When it comes time to record in a professional recording studio, you want to be sure you make the right choice. These tips for choosing a studio will put you on track.
You’ve got the songs. You’ve logged the miles, played the gigs, and built your following. Now it’s time to record. But how do you choose the right recording studio? Good question! You want to choose wisely as this is for posterity, after all.
Finding and choosing the right recording studio is both a right-brain and left-brain activity. There are practical sides and there are emotional sides to the equation. Here are four things to consider when shopping for a recording studio:
Get to know the people behind the studio – the owners and the staff. If you are not working with your own audio engineer, get to know the studio engineer and find out if you’re a good fit. Talk about music, experiences, and figure out how the align. If there are areas where you are incompatible, ask yourself if it will be a roadblock or helpful in bringing a different perspective to the recording process.
There are two sides to deciding if the facility is a good fit – the practical and the inspirational. Ask yourself practical questions like: is the live room big enough for the band? Do I need multiple isolation rooms? Where is it located? Are there hotels, restaurants, and entertainment nearby?
On the inspirational side, ask questions like: do I like the vibe here? Do I like the way the rooms sound? Will I be comfortable performing here? Is there space to relax? What’s unique about the facility? For example, at Hybrid Studios an artist can record a song in our recording studio, then walk next door and shoot a music video on our soundstage. As an artist, try to capitalize on the specific advantages that different facilities offer.
You certainly want to assess studio equipment to determine whether it fits your wants and needs. Do they have high-quality professional recording equipment that will produce good results? Is there any vintage gear available? Are there multiple monitoring systems for playback? How is the mic collection?
Obviously, money is an important consideration. Keep in mind, the cheapest rates don’t always mean the worst quality, and the highest rates don’t guarantee the best results. The key is to know what you’re getting and make sure you are comfortable with it. Plan for contingencies by including an extra 10-15% buffer into your budget. Things come up, and you may need more time, extra equipment, have something breakdown, etc.
Take a tour
Now that you’re armed with the right questions to evaluate a recording studio, what’s next? Call the studio and take a tour. Check out their website and social media pages. Ask for references – bands, artists, producers, and engineers who have recorded in the facility and have an understanding of acoustics and gear.
Listen to music recorded in the studio. Watch videos produced in the studio. Then sit down, make a list, and rate the studio in the above categories. In the end, your research, thoughts, and gut feeling will lead to an ideal studio experience.