Setting up a rehearsal room from scratch can be a daunting project, even more so if you’re expecting musicians to come in a number of formations or styles! 😬 But don’t worry, we got you! Here is a step by step guide on how to setup a rehearsal room and turn it into the best rehearsal space possible!
From the room itself to the gear you need, essential or optional, as well as some pro-tips and handy accessories to keep around; you’ll be sure to have everything you need to start rehearsing, hosting, jamming, and everything in between! 😎👇
Rehearsal Room Setup – Get the room ready!
The first and most essential step for your rehearsal room setup is going to revolve around the room itself. Making sure that the space is ready to welcome musicians, gear and consequently… many decibels 🎶 will be your first mission.
The main objective is to treat the space you’ll use for music creation. This treatment has to achieve two goals: to dampen the room in order to avoid being too loud to neighbouring spaces, as well as to treat natural reflections in the room and get the best possible sound inside.
It sounds scary and professional, but it’s actually super simple! A few bass traps in the corners to avoid low end rumble, a few absorbers on the walls and carpets on the floor dampen the room and keep your mix clean, and finally some diffusers to avoid unwanted reverbs and ping-pong delay effects!
Find all our acoustic treatment solutions 👉 right here 👈 and find what fits YOUR space best!
Rehearsal Room Setup – Essential Gear and Backline
You might be preparing the room for your band or to invite friends and other guest musicians for epic jams! Regardless, having a basic selection of mics and backline gear will come in really handy for people who have a tendency of showing up to the jam session empty handed 😅
Having a couple of mics laying around the room.. wait sorry, I meant: cleanly organised in their respective boxes in the room, will come in very handy for several reasons!
Singers and last minute backup singers will obviously be happy to find said microphones, but it will also be incredibly useful if you have to have to amplify another instrument that wouldn’t be loud enough for say… your drummer!
For that reason, most rehearsal rooms will tend to prefer “multi-purpose” microphones. Mics capable of taking both vocal levels but also louder instrument levels are usually going to be dynamic, such as the legendary, and indestructible, Shure SM58.
If you’re looking for a set that will spare you the trouble of selecting various mics and to make sure you have enough for everyone, something like this the t.bone MB 60 Set will be absolutely perfect! Just make sure you also get enough mic stands and XLR cables for them!
If you don’t mind spending a little more to get more specific mics for instruments and amps, check out our large selection of all rounder dynamic mics, amplifier mics and clip-on acoustic instruments microphones, and find dedicated microphones such as the brass/strings standard that is the Audio-Technica ATM350U! 🎷
Backline, if you’re not familiar with the term, means a small selection of basic tools that you’ll find in most rehearsal and concert venues. It usually comprises of a bass amp or preamp that can go to the mixer (we’ll get there soon don’t panic), one or two guitar amps, as well as a basic drum kit.
Of course, we’re not saying that you have to buy gear for your entire band, and in that case, everyone brings their own piece to the puzzle! But if your intention is to have the occasional jam night, you can consider getting a small solid state / modelling combo that would make any guitar or bass player happy, such as the Boss Katana 50 or the HB80 from Harley Benton!
As far as drum kits go, most places will be BYOC policy (Bring Your Own Cymbals!). It goes without saying that if your rehearsal space is for your band, your drummer will probably leave his kit there between sessions. But if not, or if you want to be able to invite other drummers, having a basic drum kit such as this lovely DrumCraft Series 3 Standard Set in the room will be a game changer!
In (optional) addition, a drum stool and a basic cymbal set could be the perfect additions to your space to be able to play at any time and in any company! Check these out 👇
Rehearsal Room setup –
Keep your audio routing clean
What we mean by that is twofold: keep your XLR and jack cables coiled and/or managed when in use, but also know where each of those cables is going. Your jack cables will typically go from the instruments directly to the amps, but your mic cables have to go somewhere as well! And that’s where the mixer comes into play 🎛
The mixer is going to be the audio brains of the operation! Label your microphone cables and plug them into the (also labeled) mixer channel inputs. The mixer should allow you to control levels, basic EQ, compression and effects on each input to make sure that your various mics sit correctly in a band mix. We recommend something with at least 6 channels, and offering a few effects and settings, so that you won’t be limited down the line if you want to take that same mixer to a concert, for example! Something like the t.mix xmix 1202 FX USB, the Behringer Xenyx X2222USB or the Presonus StudioLive AR16c will be perfect for the job!
