Let us start by being completely honest. We like to think we are the most unique recording studio in the world and that no one can give you a better sound. In reality there are thousands of super creative places with engineers who can probably launch space shuttles if they tried. It’s fact that just about anyone with enough money can order some equipment and experiment until they get the sound they aspire to get. This leaves many artists wondering is a professional recording studios are even worth it.
WE SAY IT IS! But not for the reason’s you would think. We see so many artists walk through our doors and it is an honor to work with so many independent artists. There are a few reasons why studios are still in business and may never truly become obsolete.
Reason 1: When It’s Done Wrong, It’s really hard to fix
At least a few times a month my sessions involve me either fixing a bad mix or re-recording material entirely. In most cases for me a bad recording should be recorded again. Reason being is that if it wasn’t done well enough for the mix to shine in the first place (or be close) it wasn’t recorded right. However in the age of self managed artists and no record label budgets artists want me to just “Fix the mix?“
In order to get the sound that would just be my normal 3hr recording session with light mixing I find myself fixing everything from bad mic sounds, air conditioning noise and above. Sometimes It can take me 5 or 6 hrs and in today’s music this is simply too much time. If your not careful recording at your friends crib can turn into more money spent trying to fix the things that were not perfect.
As an older engineer once told me “You can’t polish a turd“.
Reason 2: Advice and All Around Expertice
Sure, home recordings can sound very good and extremely professional, but this is not usually the case (a quick surfing of the independently released music on SoundCloud will prove this). This is because regardless of the equipment you may have, it is very likely you don’t not have years of experience under your belt as an engineer and/or producer.
Professionals studios do have this experience, and they are there to make sure that you sound as good as you possibly can on every track. That’s their job, and they’ve likely been doing it for many years.
Recording studios can be like barbershops. Between the general talk you get all kinds of nuggets about creating better music, publishing that music or even getting better musicians. Lot’s of times you leave with knowledge you never had and didn’t know you needed.
More importantly is that if you have an engineer who is “100” with you he won’t let you leave sounding terrible. If there is a better way the engineer should tell you. If it sounds bad the engineer should tell you. No he is not your producer but he has his name attached and will want you to make good music. your Friend may have a studio but may not know you’re doing something wrong. He may love you and not want to hurt your feelings. I love that my clients respect me enough for me to be honest with them about their sound and take suggestions.
Reason 3: We Have enough Room For You
At some point you may not have enough space to do what you need to do. You may need a dry sounding room, a wooden room, a different thing and your room may never be those things.
Studios are specifically engineered to provide the best sound for each instrument. For example, that’s why you’ll often see drums recorded in the middle of a huge hall to obtain a huge, booming drum sound. However, guitar amps are usually tucked away in a small room or closet you can’t see to capture the best sound they can provide.
The ambiance of a room will provide an immeasurable contribution to the sound of a recording, and it’s something that you can’t replicate in someone’s basement.
Taking that first step of recording your music can be a very daunting decision. Don’t walk away from a recording experience with a bunch of regrets, instead, invest in yourself and the art you have created . Allow the people who do what they do best come along side you and partner with you, so you can do what you do best. You will thank yourself later.