Posted July 6, 2010 by Stephan Earl in Home Studio Setup

Safeguarding Your Home Studio

Five Must-Do’s To SafeGuard Your home Studio

So you’ve either just forked out some good coin for a home recording studio, or you’re about to make that fantastic leap.  Well one item often overlooked, but incredibly important, is safeguarding your studio and creative investment.  After all, your gear and software are costly and your creative jewels are priceless.

Here are five important must-do’s to protect your home studio and creative masterpieces:

1. Hard Drive Back-up.  This goes without saying and yet I’m amazed how often this essential step is overlooked.  No need to fork over any cash here, most versions of windows come with a built in utility to back up all hard drive volumes on your computer.  Also hard drive manufacturers such as Seagate often have a backup utility pre-installed on their hard drives.  I have this task scheduled to backup automatically every Monday at 2:00am so my work through the weekend is protected.  Once you schedule your backup utility the first time, you don’t have to worry about it anymore except to make sure your computer is on during the scheduled time.

2. Protect Software Product Licenses.  Remember the old days of buying multiple keyboards, sound generating synths, multiple outboard effect processors, and an 8-track recorder.  If you lost one of those items, it set you back a bit financially to have to purchase it all over again.

These days we fork out hundreds of dollars for downloaded software including DAWs, synth plug-ins and effect bundles. In these cases the product license is what you’re paying for.  If you change computers and need to re-install the software, you’ll need to have the product key code saved somewhere.  Save the original emails or keep the actual product code information safe somewhere and not on your local computer.

Many software developers now utilize product license dongles such as iLok which has its good and bad points.  The good point in the case of iLok is that you can combine several licenses to one dongle as to avoid three or four of these things taking up precious USB slots.  One bad point is that if your gear is stolen or melted in a fire then your license dongle isn’t much good.  iLok has a disaster recovery program called Zero Downtime which will replace the iLok licenses if they’re ever lost or destroid.  This service is well worth the $30 annual cost per iLok.

3. Fire-safe CD/DVD Software.  Software purchased from brick and mortar stores like Guitar Center also need to be protected.  Instead of storing your cool new drum sampler plug-in with the pretty colorful box in the closet, recyle the box and get a fire-safe chest to store it in.  A safe such as this one from Sentry will provide your CDs, DVDs and USB drives 1/2 hour of fire protection up to 1550 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re also waterproof to protect against floods.  For $49.99 you can pick this up at Costco and it’s well worth it.

4. Uninterrupted Power Source (UPS).  Power outages are a regular occurrence in my town so a UPS is indispensable.  But even if your power company is better than mine, just remember it only takes one outage or spike in the grid to turn your recording studio into an highly-priced toaster.  A good UPS doesn’t come too cheap but is pennies compared to replacing a fried computer or keyboard workstation.  A UPS like this one from APC costs about $179 and will keep your setup safe and running on battery power for up to two hours.  This gives you enough time to power down safely or continue recording for about an hour even after the power has gone out.  I even keep my lamp plugged into it so I have light.

5. Home or Renters Insurance.  OK this is a big one, but ranks number one in importance.  Get home owners or renters insurance in an amount that will cover the cost of your studio in the event of theft,  fire or flood.  Renters insurance is pretty clear in that you get it specifically to cover the items inside your home.  Home oweners insurance is often not so clear as you may have different leves of insurance that cover exterior property damage but may not cover your studio inside.  It’s a costly adventure that will set you back a few hundred dollars a year, however the alternative is having to buy your entire studio again from scratch.

Safeguard Your Home Recording Studio

Stephan Earl

Composing, recording and producing music in the home studio environment for over 25 years, musician and author Stephan Earl now enjoys sharing his home studio setup experience with other home studio recording musicians via HomeMusicProduction.com.