Whether you are the next best thing or simply fulfilling a lifelong ambition, getting your good stuff down on disc has never been easier than it is right now. Back in the day, you were faced with a few options:
- Use a professional set up
- Buy a cruddy 4 track and do it yourself.
Thankfully we now have a plethora of choices; digital recording suites such as Cakewalk have transformed the humble PC into a multitrack digital recording monster. These can produce some amazing demos, and just listen to The Streets if you are in any doubt. But if you’d prefer to concentrate on playing your instrument, perhaps the professional option would suit you better.
Booking a recording studio for a day or even a few hours may not be the budget choice, but sometimes you need to spend a little more for that quality. If your band has really come together at last, why risk the chance of missing out on the big bucks just because the bass player is too tight to chip in? If you see the sheer variety of recording equipment that a professional studio has available, you’ll start to understand where that money is going.
Each and every decent recording studio will have at least a couple of sound engineers. Most of these guys really know their stuff and also act as producers. Have a little think about the really big bands and check out the album credits while you’re at it. Do you think The Beatles would have sold a billion units without the sheer genius of Sir George Martin? Or could ACDC have shifted nearly 500 million without Mutt Lange twiddling the dials in the background of the Young brothers blistering riffs? Okay, bands like Radiohead have done pretty well on their own, but why take that risk? A great producer will know how your songs should sound and you will save a lot of time and money if you get that sound nailed onto tape from the start.
Digital Tenderness or Analogue Warmth?
Choosing which type of studio to use is just as important as deciding if the Telecaster suits the solo better than that ’59 Les Paul, just ask Jimmy Page. When digital studios hit the world of music, it seemed that valve based desks were consigned to the museum. But things have changed and now both sets of equipment are available once more. If your band is a little rocky and needs some extra dirt on those album tracks, analogue is the only way to go. Digital recording still comes out as the more popular at the moment and this is due to the sheer control you have over the output. It’s best to look around and see which studio has the best equipment that suits your sound.
Choosing the Main Man
If you live in a major city, you’ll probably have the luxury of choice when it comes to picking a great studio. If you are in the sticks, you may need to head off to ‘The Smoke’ for a weekend or two. Always ask to hear some samples of the studio and producer’s work before making that choice. Don’t be overly impressed with technical jargon and flashy equipment, because your ears are always the best judge of quality. And if you play in an urban style dance act, don’t choose a studio that is renowned for heavy metal classics.
A great idea for a Christmas present or birthday gift for that matter is a recording studio gift voucher, they will make the perfect gift for any budding musician or singer.
Lay Down Dem Tracks!
Once you’ve chosen the best studio for your next opus, remember to keep the all-important master mixes. You can always get them re-mastered at a later date.