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  #1  
Old 09-18-2003, 01:35 PM
storm-01 storm-01 is offline
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Default To build or not to build? Money is the question...

This is for all of those that have built or are currently building a semi-pro to professional recording studio. I'm not talking about having just a 001 or 002 rig in your basement or spare bedroom with a few other toys, but instead to have a semi/pro recording studio in or away from your home... I'm talking about having gear out the wazzoo with seperate/isolated recording rooms/booths. A studio with a seperate, no-makeshift control room. I'm talking about a studio that you could easily charge $40 + per hour.
I ask because a friend once told me that having your own professional studio is like having a Ferrari that you have to rent your entire life. Basically, it's cool and a lot of fun, but you have to constantly upgrade and pay for the studio. A seeming daunting, neverending task.
My question to the bigger cats out there is, is opening your own "professional" recording studio, whether it be in your basement or elsewhere a good idea? Would it be better to pound out a scratch session on your 001 rig and then rent a studio for each project? Is my friend right in that you feel like your always behind the times and your bank account never really grows? I would assume that it would be like most free enterprise... you won't see any real gain for several years. I ask because I am seriously thinking of opening a small studio, but I wanted to hear from the guys that have been there and done that. Or those of you that know someone in that position and have heard good and bad things about owning a studio.
What are some pros and cons? What should I look out for? How do you figure out how much to charge each client? Is is per hour, session, number of songs? How much time do you devote to each song? These questions are just the tip of the iceberg, so ANY input from you would be great (especially from those that have delt with owning a large studio.

Thank you,
Stormy
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  #2  
Old 09-18-2003, 01:58 PM
crs117 crs117 is offline
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Default Re: To build or not to build? Money is the question...

Whether you realize it or not, this will probly insult many folks on this board. What makes a professional is not the size of their...well studio. I hate to inform you but i know many folks that have spent upwards of $100k on studio equipment, computers, and studio environment (construction), and the funny thing is they cant produce music worth listening to. Your approach it seems is quite amaturish if you dont mind me saying so. Many folks on this particular board (as apposed to the tdm boards), are aspiring pro's or pros that dont feel the necessity to have $100k worth of gear to make good music. Any body on here that knows what they are talking about knows that a good artist with $1000 worth of gear can do much better then a begginer with 100k worth of gear. Any musician that knows anything about recording knows that an studios reputation is worth 10 times its equipment costs. Just cause you got a neumann doesnt mean you can create great vocal tracks. A mic without proper micing techniques is worthless. Sure its nice to have the amenities but dont skip over the necessities.

i have a friend who is one of the big producers at a big christian label, and he does half of the tracking in his house. He has a room with his hd system setup and cables running into his living room where he tracks vocals, guitars, pianos and most everything else. He has songs that are currently running on commercials on TV, and despite the fact that he has full access to that companies full recording facilities, he does most of it from home.

Again reputation is a huge thing. If you have no reputation, an artist that knows anything will walk right past. There is no immediate success in recording unless you track a group in your basement and it goes straight to the top 10. This is a huge reason why so many folks start small. Instead of spending mega bucks from the get go, they get a basic set up, do some cheap recordings, build up a rep, and then either continue to slowly upgrade, or they get to a point with a good enough rep where they can spend the dough and buy a full setup. There is no point in spending all that money if people have no interest in your recoridng abilities.

So go ahead build spend you money, get 100k in debt, buy everything all the recording mags say are a definate in a 'real' studio, and see how far you get without haveing any real recording experience.

Christian
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  #3  
Old 09-18-2003, 03:16 PM
storm-01 storm-01 is offline
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Default Re: To build or not to build? Money is the question...

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear... my apologies to anyone that perceived this in a negative way. I most certainly did not intend to insult anyone in this forum or any other forum for that matter. I posted this in a couple different forums to get different respones and posted in this forum because I'm a PC 001 user and this is my hangout.

I NEVER SAID THAT OWNING A STUDIO MAKES YOU A BETTER ENGINEER. Or that it will get you clients for that matter.

I realize that most of us out there including myself are not pros, or maybe are pros, but they don't feel the need for an expensive studio. We do what we do well with what we have. I realize that YOU, the engineer is the key to a great recording. Well, that and a few other things, like the talent your recording or the arrangement itself. I have delt with p.o.s equipment before and turned out some kick ass recordings! The lower end digi stuff like the Mbox clear up through the 002 are great equipment especially for the price. I know that gear doesn't make you a great engineer as well.
I have complete and total respect for anyone that can take an instrument, or band or voice and create a beautiful thing for someone to enjoy.
I'm not saying that a $100K studio makes you a great engineer, or that it will rush clients in the door. You are 100% right in that experience, but more importantly your reputation means everything.

