We’re into the last week of focus for February, Spring Cleaning & Replacing, which also means we’re at a perfect point to discuss just why having a great recording environment is so important.
The environment you work in isn’t just important for yourself but anyone that you welcome into it, and it can say a good amount about someone on first impressions; just the same as walking into another workplace or someone's home. So today, I’m going to share with you a few things I do and why, and hopefully give you some inspiration.
Let’s dive in!
There’s not a better way to describe it, other than a vibe. The furniture, the decoration, the equipment, etc. are all a part of what makes up the vibe, but there's something that stands out more for me than others. One of the main ones is foliage, or some amount of plants in the room - and actually, all mine are fake but that have a subconscious effect on how my room feels. Some may argue that it's a forced placebo effect, but for me, and in my own personal experience, the way a room ‘feels’ when you walk into it does a lot psychologically the more time you spend within it.
There’s not a lot of natural light in my studio, mainly due to the fact that windows are some of the worst surfaces for reflections that you simply don’t want while recording or mixing, so I keep them covered. After being in there for multiple hours at a time, it started to feel rather congested and dull, but as soon as I added some plants into the room, it even made me feel more invited, and clients definitely seemed to have a better time keeping their motivation and mood up from my own observation.
Another really good way to help give a flare and vibe to the environment is lighting, but not the conventional type. Depending on whether you’re looking for modern or vintage in your studio, you could go with purposefully dull bulbs on old lamps which compliment the vintage gear you may have or even better, a collection from our Vintage Series mics!
But you could also take advantage or the advancements in technology and invest in some RGB style LED lighting poles and have various complementary colors in the room, or perhaps some LED strip lighting for a way to make certain parts of furniture such as computer monitors or under desk lighting feel more contrasted to the rest of the room. Either way, lighting will definitely have an impact on the mood and vibe of the environment, some make sure to take time to consider how to improve it.
When done right, simple lighting can have a massive impact on the vibe of your studio.
Why Does It Matter?
This may be a question a few are asking, but there is some solid evidence behind why the environment you work in matters so much. I know in my own experience, having certain smells in the room while using an oil diffuser has given me much better results with vocalists who haven’t been performing at their best in the past sessions - and one of the main reasons is due to needing them as calm and confident in their ability as possible.
Another big reason the environment and vibe needs to be taken into consideration is that it says a lot about the person that owns it. A messy, chaotic environment leads someone to have the impression that the person they’re working with doesn’t really care about it too much which for me would be a major red flag. My first instinct would be to ask myself ‘if they can’t summon the energy to clean or improve the room, how much energy are they going to realistically put into my record?’
Conversely, I have had the wonderful experience of welcoming new people into my studio and seeing their reaction as well as hearing their thoughts on what they think upon entering and it's always the same; they’re impressed. Not simply because there's fancy equipment or instruments directly in front of them as they walk in, but because the lighting, the aesthetics of the room, the vibe have all been carefully upgraded over time to make them feel welcome and that I take what I do seriously, which then in turn relaxes their nerves and they have a positive mindset going into the first session.
I don't think it would be a stretch to assume almost anyone with a home studio aspires to have a vibe like Hans Zimmer's studio.
If you’ve taken care of your guitars and basses, removed old unwanted items, or donated them, created some space for you to work in, and upgraded your microphone storage, then now is the time to start thinking about the best ways to improve the overall experience in your studio - not just for your clients, but mainly for you as it’s you that’ll spend the most time in there. Take everything into consideration such as lighting, scents, furniture, foliage, and more and take on the role of your own interior designer for a brief moment: I promise you it’s worth it and you’ll see more an increase in performance from your clients, but also an improvement in your own creativity as well!