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