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Home Recording Studio: Build It Like the Pros By Rod Gervais Review

Brandon Drury —  July 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

HomeRecordingStudio-BuildItLikeThePros

– An absolute must for anyone even considering building a serious studio and recommended to anyone building a not-so-serious studio….whatever that means.

– This guy isn’t really talking about putting two bass traps in the corner of your bedroom and calling it a studio. He’s going more for more of an old-school, more-or-less pro studio kind of thing. For example, his default drywall recommendations for a room is often 6 layers. See?

– Fills in a ton of the gaps left by internet research (the usual flaw of the web). I’m SICKENED when people claim “You can find this information anywhere on the web”. You probably could in a lifetime. Just having someone to put it all together in one seamless chunk of info who can do it with proper context is the name of the game. The problem that are content with receiving only part of the story are half-assing it.

–The tone is that of some of my college professors. I can’t tell if this guy hates me or if he really knows how to party when we get out of class. That may say more about me than the author.

–The author has a strong background in construction. I thought a truss was that metal doohickey in the neck of the guitar. He speaks with a lot contractor/construction worker lingo that I actually find helpful as bridging those two worlds is something that’s scared me.

– The materials he recommends are found in America. He actually mentions name brands which is something lacking in other studio construction books I’ve read which seem to just make up nicknames for products and no one knows what they hell they are talking about.

– He goes into great detail on the HVAC system thing. This is something I knew zero about but is actually a huge deal that I RARELY see mentioned online in recording studios. I didn’t realize just how critical the HVAC system was in terms of placement, isolation, etc.

–The chapter on putting it all together was worth double the price of the book. I’d gladly buy another book that did nothing but little “case studies” of designing studios (Alton Everest KINDA did it once upon a time.) . This “what he’s really thinking” thing was incredibly insightful.

–He gives you quite a bit of info that you don’t want to hear, but may save your life Literally. This isn’t the usual Brando-sensationalism. As I’m getting older, I see huge value in not killing my clients and family unless I’m doing it on purpose. Making sure the ceiling doesn’t fall in seems like a necessary step now.

– I didn’t dig the entire page on calculating the watt output of a human being. If I wanted to watch grown men flex their muscles…..well, I don’t. I wouldn’t mind that kind of mathematical exercise in Scientific American, but I read that at a different time for a different purpose.. You’ll know it when you get to it. It’s the weak point of the book, for sure, and irrelevant to recording studio construction in my view. Simply stating (typical human at rest is 100w and a human fornicating is 300w would do).

– There was a lot of info in there about dealing with contractors who are set in their ways of building homes and not necessarily responsive to the over-built nature of the recording studio. My obsession with independence makes it tough to trust others for much of anything. It’s nice to have a little insight as to how your typical private contractor thinks.

Conclusion

If you plan to ever build anything remotely resembling an old-school studio that has little to do with the modern bedroom studio craze, this may be the single best book on the market I’ve encountered. It’s definitely a must-read.

The tone is intentionally slightly dull. I guess they teach that in the 3rd year of college. I’m glad I “took a break” after year two. I think there were two sentences where I did pick out with a personality. If the author could have injected just a LITTLE humanity into an otherwise outstanding book, the only thing my review would say is, “Buy It!”. I’m not saying he has to take it as far as I have in Killer Home Recording , but be aware that this kind of tone makes a book much harder to read that it would have been otherwise. Maybe it’s a flaw of the personality type.

PS
Just for fun, I want to officially call out some of the morons who reviewed the book negatively on Amazon. One guy gave it a low review because it has a few math equations. It doesn’t have many. Grow up and fight through it. If you can’t handle anything remotely technical, why read at all? Just hire everyone to do everything for you and they can do the equations. A person can very easily skip over anything that looks like Algebra just like I skipped over the Black Supremacy parts. (Just kidding….I read them.:D)

Another Einstein candidate was mad it didn’t have equipment reviews. It’s not supposed to be Killer Home Recording: Setting Up. It’s about BUILDING a studio. In my head that means wood and hammers. If you need an audio interface and monitors see Killer Home Recording: Setting Up.

Brandon

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Saved Comments

Fr. Menas – 07-02-2012, 06:12 PM Edit Reply
Could someone recommend a microphone I could use to record vocals into an SLR camera? This is for singing training, not putting out recordings. I’m currently working with a Sony stereo microphone that was intended to record people talking in meetings/classes, not to record singing. It crackles a lot and generally doesn’t produce a very clear sound. I need something that will let me hear as accurately as possible what I really sound like so I can learn how to sing better. The camera’s microphone jack is set up for a 1/8″ input. I don’t mind spending up to about $300 if necessary to get a good mic; of course if there’s something out there less expensive, wonderful. If I’m not being realistic to think I could get an accurate reproduction of my sound with this approach, I would certainly be happy to know that too. Thank you very much.

