the best studio for your production can be very confusing, with all the
hype and misinformation floating around out there. Your choices range from
small home studios to large pro studios, all claiming to be the perfect
studio for you. So what do you actually get for your dollar, and what is
the best route for you to go?
(Article by Brian Konzelman, Back at
the Ranch Recording Studio
located near Waco Texas.)
are some tips to help you make a good choice. In my 30+ years of recording experience,
these four items have always been a part of making the right choice. They
are listed in order of priority..........
level of the engineer.
is number one for good reason. A more experienced engineer will do a
better job faster than a less experienced engineer. Your
engineer will have a greater impact on the sound and cost of your
recording than any other variable. Look for an engineer with
the most experience working on the kind of product you will be recording
(i.e. song demo, radio ad, release music album, etc.) The best equipment
in the finest studio will only sound as good as the engineer will allow it
of the physical facility
is the second most important criteria. Consider the physical
Location. If you have to travel thousands of miles to record at
a particular studio, be sure to factor in the transportation and lodging
costs, which can add up fast. Consider using a facility closer to home if
possible. It is much easier to organize your band memberís schedules if
the studio is within a reasonable drive. Also, you may end up having to
make some additional return trips for a re-mix or some post-production.
that this is not number one? The fact is that a very experienced engineer
can make a great sounding recording on not-so-great equipment. But experienced
engineers working with the best equipment consistently make the best
sounding recordings. Donít be misled by the huge list of
equipment offered by many recording studios, as you probably wouldnít
need to use 90% of it anyway. Itís kind of like taking your car to the
mechanic. He has a huge tool chest with hundreds of specialized tools, but
will probably need only a select few to get the job done.
staples? The best sounding recordings include the use of high-end mike
preamps, a selection of major name microphones, and some classic and
high-end outboard gear. Nowadays, the lionís-share of release-quality
recordings include the use of hard-disk recording and editing systems like
MOTU Digital Performer, or Protools.
remember, impressive equipment alone does not make great recordings. But in
the hands of a master engineer, great equipment becomes an important
component of great recordings.
again that this is not number one? Itís funny how the hourly rate is
usually top priority for newbys, and becomes much lower priority for
recording veterans. Here are a few things to consider about rates:
studios are not created equal. If all recording engineers and
studios were equal, then the cheapest hourly rate would be the best value.
But in reality, there is a big difference in the quality of product and
the speed of production from one studio to another. While
the better engineers and studios cost more per hour, they end up using
less studio time while producing a better product. So the client
ends up with a much better product in less time.
rates can be misleading. More is better. Or is it? If you are shopping for
cheap studio rates, you are certain to find them. If your goal is to find
and buy a large quantity of the cheapest studio time, then go for it. If,
however, your goal is to produce the best-recorded
product for your dollar, you will need to seek out the more
experienced engineer in a great facility. In the end, this is always your
best value by far.
a tape-based studio, analog or digital, up to 25% of your studio time will
be spent waiting for the tapes to rewind and locate. After every take and
punch-in, you will have to wait for the playback. This means that 25% of
your studio dollars are wasted, compared to a studio with a random-access
hard-disk recording system like MOTU or Protools.
Hourly rate vs. Project rate.
Recording veterans seldom do a recording project on an hourly basis. A
more efficient approach is to work on a project basis. Discuss the
overall goals for your recording project with the studio you would like to
record at, and set a reasonable budget for your time and finances. Then
produce your project within these parameters. This is the approach used by
every major recording artist and record label I have known, because it
works so well. Instead of being distracted by watching the hourly rate
clock tick off the studio hours, the artist is freed to concentrate on the
Choose your recording studio based on
these priorities; engineer, facility, equipment, and value.
If your goal is to produce the best-recorded product for your dollar, remember that a cheap rate is not the same as a good value. My advice is to seek out the more experienced engineer in a better facility.
Studios: New York/ Nashville
Recording Studios, Houston TX
Dallas Studios, Dallas TX
Oak Recording Studio, Los Angeles CA
Tracks Recording, Atlanta GA
Recording Studio, Central TX and Waco TX
To suggest a quality recording studio, please send suggestions to:
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