May 21, 2024

5 Tips for Maintaining Your Home Recording Studio

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5 Tips for Maintaining Your Home Recording Studio

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Over the past couple of decades, the advent of affordable digital home recording has completely revolutionized the music industry. Some of the best albums of all time were recorded in home studios, and who knows – yours might just be the next. Your home studio is your personal space for creation. You’re not going to feel very creative, though, if your studio is a mess – and if you’re like most of us, it’s probably not easy for you to work up the initiative to give your space a proper cleaning.

Here’s the good news. Although giving your home studio a top-to-bottom cleaning is a major project that you probably don’t feel like doing, it’ll be much easier to maintain the space after you’ve done the work. In this article, we’re going to help you do both. We’ll start by giving you a simple plan for cleaning your studio. After that, we’ll continue with some tips that can help you keep your studio in the best possible shape. Let’s dive in.

Give Your Studio a Deep Cleaning

Before you can worry about maintaining your studio, you need to focus on cleaning the space itself. We suggest that you start by moving all of the equipment to another room. Clean the space from top to bottom, starting with the ceiling because the dust at the top of the room will fall to the floor. You can remove most stains using a rag dipped in warm water and a mild detergent. If your studio is carpeted, consider renting a steam cleaner to give it a deep cleaning. If your studio has foam or upholstered acoustic panels, you won’t be able to clean them with soap and water. Vacuum away any surface dust and remove stains by spot cleaning. Finish with a quick spritz of disinfectant spray.

Clean and Protect Your Equipment

As you move your equipment back into your studio, dust each item before putting it back into its original position. There are also a few additional things that you can do to keep your recording equipment in good shape.

  • Get dust covers for things that you might not use every day, like tape decks, synthesizer modules, keyboards and pedals. You’ll also want a cover for your mixing console. Removing dust from the nooks and crannies of these items is a time-consuming process, and you’ll rarely feel like doing it. Dust covers make it easy. You might also want to consider getting covers for your computer and monitor if you don’t use your studio on most days.
  • Keep unused guitars in cases. Change old, rusty strings before they have a chance to cause corrosion on frets and pickups.
  • If you have a desktop computer, open it and clean the fans to reduce fan noise and keep your computer cool. Install fan filters to keep dust out of your computer’s chassis in the future. If you have the budget, it’s worthwhile to consider upgrading to a fanless computer.

Don’t Smoke in Your Studio

Once you’ve gotten your studio into a clean and organized state, you should do whatever you can to keep it in that state in the future. Your first priority is to ensure that you never smoke cigarettes in your studio. A home studio is typically a fairly small environment, and the smoke will permeate absolutely everything. You’ll never get the smell out, and the tar that adheres to every surface will degrade your expensive equipment. Grab some disposable vapes and stash them in your studio to remind yourself that you aren’t allowed to smoke there. You can also try nicotine pouches as an alternative to smoking, although it isn’t easy to sing with a pouch in your mouth.

Control the Moisture Level

Controlling the moisture level is important in any environment where you store musical equipment. Excess moisture can damage wood items like guitars. It can also cause corrosion in the delicate internal components of things like synthesizers and mixing boards. It’s also very important to control the temperature and humidity if you store tapes in your studio because magnetic tape can degrade very quickly if it isn’t stored correctly. It’s common for musicians to record in their basements, which compounds the issue because a basement tends to have excessive moisture anyway.

The easiest way to control the humidity in a basement recording studio is by installing a dehumidifier. That way, you can set the dehumidifier to the desired humidity level and forget about it. A dehumidifier uses a bucket to collect the moisture removed from the air, and you’ll need to keep an eye on it because the dehumidifier will turn off when the bucket is full. Alternatively, you can connect a hose to the dehumidifier to set it up for continuous draining. Most experts recommend keeping the relative humidity in your recording studio at 50 percent or lower. You should also do whatever you can to ensure that the room has plenty of airflow.

You might also want to consider buying humidity control packets for your guitar cases. They’re inexpensive, and they can help to prevent the wood from cracking or warping. A humidity control packet is usually designed to maintain a humidity level of around 50 percent in an enclosed environment, and it’ll absorb or release moisture as necessary to maintain that humidity level. On average, humidity packets require replacement every two to four months.

Keep Your Studio Smelling Clean

Once you’ve given your home studio a good cleaning, you generally won’t have to worry about the environment smelling bad as long as you control the humidity level and don’t smoke. In a particularly humid basement, though, you may need a little extra help. Place some bags of activated charcoal around the studio to absorb odor-causing molecules and keep the environment smelling fresh. Activated charcoal needs to be refreshed in direct sunlight every few months. As long as you do that, you can continue using the charcoal for a year or even longer. As an added benefit, activated charcoal doesn’t generate noise like an air purifier would. The bags can also help to deaden echoes.

author avatar
Bernard - Side-Line Staff Chief editor
Bernard Van Isacker is the Chief Editor of Side-Line Magazine. With a career spanning more than two decades, Van Isacker has established himself as a respected figure in the darkwave scene.

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