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What differentiates a pro studio from a home studio?
Old 21st December 2011
  #1
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What differentiates a pro studio from a home studio?

After reading through the "Post pics of your home studio" thread, I started thinkin' - what is the difference between a "home studio" and a "pro studio"? Without knowing the title of that thread and just looking at the pictures one might assume some studios to be pro and others to be home. I understand that these studios are located in a "home," but Castle Oaks in Los Angeles is located in a home and it is still considered pro. So what do you all think? Is it location, equipment, buildout, clientele, staff, reputation, etc...
Old 21st December 2011
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabby View Post
After reading through the "Post pics of your home studio" thread, I started thinkin' - what is the difference between a "home studio" and a "pro studio"? Without knowing the title of that thread and just looking at the pictures one might assume some studios to be pro and others to be home. I understand that these studios are located in a "home," but Castle Oaks in Los Angeles is located in a home and it is still considered pro. So what do you all think? Is it location, equipment, buildout, clientele, staff, reputation, etc...
A Million Dollar.
Old 21st December 2011
  #3
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Home studios have parking.
Old 21st December 2011
  #4
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Castle was for sale pretty cheap last I checked. Well, for what it is and where it is + property.
Old 21st December 2011
  #5
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Maybe it's more a matter of the owner?
A.
Old 21st December 2011
  #6
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The difference as I see it is as follows:

1. Separate live room and control room with a good amount of space in each with proper wiring panels between the rooms

2. Serious room treatment with proper measurements to ensure accurate sound reproduction in both tracking and mixing applications

3. Higher end gear that normal "home users" wouldn't have

4. Experienced and properly credited engineers and producers that know how to take an artist from A-Z when it comes to crafting a song, arranging the material, and of course tracking, editing, and mixing the audio

5. Proper electrical with dedicated circuits, balanced power, and a very low noise environment

6. To be considered professional you have to be charging for your services.
Otherwise, even if all of the other criteria have been met, you really just have an outstanding personal studio.

As far as being called a "professional studio" I don't believe that it matters whether the studio exists inside a residential structure or a commercial building as long as the above criteria is met.
Old 21st December 2011 | Show parent
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
The difference as I see it is as follows:

1. Separate live room and control room with a good amount of space in each with proper wiring panels between the rooms

2. Serious room treatment with proper measurements to ensure accurate sound reproduction in both tracking and mixing applications

3. Higher end gear that normal "home users" wouldn't have

4. Experienced and properly credited engineers and producers that know how to take an artist from A-Z when it comes to crafting a song, arranging the material, and of course tracking, editing, and mixing the audio

5. Proper electrical with dedicated circuits, balanced power, and a very low noise environment

6. To be considered professional you have to be charging for your services.
Otherwise, even if all of the other criteria have been met, you really just have an outstanding personal studio.

As far as being called a "professional studio" I don't believe that it matters whether the studio exists inside a residential structure or a commercial building as long as the above criteria is met.
I agree, Josh.

The only difference is us people that do have a studio like this in our "home", have a little more of an obsession then others. LOL!

btw, I'll be giving you a call this week on some A Designs stuff Josh.
Old 21st December 2011
  #8
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A: Easier Commute.

My "studio" is in my bedroom, and I don't have enough room to have all my gear out at once. My stuff is usually tucked away until it's needed. Definitely not an ideal workflow situation, but it's an adventure.

My favorite "home-studio" that I have seen (virtually) is Peter Gabriel's. I think there's a YouTuve vid of it in the video vault. It's as "pro" as any pro studio, but maybe a bit less formal?
Old 21st December 2011
  #9
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pro/home

The quality of the end result.
Old 21st December 2011
  #10
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In my experience the only fundamental difference is the live room/control room separation. I've been in home studios that have much nicer gear than some of the pro studios I've been in.

The other difference is that the pro studio usually has a MASSIVE collection of junky old instruments and amps lying around somewhere, and a lot more old legacy equipment that has collected over the years.
Old 21st December 2011 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
The difference as I see it is as follows:

1. Separate live room and control room with a good amount of space in each with proper wiring panels between the rooms

2. Serious room treatment with proper measurements to ensure accurate sound reproduction in both tracking and mixing applications

3. Higher end gear that normal "home users" wouldn't have

4. Experienced and properly credited engineers and producers that know how to take an artist from A-Z when it comes to crafting a song, arranging the material, and of course tracking, editing, and mixing the audio

5. Proper electrical with dedicated circuits, balanced power, and a very low noise environment

6. To be considered professional you have to be charging for your services.
Otherwise, even if all of the other criteria have been met, you really just have an outstanding personal studio.

