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Top 10 Home Recording Studio Mistakes

Updated on July 17, 2011

Ever have the feeling that no matter what you do in your home recording studio, you can't seem to improve your sound?

Fear no longer, for we shall have a look at the top 10 mistakes I see happen (so commonly) at home and project music recording studios. This also applies to voice over talent and their voice studio systems.

Mistakes 10-6

Alrighty, here we go:

Mistake #10

Wasting Money On Gear - Yes, I realize we all need to buy the best and latest stuff (called GAS: Gear Acquisition Syndrome). But do you honestly think that the $5000 microphone is going to make such a big difference on your song? Sure, someone with perfect hearing and $20,000 speakers might hear it, but your general audience listening to low-bit MP3s on iPods won't notice nor even care.

Mistake #9

Not Naming Your Tracks - I see this all the time! How many times have I received files and Pro Tools projects with files named:

  • Audio_01
  • Audio_02
  • Audio_03
  • Audio_04
  • etc. STOP IT! Take an extra 14 seconds to actually type in the name properly.

Mistake #8

Not Keeping Proper Folder Structure - This goes along with #9. Please remember to spend an extra 15 seconds to properly organize your folders. Make sure you set your audio recording folder into a separate directory as a sub-folder to your main project. Many times I get projects with missing files because they've been saved to the client's computer's desktop, instead of their project folder.


Mistake #7

1+1=1 - Take a single mono audio file. Copy it. Put both files on separate tracks. Pan one track left, and the other one right. YOU STILL GET A MONO SIGNAL. This is not how you make a stereo track. You can't just copy the one file and pan it the other way. They need to be different in order for the human ear to perceive it as a stereo image (try delay on one channel, or slight pitch, or chorus etc).

Mistake #6

Forgetting to Experiment - Don't forget, no matter how involved with the software you are, this is still an art. You must remember to 'think outside the box' and experiment with your technique. The Beatles were excellent at this!

Mistake #5

Not Having Extra Stuff - You should always have extra stuff, ie: spare strings, cables, straps, sticks, blank CD-Rs, flash drives, batteries and more. I bet you'll break a string at 3am and if you don't have any spares, you can consider your session finished.

Mistake #4

Please Learn How To Tune - This honestly should be tied with Mistake #1. Please learn how to tune your instrument (especially drums) and TUNE IT before every 3rd take. (PS: and please tune to A440, otherwise your keyboard player will be left out in the cold).

Mistake #3

YOU Must Learn Your Skill - Many many many many times in our studio we have clients that come in expecting the engineer and the technology to do their work for them. If you call yourself a singer; learn to sing. If you call yourself a drummer; learn to drum. There is only so much that Autotune can do to help. It shouldn't be a crutch. Learn and practice your instrument and you'll have more fun.

Mistake #2

Print Your Lyrics - This is more for the paying clients that come to your studio. Instead of wasting everyone's time while you're trying to remember your lyrics, it's better just to print them out and keep them with you in front of the microphone. Don't worry about how it looks (leave your ego at the door). Even the pros have their lyrics with them. And while you're at it, print an extra copy for the engineer.


Taking Too Long - This is huge. Many many times I see bands take years and years to record their albums at home. And they're still not finished to this day! It's really great and convenient that you have a home or project studio. There's nothing like knowing you're not paying per hour, and you can start and stop at will. But don't forget that you should try to finish the projects you start. This way you can send your creations out to the world and move on to newer and better projects!


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    • Ronnie Pistons profile image

      Ronnie Pistons 3 years ago from SC

      I love lists like this. There is always something to learn.