Step 1 of building a home recording studio from scratch

Even though I'm trying to limit myself to not write so much about gear and acoustics, I find it important to share with you that I am in the process of building my home studio...another one. I would like to share with you the process of communicating with the acoustic professionals and the architect I've hired. I will share with you my thought process of decision-making on how I want this studio to feel not just for myself, but for the clients. Even though I'll cover technical aspects and we'll geek-out a little on gear, I'll keep it to a minimum. It'll be more how these tools will help me serve my clients better and not so much how Gear XYZ will give me less distortion and noise-floor, etc. 

Currently I'm in a three-bedroom apartment in Bogotá, Colombia and one of those bedrooms is my studio. I love it. About three years ago I DIYed the acoustic treatment and it works amazing. My wife and I will be moving just a few blocks down to another apartment, but it'll be bigger and within a house and not within an apartment complex. Let me explain. My wife and I are starting a coworking business called Maloca Co-working and since we're investing heavily in this, we decided to make part of the house into our apartment. The studio will be a 20 m2 (215 ft2) loft at the top of the apartment with an entrance also into the coworking space. 

The biggest problem with my current studio is that I don't feel comfortable inviting clients into it, because it's my home and I have two small children. Even though I mainly use the studio for mixing, I can't record unless it's late at night, because I live just a 5 minute drive from the airport, children play right outside our 1st floor apartment and make tons of noise, and my own kids inside the house can sometimes cause a storm. Yes I know...a pain. But I've lived with it for three years and been able to work things out. 

Now that I have the opportunity and the funds to build my own studio...albeit still small...I'm super excited to do it right! 

What I'm most excited about is to be able to open up my studio to the public since it will have an entrance from the coworking space. It will have a more professional feel rather than going through my apartment and stepping on LEGOs and dolls. The client will even have a place to sit comfortably, which would be an upgrade from a wooden stool. They'll be able to go down to the first floor for unlimited coffee, water, and tea and other benefits that the coworking space offers. And since I'll be busy working on lots of non-studio projects such as running the coworking space, I could have another engineer run the studio as well so that it can be put to use and is not dependent on my time. 

Most engineers with the same funds would probably go crazy getting a console, top-of-the-line mics and gear, but that's not me. For now I'll be sticking to my current setup: MacBook Pro, additional display, KRK V6s for monitors, Aphex 500 USB interface with Golden Age Projects Pre573s preamps, a nice array of plugins including my favorite Softube Console 1 mixing console, and very simple but great microphones with the exception of the vintage RCA 44bx that my grandfather handed down from the Disney Studios and I restored.

Here is my current home studio:

So what will I be investing in?? You guessed it: acoustics. First off, this loft doesn't exist yet so I'll be building it from scratch. I've hired Proacustix, who have done several studios in the area, to first offer a design and consultation. Then I'll see if I'll have them implement the design as well. This Thursday I'll meet with Proacustix and my architect so that the acoustic engineer can tell the architect exactly what material he should use for the foundation, walls, roof, etc. So far it seems like it'll be a solid concrete rectangle with two windows. It will have a flat green roof, which not only will look cool, but will diminish the sound of rain patting and other aerial sounds such as airplanes. 

I'm excited to get the first design proposal and I'll keep you in the loop. 

Stay tuned!

Daniel Badi Rinaldi

Bogota, Colombia