Many people have been asking me what it took for me to convert this Tiny House into my new personal studio and office. I figured now would be a good opportunity to show and list what it took to get the building "studio ready" as well as a gear list for my home studio. If enough people suggest it I will follow up with a video actually walking through and explaining more in detail but for now hopefully you find these items resourceful if you decide to build your own!
1st things first I bought the building from my friends at Backyard outfitters. Theres many locations selling these tiny houses now and I would assume most are similar but I would highly recommend these guys. They treated me great from the time I walked up. (It helped he was an incredible musician himself, we had plenty to talk about)
The building itself is a 24x12 double lofted cabin with porch. It cost me around 6k. (If youre a handy man i'm sure you could build similar for less but that just wasn't a time efficient option for me)
I had the electricity ran by someone I met at work a few years ago and he had it all done in one day. Couldn't have possibly done a better job especially with the trouble he went through under my house getting to the box lol. I had him put 2 outlets on every wall and 2 outlets are on its own breaker to handle more of the work load for the power bars and more demanding equipment. If you happen to be located around southern middle Tennessee and need electrical work shoot me a message and ill put you in contact with him. He comes from a family of electricians so no job is too big or too small.
Alright, the absolutely no fun at all part. Let me tell you how much I HATE insulation!!!!!... but not as much as I dont want to be shivering or having heat strokes while creating. I used John Manville 90005448 R13 15 x 93 in. Kraft Faced Batt it took around $350 to do the entire building and im not going to glorify it. Installing it sucks but it has to be done. Plain and simple.
My next step was to start thinking about interior treatment before the walls go up. Here's a huge game changer and a step most people skip over not realizing how important whats in the walls are important as whats on the walls. This is not cheap but it helps out MUCH more than its actual value! Have you ever heard of MLV? (Mass Loaded Vinyl) if not, I encourage you to look into it. Decided to cover the building in Soundsulate Mass Loaded Vinyl 4' X 25', 100 sq ft 1 lb MLV, Soundproofing, Noise Block, Made in USA It took me 6 100' ft square rolls to do what I needed to do. As I said before... Not cheap but extremely effective. This ran around $1200
For the floors, walls, and ceiling I decided to go with something heavy and sturdy that wouldn't break the bank as much as some of the other products. Something I could hang heavy acoustic panels on without having find studs every time and something that would add mass to the building. (The heavier and more room between you and outside the better in these environments) I decided to buy 7/16 OSB sheathing. Bought it at a local Lowes after Marvins decided to have piss poor customer service although I had spent an insane amount of money there the previous weeks. So Hi, Marvins! It took 35 sheets at 15.45 a piece. After delivery it was $668. You could cut alot of that cost by pick up. This was just a preference for me, there are a ton of options for you to choose from with this part of the building. Keep in mind OSB isnt the most attractive thing in the world but I knew a majority of mine would be covered up! Also this was BY FAR the hardest part of the entire process. My father and I did it all on our own. Imagine 2 people in lofts on a 105 degree day trying to put a ceiling in a building with a metal roof. Sounds awful doesnt it? it was worse. lol... dont be stubborn, call your friends.
CAN WE GET TO THE FUN STUFF NOW?!?!?!?!
Lets move some gear in!
I'm going to make a list of all the gear I have in the studio currently with links to purchase them and then i'll follow it up with how I treated the room.
Interface- Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII DUO $1200
I cant say enough about this thing. Such a powerful, clean signal. I don't see me ever leaving Universal Audio going forward. Amazon has it listed cheaper than I bought it for right now with free shipping. I'd jump on that right away. It's listed at $899. Thats a steal.
Amazon has an awesome deal right now where you can get a pair with stands and 4 cables and a pair of MOPAD for stability and clarity. Another steal. I also highly recommend Yamahas monitors if youre on a budget. Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitors Pair White w/ Strukture PRO20M7 XLR Cables 20 feet - Bundle The sound is extremely accurate and tight. The KRKs just have that slightly exaggerated low end that I need for most of my clients. Ive weighed the options of having both pair set up with a monitor switch for more references.
DAW Controller- Behringer X Touch $450
Now this is something you can probably do without but if you love outboard gear and want the feel of a console in your home studio this is exactly what you need. I'm not even going to lie I consider myself a guru and i'm still learning plenty of features on this thing. It's incredible and makes mixing so much more efficient than pointing and clicking.
Microphone- Blue Spark $200
This may be the most budget item in the whole studio but every single time I buy one to replace it I go right back. Until I upgrade to the U87 or the Manley Reference Cardioid I dont see me ever parting ways with it.
I have my microphone paired with the $200 Kaotica Eyeball and yes, the hype is real. It makes vocals manageable pretty much anywhere. Great for on the road recordings in rooms that arent treated the best. Don't be fooled by cheap imitations. Theres a reason some of the biggest producers and engineers in the game have brought them into even the biggest studios in the country.
Midi Controllers- Akai Professional MPD218 | MIDI Drum Pad Controller with Software Download Package (16 pads/6 knobs/6 buttons) You can get it for 100 bucks right now. Nothing special... Just a midi controller that gives you that vintage MPC feel that I love.