Fr. Menas

jp2121 – 07-02-2012, 07:31 PM Edit Reply
Whoa! That first comment may need to go in to another section of the forum if you are looking for help. I would try posting it in “Recording Equipment and Musical Instruments”.
Recording Equipment and Musical Instruments

And I need to read that book ASAP!

garageband – 07-02-2012, 07:58 PM Edit Reply
Looks really good. It’s back to “how much is you’re time worth?” Figuring out each step and possibly undoing previous missteps is costly and makes the danged thing take forever.
I’m SICKENED when people claim “You can find this information anywhere on the web”. You probably could in a lifetime. Just having someone to put it all together in one seamless chunk of info who can do it with proper context is the name of the game.
Ah, yes, the oasis mirage of the internet. It’s unbelievable how people have lost most of their ability to use books and understand their nature or utility over the past dozen or so years.

bobbybovine – 07-02-2012, 08:00 PM Edit Reply
Totally agree with you Brandon. If anyone one is even remotely thinking of building a home studio this is a must read, even if only to figure out how deep you need to go for the results you are after.

datvichrox – 07-03-2012, 07:52 AM Edit Reply
I agree. I bought this book after checking out the previews of many books. This seems to be the only book out there that solves my purpose – how to build a studio from the ground up. The walls were already up (without any windows) on my proposed studio, before I bought this book. I ain’t touching a thing before I finish reading and understanding the rest of the book. I wish I had bought it earlier.

norg – 07-03-2012, 08:35 AM Edit Reply
i can’t emphasize enough how important this book is. i’ve been following rod, his book, and his forum posts all over the internet for the last 6 years or so. the guy not only put the book together – which is the unquestionable bible in all things physical studio building – but he puts himself out there to answer questions from people who might have concerns or situations that are outside the scope of what was covered in the book. which doesn’t seem possible considering how much depth went into the thing, but you would be amazed at how many unique situations crop up.

this was a few years ago and it may not be the case now, but at the time he was available to be hired to literally design just for you based on your specs, budget, and available space the perfect recording studio for you. and every design he came up with was absolute genius.

someone he approves of and someone i’d encourage everyone to check out also is John L. Sayers and his web page + forum on studio construction and building. the denizens of the forum come across as the crotchety old men of the internet (i.e. if you post questions without filling out your profile or reading the “READ THIS FIRST” post, you’ll get a light slap on the wrist at best, or ignored at worst) but it’s a gathering of people who have been through the wringer, built their own studios from the ground up, and in most cases have posted photo and diary logs of every step of the way.

worth every penny of time killed getting lost in their world. it’s a huge eye-opener.

DanTheMan – 07-03-2012, 08:58 AM Edit Reply
I wish home recording land would read more often(same goes for a lot of The Big Boys–they spread more crap around than John Deer). It seems to be the last thing anyone wants to do, but the truth is no intelligent conversation ever gets accomplished when people don’t have the background to participate or the brains to listen to those that do. This same breed of fool tries to call you out and then gets pissed when you reply with the same tone. I love when people think I’m a jerk for telling them to ‘go read’. It’s real and useful advice. Thanks for putting more of this advice out there Brandon. It’s the right thing to do. So many questions I see people put out there and the misleading replies are cases of the blind leading the blind based on tradition and dogma. Often the questions are so far from the real problem, you essentially have to tell someone that they need to read a few hundred pages of a book before they can even have the conversation.

Anyway, this is a book I’ve wanted to read, but haven’t got around to it. Rod has designed some of the finest studios in the world, and knows what’s up. His tone can be a bit off putting, but so can everyone’s. What’s important is the real substance. It’s not about ‘is he fun or sweet’, it’s wether or not he is correct. Your best friend is the person who’s harder on you than you are on yourself. If he/she does so in a pleasant manner, it is easier to swallow, but sometimes that doesn’t sink in with enough force to stop stupidity in motion. He he. There’s no easy solution to that issue.

sealsongs – 07-03-2012, 10:11 AM Edit Reply
Right on review. I am in the process of reading this book and couldn’t agree more. It’s an amazing compendium of real-world advice and brass tacks information that I don’t think you’ll find elsewhere – at least not from what I’ve seen. Go Brandon!

HowlinMadMac – 07-03-2012, 10:43 AM Edit Reply
Originally Posted by Fr. Menas
Could someone recommend a microphone I could use to record vocals into an SLR camera? This is for singing training, not putting out recordings. I’m currently working with a Sony stereo microphone that was intended to record people talking in meetings/classes, not to record singing. It crackles a lot and generally doesn’t produce a very clear sound. I need something that will let me hear as accurately as possible what I really sound like so I can learn how to sing better. The camera’s microphone jack is set up for a 1/8″ input. I don’t mind spending up to about $300 if necessary to get a good mic; of course if there’s something out there less expensive, wonderful. If I’m not being realistic to think I could get an accurate reproduction of my sound with this approach, I would certainly be happy to know that too. Thank you very much.

Fr. Menas
Hi, I’m thinking a good quality dynamic omni broadcast interview mic like the EV 635A “Buchannan Hammer” & a good DI box like those from Whirlwind or Radial would be your best budget/permormance choice. As for the connection from DI to camera, I’m guessing it’s looking for a stereo mic so you’ll need to make a mono 1/4″ to stereo 1/8″ cable so a single signal feeds both left & right inputs but that should be easy enough if you’re at all technical, if not it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone that could make it for you. Hope this helps.

Mac

cporro – 07-03-2012, 12:41 PM Edit Reply
this is the best book i’ve read on studio construction. this guy is a lot more practical then most. he’s writing from a construction professionals perspective not an acoustical engineer or architect. it’s been a few years since i’ve read it but it’s still my first reference and i have 3 other good books on the topic. yes there are technical parts but you don’t need to understand everything to benefit.

JoshERTW – 07-13-2012, 09:12 PM Edit Reply
My wife and I are planning to build our own place one day, and include my “final” home studio in the plans.

I flipped her this article the other day, and this afternoon I came home to find the book on my mixing desk – If that’s not True love, I don’t know what is

Brandon Drury

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Brandon Drury quit counting at 1,200 recorded songs in his busy home recording studio. He is the creator of RecordingReview.com and is the author of the Killer Home Recording series.
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