(View From The Control Room @ January Sounds Studios Addison, TX)
This piece is sure to be the enemy of home studio manufacturers, yet it’s something that must be said. Call me orthodox, but I still find the process of constructing a studio record to be imperative to superior quality music production. While the digital revolution has made it possible for recording technologies to be made available to the masses, there are so many reasons why producing a top notch album can only come from hours spent in the live room. Artists who take the studio experience seriously will find that the ritualistic nature of this process adds an enormous amount of non-tangible value to a record.
Yes, sessions can be pricey, especially for an emerging artist or group. This seems to be the most influential factor in dissuading musicians from using a studio. However, I find when one is willing to invest in a set time frame to complete an album, deadlines are more often met, productivity is higher, and the musicianship is top notch. Your players are more likely to be at peak performance levels, and the energy becomes much more focused. Far too often, I have found that when musicians record an EP or LP at home, the process is either drastically delayed, or never finished. However, I have yet to endure this problem with a group who has chosen to invest in quality sessions. It is in our nature as creatives to sacrifice for our craft. Create a personal budget, cut out a few nonessential expenses, and set up a ‘studio fund’. After a few months, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you have accumulated necessary funds to start recording.
It’s been several months. You’ve worked extra hours, played additional shows, and reduced countless expenditures. The sacrificial phase is done, and you’re ready to hit the studio. You are about to make one of the most important investments a musician can make, so do your homework first. Start shopping around in your vicinity to find a list of professionally run recording establishments. When you’ve made a list, compare multiple factors. Almost every studio will have a website displaying their client list. Make sure that your studio is tailored to similar artists and genres. Also, take a look at the producer. Is this someone you can trust with your precious time and money? Research their past clients, any achievements, awards, or professional affiliations. You don’t want to drop $600 per session on a half-ass, know-nothing producer in a below-par studio.
The Live Room Aura
You have completed your research. It’s time to hit the studio. As intelligent and deep thinking as musicians believe themselves to be, we all seem to enter a state of awe when we walk into the studio. Enjoy it! You’ve put countless hours of practice, planning, and saving to reach this point. Now it’s time to bask in the essence of the recording art. One of the best advantages you will find in a studio, is unlike a home recording session, one is not isolated. Fellow band members, management, producers and miscellaneous others will be observing you every move. Yes, this additional pressure can create anxiety. However, it also means that multiple minds are monitoring the process for errors and suggestions. If there is some minute tuning issue, a drum head is out of whack, or a cell phone is left on, it is much more likely this problem can be promptly fixed without wasting numerous takes.
The Extra Perks
Here’s some miscellaneous stuff that might be of interest as well. When searching for a great producer, or mastering engineer, find someone who is genuinely interested in your work. Often times you can arrange pricing deals with a producer who believes in your potential for success. Perhaps, they may even allocate you free studio time, or additional overdub sessions. However, the most elemental perk of the studio is the sound. You are not in your living room, you’re in an acoustically mastered sanctuary. It is here where your craft can exponentially blossom. Nothing beats the sound of a top notch studio, recorded with first class personnel and equipment.
So get out there, and record! Happy Music-Making!
I work for an entertainment, digital, and business media consulting firm. I specialize in Artist Development, and manage a small portfolio of bands and solo-artists. You can add me on Twitter , Linkedin , or Facebook if I tickle your fancy.