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9 home studio hacks to get your creative juices flowing

9 home studio hacks to get your creative juices flowing

It’s always nice to upgrade the studio, but sometimes, particularly at this time of year, we don’t always have the pennies around for that new pair of studio monitors or boutique valve preamp.

It’s not all bad news though! It’s possible to make some quite noticeable improvements to your studio without having to spend a post-festive period-busting amount of money.

But what are they? Time for Red Dog Music to present its selection of nine top budget studio improvements!

Tea towel to protect mixer1. Tea towels

Yup. Tea towels. Not just for taking hot things out of the oven, the tea towel deserves its place in your studio. Particularly if you don’t hoover very often. Got a mixer? Got a MIDI controller with faders? Got anything that you’d like to keep dust out of for that matter? Stick a tea towel over it.

2. Cable ties

Been down the back of your desk lately? Take a look… If you anything more elaborate than computer > interface > monitors, chances are you’ve got a bit of a rats’ nest of cables back there. Tidy the whole thing up (and keep those power cables away from the audio cables) with a few cable ties!

3. Tea bags

A good selection of various teas never goes wrong for a long day or night in the studio. From starting the day with an English breakfast, a perfect afternoon Earl Grey Blue Flowers, to the late night smokiness of a Lapsang Souchong, nothing keeps the creative juices flowing – while preserving manual and mental dexterity – quite like tea.

And biscuits.

4. Adaptors, adaptors, adaptors!

Having a wide range of cables is important, but sometimes you just won’t have the right one. Maybe a collaborator brings ’round a new piece of gear, or perhaps you have a gig at a new venue and don’t know the setup, having a good box full of a selection of adapters multiplies your connectivity options from your set of cables. If you’ve got a stock of adaptors to connect between male and female XLR, 1/4″ TRS and RCA, you’ll have the peace of mind that you should be able to connect anything to anything else.

5. A cheap blanket or duvet

Most of us don’t have great-sounding rooms, which often contributes to that certain ‘boxy’ sound when you record acoustic sources, if you can’t afford –  or don’t want to – cover your room in acoustic treatment, hanging some throws or duvets behind the source can make a noticeable difference to the quality of your recordings.

Or if you’ve found a nice Persian rug that sets the room off just perfectly, get it hung on the back wall of your studio – on the wall facing your monitors – hanging 4-6 inches away from the wall and you should notice your room start to dry up considerably.

If not, bigger rugs…

Persian rugs- one of your next budget studio improvements

6. Cable tester

You’ve got that great box of cables – that you’ve just made even more useful by matching them with a big box of adaptors – but nobody likes to be caught out on stage or in the middle of recording that perfect take by a collection of pops, crackles or plain, old silence. Spend a therapeutic afternoon with your cables and a cable tester and sort out the duds.

7. A trip to Ikea

Bypass the upstairs (although maybe grab a coffee and one of those fairy cakes with the glitter on top of the icing, I recommend the brown rather than the pink icing…) head to the marketplace, and stock up on all manner of laptop stands, screw-onto-shelf lamps, pull-out keyboard shelves, storage boxes and many other things of wonderment and delight that can be put to use tidying and organising your studio and make your time in there much more productive.

8. A cheap, compact mixer

While the majority of home and project studios run perfectly well without a mixer, with the audio interface taking care of input/output duties and the DAW handling all the mixing tasks in-the-box, having a small hardware mixer around can be very useful sometimes.

From giving you an extra microphone preamp or two, letting you keep several sources connected to a single pair of inputs on your interface so you’re not constantly repatching, or simply giving you a large, hands-on, volume control for your monitors, the humble mixer is still absolutely useful.

9. Notebooks, pens, files and folders

You probably already have some, but they might always be to hand, within easy reach when you’re in your studio. And that’s where you need them to be.

From making quick notes about a sample you’ve just found while looking for something else and would be inspiration for another track; for recording settings on pieces of external gear so you can recall the mix later; for jotting down production and mixing tips that you come across when watching an interview online; for keeping your label contracts and client invoices together in one place… the list goes on.

Whatever the reason, whether it’s a hobby or a business, a small investment in some choice stationery can make all the difference.

 

Red Dog Music is the UK’s friendliest musical instrument and pro-audio dealer. Between our 5000 square foot Edinburgh shop filled with an incredible range of products, and our London showroom in Clapham specialising in high-end instruments, dj and pro-audio, Red Dog Music has you covered from north to south and from performance to playback.

 

About The Author

Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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