As far as being called a "professional studio" I don't believe that it matters whether the studio exists inside a residential structure or a commercial building as long as the above criteria is met.
That describes a "pro recording studio" to me. A "pro studio" is one that is used to generate a full time living off of in my opinion, and by definition of the words. That can range from a laptop and a bunch of sample drives to the sort of setup described above.
Old 21st December 2011
  #12
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The folks in front of the mikes are getting paid union wages!
Old 21st December 2011 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feck View Post
That describes a "pro recording studio" to me. A "pro studio" is one that is used to generate a full time living off of in my opinion, and by definition of the words. That can range from a laptop and a bunch of sample drives to the sort of setup described above.
Actually what you are describing is the difference between a professional engineer and a hobbyist, thought many would argue that these days the term "professional engineer" is a term used very loosely.

Just because someone charges someone else doesn't mean they know what they are doing, nor does it mean they have the right to be called an audio engineer. Being a true audio engineer is something that people hold very sacred. It takes years of training and a deep understanding of how audio and the way human hearing reacts to sound really works.

Beyond that, anyone can order a laptop, pay $199 for Logic (or use free software), go to Guitar Center and buy a cheap interface/speakers, and can make noise. This in no way makes them an audio engineer. It makes them a person who own some cheap gear which can produce some sounds. This isn't a bad thing as everyone has to start somewhere, but it diminishes the true audio engineers who have spent years honing their craft and studying their trade when these people call themselves audio engineers, and it diminishes the trade itself when those same people try to be "professionals" and charge $10/hr (or less) for "studio time", especially when it's simply not a "studio". Being an audio engineer and/or running a studio used to mean something, and as much as I love the fact that making recordings is such an obtainable pursuit these days, I would much rather see the term audio engineer and recording studio return to having the respect that those terms deserve.

That being said, the OP asked what the differences between a "professional studio" and a "home studio" would be and that is exactly what I listed.
Old 21st December 2011 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Breaux View Post
I agree, Josh.

The only difference is us people that do have a studio like this in our "home", have a little more of an obsession then others. LOL!

btw, I'll be giving you a call this week on some A Designs stuff Josh.
Sounds good. I'll look forward to hearing from you.
Old 21st December 2011
  #15
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Most pro studios come with a pro.
Old 21st December 2011
  #16
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A pro studio can be a home studio. Putting that aside....

The biggest difference to me (in general) is the sound of the rooms (assuming the same personnel is involved).
Old 21st December 2011 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
Actually what you are describing is the difference between a professional engineer and a hobbyist, thought many would argue that these days the term "professional engineer" is a term used very loosely.

Just because someone charges someone else doesn't mean they know what they are doing, nor does it mean they have the right to be called an audio engineer. Being a true audio engineer is something that people hold very sacred. It takes years of training and a deep understanding of how audio and the way human hearing reacts to sound really works.

Beyond that, anyone can order a laptop, pay $199 for Logic (or use free software), go to Guitar Center and buy a cheap interface/speakers, and can make noise. This in no way makes them an audio engineer. It makes them a person who own some cheap gear which can produce some sounds. This isn't a bad thing as everyone has to start somewhere, but it diminishes the true audio engineers who have spent years honing their craft and studying their trade when these people call themselves audio engineers, and it diminishes the trade itself when those same people try to be "professionals" and charge $10/hr (or less) for "studio time", especially when it's simply not a "studio". Being an audio engineer and/or running a studio used to mean something, and as much as I love the fact that making recordings is such an obtainable pursuit these days, I would much rather see the term audio engineer and recording studio return to having the respect that those terms deserve.

That being said, the OP asked what the differences between a "professional studio" and a "home studio" would be and that is exactly what I listed.

The Webster's definition of professional - A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee.

And of studio - A studio is an artist's or worker's workroom, or the catchall term for an artist and his or her employees who work within that studio.

So, it is definitely not "the difference between a professional engineer and a hobbyist". If you want to discuss quality, that is it's own subject.
Old 21st December 2011
  #18
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I always thought 'home studio' & 'pro studio' are just generalised terms...

Pro studio, to me, has multiple rooms, paid staff (admin & creative), hi end gear....
And pretty much everything available to cater for every client.

Home studio is at home. Pro or not
Old 21st December 2011
  #19
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Pro comes from profession or professional does it not? My modest studio has about $30k worth of gear, a dedicated tracking room, and a separate control room. I do not consider it a professional studio in any way, why? Because although I am a professional audio engineer it is not through my studio I make my living. I have worked as a professional Recording Engineer in other peoples studios both as a freelancer as well as a full time engineer at different times but it is not from my own studio set up that I make my money.

