So you’ve decided to record music in your apartment? Are you feeling nervous about it? Have you thought about what to do with the recording once it’s complete?
I’m going to assume that your apartment is in a good neighborhood, you have a spare bedroom (or the spare room in your home), and you’ve done some research on the equipment you’ll need to buy.
This is where you might be thinking, “Sure, I’ll be OK.” However, you may want to take a step back and consider the points that we raise in this article.
How can I have a music studio in an apartment without getting complaints from neighbors/roommates?
When you live in an apartment, you’ll face many challenges, but recording music in your home is among the most difficult.
For one thing, it’s really noisy. Even if you don’t have neighbors next door, there will be other sounds. Traffic. Construction. Kids playing outside. You’ll need to make sure that the recording equipment is set up away from any loud or distracting noise sources, such as doors, windows, walls, and ceilings.
Then you’ll have to deal with acoustics, which vary based on where you put your microphone. Is it in the corner, where the ceiling meets the wall? Or are you trying to capture more ambient sounds?
And then there’s the matter of distance. To record a mic placed directly in front of your speaker, you’ll need to be sitting close enough that the vibrations can reach the mic. But that doesn’t leave much room for movement.
For example, you might try to record yourself singing while standing in front of a mirror in a bathroom. That’s fine, if you have a fairly flat frequency response.
If you want to record something with a little more oomph, you might look at placing a mic inside the door frame, where you’ll capture everything that comes through the door.
And if you want to capture a wider range of frequencies, you could move the mic into the hallway, where it would pick up sounds from both inside and outside your apartment.
But all of these things will limit what you can actually hear. So you’ll also want to make sure that your recording is going to sound good before you get started.
12 Tips to Keep Your Neighbors from Complaining about you and your Home Studio
Let’s face it: If you’re recording music in your apartment, there’s a good chance you’re doing it wrong.
While some may argue that recording music in the privacy of one’s home is a necessary step to creating your next masterpiece, the truth is that there are far better ways to ensure your work will get the attention it deserves.
And if your neighbors start complaining about all that racket, then you’ve probably already made it to the point of no return. Here are some tips to help you start recording properly.
1. If you are new to the building then wait a while
New neighbors are tricky creatures. We don’t know them, and we don’t know if we like them, or if we ever will. Unknown quantities are the worst – and strangers can bring up feelings of distrust and negative emotions.
I think we’ve all experienced new neighbors altering the way we live. It can be small things like leaving a mess in the hallway, letting in strangers to the building, or the most relevant to our discussion: noise.
New neighbors are easy to complain about already, and loud noises from new people can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Be sure to wait a while before you start playing loud music, rather ease people into the new noise levels if you absolutely have to make a noise above ambient levels.
2. Schedule your recording and be considerate
If you are recording artists in your apartment and it is disturbing your neighbors then you should really reconsider where and when you record your music.
Try and work around your neighbors and time your sessions for when they are at work, or at agreed upon times that wont disrupt them too much.
If you are recording all the time, and things are getting louder and louder, then it might be time for you to hire a studio space and move your operations there.
3. Don’t have too many recording appointments lined up
If you are recording the odd artist here and there, then I am sure that your neighbors will not be too annoyed at a little noise every once in a while.
However, if you have a lot of recording work to get through then try and space your jobs out over a few days instead of trying to knock it all out at once.
This can give everyone enough of a break to let tempers simmer down and neighborly annoyances to fade away before you test anyone’s patience again.
4. Keep The Noise Down
If there are drum sections or anything else that is loud on the noise scale then try and perform those tasks somewhere else.
If you are in the mixing and mastering phase of your recordings then try and alternate between monitors and earphones for your final mix.
5. Try and Use Headphones When you Can, but don’t hurt your mix
While we would be crazy to suggest that you should do your mixing and mastering exclusively with headphones- we are not saying that at all.
However, for quick sanity checks and the occasional review of your tracks there is no harm in using your headphones instead of powering through your studio monitors at full volume.
6. Foster happy relationships with your neighbors
Now, this isn’t always possible- especially if you live in an apartment building, or you have a lot of people coming in and out of your place.
But if you can, then try and foster good relationships with your neighbors. Make yourself available to them, and be friendly.
Showing a little effort will go a long way in establishing a good relationship with your neighbors, and will help you out if they ever need to call on you for help.
7. Be forgiving of noise from your neighbors
If you want to have an equal relationship with your neighbors then you will also need to be understanding of the noises that they make.
If you find that their noise levels are starting to deliberately interfere with your recording then you could have a bigger problem than just a noisy neighbor.
If you are not able to live with their noise levels then you might need to find a new place to record your music.
8. Before You Move In Check The Noise Levels
Nobody likes being the noisiest person in the building, so before you move in, make sure that you have a look at the noise levels of your new place. If you are planning on moving in during the day, then you will need to make sure that your neighbors are not at work and will not be disturbed. If you are planning on moving in at night, then make sure that you have checked out the noise levels before you get too comfortable.
9. The Genre Of Your Music Matters
All music frequencies move through different mediums at different rates and volumes, so if you are trying to record a song that has a very low frequency range, then you might find that your neighbors are not too happy about it.
Bass frequencies can really rattle windows and interfere with the ambiance of your neighbor’s living space. However that is not to say that bass is your only problem, if you are trying to record a song that has a very high frequency range, then you will probably find that your neighbors are not too happy about it either.
If the genre of the music that you a recording favors heavy bass sounds like trance and house music then you are going to really have to monitor your sound levels to make sure that the thumping sounds of the bass are not ingressing into their apartments. X: Be considerate of the genre of music that you are recording, and try to keep the noise levels down.
10. Mix with monitors but alternate with headphones
There is no substitute for a pair of high quality studio monitors for mixing and recording music in a professional studio.
However, if you can’t get your volume levels down with a pair of studio monitors, then try and alternate between using your headphones and your monitors.
This will help you to keep your hearing intact, and will also help you to keep your neighbors from complaining about the noise. This can sometimes help you to balance the levels of your music so that it is not too loud.
If you’ve got a home studio, chances are you’ve had a few complaints from your neighbors. It’s pretty normal, but remember that your primary concern should be about using your apartment as a place to live, and not focus too much on your recording.
Be considerate and remember that no matter how awesome your mix is, if it is too loud, your neighbors are going to be annoyed by it.
If you are trying to keep your noise levels down, then try to monitor your volume levels with a pair of studio monitors, and try and alternate between using your headphones and your monitors.
This will help you to keep your hearing intact, and will also help you to keep your neighbors from complaining about the noise.
We hope that this article has helped you to learn how to keep your neighbors from complaining about the noise that you make.