Apr 2013

Recording Begins at Home

About seven or eight years ago I closed my studio in Chicago and built a new one in my home. It was a little bit of a scary move, because I live way out in the woods, and not right downtown in the Miracle Mile area where all the ad agencies and recording studios are. Or maybe ‘used to be’ would be a little more accurate.

Turns out I was on the front edge of a wave: Home Recording is pretty much becoming where its at, as it were. Even my friend Michael Smidi Smith, who has gone on to become a top LA producer, told me a couple days ago that all his stuff is mixed in his home studio now. It used to be a garage in El Segundo. Now it’s the birthplace of hit records. Ooops, we don’t say records anymore do we? Hit MP3’s! Hows that? Hmmm. Lacks the appropriate glamour. I’m sticking with records. Guess I’m old school that way.

Smidi’s garage studio. My basement studio. My friend Riely has a studio in a little outbuilding on his property. A band I know built a pretty cool one on their family farm. A cat I know in Mississippi turned his old farmhouse living room into a studio and covered the walls with beautiful old hand made quilts. People have studios in campers, barns, living rooms, bedrooms, houseboats, kitchens, rec rooms and lofts. And why not? The game has changed.

My scary little move to the basement came with a ton of research and effort. I had been in the recording biz for twenty some years at that point, and already knew a lot, but there was a ton of information, trial and error, experimentation and WAGS (wild-ass guesses) to wrangle before my basement morphed into a proper chamber to conduct the serious pursuit of recording music. I built a Helmholtz resonator from scratch for cryin’ out loud! Whats that, you ask? Stay tuned and find out. But here’s a clue: it was a big factor in helping my basement sound like a studio and not like a, well, basement.

So this Blog is going to be about Home Recording and how to go about it, sharing the various things I’ve learned over the years. Stay tuned. Secrets shall be revealed!