It is with a sad heart that I write to you today. My home studio has lost its battle with damp.
Late last year, I tied up my final dealings with the commercial studio I was running and closed its doors. Since then, I have been cultivating a home studio in the back room of my apartment. The first error I made was trying to install a studio in a rental property. The second was trying to install a studio in a rental property built by the team that brought us the Tacoma Narrows bridge.
The first indication that the room was damp was the speed at which my guitar strings rusted. The screws and various other metal parts of the guitar soon followed, and finally even the tips of my cables began to oxidise. This was merely an annoyance until I realised how many metal components and wires were involved in the creation of my rack gear, electric drum kit, monitor speakers, computer screen, microphones – you name it. So, although my equipment had most probably already taken a beating, I tried to ‘fix’ the room with the help of the Internet. Fool. I ordered a SilicaGel product on the advice of a friend. This product was basically several 1kg bags of desiccant on a hook – they’re used to keep shipping containers dry! Not my studio though. It did what it said it would do – it turned to hard gel, and doubled in size. But this happened within the first 4 days. Yes, that’s how damp the room actually was.
The problem turned out to be two fold. The first issue was that the builders hadn’t water sealed anything, anywhere, let alone the outdoor tiles. The second issue was that the sliding door frames were metal, so when it was cold out, I was faced with the majesty of an indoor waterfall.
So, today I packed everything up. I put my nice new speakers back into their boxes. I packed all my cables into boxes. I deconstructed my electronic drum kit, and put its pads and cymbals into plastic bags for storage. My guitar cases had all soaked up their weight in water (fortunately whilst the guitars were elsewhere), so they were left to go down with the wreck.
All I have left is a small rack with my guitar fx, a preamp, one guitar cable, and a set of headphones.
From great heights the mighty have fallen. Now, just like many of you, I have a small recording setup in the corner of my bedroom. But there’s still fire in my heart, and I intend to use it to dry out the spare room.
*A trip to Bunnings will arm you with a damp detector (just a little sticker or cardboard tab you hang on the wall), I suggest you stick one up post haste and pay it all the attention of an Air Raid siren.