Things To Look For in a Recording Studio
If you’re a band or musical artist looking to record a demo, EP or full-length album—or if you’re a producer or freelance engineer looking to bring a band into a studio for a recording project—your choice of a recording studio may be key to the record’s success. When making this choice, here are some practical things to look for in a recording studio.
CHOOSE A STUDIO THAT SPECIALIZES IN YOUR GENRE
If you’re an EDM artist who focuses on MIDI and computer-generated sounds, a recording studio that focuses on classical, country, folk or other acoustic styles of music is probably not going to be a good fit for you. It might be the best studio in town, but if they are so focused on analog recording that they rarely open their DAW, chances are they won’t do a good job for you. Pick a studio whose engineer has experience working with your musical style. That way, you’re more assured that they’ve already figured out ways to make you sound good.
CHOOSE A STUDIO WITH PROPER ACOUSTIC TREATMENT
These days, it’s become popular for start-up studios to set up in houses, warehouses and other facilities without doing any acoustic tuning or treatment, claiming that the place has some cosmic properties that just “make it sound good naturally.” Sometimes this can be the case, but other times this is just laziness (or a bad ear). You might not want to record in a completely controlled environment, but you need to make sure the acoustics sound good on recordings. Listen to records that were recorded in that studio; talk to bands who have recorded there. Make sure the studio puts out a good sound before you spend your money on it.
CHOOSE A STUDIO WITH A GOOD REPUTATION
Even if you find a great-sounding studio, if the people who run it don’t have a good reputation for working with people, it’s not worth your time or money to record there. A reputable studio is happy to give references. Call those references, and ask about their experiences.
CHOOSE THE BEST STUDIO YOU CAN AFFORD
Of course, at the end of the day, your budget might be the deciding factor in picking a studio. If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. But sometimes it’s worth waiting and raising a little extra money to get a studio that could make the difference between a “good” recording and a “great” one. The good news is, the most expensive studio isn’t always the best one for you, and sometimes talented engineers will cut deals with indie bands in order to build their own reputation. If you do your homework and look for a studio based on the other criteria we mentioned above, it is possible to make a great recording even on a limited budget. Just don’t cut corners: if you have to come up with a little extra to get into the right studio, do it.