So to me the difference between a "pro studio" vs a "home studio" lays completely in how the money relates to the operation of the facility. Is it operated by professionals as their primary source of income or is it run by hobbyists? Simple to see in my opinion. There are a lot of crappy "pro studios" operating at incredibly low rates. There are also some fantastic "home studios" out there.
Old 21st December 2011 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toneguru View Post
Home studios have parking.
Not if it's a home studio in NYC, it doesn't.
Old 21st December 2011 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
Most pro studios come with a pro.
Old 21st December 2011
  #22
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They're not really the right terms, but I can't think of any alternatives... So:

A pro studio is located in a dedicated building or part of a building, usually in a non- residential area, with the purpose of recording sound for payment. A home studio is located in a residential house or apartment; while a home studio can record sound for payment, it's more often on a project or spec basis, and the owner of the studio is often involved as a principal in these projects. There is a general expectation that a pro studio can provide a wider variety and higher standard of service and product than a home studio, and that the pro studio provides its services on an open, commercial basis.

Should I have been a lawyer?

The whole question gets blurrier as time goes by.
Old 21st December 2011
  #23
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I don't think that it is a question of "home vs. pro". Instead its "home vs. commercial" and "project vs. pro".

Project vs pro can be hard to define. Technically, if you derive your primary income and make a living from working in a studio, you are an "audio professional" and it is a "pro" studio. Still, most will agree that a project studio is a studio made up of mostly "pro-sumer" type equipment with modest expectations. A pro studio is stocked with whatever equipment is needed (often "high-end") to create acceptable recordings for whatever market it services.

A home studio is simply located in someone's home or residential setting. A commercial studio is located in a "commercial" or non-residential area. Neither of these are exclusive to "pro" or "amateur" levels. Some home studios are very well built with all "high-end" equipment, while some commercial studios are barely scrapped together of "low-end" or "pro-sumer" equipment.

These days with many "big-name" producers and engineers building studios out of their homes for convenience, home studios being limited to cheap consumer grade equipment are a thing of the past.
Old 21st December 2011
  #24
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In addition to what kittonian said, a pro studio will normally have dedicated space to hang out in when you are not recording, that is not shared with someones personal living space.

matt
Old 21st December 2011
  #25
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Can you track that new crazy cool guitar part at 120 dB tearing out the cone at 2 AM? Without pissing of a wife/friend/neighbor?
....Then you might be a pro studio...
Old 21st December 2011
  #26
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A pro studio has the computer in another room were you can't hear it's fans whirring away.
Old 21st December 2011
  #27
uzm
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A studio is pro if the people working there make their living that way. Those people could be both the recording artists and the engineers.

Last edited by uzm; 21st December 2011 at 11:20 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 21st December 2011
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
The difference as I see it is as follows:

1. Separate live room and control room with a good amount of space in each with proper wiring panels between the rooms

2. Serious room treatment with proper measurements to ensure accurate sound reproduction in both tracking and mixing applications

3. Higher end gear that normal "home users" wouldn't have

4. Experienced and properly credited engineers and producers that know how to take an artist from A-Z when it comes to crafting a song, arranging the material, and of course tracking, editing, and mixing the audio

5. Proper electrical with dedicated circuits, balanced power, and a very low noise environment

6. To be considered professional you have to be charging for your services.
Otherwise, even if all of the other criteria have been met, you really just have an outstanding personal studio.

As far as being called a "professional studio" I don't believe that it matters whether the studio exists inside a residential structure or a commercial building as long as the above criteria is met.
I'd agree with most of this, and add:

7. pro tech support - ie someone employed or contracted to fix things and be on call.

8. A facility where the studio is the product, not the person who's operating it.

9. A pro studio has the proper business support network (ie insurance, bookings manager, accountant even if some of these roles aren't full time or are performed by one person).

To clarify - I don't think those owner/operator places are any less "pro" in ability, only that they generally pitch to artists directly as "studios" when really what they are is one guy in his own space, and should really be marketing themselves as the product, and the studio as the tool.

Not to devalue the staff of a "pro" studio (I'm effectively a staff engineer myself), but in that situation the studio is the attraction, and the staff one (significant) component of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LimpyLoo View Post
My favorite "home-studio" that I have seen (virtually) is Peter Gabriel's. I think there's a YouTuve vid of it in the video vault. It's as "pro" as any pro studio, but maybe a bit less formal?
Haven't seen the video you refer to, but if you mean Real World studios, or even Gabriel's room AT Real, World, that's very much a pro residential studio, and definitely not a "home" studio.

I guess that brings up another distinction though - a "pro" studio caters to all (ie certain aspects have to be standardised), a "home" studio can be much more personal (since it's only one person using it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by the reverend View Post
A pro studio has the computer in another room were you can't hear it's fans whirring away.
Actually numerous "pro" rooms don't, though their general noise floor is obviously low....proper air con is also a consideration!
Old 21st December 2011
  #29
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A pro studio isn't actually part of a police sting.

Year-long D.C. undercover operation netted arrests, guns, drugs - The Washington Post
Old 21st December 2011
  #30
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a nice lounge and a tech on staff . . . along with the more obvious things.
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