My wife and I live in a flat where being musical makes life difficult for our neighbours so we rent a room in a commercial building just over the road. This is our story of how we spent two years and 6,000€ (£5,000, US$6,500) turning it into a studio.
May 2015: we picked up the keys.
July 2015: the ventilator will provide us with fresh air without having to open doors or windows. That means we can rehearse and record without background noise. The AC means we can heat, cool or dehumidify the incoming air. Together they were a 2,000€ risk but in hindsight I can say they are worth every penny!
December 2015: new windows.
February 2016: a friend with all the know-how and tools helped us put up a partition wall so that we could have a store room, entrance lobby and kitchen all outside the studio room.
Two layers of plasterboard on each side and filled with insulation and double doors with seals help stop sound getting through.
February 2016: cleaning up and then putting in acoustic treatment hanging from the ceiling.
February 2017: our tool-laden friend returned to help us encase the ventilator ducts that connect to the outside world to keep outside noise to a minimum.
March 2017: installing acoustic treatment. The entire back wall is a 70cm deep bass trap which dramatically improves the clarity of music when listening or mixing. I am staggered at how clearly I can now hear individual instruments in music I have been listening to for years. The screen covering the big trap can act as a backdrop for any YouTube videos we record.
April 2017: electrics and DMX controlled LED lights.
May 2017: drums, piano, guitars and computer in place.
Yesterday I was recording cajon. It is almost silent in here; it is wonderful.
That just leaves us with the kitchen area to sort out and, turning round, clear the overly cluttered store area so that I can install lights and gain access to mics, guitars, cables and whatever else we need day by day.