When funds are tight, getting top of the line soundproofing for your home recording studio is not something that is usually possible. For many musicians, cobbling together enough money to use someone else’s home studio is usually a better option than attempting some cheap home recording studio soundproofing. That being said, it does not mean that soundproofing on the cheap isn’t possible. It is – as long as you understand that you’re not going to get the same level of soundproofing as you would by saving up and spending a bit more on the project.
If you are determined to make a go of it with your budget-minded home studio, then here are some tips that I can offer you based on my own experiences of needing a proper studio space and not having adequate cash for it.
The Closet and Blanket Trick
This is probably as cheap as it gets, provided that you actually have a closet in your home where you can stand in it and close the door.
Back when I was in college, I was looking for a way to record some vocals without getting in all the background noise of the apartment building and the neighborhood. What I did was clean out one of the tiny little closets in my place and make it my recording booth.
Once inside the closet with my mic, I put a blanket over my head so that I could sing into the mic without any other noises getting picked up. It works surprisingly well for a no-budget recording booth. And I actually got the idea from someone who did work as a voiceover artist the same way.
Rugs, Thick Curtains and Egg Crate Bedding Foam for Cheap Soundproofing
A common problem that you’ll want to take care of before recording anything is dealing with reverb. Just like the blanket over the head reduces sound bouncing off things, you can accomplish a similar feat with things like thick drapes, rugs and and egg crate bedding foam. And the higher your ceilings, the worse your sound bouncing problem is going to be for the recordings.
First things first – cover your floor with one of those large tapestry style rugs, if you have one. They can be pricey to buy brand new, so make the most of whatever rugs that you already own to keep costs down. The rugs even work well when you hang them on the walls! You can also take a really cheap way out (like I did in college) and use some of that cheap egg crate bedding foam to cover the walls and ceilings. Yes, it will look very ghetto, but it does a really good soundproofing job. A slightly classier option is to hang some of those thick noise-cancelling curtains on the walls. I’ve actually layered some of those on the walls in the past with success.
I suggest that you don’t go out and buy any of these things for the cheap soundproofing, instead work with things that you already own. Otherwise, it is just as cheap to get your set a pack of acoustic tiles, like these, for your home studio.
Add Potted Plants To The Room
If you have any potted plants already in the home, then move them to your recording studio room when you are actually using it. I’m not certain the specifics of why it works, but for some crazy reason the potted plants seem to work at absorbing the excess sound in the room and deadening it for you. I know that is sounds really weird and kooky, but if you’re on a budget and already have the plants, just give it a try. You’ll discover that having them in the room really does help a little with your low cost home studio soundproofing efforts.
Bookshelves and Other Furniture
If the room for your home recording studio is actually a decent size, then you can do some cheap soundproofing just by putting all your bookcases and similar furniture up against the walls in the room. Books are surprisingly great when it comes to soundproofing. Stuffed animals on the shelves are also great for the same purpose.
For things that may vibrate in the room, try placing a computer mouse pad underneath them. You can even use these to put your studio monitors on instead of mounting them,
Dealing With Windows
Rooms with windows are TERRIBLE for home recording studios as a lot of outside noise usually comes in through them. If you can’t find a room for your studio without windows, then you need to work on soundproofing the windows. This pretty much means that you need to cover them. This can be done with the rugs and curtains mentioned earlier. Or, if you have some bubble wrap lying around, fill the window space with that. It works quite well and still lets in some light from outside while keeping the noise out.
When you just can’t get good sound from your home studio, and you don’t have the cash to go pro or upgrade your soundproofing equipment, then there just might be another solution for you. Try recording in your car. Vehicles are surprisingly soundproof, even more so if you keep the car in a garage. Of course, you only want to do this when the temperatures permit it, but it’s still a good backup option.
Do remember that each of the soundproofing methods described here are meant to be options for people who don’t want to spend a ton of money on soundproofing. They are not the best ways to do things, but work well enough to get the job done until you can upgrade your home studio.