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Want to Build a Home Recording Studio?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

March 4, 2010

Comments (13)

Curt PalmerOver the course of last summer, voice over talent Curt Palmer completed his first professional-grade home recording studio, going from nothing to something that is serving him very well.

Building a home recording studio takes a lot of thought, planning and the implementation of good advice. If you've gone through the process already, you know what I mean!

Learn more about how Curt chose a location in his home, how he constructed the studio and how you can too in today's VOX Daily.

How Curt Palmer Constructed His Home Recording Studio

After leaving his corporate job in May 2009, Curt Palmer began to lay the groundwork for working as a professional voice over artist full-time.

For two to three months, Curt thought and planned for how he might best prepare himself, drawing upon advice from peers about how efficient and economical home recording studios were. Due to the fact that voice over talent need to record frequently throughout the course of their day, Curt chose to invest in the building of a home recording studio for both convenience and cost savings down the road.

Construction Begins!

During the summer of 2009, a storage room in his basement gradually transformed into a professional home recording studio, providing both a workspace and creative sanctuary.

The storage room was damp and needed some TLC before a home recording studio could be installed. Fortunately for Curt, a friend who lived down the street, Patrick Greiten of Mainstage Sound, happened to be both a recording engineer and a skilled carpenter!

Here's a picture from before they got started:

Storage Room

Prior to engaging in this project, Curt did a lot of research on equipment and Patrick was able to consult him on which pieces worked better for his voice, professional needs and studio environment.

Insulation and drywall

The first consideration was most fittingly the sound. How do you make a former storage room in the basement sound just right? As you can see in the pictures, the room was completely stripped and new insulation was added before the drywall was installed.

Drywall, sanding, mud

You may be able to tell from the photo above that Curt used quite a bit of drywall, tape, mud and sand. Apparently there was a lot of mud used and much sanding!

Suspension ceiling installation

Another one of Curt's priorities when building his studio was to ensure that there was adequate lighting. The storage room had no windows and therefore no natural light.

In this picture, you get an appreciation for what it takes to install a suspension ceiling! Curt had never hung a suspended ceiling before. For someone who tries to stay away from electrical, this task, and the installation of the track lighting, was somewhat harrowing but also rather interesting.

Nearly finished home recording studio

Nearly finished... a few missing ceiling tiles, acoustical treatment and Curt's equipment. Note, however, that the main construction is done!

Remember that track lighting? Curt has it strategically placed to emphasize certain areas within the room.

curt-palmer-neumann-microphone-pop-filter.jpg

With everything in place construction wise, it was time for Curt to setup the recording equipment. Shown here is Curt's Neumann mic with pop filter. Note the wall treatments and the use of relatively warm tones paint wise to create a peaceful work environment.

The walls are treated with muslin covered fiberglass board to absorb sound and eliminate reverberation and or distortions.

The addition of a comfortable chair for practicing in and reading also absorbs sound. The chair is also great for when Curt's family members make the trip downstairs to visit him in the studio.

I asked Curt if he had given his studio a name, and as of yet, it is simply referred to as his studio. His wife, however, has a new name for Curt. She has taken a liking to calling him a Hobbit because of all the time he spends in his subterranean studio!

Finished Home Recording Studio

So there you have it. In just 3 months, an extra room in the basement went from storing household items to an amazing home recording studio.

Curt's Recording Equipment Includes:

๏ HP Laptop
๏ Alesis studio monitors
๏ Edirol 25EX Analog-Digital converter
๏ dbx 286 Pre-Amp
๏ Furman power conditioner
๏ Neumann TLM-103 mic
๏ On-Stage mic stand and copy stand
๏ Auralex studiofoam wedges

Have You Built Your Own Home Recording Studio?

If you have any thoughts for Curt, or would like to discuss your own studio building project, you're welcome to add your comments and join the conversation.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

Photos courtesy of Curt Palmer

Related Topics: acting, construction, Curt Palmer, home recording studio, pop filter, recording studios, voice overs, voice talent, Voices.com


Comments


    Good job. It must be nice to have the space and resources to build a studio like this. For folks like me, it isn't an option. Instead, you get something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_MM3kCWMPc

    Posted by:
    • Jerome Santucci
    • March 4, 2010 8:54 PM

      Great posting-- lots of fun to see the project from start to finish!

