studioEvery (EDM) producer knows this problem: why can’t I make a proper premix in my (home) studio? Nine out of ten times this is because you are not working in a Home Studio Acoustics treated room. Having a comfortable and creative space is very important for you to work in as a DJ or Producer. Now the question is: how do you create a good Home Studio Acoustics treated room that sounds good and keeps you inspired without spending to much money? Start by coming up with an intention for the room and state what you will be doing in this space. Is it a room for practice, performance, production, recording or all the above?  The intention of the space dictates how the space is set up so it can successfully meet all your needs.

The physics of the propagation of sound in Home Studio Acoustics is immensely complicated, and when the assortment of materials that make up the walls, floors and ceiling (plus any windows, doors and furniture) are added to the equation, it’s very difficult to predict what will happen to sound waves once they’ve left their source. What’s more, every room is different, and it’s not just the dimensions that will dictate how the room will sound… Imagine two rooms of the same shape and size. One has two-metre-thick concrete walls, and the other a single-layer plasterboard stud-wall. Even with those brief, albeit extreme descriptions, you probably know already that the two rooms will sound very different. Add in the multitude of room shapes, sizes, wall-construction methods and surfaces found in home studios, and it becomes impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all guide to acoustic treatment.
The subject of Home Studio Acoustics is regularly discussed on the web, but plenty of readers still ask for the subject to be covered from a much more basic starting point. What follows is a look at installing acoustic treatment from a complete beginner’s perspective: some basic, essential information, along with a bit of advice from acoustics professionals that should give you the confidence to get started. I’ll follow this up by taking you step by step through my own recent experience of treating a room for Home Studio Acoustics.
STEP 1: Basstraps

Most sound problems in small Home Studio Acoustics rooms are caused by low-frequency information that builds up around corners and walls. These problems can be minimized with bass traps that absorb low-frequency energy. This will create a greater sonic balance in the room and allow you to make better mix decisions. Bass traps can be rather expensive, so consider one of many D.I.Y options. Bass traps should be placed in the corners of your Home Studio Acoustics room. This is where you will get the most bang for your buck. If possible, the address front corners before the back corners. STEP 2: First Early Reflections The next thing acoustically that you will want to address is known as the, “First Early Reflections.” These are the points on your left and right walls where sound from your speakers can potentially bounce back to you before hearing the original signal from the speaker. To find these points sit in your chair facing your monitors and have a friend place a mirror on the right wall at the same level as your monitor speaker. Have them move it around until you can see your left monitor speaker in the mirror. This is your “First Early Reflection” point and thus you should place some absorptive material here to cut the reflection. Some cheap acoustic foam can do the job decently well for your Home Studio Acoustics room.


STEP 2: Monitor Speaker Placement
Monitor speakers are what we use to create and critically listen to our work so placing them correctly is very important. Placing your speakers in the wrong position in your Home Studio Acoustics room can cause you to make bad mix decisions because you are not hearing things correctly. Proper speaker placement can give you more confidence and promote better mixes. Here are a couple of techniques I use for placing speakers.

  1. Pull speakers away from the wall (3 feet if possible). Bass builds up at wall junctions and corners, so pulling your speakers away allows them to function more accurately in the room.
  2. Build an equilateral triangle with you and your speakers. This means your speakers are the same distance from each other as they are from you.
  3. Ear level: The tweeters should be roughly at the same height as your ears. This is so you hear the high frequency range accurately.
  4. Isolate your speakers from the surface they are on. Try using some slightly dense foam to separate the surface of the speaker from the surface of what they are on. If the speaker is placed upon a resonant surface, the surface itself may transfer unnecessary energy back into the monitor speaker and compromise it’s performance.

housepital monitor position

STEP 3: Organizing Your Cables

As a DJ and producer you spend a fair amount of time plugging stuff in and cabling in your Home Studio Acoustics room. Cables can get in the way of being creative so making them somewhat neat is preferable. Zip ties are cheap and work but are somewhat of a pain if you need to move the cables. Velcro cable wraps tend to be the best option. Here are some suggestions for dealing with cables so you can free up more creative time for your Home Studio Acoustics room.cables

  • Create a studio floor plan of the necessary cable types and lengths that you need for everything to be connected. Then order them!
  • Get two types of cables, cables for shows and cables for your studio. This way you don’t have to waste your creative time re-cabling things again and again because you ripped the studio apart to go play a show – try MonoPrice and Amazon for cheap cables.
  • Get an audio interface that supports the right amount of physical inputs and outputs that you need. If everything is plugged in and ready to go you are more likely to use it.
  • Give your controllers a permanent home: You’ll want to access them quickly when feeling inspired. A simple USB hub and some USB extension cables make the difference between a working environment and a MIDI controller graveyard .
  • Building a custom cable rack will save you a lot of time – this can be as easy as finding a piece of plywood and drilling several screws in at an angle to hang cables from.

