Soundproofing that can work in your home studio can also be easy on the budget and accomplish some of the same sound qualities for your mixes that you would hear in major recording studios. Let us start with the sound quality you want and need to make a good recording in your home studio. We can make it simple, what you hear on a great recording of an artist that you really love listening to you can also duplicate in your own studio. If your car stereo or CD player can make your favorite group sound great to your ears, then you can look for those same sound principles and components in the sound quality of your home studio.
1. When you listen to your favorite records you do not hear an over abundance of echo. Slap echo is the technical term. The problem is that sound bouncing off your home studio walls will enter into your microphone a nano second after your performance. Here is what you can do in your home studio to minimize the slap echo problem.
First, place your ear about one inch away from the walls in your sound room opposite your monitors as you play your favorite music. Do you hear an echo? Even if a very slight echo is present you need to add diffusion at that point where you hear the delay off the wall. Diffusers will spread the sound away instead of reflecting it back (delayed) into your microphone.
You want only the sound from the source you are recording to inter the microphone not delayed sound or echo off the walls. It is the same scenario with your monitor playback. You want to mix the exact sound coming from your monitors and not the sound delayed and bounced back to your ears from your walls.
Same thing with your home studio ceiling, comb filtering is a problem with ceilings that reflect and bounce back the sound delayed, so it would be a good thing to place right above where you are setting up say drums or piano microphones to add about an one inch or so of sound board to slow and diffuse sound bouncing back to your microphones.
2. Leave some reflective response in your home studio. If you cover all the walls with sound proofing or damping materials you will take away the live element of the sound your want to record. Where you will need to place sound dampening material for your mix downs and mastering of your recording is simple. Just take a small hand mirror and place it on the walls to each side of your playback monitors. Where you can see both monitors in the mirror is where you will need to place sound proofing or damping material. That will stop the bounce back of the recorded sound and give you just the true sound of your monitors and much more control of your mixes.
3. Play your mixes on another playback system such as your car stereo or CD player in some other area or room in your house. That is where friends can come in real handy. If they will let you listen to your mixes on their CD player it can help identify basic problems in your acoustics. If you hear too much bottom end or mids (midrange) you'll know to mix a bit lighter on the bass end or mids in your home studio. Sometimes it really just comes down to your own ears and what you really like in a mix. Be as equal as possible regarding the volume of each instrument. Keep it real, just the way a band or individual sounds in the real world. The vocal and snare drum usually carry the song and the lead guitar usually takes the place of the vocal level during the leads.