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DIY Radio: A gallery of studio selfies

You have: A spool of yarn, fishing wire, a closet full of winter coats and your recording equipment. Now, build a recording studio.

Knowing how to build an ad hoc studio is a crucial skill for indie audio makers of all skill levels. All the greats have been there — from Radiotopia podcasters recording voiceovers under the covers to NPR’s Ari Shapiro, who has been tracking under coats and suit jackets across the world. Sometimes achieving that professional, NPR sound means grabbing your Tascam and holing up in the closet.

AIR put out a call to members and producers. We asked you show us where you make radio (#studioselfie), and, as usual, you all delivered.

Have a photo to add to the gallery? Send it over: curator@airmedia.org.

 

Bec Feldhaus Adams records Sue Schardt for a tape sync with The Pub podcast at AIRster HQ. That's our supply closet, y'all.
Bec Feldhaus Adams records Sue Schardt for a tape sync with The Pub podcast at AIRster HQ. That’s our supply closet, y’all.

 

Recording kit and a down comforter
Alex Kapelman on the glamorous life: “This is my set-up when I track. I pop under the down comforter. It’s very sweaty.”

 

Julia Furlan with mic, recorder and a blanket spread over two chairs.
Julia Furlan: “Yup, this is a #tbt to the O.G. BuzzFeed ‘studio’ made of blankets and enthusiasm.”

 

A photo of Brit's recording gear and laptop on a set of crates.
Brit Hanson’s home studio: “My bedroom closet. I like to keep it classy.”

 

Rachel Otwell at work: "Oh, this is fun. AIR wants a studio selfie? Well, here's me preggo in a 'haunted house.'"
Rachel Otwell at work: “Oh, this is fun. AIR wants a studio selfie? Well, here’s me preggo in a ‘haunted house.'”

 

Fred Greenhalgh: "On location, baby!"
Fred Greenhalgh: “On location, baby!”

 

Dianne Ballon's home studio, with a side of coffee.
Dianne Ballon’s home studio, with a side of coffee.

 

At Marfa Public Radio in Texas, it's a blanket fort situation: "Our Reporting Lab students recorded their narration today."
At Marfa Public Radio in Texas, it’s a blanket fort situation: “Our Reporting Lab students recorded their narration today.”

 

Monitor Studios' ... well, their legit studio. No blankets required here.
Monitor Studios’ … well, their legit studio. No blankets required here.

 

AIR New Voices scholar Mariana Dale: "Sometimes, journalism looks a lot like talking to yourself in public."
AIR New Voices scholar Mariana Dale: “Sometimes, journalism looks a lot like talking to yourself in public.”

 

A small canvas crate lined with egg crate foam.
AIR New Voice scholar Mia Warren: “This is the booth I built last year when I was living in Peru.”

 

Tegan Wendland with gear, script and a headlamp on, sitting on her closet floor.
Tegan Wendland: “Love my closet, but then I need a headlamp!”

 

An egg crate-lined closet with audio gear, a small desk, and photos of the Golden Girls and Joan Didion.
Benjamin Riskin: “I record here with my besties, the Golden Girls and Joan Didion.”

 

Mixing board and mic at KBOO.
Another legit studio, this time from KBOO Community Radio.

 

Bec Feldhaus Adams and her cat: "Holly looks concerned as I emerge from a quick recording in the closet."
Bec Feldhaus Adams and her cat: “Holly looks concerned as I emerge from a quick recording in the closet.”
Indie producer Daniel Grossman with his recording kit in a linen closet.
Daniel Grossman is also among the closet recorders: “It’s a linen closet and there’s about 2 and a half to 3 and a half feet of standing room. It has no exterior walls, so it is very quiet. (There’s a chimney behind the wall on one side, which also may help.) “

 

Scott Gurian got serious about matters: "I've been reporting on the long-term Sandy recovery in New Jersey for WNYC, but since I mostly work from home and am rarely at the station, I needed a good place to record, so -- with the helpful guidance of Jeff Towne -- I turned a spare closet into a recording booth a few years ago. I used Auralex tiles on the walls and recorded with a CAD Trion 7000 ribbon mic (which seemed to work well with my voice), connected to a Grace Design M101 preamp, connected to a Focusrite Scarlett 212 audio interface box to get the sound into my laptop. I realized the computer made a bit of noise that I didn't want when I was recording, so I got a second monitor, mouse and keyboard that I plugged into a USB hub and snaked to my laptop outside of the booth so I could close the door to make it quieter. "The plus side of this whole setup was that it was still functional as a closet and it sounded pretty good (though I initially made the mistake of putting up too many acoustic tiles, which over-deadened it until I removed a few to get back some hard surfaces and make things sound more natural). The negative is that it was like a sauna in the summertime, and it wasn't soundproof, so I couldn't use it if someone was taking a shower on the other side of the wall or even if the kids a couple of houses away were playing basketball. "Unfortunately, I recently decided to rent out the bedroom where that closet was located to a new housemate, so last night my recording booth was evicted from its home. I have a bunch of spare lumber, so I'm planning on building a new one from scratch in a corner of my basement office (which should be much cooler in the summer)."
Scott Gurian got serious about matters: “I’ve been reporting on the long-term Sandy recovery in New Jersey for WNYC, but since I mostly work from home and am rarely at the station, I needed a good place to record, so — with the helpful guidance of Jeff Towne — I turned a spare closet into a recording booth a few years ago. I used Auralex tiles on the walls and recorded with a CAD Trion 7000 ribbon mic (which seemed to work well with my voice), connected to a Grace Design M101 preamp, connected to a Focusrite Scarlett 212 audio interface box to get the sound into my laptop. I realized the computer made a bit of noise that I didn’t want when I was recording, so I got a second monitor, mouse and keyboard that I plugged into a USB hub and snaked to my laptop outside of the booth so I could close the door to make it quieter.
“The plus side of this whole setup was that it was still functional as a closet and it sounded pretty good (though I initially made the mistake of putting up too many acoustic tiles, which over-deadened it until I removed a few to get back some hard surfaces and make things sound more natural). The negative is that it was like a sauna in the summertime, and it wasn’t soundproof, so I couldn’t use it if someone was taking a shower on the other side of the wall or even if the kids a couple of houses away were playing basketball.
“Unfortunately, I recently decided to rent out the bedroom where that closet was located to a new housemate, so last night my recording booth was evicted from its home. I have a bunch of spare lumber, so I’m planning on building a new one from scratch in a corner of my basement office (which should be much cooler in the summer).”

 

Nancy Camden, arm extended, chases chickens with a microphone in order to record a segment.
AIR New Voices scholar Nancy Camden mostly records in the field for “Spotting Wisconsin.” Yes, gathering chicken clucks is part of the gig.

 

A shape that might or might not be Adam Ragusea under a large swath of black fabric
Adam Ragusea, host of Current’s podcast “The Pub”: “I record … in my office at Mercer University underneath my academic regalia. Current head honcho Julie Drizin calls it my ‘broadcast burqa.'”

 

A very young Ryan Noyes in headphones with a stereo.
Ryan Noyes insists the only upgrade he’s added to his 1984 suburban Detroit studio is a second Fisher-Price turntable.

 

Danielle Thomsen and her laptop and recording kit.
Danielle Thomsen: “Tracking in the basement closet, where we store extra blankets and pillows.”