Once The Basics Are In Place – Five Additional Tools And Accessories To Add To Your Home Recording Studio
You finally finished setting up your home recording studio. The basics are all in place. You now find yourself ready to start adding to your studio, but are not sure what is available and what will be the best addition to add first.
To help you invest in accessories that will add real value to your home recording studio, we chose five products that will benefit and enhance your whole recording experience. It is clearly not an extensive list, but just an indication of what is available to make your life in the studio a bit easier.
1. Back Up Your Audio Files On An External Hard Drive
Whether you are recording you audio in 16-bit or 24-bit depth, you will be surprised how quickly you audio files will fill up you computer's hard drive. Luckily hard drives with bigger capacities at affordable prices are widely available to consumers. When you are working on a desktop computer with additional expansion slots, you now have the option to upgrade your hard drive to a bigger capacity one, or simply add a second hard drive to your system.
But what if something happens to your computer? We don't think of backing up our data nearly enough. You may be sitting with months or years of work on your computer, and only realize the consequences of not backing up when an electrical power surge or computer virus destroys all the data on you hard drive. When your hard drive is destroyed, there is no way of ever getting your years of hard work back.
For this reason, I would not just recommend, but plead with you to invest in a separate external hard drive where you can keep a copy of all your data files. USB connected hard drives are affordable and you can come in capacities of up to 4Tb (terabyte).
A good example is the Western Digital 4Tb Elements Portable External Hard Drive. It is pre-formatted and powered by the USB port. You simply plug the hard drive into your USB port and you are ready to go.
You can get more information and pricing on the Western Digital 4TB Hard Drive here.
2. SPL Meter For The Right Volume Level
Have you stopped and considered the volume at which you are listening to and monitoring your recording? There actually is a volume level that is considered by sound engineers in the recording industry to be the sweet spot when it comes to monitoring your recording to get the most accurate feedback.
In most recording studios, 85dB (decibels) is the magic number used to listen to recordings and monitor sound. It provides you with the flattest hearing curve, meaning "the listener perceives a constant loudness when presented with pure steady sounds" (also called equal loudness contour).
This is a general standard used in commercial studios. It is not set in stone though, and may vary according to the size of the studio. Some smaller studios may use a much lower volume setting of 70dB to achieve optimal results.
In order to achieve this volume, you need a measuring device, called a SPL Meter. This a handheld device with a microphone on top. The diaphragm in the microphone measures the air pressure produced by sound waves and display the result in decibels.
The best place to measure the volume, is the position in the studio where you are seated to monitor your sound. (Obviously with the studio monitors and acoustic treatment correctly set up. You can read more about optimal speaker placement in this article.) It will also be useful to take additional measurements in other relevant spots in your studio to get a balanced indication of the overall sound volume in the room.
A good example of a good SPL meter is the BAFX ProductsÂ - Decibel Meter. It is accurate and affordable. You can get more information and pricing on the BAFX ProductsÂ meter here.
3. Headphones Holder For An Uncluttered Desk
You probably know the frustration of finish monitoring your recording and you take your headphones off and try to find a place on your already cluttered work desk to put it down. Not to mention the irritation of constantly moving it around the desk to access other equipment it was left on.
Some people use the microphone and its boom arm to hang the headphone over, but this is not ideal and can have its own share of problems. Luckily, enough users all over the world are battling with this problem, which led manufacturers to start developing headphone holders.
A simple but extremely helpful accessory that you can hang your headphones over. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be fixed against a wall or, my personal favorite, bolted onto the side of a desk where you can easily hang and retrieve it. Your desk remains less cluttered and your headphones hangs safely out of the way on the side of the desk.
The K&M Stands Headphone holder with table clamp is just on of a wide variety of different headphone holders available in different forms and shapes. What I like about the K&K holder, is that it clamps directly to the side of your desk, keeping your headphones within reach and neatly secured against the side of you desk.
You can get more information and pricing on the K&M Stands Headphone holder here.
4. Isolation Pads When Speaker Stands Are Not An Option
A good pair of studio monitor/speaker stands remain the ideal place to put you speakers on. There may be a few reasons though, that you simply are not able to place your speakers on separate stands. From budget restrictions, limited room space to just a strong personal preference to place your speakers on your desk or other surface, stands are just not working for you.
Luckily this is not a train smash, largely due to the availability of iso-pads (isolation pads). These firm but absorbent foam pads are the ideal alternatives to place your studio monitors on. They can be used on your desk, shelve, the floor or other solid horizontal surfaces.
They mainly serve to two purposes. The most important one being the ability to absorb vibrations and shocks effectively from the surface it is standing on. The foam used in iso-pads is still firm and flat enough to provide a stable surface for the speakers to safely stand on.
The second purpose and advantage is the ability of many iso-pads to to be tilted at an angle (or multiple angles) to allow the speaker to directly face your head. As a result, floor or desk standing speakers not at ear level, can easily tilted to directly face in the right direction.
Not all iso-pads provide a lot of flexibility when it comes to angling studio monitors in exactly the right direction. This is part reason why I am such a huge fan of the Ultimate Support MS-80 isolation pads. They may be a bit overkill and are not the most affordable options available to you. If a specific angle is not a priority for you, there are certainly much more affordable quality iso-pads available.
You can get more information and pricing on the Ultimate Support MS-80 isolation pads here.
5. Studio Case For Safe Equipment Storage
As your studio grows, you will start building up quite a collection of equipment, like multiple microphones and specialty cables. Many of these components and cables will not be actively used for extended periods of time, and need to be safely stored.
This is where a studio case with protective foam interior comes in very handy. Most condenser microphones and some cables are sensitive and needs to be stored in a protective environment.
A sturdy studio case are able to safely store multiple microphones and other equipment, holding them in place, and protecting them from knocks, dust and other external forces. They also come in very handy if you need to transport your equipment safely.
A good example is the Casematix Studio Case. It comes in a hard shell case with a foam interior that can be customized by removing foam blocks in order to make space for the specific piece of equipment you are planning on storing. It also come with a built-in handle and the sleek design makes it ideal for travel and storage.
You can get more information and pricing on the Casematix Studio Case here.
I just discussed 5 accessories that will benefit your home studio. They are just five of hundreds of accessories you can add to you home studio. They are also not essential, but may just be that extra piece of equipment you need to make your life a bit easier.
Let me know in the comment section if you would like more options when it comes to adding additional extras to your studio. I will make sure to expand this current article or add a separate one with a much more comprehensive list.
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Catch you in the next article and happy recording!