STEP 4: Mixers

Having one central mixer in your Home Studio Acoustics room can be really beneficial to being able to route multiple inputs from different sources into your monitor speakers. This way you could have the output of your DJ mixer and the output of your computer and digital audio workstation connected to one central mixer that feeds your speakers. If you have a DJ mixer this may work for this situation also. This can save time and will help avoid re-cabling.

STEP 5: Display your successful projects and small tips

Acknowledging your accomplishments can help you grow as an artist and feel good about what you have done. If you have some album artwork from something you’ve released or a flyer from a big show you’ve rocked print it out, frame it and put it on the wall! Anything that will show your accomplishments sends a message to the world and yourself that you are successful.

housepital records

If certain materials are specific to the function of a project like note pads, extra gear or other items then clear them out when the project is finished. Also general cleaning and taking good care of your gear helps build respect for your equipment. This translates to respect for your craft and yourself as an artist.

Within Reach: If your gear is set up and ready to go, it will be more likely that you use it. Basic shelves are easy and affordable to install if you have lots of synths or MIDI controllers. Desk risers can be made from a couple of pieces of wood and will allow you to fit a MIDI controller or two underneath and then set your monitor or computer on top to save space.

Ergonomics: If you spend hours sitting in front of the computer working on music, investing in a decent chair or standing deck can do wonders for your health. Try to stand up often and stretch.


loudness_warHere at Housepital Mastering we always try and keep you up to date in the brand new news section about plugins, hardware, other software and articles that might be interesting for you to read about the Music Scene. The first subject that we want to dig into is the Loudness War. Every Electronic Dance Music (EDM) artists, label, (ghost) producer or enthusiast knows knows about the ‘Loudness War’ but for some this subject is still an unknown area. With this post we will try and explain why the loudness isn’t that important as you think it might be. Yes: Dance Music needs to sounds ace and you want to feel the bass, but does this mean the dynamics need to be dependent of the loudness? Is it the industry that makes us go nuts and want to push our favorite tracks to the limits? Lets find out!

“This so-called “Loudness War” is entirely based on a (modern) myth – a fairy-tale full of nonsense that has somehow hypnotized the entire EDM music industry for the last ten years and is permanently damaging the music we listen to as a result”

What is loudness?
The first questions we need to answer is: what is loudness in a track? Loudness is the characteristic of a sound that is primarily a psychological correlate of physical strength (amplitude). More formally, it is defined as “that attribute of auditory sensation in terms of which sounds can be ordered on a scale extending from quiet to loud”.[1]

To illustrate why loudness is destroying good music we want to share the following video with you:

As you can see both most definitely hear is that the current loudness war is destroying the music which we love to make and listen. Industry head honcho’s and artists are keeping pushing the limits of the dynamics with the result that the music will lack in serious quality. If there is more headroom, a better mastering the music will have far greater quality due to better dynamics.

loudness2Martin Garrix – Animals
Although this topic has already been wide spoken on the net it is interesting to pick this very track: Martin Garrix- Animals (UK Radio Edit). Garrix gained considerable fame through his own solo release “Animals[5] released on June 16, 2013 on Dutch record label Spinnin Records, becoming a hit in a great number of charts in Europe, and quickly became the youngest person ever to reach the #1 spot on Beatport.[6][7] The track also appears on Hardwell‘s album Hardwell presents ‘Revealed Volume 4’. We think that everybody knows this tune by now. Animals became a top 10 record in over 10 countries including the #1 position in Belgium. So this track became widely supported by all the majors in the world and everybody has danced to it but when we look at this track from a mastering studio approach it is strange to see that the loudness is exploding (see picture on the right)! Yes the track sounds good but we expect that it will sound better when they used different settings and gave the track more bite giving that fast attack feeling! That record is so loud that there is an outfit in Europe called ITU [International Telecommunication Union] that now has standardization measurements for long-term loudness.

We and some other people would submit that another thing that is hurting record sales these days is the fact that they are so compressed that the ear just gets tired of it. When you’re through listening to a whole album of this highly compressed music, your ear is fatigued. You may have enjoyed the music but you don’t really feel like going back and listening to it again…

So if we have caught your attention and you want to know a little bit more about the history of loudness in tracks please don’t hesitate to contact us: here. Also we would like to share the following PDF with you showing the history of loudness in mastered tracks: history of loudness in mastered tracks.

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