You need to acoustically treat your room.
You know it. You’ve read the articles, you’ve had people tell you. You already know that it’s holding you back.
The problem is that you haven’t done it yet. Despite you knowing how important it is, it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe you’re not sure how to do it, maybe that money has mysteriously disappeared into more plugins or instruments or other hardware. Maybe it’s just not sexy.
If you’re not quite sure how to do it, relax. It’s not that hard. For a basic studio, you should start with some wall panels and some bass traps. The wall panels absorb and disperse the first reflections from your speakers. Imagine mirrors on your walls – anywhere you would see the reflection of your speakers when you sit at your mixing position is where you should put a wall panel. The bass traps hide in the corners and edges of the room. That’s it. That approach will get you decent results for the first round of treatment, and will most likely be a noticeable improvement on your current environment (you can get more sophisticated if you want, but wait until you’re designing your next studio for that).
If the money keeps mysteriously disappearing into more plugins or other gear, take a good hard long look at your setup. Chances are, you’ve already got plenty of gear. Chances are, you’ve got enough gear to last you the next few albums, at least. Don’t kid yourself. How many more analogue-modelling synths do you need? How many more kick drum samples do you need?
Chances are, you need a new chair more than you need more music gear.
Despite what anyone else will tell you, acoustic treatment is sexy. It adds more sex appeal to your studio than any plugin or computer upgrade. Acoustic treatment impresses people who don’t even know what it is, or why it’s important (you’ll recognise them as the ones who call it ‘sound proofing’). Acoustic treatment is how people instantly know you’re serious about your studio – especially if it’s a modern computer-based studio which isn’t necessarily brimming with hardware.
It’s also how you know you’re serious about your studio. Acoustically treating your room will motivate you and make you work more than you expect. It will make you excited to listen to music, it will make you excited to work on your own music. It will actually make you more productive.
And besides, there’s nothing quite like telling people you spent $600 on foam!