The Home Studio

My son told me I whistle off-key.

While I was surprised to learn how blissfully out of tune my whistles were, the revelation motivated me to finally learn to play an instrument and maybe whistle better. My desire to create something inspired me to learn to record what I came up with.

So I created a home studio.

What was to become my original studio started as a catch-all storage room in my basement. One day I was standing in the doorway of the room daydreaming about what I could do with the space.

Inspired by a sheet of glass from a late 1940s era pinball machine which was leaning against the wall, I took some basic measurements and sketched out a rough blueprint for the counters and recording booth. That piece of glass was to become the window of the recording booth.

I added some cool tools.

Once I had a location I started putting together the tools I’d need to create and record music and audio. I started out with an inexpensive Fender Strat. I then purchased an Akai MPK249 midi controller keyboard and a TASCAM Model 16 mixer. I got to using PreSonus Studio One as my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) of choice.

As time went on I added mic preamps and other hardware. Software from Air Music Tech, Sonivox, Akai, and others helps me emulate instruments on the midi keyboard.

I tried recording my friends.

As I gained a little experience recording my musician friends, I noticed the vocalists weren’t using the booth but instead tended to perform on my little stage in the corner of my bar room next door.

It seems the booth was really best suited for spoken word as it was too small. I wanted a space where artists could record or “track” individually or together as a small group.

As part of the change, the “control room” has been moved to the bar room. The wall between the former control room and recording booth was taken down to create a room-sized recoding booth. The same playfield glass separates the new booth and “control room”.

I got to making things.

There have been some times when I’ve managed to get my mind and body in the right sort of way to record some original tracks. Some are more mixes of audio samples.

These tracks are hosted on Soundcloud and will open up in a new window (or the Soundcloud app on a mobile device). Some may open on this site if I created a post.

I’m really a novice.

I imagine I’ll enlist the help of musically inclined friends, family, and local musicians to bring it all together. It helps that my brother plays the drums and my son plays trumpet, saxophone, and piano. As I simply cannot sing, I may either have to look for (a) vocalist(s) to convey my words with meaning, or cross my fingers and hope for the best with pitch correction tools (yeah, I still don’t think I whistle in tune).

In addition to practicing on the hardware and post processing by recording friends, I have also put together some original tracks of questionable quality as

The recording experience has been okay, but I have a lot to learn about tracking audio and mixing. It’s not unusual for an instrument or input to not get sound when it’s most important to me. Here’s a tip: if you’re not getting sound check to see if your computer and audio interface are both at the same frequency (44.1k, 48k, 96k, etc.).

I’m a curious person with computer and mixer stuff to play with.


The 90s were for mixtapes.

When I was going through a rather difficult time as a teenager in the first half of the 1990s, my big brother made a mix tape of comforting music for me entitled “Good Sounding Sound Waves”.

It quickly became my go-to mix tape.

I always liked the name he chose. When I decided on using “goodsoundwaves” it was really just that tape’s title with a little trim.

Thanks go to my big brother.

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