outside of the home, like a commercial office space, that can be costly.
If you already own a home, the garage is the next best place to make a recording studio. Not only that, but the garage offers numerous benefits for recording music. For example, it:
- Typically has a concrete floor, which is the ideal flooring for a music studio
- Tends to be one of the largest rooms in a suburban home, with its size contributing to good overall acoustics
- Can easily be converted into a music studio without affecting the “livability” of the rest of your home
Of course, there are several drawbacks to consider, too. For example, you need to consider any sound isolation issues. Are there air gaps to the outside world? Sound-dampening materials like insulation or drywall?
Identify these and work to mitigate them as best as you can before you begin the process of building a recording studio.
How Much Does it Cost to Turn a Garage into a Recording Studio?
It’s not exactly cheap to turn your garage into a recording studio, but it still tends to be the most cost-effective option if you’re weighing renovating your garage versus renting a rehearsal studio.
Most people will pay a minimum of $5,000 to add drywall, level the floor, install new flooring, and finish up the project with lighting (here are some ideas) and furniture.
Of course, you’ll also have the cost of music equipment for your home recording studio to factor in, too – which isn’t included in that $5,000 total.
How Do I Build a Recording Studio in My Garage?
Ready to build your own garage-based recording studio? It won’t take you long. In fact, some people are able to do it in less than two weeks, as you’ll see in the video below:
If you’re ready to get started, here are some simple tips to follow.
1. Clean Things Up
First things first – give your garage a good cleaning. You really want to start with a blank slate when you’re remodeling your garage, so make sure any mess and clutter is cleared out of the way.
Find a new spot to park your cars, if that’s what you’re currently using the garage for, and donate old tools and other items you are no longer raising. You may need to find new storage spaces for items you’ve been stashing in a garage – and schedule a yard sale to offload the materials you haven’t used in a long time.
2. Make a Floor Plan
Next, create a floor plan. Take a close look at the space and think carefully about what equipment you might want to put in the area.
How is the garage shaped? Will you need to install ventilation or remove windows? How would you like the space to be laid out? Be as detailed as possible in creating your initial plan.
You will also want to consider the shape of the room. A garage that has dimensions that are direct multiples of one another (or a 1:2:3 layout) isn’t ideal. The acoustics tend to be garbled and not as clear as you might like.
The best garage will be one that is a rectangle or square, though you don’t want too many design curves or it will cause unnecessary distortion in the music you create.
3. Create Good Absorption
Sound absorption is important when you’re building a recording studio. If you want the best quality of sound, consider furnishing your garage recording studio with things like couches, bookcases, drapery, and rugs. This will help create positive absorption effects.
4. Add Insulation and Ventilation
You may also need to add insulation. This is only necessary if you plan on spending a lot of time in your studio and you’re concerned about it becoming too warm or too cold.
Insulation is also important when it comes to keeping sound in. Insulate the walls and floors, if you don’t already have this in the space.
Ventilation is also important, since moisture can accumulate on sensitive instruments and recording devices, distorting the quality of your recording and also causing damage over time.
5. Get Rid of Windows
Although windows can be helpful for ventilation, the downside is that they can let in noises. From trucks driving by outside to construction noises down the street, you don’t want these sounds leaking into your recordings.
6. Soundproof the Area
Next is the most important part – soundproofing. You will want to check for dry and loose garage door components that can cause an issue with recordings. Spray all parts with a lubricant and then move on to further soundproofing steps for the rest of the space.
Cellulose is one of the most popular materials that people use to insulate their garages for recording purposes. It can be used on garage door panels and on unfinished walls, helping to create a soundproof barrier that’s tight and impenetrable.
You can also use wooden cleats or acoustic tables, absorption sheets, and panels.
7. Identify Soundproofing Issues
Once you’ve soundproofed the entire area, do an audit of the space to figure out if there are any issues with what you’ve done.
You may need to add things like sound-dampening compounds or sound isolation clips to help patch weak areas.
8. Add Music Studio Equipment
Last but not least, it’s time to add your equipment! Exactly what you will need to add will depend on your goals and what kind of music you want to record. For example, will you be working with others? Are you a musician or a music producer?
At the very least, you’ll probably want to add things like computers, microphones, digital audio workstations, digital-to-analog convertors, drum machines (helpful if the space is tight and you don’t have room for actual drums), audio records, and monitors.
Here’s a more detailed list of the types of equipment you might want to include in your recording studio, to help give you an idea of what you should add to your personal checklist.
Record Your Own Music – Right in Your Garage!
So, there you have it. Everything you need to build a recording studio in your garage. While this may seem like a lot of work, just take it one step at a time and before you know it, you’ll be recording your first album.