written by Lee Evans

Ready to make your 1st demo, or move your quality up a few notches from your friends home studio? If you come to a pro studio, especially in big league Manhattan, it’s going to cost you quite a bit of your hard earned money. What you want to do is plan your project out before booking your studio time.

Here are 5 top things you should know when booking time to complete your project.

1)  Pick the right type of studio for your project. Recording Studios are not created equal. All studios DO NOT record all genres of music equally well. Ask to hear samples of their work. Compare what you’ve done in other places to what they’ve done. Check that the studio is clean and run in an organized fashion and that the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The place must have a vibe that you like and that inspires your creativity. Your music is very important to you. Make sure you’re comfortable with the ‘lab’ that you choose to make it in.

2)  Meet the engineer. Your relationship with the engineer and his ability to “tap in” to your vision for your music may be the most crucial thing you have going from that studio. The engineer need not be a producer, they’re there mainly to operate the gear in the studio, but they will be very hands on with your music.  The more versed he/she is in the genre of music that you are doing the better. They should be knowledgeable about the music genre, knowledgeable about their audio engineering craft, open minded  and willing to help. If you come across an engineer that seems to not really like what they’re doing, has a lackluster attitude, or thinks they’re God’s gift to music…steer clear of them. You’re a paying customer and your music is too important to deal the stress of egomaniacs.  Would you go to a lackluster doctor, or barber? Get away Now!…Fast!

3)  Don’t get fooled by price. You should get a studio with a rate you can afford, but don’t automatically go for the lowest rate. If so, you may be in for a surprise. It may come with sub par music quality, under experienced engineers, or disorganization that can lead to traumatic things happening to your music. Also don’t assume that because you’re paying the big bucks that you’re automatically going to get the best. Do your research.  We’ve had projects come in from big name studios that charge hundreds per hour and they sound like crap. We’ve had projects from smaller home type studios that charge low rates, and the quality doesn’t shine. Find a place that will make your project sizzle consistently, and that has a reputation for good work.

4)  Come to your session prepared. Time is money. Magical things can happen spur of the moment in the studio, but don’t depend on it. Have your material ready to go. Confirm the time and attendance of any vocalists or musicians that you have on the session. Don’t let them leave you hangin’ because they forgot about the session.

 5)  DO NOT LEAVE YOUR MASTERS AT THE STUDIO WHEN THE PROJECT IS DONE. The Master is the “tracked out” Data files that can be further edited or remixed. This will be in Pro Tools, Logic, DP or other choice ‘DAW’ program. The value of your project is usually in the physical ownership of your masters.  It is YOUR responsibility to get your master data files backed up and take them with you when your project is completed. Store them like jewels in a safe place. One day they may be “worth their weight in gold”. Do not depend on the studio to store them when you’re done with your project. It’s not their responsibility. ALWAYS leave with and keep track of ALL of your masters.

These pointers will help you have a smooth session with a successful outcome, at your newly chosen “Pro Recording Studio“.

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