Choosing a professional recording studio for your next music project can be much of a big deal. This statement may seem far-fetched but trust me when I say we should give it a serious thought.
With the rise of independent recording studios all over the place, there are more options than ever when it comes to recording your music. Making quality music also gives the artist a lot of power, but reducing the list of options can also become an overwhelming process.
To help reach a decision on the professional recording studio to work with, I have taken time to provide a useful checklist on the ‘Is’ to dot and ‘Ts’ to cross before arriving at a conclusion.
Following these steps below should help make your options manageable. Also, it is important to find out which professional recording studio will give you the best results, regarding your budget.
How to Choose a Professional Recording Studio
Define Your Budget!
There are loads of recording technology that have also been increasingly accessible. Many engineers have gained skills in their own home studios, resulting in taking a professional role in making recordings for various brands.
You can find anyone, anywhere to record your music regardless of your budget. There are also hosts of learning centres that train students in audio or sound-related fields, therefore needing clients for their students to get a hands-on approach.
However, in terms of quality, you often get what you pay for, so it’s important to define how much you’re willing to spend on a project before you narrow down your options.
Here are some key points to consider when defining your budget.
- First, know that anything involving sound usually takes longer than expected most times. If you have been to a professional recording studio before, know this.
- Plan to reserve a few more hours than you think you’ll need; Usually, you’ll be glad you did.
- Make sure you are considering the other costs that go into the recording.
- Are you going to need to hire session musicians? Are you going to need a sound engineer? Will you need to rent instruments/studio amplifiers?
We should also consider these factors when making a budget. You often need more than just a room with good sound equipment.
Studio Location is Also a Big Factor!
Finding a recording studio with a good sound room takes less stress these days, as independent studios are springing up everywhere. However, to find a professional recording studio, you need to take a small trip around your hood.
This helps you a lot especially when you need a specific sound. One thing to define from the beginning is how far you are willing/able to travel.
Doing so will really help you narrow your search since you will only have to search for studios within your designated area. You may also want to travel to a studio just to be away from distractions.
This is common among groups that can pay for travel costs; everyday life can distract and possibly interfere with your recording mentality, doing it somewhere away from home will allow you to focus only on the project.
The Technicality of the Studio?
This tip sits third on the list once you have reduced the list by budget and location. With the first two tips out of the way, you can focus on the quality of the sound.
Listen to the recordings of your favourite groups and try to focus on what you like about the recording itself. Then compare that with the professional recording studio you are considering. It pays to have more than one studio in mind.
If you or someone in the band is not familiar with basic recording/production, I recommend that you bring a friend to help with this part of the process. Almost all the studios have some page, be it a website, SoundCloud, or some other social network, that has sound samples published on it.
It pays to try out the sample beats. Are the samples nice? Are they reminiscent of the sound you are looking for? Do you have published samples of groups similar to yours?
If not, ask the staff by email if you can listen to some sample recordings of other bands of the same genre as yours. Usually, whenever you make a serious request, they will help you decide.
Is Studio Equipment Available?
You will have found some great professional recording studios within your budget and desired location. The next step is to decide the equipment and facilities that you will need to access.
Most (but not all) of the studios will have a selection of musical equipment for clients to use (sometimes they rent for an additional cost).
Are you going to need a piano? How about a well-adjusted, professional-quality drum set? Or vintage guitars/amplifiers? Not all studios will have this equipment, so be sure to check it out on their website (or ask them directly by email or phone).
There are even cases in which you may need a grand piano. If you know a bit about recording, you may also look for some specific pieces of recording equipment.
You may want to get a vintage sound, through preamps and vintage microphones and capture it on the tape? It is better to make sure that the studio has the equipment to achieve it.
If you need to record with the entire crew/team/band, then you may have trouble getting a great sound in a studio in a small basement. Here, everyone must be squeezed with their amplifiers in the same room. Look out for this.
Do they have a kitchen, or are there at least places to eat and drink coffee that is located nearby? These kinds of things can really help a session run smoothly. Selecting the studio that can provide the equipment and facilities you want can help the entire process be achieved much more efficiently.
What Do the Reviews Say About The Recording Studio?
Reviews say little about the studio but its in-house sound engineer. The likes of Don Jazzy, Masterkraft, and a host of others are very popular for having a “characteristic sound”.
Some of these studios are not accessible to independent artists, but there are many other renowned ones that are. If it fits into your budget and location, it might be worth recording in one of them for its specific sound qualities. This also has potential marketing benefits.
Having the name of a famous studio in your recording gives some validity to industry professionals. Take that opportunity and get free music promotion once they hear the producers of the track. These steps would help you choose wisely.