Armin van Buuren teaches how to build a home studio
Flying all over the world, performing in the biggest clubs and festivals, and having the opportunity to not only build yourself a customised home studio, but also work in the world’s best studios. This is the luxury that artists like Armin van Buuren are able to enjoy. Not everybody has that luxury, but it is possible to optimise your home studio in a way that’s suitable for music production. In the third lesson of the Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music Masterclass Armin shares his experience in building a home studio.
Turn Limitation Into Inspiration
Before computers were fast enough to run a full DAW, you had to use outboard gear such as samplers, synthesizers and big mixers. These were very expensive and limited, so you had to work with the features offered. If you want to create something that fits in with the norm nowadays, like playing five notes at the same time, you have to think in a creative way to achieve this. This limitation is a great way to approach music differently, which could spark your inspiration.
Create a Vibe
A great way to start your productions is with a great vibe, meaning not only should you look at the acoustics of your room, but you should also check if your room has fresh air or a coffee machine. Never start writing music when you are hungry, this can kill the vibe and block your inspiration. See this room as the dancefloor at a party, there needs to be a delicate balance. The computers in this modern time are so developed that you don’t need to sit in a big, intimidating studio. Grab your computer and sit in your living room, make yourself comfortable. This is about you.
The advantage of living in these times is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to produce high quality tracks. It’s important to use the right DAW (like Ableton or Logic) that suits you and your style of music. Don’t fall into the belief that other softwares are bad just because the big artists aren’t using it. It’s about the chef, not the kitchen. Using a keyboard is a great way to start your productions or to come up with a new melody. This will inspire you when you are out of ideas.
Where To Start With Software
When money is your limitation, try to fully utilize the budget you have. Get your favourite DAW, favourite plugin and search for some great sounds on sites like Beatport or Splice. Organize your sounds so that you know where to find everything you need, and you are good to go! When you feel like stepping up your game, try plugins like Spectatronics Omnisphere or Xfer Serum. These synthesizers give you the opportunity to create every sound you desire, and they consist of quality patches and presets that you can use immediately in your productions.
Monitoring and Acoustics
It’s important that you can trust your gear. If you can’t trust the stuff you are using, you won’t get the results you are seeking. Monitors are probably the most important element in your home studio. It’s ideal to have 2 sets of monitors, one set of main field monitors to represent the clubs and festivals, and one set of smaller speakers to represent radio listeners. Acoustics are really important to filter and capture the unwanted frequencies. The last thing you want is waveforms bouncing from the walls and canceling each other out. Bass traps and panels are a must to give yourself a more consistent listening environment. To test if your home studio room is up to standard, grab a sinus tone generator and start from 10Hz going upwards. If a room is perfect, you won’t notice volume changes when altering the frequencies. The volume can go down or up on certain frequencies that’s why the waveforms that are bouncing off the walls are killing or boosting the next waveforms coming out of the monitors. You need to know that your room is your limitation.
Working With Your Acoustic Limitations
It’s important to use different sound systems, knowing that your room is your limitation. Use your headphones, car speakers, or mobile speakers because they each have their own frequency response and your music has to sound good on all of them. This should really help you to make the right choices.
The techniques stated here for building a home studio are a synopsis of the Masterclass by Armin van Buuren. Armin van Buuren’s masterclass is available at a price of $90 for lifetime access, or $180 per year for the all-access pass, which grants unlimited access to all new and existing masterclasses. You can check out Armin van Buuren’s masterclass by clicking the button down below.
Armin Van Buuren Masterclass
Image Credit: Marc van der Aa