So in an attempt to clearify, my question was for anyone that has built a studio or knows someone that has built/ owns a studio (even if it cost under $20K). I was wanting to know on a person to person basis what their experience has been owning a "larger" studio (meaning something other than the "lower" end digi products or any product line for that matter. Again, this doesn't mean that it has to cost over $100K or anywhere near that. I just wanted to know if it is more of a headache than expected? What were some pros and cons? If you could do it over again, would you work on your rig at home and then rent a studio to play with the bigger toys or what?

I hope my question is more clear.

Stormy
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  #4  
Old 09-18-2003, 04:29 PM
skip b skip b is offline
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Default Re: To build or not to build? Money is the question...

Hi Storm, First off A professional is someone who recieves payment for services,and expertise rendered.That doesn't mean you have to have a gigantic Studio to be a professional.Secondly you must ask yourself,Is this what I want to do? If it is, then what steps are you taking to insure that you have the knowledge to meet every situation with confidence.Not all clients are easy to work with and some can be down right hateful,if you stumble around and look lost.My suggestion to you would be to start small and work your way up,and soak up all the knowledge you can first about recording before you invest in studios or expensive gear.Now I'm not saying you are not knowledgable or do not have experience,no thats not it.I'm telling you from experience of all the money I threw away on studios and gear before I realized that I was a "DUMMY" with a lot of high dollar gear and didnt know how to use it hehe.I'm not trying to discourage you from your goal,if indeed this is your goal.But just take it slow and do lots of research on the subject first.Hope this helps a little.
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  #5  
Old 09-18-2003, 05:31 PM
hank hill hank hill is offline
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Default Re: To build or not to build? Money is the question...

im not the "bigger cat" that youre looking for an answer from... but one thing i dont see takled about too much around the net.. or around the local "scene" when people discuss starting up a studio.. is that.. u need to sorta look around your town and see if theres bands that are great and liked that are willing to come in and record at your level (whatever that may be)

id say that the biggest con is getting decent acts in your studio while your starting up... and enough thatll keep better bands coming and keep you making some sort of living.


while your customers will be musicians... to the normal person.. a killer guitar tone.. or totally cool cymbal sound.. wont mean anything if the whole chorus was out of key and the drummer cant play in time... most musicians friends arent musicians but "everybodys an expert"... so they just hear a great band and think the recording is great.. "hey man why dont you record where so and so recorded.. that record sounds killer in my camry!"... meanwhile. the musicians.. and the musicians friends.. may not realize that they arent up to par with "so and so" but they think they are.. and so they think their recordings will sound the same... and if it dosent it must be a "bad recording"

you could be killer at recording... but if your town isnt really offering any tight decent musicians.. word will just get out that you have no skills.. nobody will notice that you really really did try to make that crate g60 with a blown speaker and an out of tune guitar into a wall of sound... im sorry.. but its crap in crap out....and the sad thing is theyll just think it sounds bad without realizing its the peformance's fault and blame it on the recording

so like.. i guess just dont get too over your head... take your time and try and get some quality acts.. word will get around real quick that way... and then all the crappy bands will come in just cause thier friends said you recorded "so and so"...



oh yeah.. and another thing.. alot of times... when a band comes into record.. its the first time theyve ever heard themselves... oh .. sometimes their reactions can be worth all the heartache of trying to run a studio


"our band is just as good as theirs.. our recording should sound like that if we record where new found glory did.... metronome?? huh? no im flat right?? sharp?? no?"...

__________________
The Farm Recording Studio
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  #6  
Old 09-18-2003, 06:02 PM
crs117 crs117 is offline
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Default Re: To build or not to build? Money is the question...

I am not a pro. I am simply a song writer and musician that wants to get his songs out, and make some money on the side doing what I love doing, in addition to what i have to do to live. Could i make a living doing the studio thing full time...perhaps, but now is not the time.

As a hobbiest, i am at this moment surrounded by a good 30k - 40k worth of equipment. Of course this includes my keyboards, and guitar equipment, but any good professional studio should have these at their disposal in addition to all the "recording eqiupment". This does not however include, neumanns, apogee, avalon, extra sound rooms, isolation booths, tdm, hd, expensive moniters, or even sound foam. I feel as though i have the necessities covered to do a great recording, and i have a bunch of experience, but i am not in dept cause i have spent the last 10 years collecting all this gear.

