Choosing the best studio for your production can be very confusing with all the hype and misinformation floating around out there. Your choices can range from recording in your friend’s basement 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 considerations to help you make a good choice. They are listed in order of priority.

1. Spiritual climate of the studio.
You want to work with people that can give you spiritual feedback as well as technical and creative advice. As a Christian recording artist, you want to make sure that your team has the same vision as you do and understands the spiritual implications of your recording.

2. Experience level of the engineer.
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.

3. Suitability of the physical facility.
Is the facility large enough to accommodate your needs? Your music group must be able to fit and work comfortably in the studio.

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

Are there adequate comforts like a lounge area, kitchen facilities, seating for everyone, quiet places to get away to polish performances, lyrics, and charts or even take that power nap when necessary.

The acoustical accuracy 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 will not translate well into the real world of car stereos and boom boxes, which is critical to the success of your project.}

4. Equipment available
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 great equipment consistently make the best sounding recordings. 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 best sounding recordings include the use of professional grade mic-preamps, a selection of major name microphones, and some classic and high-end outboard gear. Nowadays, most release-quality recordings include the use of hard-disk recording and editing systems.

Just 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.

5. Rates
Are you surprised that this is not number one? It’s 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:

All 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.

Hourly 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.

Hourly rates vs. Block rates. 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, because it works so well. Instead of being distracted by watching the hourly rate clock tick off the studio hours, the artist is free to concentrate on the overall project. For more information, check out our block rates.

Choose your recording studio based on these priorities; spiritual climate, engineer, facility, equipment, and value.

SUMMARY

1. Spiritual climate is paramount.

2. Your engineer will have a greater impact on the sound and cost of your recording than any other variable.

3. Be sure the studio facility is a relaxed, pleasant, creative environment in which to work.

4. Great equipment becomes an important component of great recordings in the hands of a master engineer.

5. 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.

 

 

 
 
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