Choosing the right studio for your project can be tricky, and expensive if you get it wrong. There are so many choices out there that it can be bewildering at first. Follow a few simple pointers, and ask the right questions and you should be OK.
This is the single most important variable you should consider. The experience and style of the engineer will contribute more than anything else Music recording studio production about the studio to the results you get and how much you pay. Each engineer will have their own personality and way of working, so you must find someone that you can work with. A good engineer isn’t just someone who knows how to work all the equipment and can produce a good sound. It’s someone who you can get along with and feel comfortable with. Someone who knows what sort of sound you want, or what will suit your project. Don’t be afraid to seek out other musicians’ opinions on an engineer, or talk to them directly to see if you get along.
You’re going to have a lot of work to do, and at times it’s going to be stressful, at others it’s going to be creative. You should choose a studio that has a space you can feel comfortable in. Enough space for band members to avoid being down each others’ throats all the time. Somewhere to think. The physical space may also impact the sound, depending on how you are recorded. Listen to some other recordings from the studio and find out how much room there is for flexibility in the setup.
Although a good engineer will be able to work well with any equipment, there are some areas where it’s best to have some quality gear. This is most true of microphones and pre-amps. Most studios will publish their equipment on their website, so just have a look, and Google some of the microphones to find out what other people thought of them and what they’re suited to. If the studio is based around a computer, find out what sequencer they use. If you’re planning on taking files back to your home setup, then it’s going to be a lot easier if you both use the same software as you can just take the session files instead of lots of audio tracks that you’ll have to piece back together.
This comes last but could be the deciding factor. How much can you afford? It’s often worth trying to source some additional funding from friends and family to be able to afford a better quality recording, as once it’s done, that’s your showcase. Generally, the more you can afford, the better the recording, so it’s worth spending a little more at this stage if you can.
Be realistic about how much you’ll get done in the time you’re booking. So many bands new to the studio think they can turn up at ten am, and walk away at the end of the day with three songs recorded, mixed, and burned to a CD each. This is completely unrealistic and will result in a sub-standard recording and a cranky room full of people. Talk to the studio engineer to see what they believe can be reasonably achieved in the time you have booked, and don’t be disappointed if you don’t get through it all. It’s much better to have a couple of tracks recorded well than four that you’ll be embarrassed to hand out afterward.