If you are serious about doing a setup that you are talking about in the first post, you will have to spend way more money then the cost of a TDM or HD setup. Okay the base hd setup will cost a good 13,000 for the cards, computer, converters, and pres. Then you need microphones. Lets go cheap. 2 ntks at 400 each, 10 sm57's at 100 each, a matched set of octivas 280, d112 300 (i think), so that tacks on about 2500. Then you need a control surface which costs between 4-7000 or on up. Then you need cables, and i have never been to a real studio that uses Hosea so try to figure in that cost. Now you need some nice outboard effects and processors such as compressors, eq's, reverbs, multieffects, and a nice fat vocal correction processor. Now add at least one nice keyboard (triton studio 88 at $3k), and some samplers, perhaps a nice guitar amp or at least a pod xt, and at least one nice bass to have at hand. This is not counting rent or construction for the studio space. You will see that a real 'Pro Studio' is gonna cost you way more then 20k easily.

This is why in the real world most folks build up to purchasing a studio like this. In addition to starting small, you can add the pieces that you find that you will use, as apposed to the pieces that you are told to have if you are a real studio. I do not need a pro control surface to work in pt, if i had a 'pro studio' it would be frowned upon to do all the editing via mouse. I can keep on going, but this is not something you can just jump into without really knowing whats going on. Would i love to have a pro studio to myself??? Absolutely, but i am not gonna put forth all that money at one time, just so i can say "I bet my studio is bigger then your studio", and live in dept all my life. Even at this point of working in digital recording since 98, i do not feel as though i have enough experience. I have never done this full time, but i do spend a lot of time with it.

Christian
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  #7  
Old 09-18-2003, 07:18 PM
shaun thomas shaun thomas is offline
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Default Re: To build or not to build? Money is the question...

stormy, man am i glad im not the only one that gets misunderstood on this forum! this is a good post though. im anxious to hear some more opinions. it takes all kinds.
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  #8  
Old 09-18-2003, 08:41 PM
progress88 progress88 is offline
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Default Re: To build or not to build? Money is the question...

Guys,

I think Stormys question was to those people who built a fairly large professional studio, like the kind with seperate isolation rooms and control room, who spent a lot of money on the project.
I think his question to everyone was "WAS IT WORTH IT?" and do you have any advise on running a professional studio?
Professional does mean getting paid for your services. It does not mean however, you have any talent, we all realize that.

Stormy, I can't help you there. I'm setting up a digi 002 system mostly for me and my group for now, and doing demos for clients after I really know the system. No control room, isolation room, newmans, etc. for now. You can do quality demos and recordings with your digi 001. If your client list grows from your work with your current system. You'll know when it's time to upgrade and expand. Unless you hit the mega millons..........then jump right in and go for it!

Hope that helped. Good luck!
Mike
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2003, 09:13 PM
storm-01 storm-01 is offline
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Default Re: To build or not to build? Money is the question...

"I think Stormys question was to those people who built a fairly large professional studio, like the kind with seperate isolation rooms and control room, who spent a lot of money on the project.
I think his question to everyone was "WAS IT WORTH IT?" and do you have any advise on running a professional studio? Professional does mean getting paid for your services. It does not mean however, you have any talent, we all realize that."


YES! Progress88 hit the nail on the head! This is all that I was asking. Thank you to all that responded to my post. What you guys have been saying is a little discouraging, BUT IT IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR. You have all brought up excellent points that I didn't really consider. And that's probably just where it starts. There are probably a ton of little things that add up time, money and headache. I really like my home setup now with my 001 and the small assortment of goodies that I have. It is small to me, but very effective for me and my needs at this point in time.

I think at one point or another in our lives, (most of the time at our everyday 9-5) we have these wonderful pipedreams. We see ourselves sitting behind an enormous board with outboard gear everywhere, and recording a top 40 band or what ever. Then the haze clears...
After hearing some of the above posts and talking to other people through the DUC, I really don't think that building a studio is neccessary to be very successful and profitable. This was my first step in research of building a studio.
My home setup pays for my utilities every month through making demos and such and I think that is pretty cool in itself. That and not being in $100K + in debt or worrying about tommorrow.
I think in my situation it would be more practical to just keep it at home. I can still enjoy creating an art form, but I won't have all of the worries and problems of building and keeping a studio. Besides, I have seem some killer setups in the basement or spare bedroom of people's houses. Ahh, but a person can still dream...
If anyone else has something to add about this topic, I would like to hear what you think. I'm sure that I'm not the only one out there sharing the same pipedream...

Thanks again,
Stormy
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