House Shopping For The Perfect Home Recording Studio? What You Need To Know

FREE Soundproofing Workshop:

Books I Recommend - (Affiliate Links)

Home Recording Studio: Build It Like The Pros by Rod Gervais:

Home Recording Studio Design by Philip Newell -

Master Handbook Of Acoustics by F. Alton Everest and Ken Pohlmann:


If you are fortunate enough to buy a home with the intent of building a home recording studio then you should look for specific characteristics in the home. This article goes over what to look for when you plan to a build a recording studio in your new house. 


1) Build From The Ground Up or In an Existing Structure

The first question you need to decide is if you want to build in the existing house or barn or shed or from the ground up in the back yard. Both have pros and cons. Let's take a look at what to consider here: 

A New Build


  • You don't have to deal with limitations in your existing house
  • You can get ideal room ratios 
  • You can get an ideal layout 
  • Electrical and HVAC can be optimized for the space
  • You can have higher ceilings and more room volume
  • Everything can be customized


  • It costs more to build from the ground up
  • It takes longer to build 
  • It will eat up your backyard space 
  • You will most likely need to permit it and go through codes
  • You need to pour a concrete slab and trench electrical 
  • The design possibilities are endless since you have a blank canvas


In An Existing Structure


  • The build is cheaper
  • It doesn't usually take as long
  • Your limitations lead to easier design decisions because you don't have a blank canvas
  • You are close to other amenities in your house like bathrooms and the kitchen
  • You may not have to pull permits
  • You might have an easier time DIY'ing a project in your existing structure



  • You should build on a concrete slab so basements and garages are ideal, which limits options
  • If you build in a garage you lose garage space
  • You will run into numerous constraints like space, structural beams or walls,  electrical, existing HVAC, ceiling height, floor mass, 
  • It is harder to isolate because you must decouple the studio from the rest of the structure. 
  • You may have multiple doors and windows which add thousands to the cost. 
  • The space may simply be too small

Hopefully this list gets you thinking of potential benefits and obstacles of each location. It might be wise to try writing down your own pros and cons list as a mental excercise in potential issues you could face down the road. 


2) What To Look For In A New Build

If you decide to build from scratch there are few things I would look for before purchasing a property. 

  • Can you build in your backyard and follow local codes? 
  • Can you build a bathroom in a detached dwelling? Nashville doesn't allow this. 
  • Will the grading in your backyard support a concrete slab with adequate drainage?
  • Can you trench electrical from your main house to the new studio? 
  • Do you have room to pour a slab - can a cement truck get in?

These are some things I ran up against when I built my studio. In some cases it might be better to add your studio on as an addition rather than detached dwelling unit or DADU for short. I would work with a realtor and contact your local codes department during the housing search to get a good feel for what is possible with detached units. 

***As a side note: I am note a fan of pre-fab sheds. They are cheaply made and tend to lead to more problems than solutions with studios. Stay away from any pre-fab buildings if you intend to soundproof it.***


3) What To Look For In A House or Existing Structure

The more common option for most people is to build a home recording studio in an existing space in their house or in a barn or shed in the backyard. This is a great option, but there are some serious pitfalls you want to avoid. First, I highly recommend only building a soundproof studio on a concrete slab. The reason is that if you don't you will have to float the floor, which will cost $2,000-$4,000 for a single room and will add tremendous weight to your existing floor. This means you need to hire a structural engineer to look at your existing floor before floating the floor (again $1-2K) and they might say you need added support, which could cost even more money and that is before even building your studio. 

All of this is to say, that second story rooms are not ideal for isolation. It can be done, but it is costly and time consuming. Instead, build your studio in a basement with a concrete slab or a garage and you will be way better off. So, when you are house searching look for basements and garages.




  • Basements can be great because they don't take up garage space
  • They tend to be built under ground, which increases isolation
  • They may be unfinished, which is way better than demoing a finished space. 
  • They may be bigger than a garage offering more space for your studio, storage and mechanical. 


  • They may have limited ceiling height
  • They usually will have pipes, ductwork and beams that all must be planned around during the design phase. 
  • You will have to beef up ceiling isolation because most of the noise will come from the floor above. 
  • You may be limited in electrical installation and HVAC options. 




  • May be detached or decoupled from the main house leading to better isolation. 
  • They sometimes are vaulted which allows for higher ceilings. 
  • They can be large and offer plenty of space.
  • They are usually unfinished, which means you start with a blank canvas. 
  • They don't usually have lots of windows or doors reducing costs 
  • It may be easier to run electrical and HVAC in a garage versus a basement. 


  • You have to deal with the garage door. This usually means removing the opener or the entire door. 
  • You lose your garage so you have to park somewhere else and store things in a new location
  • You may decrease the value of your house without a garage. 
  • The garage may be cheaply made and have thin exterior walls leading to weaker isolation. 
  • The ceiling height could be low and the space could be too small (one car garage). 
  • There may be a room above the garage meaning the ceiling will need extra isolation. 



There is a lot to consider when you buy a new home with the intent of building a recording studio on the property. Remember, the first decision is wether to build new or in an existing area. Next you must decide if you will build in a garage, basement or a concrete slab shed or barn. Finally, you alway need to look for the ease of the build. Is the space unfishined, how high are the ceilings, and what potential roadblocks will you face with existing structures? All of this is important to consider when choosing the ideal house for your new home recording studio.