Any Tips for setting up a music studio in my Tallahassee apartment?

As a musician, my first priority when moving into a new apartment is setting up my in-home studio. A good home studio can provide a productive work space without breaking the bank on studio time or expensive equipment. If you're a student in Florida State University's College of Music, or simply a musician who wants to get involved in Tallahassee's thriving music scene, here's a few tips to get the most out of your home studio.

Maximize Your Space

You may find yourself living in a studio apartment and assume that the lack of space means you can't have an effective studio in your apartment. This is not the case. In my first apartment in Tallahassee, I set up a desk in my bedroom and kept my equipment underneath my bed for storage. By keeping bulkier items like instruments tucked away while not in use, your ‘studio' only needs to take up as much space as your desk. If you own a lot of equipment, or play a large instrument, you should consider an apartment in Tallahassee with extra storage space to keep your studio tidy at all times.

Treat Your Apartment For Proper Sound

Sound quality can often be the biggest identifier of an amateur musician. You can get the most out of whatever microphone you use by treating your space properly- and it doesn't have to break the bank. The most common and effective method of improving the overall sound of any room in your Tallahassee apartment is by adding eggshell padding to the walls. For under $50, eggshell will minimize any reverb or echo from your walls and make your recordings sound more professional. If you're looking for a quicker fix, you can also hang up a blanket or a rug to similar effect.

Be Smart About Your Purchases

One of the most common mistakes that people make when building an in-home studio is spending too much money on any one item. Be honest with yourself: do you really need a $1000 analog synthesizer right now? Remember that a home studio is something you can build on for years to come, and it's more important to start with the basic necessities. Here are the most important items for a starter studio and how to be efficient when buying them:

  1. Digital Audio Workspace (DAW): While most industry professionals and amateurs use expensive DAW such as Logic Pro and Ableton, don't be ashamed to start with something free like GarageBand. You can always upgrade your DAW later if it seems necessary.
  2. Microphone: This is likely the most important long-term item you will buy when first building a studio. Luckily, most amateurs (and many professionals) use the Shure SM58, which only costs around $100. This microphone works great for recording vocals as well as instruments, and you will never outgrow this item.
  3. Audio Interface: An interface allows you to record directly from your microphone into your computer. Don't go crazy when buying your first interface- you probably won't need more than one or two inputs. Here are some great interfaces for under $100.
  4. Headphones: When working in an apartment, it can be useful to use headphones instead of speakers to avoid angering your neighbors. I use the AKG K240's, which cost around $70 and get the job done. Whatever your choice,make sure that you buy headphones made for musicians. This will ensure that you're hearing your mix properly.

Have Fun With Your Studio

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to build a studio in your Tallahassee apartment because you enjoy making music! Once you have your studio built, be sure to enjoy your new workspace so that you can get your music out into the world for others to hear.

A fun note. True music aficionados may be especially interested in vinyl records. You must check out RetroFit Records on Gaines St., known affectionately as Tallahassee's friendliest neighborhood record store. 

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