10 recording studio tips from pros

From investing in quality monitors to ensuring your studio is properly soundproofed, these producers and DJs share their best studio hacks.

Charlie Andrew

Charlie Andrew

Charlie Andrew has won two MPG Awards for his production work with the likes of alt-J and his career is going from strength to strength.

Top Tip “My studio is quite chaotic, but I like that, as I think it puts artists at ease. There are little toys lying around they can just pick up and play and hopefully, that could ignite a new idea – you never know.”

Jonas Rathsman

The list of labels Jonas Rathsman’s name has graced includes some of the most respected in dance music. Imprints such as Solomun’s DIYnamic, Damian Lazarus’ Crosstown Rebels and Anja Schneider’s Mobilee – all renowned for their melodic, hypnotic and pulse-pounding releases – have dominated dancefloors across the world for a decade.

Top Tip “It’s a good thing to keep it very simple, in music but also in your studio setup. I have my poly synth [Juno-106], I have my two mono synths, percussion, drum machines, and that’s it. I keep it at that level and don’t bring any more gear in, as it’s going to confuse me. If I’m making a track and I need some sub-bass, for example, I go to the Moog [Sub 37] and that’s it. It’d be so much harder if you had to choose from 12 VSTs that could all give you sub-bass. It’s much easier with fewer decisions to make.”

Mad Zach

DJ Mad Zach

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Producer and DJ Mad Zach is globally renowned for his dark and innovative style,
which spans hip-hop, glitch, drum ’n’ bass, dub and trap.

Top Tip “If you’re going to make one investment first, it’d be decent monitors and room treatment. It also makes a huge difference how you position speakers in the room. Another awesome cheap thing that will open up your sound palette is a field recorder, such as the Zoom H4n.”

Giles Barrett

Moored on the River Thames is Lightship 95, a beautiful ship that hosts Soup Studio – a recording studio and live room helmed by Giles Barrett.

Top Tip “Few London studios can afford a big live room without their rates being pretty high, so when gentrification arrived, we stumbled on a chance to move to the Lightship. For us, it’s about security and separation – we don’t have neighbours who are going to have any noise issues.”

Aki Mäkivirta

Aki Mäkivirta

Aki Mäkivirta is the R&D director at Genelec and first joined the company back in 1995 to help develop the then-fledgling speaker diagnostic technology.

Top Tip “Your ears tell you the truth, and I’ve come to realise that professionals are usually excellent listeners. The key is to educate yourself to understand what you hear – it can explain a lot. My recommendation is to experiment with monitor placement by modifying the location of the loudspeakers, subwoofer and your seat, to find out what brings improvements to your monitoring results.”


Reader tips

1. Make sure that you focus on the kind of studio that you want to build – hybrid, analogue, software or whatever – and make music that you really feel.”  Mauro Nakimi

2. “The most important aspect is knowledge. It’s knowing what tools and techniques you need to produce or record a project from the start to finish. Try to visualise your dream studio, dream atmosphere and equipment and slowly start building your ideal place.” – Krzysztof Wawszczyk

3. A good audio interface is one of the most important investments and will reward you with accurate translations, great conversions and stable clocking with no jitter.”  Alican Yazicioglu

4. It’s better to own less, but know it more. ‘Less is more,’ as the great Miles Davis used to say.”  Enrico Castiello

5. Top piece of advice I could give is to invest in acoustic treatment as much as you can. Having a room where you can clearly hear the mix without interference from standing waves, reflections, etc, is very important.”  Jeremy Wilson

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