Even with the prevalence of home-based recording these days, sometimes there’s no substitute for the experience of recording in a professional studio, with an experienced engineer.
A talented sound engineer can hear things in a track you can barely distinguish, and watching them work will only help to make you a better listener.
When choosing a recording studio there are a few things to look out for which will help determine the one you ultimately choose.
While you should never choose a recording studio on price alone, it’s smart to start your search by looking at studio rates and seeing if they fit into your overall budget. You don’t want to blow your budget on an expensive studio, leaving you with only one half-finished recording by the time your money runs out.
At the same time you don’t want to choose the cheapest studio, because although this will give you the greatest recording time possible, it’s more than likely that the person recording you is not very experienced or knowledgeable (in which case you’d be better off recording in a home studio).
When you’ve figured out your budget and narrowed down some studios in your area. It’s time to take a tour. Never book a studio without first going for a tour of it.
Take a few minutes to look at the space and decide how you feel in it. Is this a room where you feel in?
Make sure you get the full tour, including the control room, the live room and any overdub rooms, as well as the various facilities the recording studio might have.
Can you envision yourself, and your music being made, here?
While an experienced engineer can coax great sounds out of even the worst gear, more often then not, these same engineers will have spent a good deal of their time hunting down vintage equipment to make their sound even better.
Make sure to take into account the available equipment in the recording studio. Is it a cheap computer with a protools rig, or does the studio offer many different recording formats and microphone options.
Does the studio include piano’s, guitars and other instruments for your use, or are you required to bring everything yourself? Find out before hand so that you aren’t surprised when you go to record your piano piece, only to find that the studio doesn’t actually have a working piano in it.
When you go on a tour of the recording studio, try to set up a meeting with the producer and engineer to discuss your project. It’s important to get to know these people and get a feel for their style before you start working with them.
A recording can quickly go downhill if the producer and artists have totally different visions for the music.
Get to know the people making your recording. Do you feel comfortable with them? Will you be able to spend hours at a time working with them? Do they seem knowlegeable? Are they excited or eager to work with you? Have they worked on any music similar to yours?
You’re working relationship with the producer and engineer is a huge factor when determining the overall success of your recording.
While recording at a professional studio may not be right for you at this time, it’s something that all musicians need to experience. At the very least so you can compare the end result to the home recordings you’ve been making.
Have you ever recorded music in a professional studio? What was your experience?…