      Debbie Irwin

      Posted by:

        Good job both Curt and Jerome! I'm somewhere in between at the moment as I've been working in a studio closer to what Jerome has created for the past 6 years, but I'm almost to the completion of my new studio which is more in line with Curt's. Actually, my new studio is very similar to Joe Cipriano's new studio in that it is in a separate building.http://www.voiceoveruniverse.com/profile/JoeCipriano I'm not sure if his video that shows the new studio is still up or not, but he has some other great videos to share.

        Jerome, if it's any consolation, I've been working steadily from my little cobbled up studio for the past 6 years. Before that, I worked exclusively through my local agent in studios around town for 20 years. I still do that, but having my studio - which is equipped with ISDN, phone patch and now Source Connect - has broadened my horizons immensely!

        I could post pictures of my work in progress, but I prefer to post them when you can see the finished product which should be very soon! The booth has been built within the larger space and all that remains are all the cosmetics of the studio office and the booth. Now, I don't have as much gear as Joe Cipriano, but what I have is good quality stuff and with the addition of my new roomy bunker of a booth...with an actual WINDOW to the outside world for all those long hours recording, I just know it will be an even greater joy to "crawl" behind the microphone everyday!

        Posted by:

          Thanks,

          That is great. I'm trying to work on my own as well.

          Carole

          Posted by:
          • Carole Pledger
          • March 5, 2010 11:18 AM

            Nice job. Envy the space you have available. Be proud of your accomplishment.

            Posted by:
            • Mike Forrester
            • March 5, 2010 2:31 PM

              Nice pictorial & narrative, Curt.

              My studio name suggestion is simply 'Studio C', as it reflects your Christian name 'C'urt, the noted empty wine rack where no doubt a nice 'C'hardonnay or two once sat AND it's located in your 'C'ellar.

              REGARDS,
              IAN in Oz.

              Posted by:
              • Anonymous
              • March 5, 2010 6:09 PM

                although I'm not in the position right now to build a studio, I'm enough of a home diy gal to recognize a well done project- good job! I was surprised when I got to the final photo, however, to see a wood floor as opposed to carpet. I'm interested in any comments about the relative merits as far as sound absorption.

                Posted by:
                • Carol Kutcher
                • March 5, 2010 9:37 PM

                  Melanie, I wasn't complaining. I'm proud of my set-up or I wouldn't have posted the video. Granted, I need to upgrade my mic and I need a quieter computer. Plus a tall stool that doesn't creek so that I can sit while I record longer sessions would be nice too. But the actual booth works great. I just wanted to point out that building a full booth like Curt's falls into the realm of fantasy for many of us.

                  Posted by:
                  • Jerome Santucci
                  • March 6, 2010 2:28 AM

                    Thank you all for your comments and well wishes! It's gratifying to get the positive feedback. I wanted to answer a couple of your posts. First, to IAN of Oz, I love the idea to name the studio "Studio C." Consider that done! To Carol, what you can't see in the finished studio photo is an area rug that is at the opposite end of where the chair is located. That rug helps offset the "brightness" of the wood floor. I wouldn't have wanted to carpet the whole room or the sound may have been too deadened.

                    If anyone has any questions about the project, I'm happy to answer and thanks again for your comments!

                    Posted by:

                      Curt~ Congratulations! This is amazing. You should feel very proud. Congrats! Good luck!

                      Leesa

                      Posted by:
                      • Leesa Guilmette
                      • March 7, 2010 8:36 PM

                        Build a porta booth. Using a 14 inch by 14 inch box and placing the mic in the box. Suitable boxes are available at the Container Store and similar stores near you. Line with acoustic foam, place the mic on a short stand in the box and you have a perfect small home or travel studio!

                        Credit to Harlan Hogan for the idea:

                        http://www.harlanhogan.com/portaboothArticle.shtml

                        Posted by:
                        • Jeffrey Babcock
                        • March 8, 2010 2:25 PM

                          What a great article. I'm a jazz singer and would love to build one of these someday. I found you by accident, surfing the web for info on Neumann mics.

                          Here's my site: http://www.OCJazzSinger.com

                          Take care,
                          Deborah Shane
                          OC Jazz Singer

                          Posted by:

                            I think I'll have to post pictures of the studio I've built! :)

                            Posted by:
                            • Matthew Alvarez
                            • November 21, 2012 5:52 PM

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