In addition, those mixers will allow you to connect to your computer to record the jam sessions / rehearsals! Keep in mind that the more affordable ones will only be able to send the stereo master tracks to your DAW, while the higher end ones will allow for multi-track recording, which offers a lot more flexibility if you want to mix those sessions afterwards!
Rehearsal Room Setup – Amplify and level everyone
Every mic and instrument is there and has been plugged in, now is time to make sure that everyone can be heard! Audio engineers spend years to hone their skills and master the craft of mixing artists and bands, both live and in the studio, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a crack at it 😉
First off, establish basic levels for all instruments that are not going into the mixer, starting with the ones that don’t need any amplification: that’s usually the drums! Once your drummer is going, you can get the amplified instruments to start playing in order to level their amps to the drummer’s level. Once everyone outside the mixer is happy, time to amplify microphones and instruments going directly into the mixer.
In order to do that, you’ll need to get familiar with your mixer and manipulate the levels and settings there, but you’ll also need to connect it to an amplification system, commonly known as PA system. Those come in two flavours: we have the all-in-one, or Active systems, which are both amp and speaker in a single enclosure, and the Passive systems, which are (you guessed it) passive speakers powered by a separate amplifier!
Both solutions have their pros and cons in terms of reliability, reparability, convenience, power and so on, but the new golden standard for rehearsal spaces tends to gravitate towards the compact and powerful active systems! Here are a few recommendations in different price brackets:
Thomann Practice Room Bundle 2 is an excellent option that will also allow you to skip some previous steps in the selection of a mixer and microphones. This affordable bundle will provide with enough power to sing alongside your drummer!
the box pro Achat 112 Sub A & DSP108 Set will be the ideal addition to your mixer and mics of choice! With its two subs and satellite speakers, it will be plenty loud for any rehearsal room and will follow you into most small to mid-size venues when time comes to start gigging!
EV ELX/ZLX Band Bundle is an investment to say the least, but one that will both fill any room or venue with enough decibels to get you kicked out! Reliable, solid, and allowing for further expansion, this system will pair nicely with high end mixers and deliver on sound quality.
Rehearsal Room Setup – And make sure you can hear yourself!
Everything is now set to play, play loud, and most importantly hear all the musicians in the room 😇 There is one thing left to do in order to complete the perfect rehearsal/jamming space, and that’s to make sure that the musicians can hear themselves!
In Ear Systems / PA Monitors
Now, this phase is almost optional in the sense that if you have oriented all the amps and PA in a semi-circle shape pointed at the drummer (who is usually the one that will struggle most to hear the other musicians), and that the amps have been slightly raised or tilted to project at ear level, everyone should hear themselves nicely!
But that’s a complicated balance and it’s not very practical in every room, and absolutely unrealistic in any concert situation! So the easiest solution is to use the auxiliary outputs on your mixer to connect PA Monitors, also known as Wedges. These placed at the feet of the standing musicians and on the drummer’s side, will project the general mix back to them so that they’re able to hear the full band clearly 🙂
Another option is to use in-ear systems so that each musician has their own set of in-ear monitors, either wired or wireless, in order to hear the others. Keep in mind that this setup is much pricier and more complicated to put in place as you will need a number of senders and receivers working together on several bandwidths (if you go for wireless). But if you’re going all in, here are some ideas 👇
Rehearsal Room Setup – Accessories are good to have around!
Finally here’s a non-exhaustive list of little accessories that are always good to have around a rehearsal room:
That’s it, you’re basically done! 👏 Congratulations on your absolutely epic rehearsal space! Don’t forget to bring a couple drinks and snacks along, and have fun!