Finding The Right Recording Studio

Kodi Vonn

Where you choose to record your music can be as important to your sound as the music itself. No matter how or where you start, consider a professional recording space when you’re looking to take your music to the next level. There are a lot of myths and assumptions surrounding studio’s, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for and what won’t work for you.

Aspects of booking a studio session to keep in mind:

Budget

The first thing you need to consider when finding the right recording studio is whether or not your budget is ready for the expense. If you don’t know how much time you’ll need to record, chances are you’ll need to estimate longer-than-average session times (and still be prepared to need more).

You’ll also need to figure in the cost of producers and/or engineers if (a) you don’t have your own, or (b) the studio doesn’t provide one with the price of a session. For most recording artists, expect to pay an audio engineer for their time. They’re worth it.

There are a wide range of pricing options so don’t think you need a superstar budget to afford studio time. If your budget is on the smaller side, you can record your music in a home studio and book a studio for the mixing/mastering portions. Plan at least for an extra 10% – 20% in your budget to prevent overspending and prepare for unexpected circumstances.

No matter how much you’re spending, remember to ask as many questions as possible; beginning in the research phase and through to the studio tour.

Team

Are you bringing your own producer and engineer or will you employ the studio’s? Your sound is at stake so it’s important to know and have confidence in the people you’re employing.

If you’re thinking about saving money and producing and/or mixing your own album, maybe think again. Artists tend to become laser-focused–that can be a good and bad thing. When you’re handling nearly every aspect of the music creation process, a good team around you to provide feedback is an incredibly beneficial thing. Analyzing and accepting criticism is an essential part of developing your sound.

When touring potential studios, arrange time to talk to a producer or engineer—see if you have similar styles or if he or she has worked with your genre. Let them listen to your music; it’s always better to work with someone who actually likes your music.

Having these conversations with staff (along with researching their work and reputation) should inform your final decision.

Location

The location has a lot to do with why you should or should not pick a studio. Don’t pick a studio so far that you’re not able to show up on time for your session—especially if you have to hold down a job while recording. If your sessions are longer or you’re the type who needs to take a break, make sure there is plenty to eat and do in the area.

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Sites like Studiotime provide an “AirBnb of recording studios” experience.

This is an investment–in your music and your career. Always check reviews from multiple sites (Google, Facebook, etc).

Equipment & Space

You may not know too much about recording equipment, but that’s no excuse when you’re looking for a studio. Don’t tour studios without doing a little research about the equipment they use. This way you can instantly Google the equipment, look up reviews, and check its capabilities.

Check for any special equipment you need to record (something vintage or new technology you may need to produce a specific sound).

When you get to the studio tour, ensure the physical space will fit your needs (whether you’re a band or a solo-act singer) and the vibe is comfortable for you. Next, step into the actual rooms where you’ll record. Check out the space and its quality, belt out a few lines from your latest release. A poorly put-together room will reduce the quality of sound output.

You shouldn’t have diva-high standards when working under a budget, but don’t force yourself to work in a bad studio because of money. Wait, build up your coins, and invest in the studio that will be worth it.

. . . .

Recording music should be a memorable experience for artists. With proper planning and careful budgeting, finding a recording studio will be no problem.

For more on finding the right recording studio and things like negotiating a price, visit bandbasher.com and check out Developing Your Sound: Recording Studios.