"How do I choose the right recording studio for my project?" : Java News and Reviews
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"How do I choose the right recording studio for my project?"

by calbert anderson on 02/27/15

Choosing 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?

Here are some tips to help you make a good choice. In my 40+ years of recording experience, these four items have always been a part of making the right choice. They are listed in order of priority..........

1. Experience level of the engineer.

This 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 to.

2.Suitability of the physical facility

Here is the second most important criteria. Is the facility large enough to accommodate your needs? Your music group must be able to fit and work comfortably in the studio. Check out the acoustic design for your style of music. A huge live room may be required for orchestral sessions, while a smaller dry room is generally used for typical pop music recordings.

Be sure there is a relaxed, pleasant, creative environment in which to work. Remember, you may be there for days on end, so the vibe of the surroundings can have a big impact on your mood.

The acoustical sound quality of the control room and monitoring system is critical. If this item is not up to par, your recording may sound great in the studio, but not translate well into the real world of car stereos and boom boxes, which is critical to the success of your project. A facility that has been designed from the ground up as a recording studio will be more accurate and sound better than retro-fits in existing buildings, homes, or garages.  However, if the building, home or garage is properly acoustically treated it can still be effective. 

3.Quality and Quantity of the Recording Equipment

Surprised that this is not number one? The fact is that a very experienced engineer can make a great sounding recording with not-so-great equipment.

Don't be misled by the huge list of equipment offered by many recording studios, as you probably wouldn't need to use 90% of it anyway. It's 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.

The 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 lion's-share of release-quality recordings include the use of hard-disk recording and editing systems like MOTU Digital Performer, Studio One, Reason, Abelton Live or Protools.


Comments (1)

1. Ronny Howard said on 11/7/16 - 10:49AM
I did not realize that the engineer was such a big part of the recording process. My brother is big into music and he is wanting to record a couple of songs that he has recently wrote. I said I would help him out, so I will be sure to look for an engineer with the most experience working on the kind of product he is going to record. Thanks for these suggestions!

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