Alesis Q49 $129
A midi controller keyboard. In my opinion a keyboard and drum controllers are must haves. Im not a fan of point and click but there are no rules in creating! This is another item much cheaper than when I bought it. Very reasonable at $129. Don't be afraid to go big with the keyboards and MPC esque equipment! Its just not necessary for me right now.
$299 I play drums myself and just love the feel of playing live on records. I come from the Nashville music scene background and organic vibes are something I really have grown to love. Another item not neccesary in most set ups. I will probably upgrade soon. The hardware doesnt seem to be able to take the beatings we give out around here.
$200 Just a simple studio work station desk. Nothing too crazy for now. Easy to put together and has been sturdy enough for me to carry it from my house to the studio by myself without destroying it lol.
Headphones- KNS 8400 Studio Headphones $200
EVERY studio needs a good pair of headphones. These are actually studio monitor headphones made by the same company that makes my monitors. Another great tool for referencing your mixes. I love them.
My work horse has been extremely reliable and trust me, I have put this thing through hell. I've demanded alot and have never lost a session because of freeze ups.
DAW- I always keep updated with the latest version of Logic Pro. It is by far my most preferred the only downfall is theres no upgrade price. You have to pay the full $200 every single time you upgrade. Some may look elsewhere because of that. I also have Pro Tools, Ableton and many of the others. Studio One definitely has my attention lately. Don't let anyone tell you theres a right or wrong DAW. Its like being handed a blank sheet of paper. What you create is on you. All of them have their own special features.Usually the first one you master is the one you think is the best. It's as silly as the iphone vs android debate. (iPhone FTW BTW FWIW).
I believe that covers most of the equipment. I'm sure im leaving something out and if so i'll come back and update it.... now moving on... Lets talk about what I did for room treatment.
If youre building a studio and plan on doing any type of mixing I would advise you to thoroughly read up on the science of how sound will travel through your studio and how reflections can ruin your mixes and especially ruin your vocal records during compression. If you have questions feel free to contact me.. If i dont have the answers ill send you to some valuable resources...
The first thing I did was make 6 acoustic panels myself. They are all 2x4. If you're handy this isnt a tough process and it saves a ton of money. Although this is DIY its exactly how theyre really made if you buy them so you're not cutting corners at all. First I bought enough 8 ft 2x4s for the job and then I bought Knauf ECOSE Black Acoustical Board, 2 Inch, Case of 6 for $170. I cut the 2x4s to make a 2 ft by 4 ft frame with a support beam in the middle. Place the insulation inside the frame and then I wrapped it in black burlap fabric that I got at hobby lobby. Highly recommend them for their end of the roll sales. Never thought I would recommend hobby lobby on my production website but life comes at you fast.
Now if you're thinking to yourself that sounds expensive and you don't want to do that work to make them heres where the bad news comes in.... To buy the same kind of panels I just made you're look at 60-80 PER PANEL:. The shipping is rare to find cheap because these panels are fairly heavy. Heres where you can buy them ready to go. ATS Acoustic Panel 24x48x2 Inches in Black. Making them myself I saved almost 200 bucks. Either way will work incredible. Keep in mind that placement is everything with these. RESEARCH and ASK QUESTIONS!
I bought a couple sets of these. Theyre not the most high end but paired with my other treatment they work great. The idea is you want to stop bass build up in all the corners of the room. This will be something I upgrade though... The bigger and thicker the better for corner bass traps. The price range is wide depending on what youre looking for. Once again, research research reasearch.
Acoustic Foam- 96 Pack Acoustic Panels Studio Foam Wedges 2" X 12" X 12" $216
I've started out with 96 pieces of acoustic foam. Still experimenting with different placements because I found the most godsend acoustic treament hack ever that I thought for sure would never work....------>
MOVING BLANKETS!!!- Moving Blanket (12-pack) 72" X 80" US Cargo Control - Supreme Mover (90lbs/dozen, Black/white) $218
Now I saw this on youtube and thought theres no way this works as well as theyre saying but I figured i'd buy a small bundle and give it a shot. Guys, my studio walls are now covered in them and I very well may do the ceiling too. It knocked out so many reflections (and if you have wooden walls you will have a ton of reflection). Its unbelievable to me how well this works. It works better than the foam i've bought. Don't get me wrong its not better than the acoustic panels but this is something you can buy alot of without breaking the bank. If youre recording live audio or recording audio.. BUY SOME OF THESE! You wont regret it! You can go for a lighter size if youre on a budget. The more mass the better theyre going to work though. Shop around. I will definitely be buying more myself. I've even seen videos of people making vocal booths out of these and now I know why!
With this building, gear, and treatment as the foundation to build around i've basically spent 15k. It's definitely not the cheapest but most certainly not the most expensive. I've only been operational for a little over a month and we already have 5 projects ready to go for the last half of the year and its opened the door to other opportunities as well. I also treat this as my office and hub for all of my other business related purposes. I hope you guys have found this information intriguing and useful. If you're building a home studio I also hope it gives you an idea of the equipment you need and how important acoustic treament is in studio environments. Do keep in mind there is a HUUUUGEEEE difference in sound TREATMENT and Sound PROOFING. We will get into that another time.
Well guys, I think i'm going to wrap it up for now. I'll come back and edit as necessary and as always feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions. Creators, I hope you're seeing some success and putting vaulable energy in the world. Create something that last forever!
Until Next Time.