As high-quality audio gear becomes ever more affordable, software emulations nip at the heels of some of the most coveted audio hardware, and much of the basic knowledge of the audio field becomes widely disseminated through the web, professional studios still offer more than a few major benefits.
The first among them is the skill and experience of their engineers. But not far behind is the quality of their rooms. There’s no easier place to make good mix choices than a well-tuned listening environment, and no better place to do a performance justice than a comfortable and well-balanced live room.
If you are building or upgrading an existing studio, it’s always always a good idea to set aside ample resources for room treatment and construction, as good tuning can improve the sound of any microphone and the accuracy of any set of speakers.
Meanwhile, in an acoustically neglected rooms, the nicest of mics can sound like rickety imitations, and the best of speakers are plagued with all sorts of misleading resonances and smeared imaging issues.
One of the best ways to make sure you get the most out of your studio is to find other spaces that you admire in your price range, find out what contractor or acoustician contributed to the design and construction, and enlist their help.
Of course, not every production room can justify the budget for an elite acoustic designer or luxurious wood-paneled construction. But any room, from a converted den to a full-time commercial space can benefit from some strategic treatment.
For anywhere from a few hundred dollars on up, it’s more than possible to make real improvements to a studio or listening space that may outshine any high-end gear purchase…