dBs Recommends: 6 hacks to improve home studio production

Shake off the dust and get back into the creative zone with these handy hacks from the dBs Community. 

How many times have you been at work and an idea pops up out of nowhere and makes the remaining time before you get into your home studio an agonising wait? Now, how many times have you gone into the studio with all that inspiration only to hit a creative wall? 

It's a common issue and while there are some occasions where creativity simply won't come, there are lots of ways to maximise your chances of being productive in your home studio; and we've got a few community suggestions to help get you started. 

1. Add character through an analog signal chain
Suggested by Tugkan Mutlu (@ultummusic), Employability & Engagement Officer at dBs

1. Adding character using an analog signal chain

If you’re working with digital stems or VST instruments, it can often feel like they’re a little too perfect. A great way to remedy that is to pass the audio through an analog signal chain such as an analog mixing desk or an analog filter and record it back into your DAW. The final version will now have psychoacoustic benefits usually through subtle analog imperfections, inconsistency or slight saturation.

2. Focus on creating the best sound you can
Suggested by Ed Cann (@edcanndj)

2. Focus on creating the best sound you can

This one may sound counterintuitive, but it makes total sense especially if you're working with a modest home setup. Getting obsessed with recording a ‘pro sound’ can completely undermine your creativity as you spend too much time wondering why it doesn’t sound quite right.

Instead, focus on making the sound as good as possible within the means available to you. Problem-solving through a little lateral thinking and creative mixing will not only develop your knowledge and proficiency with your tools, but can also produce some happy accidents that lead to unique sounds.

3. Invest in a good pair of headphones
Suggested by Jaz Crossman (@jaz915), graduate from dBs Plymouth.

3. Invest in a good pair of headphones

A treated and kitted out home studio is the dream for most, yet it’s only possible to a small percentage of people with the money and space to do it. However, investing your money in a good pair of headphones is a much more realistic goal and can eliminate the issues of untreated and oddly shaped rooms, allowing you to mix music to a high standard. Do check your low end every now and then with as many different speakers as you can, though!

4. Create at a time that suits you
Suggested by Rewan Leach (@pluvio_uk), graduate from dBs Plymouth.

4. Create at a time that suits you 

Inspiration strikes whenever it wants, and while this can be pretty random, it only takes a little self reflection to identify when your creative juices are at their peak, so use that to your advantage. Couple that with working at a time of day when you're not using your energy elsewhere and you've got a recipe for productivity! 

5. Remove any distractions
Suggested by Al Swainger (@alswaingers_pointless_beauty)

5. Remove any distractions

Technology has us connected to our friends, family and the wider world in a way that it can feel impossible to ignore the noise. While many people take extended breaks from social media and technology for their mental health, it’s equally important when heading into the studio.

Your time to create is precious, so turn off the phone, avoid having anything unrelated in the background on your computer and focus on what you’re in the studio for. It won't take long to see the benefits. 

6. Set yourself a deadline
Suggested by Eric Slate (@ericslatemixing)

6. Set yourself a deadline

Applying rules to creativity may not seem in the spirit of things, but giving yourself a timeframe to complete a project can make a huge difference, especially if you’ve grown sick of your ever-growing ‘unfinished demos’ folder.

Make your deadline realistic, but put some pressure on yourself too. It will change your mindset when you approach a new project and give you a greater sense of achievement when you finish. 

Hoping to get out of your bedroom and into an industry-standard studio? Check out our range of diploma and degree courses where you'll get access to our state-of-the-art facilities. 

Study at an institute #drivenbysound. Now accepting applications for September 2021. Find your audio specialism.