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What makes for a truly great studio? Plugin Presets/Expansions
Old 21st February 2015
  #1
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shortstory's Avatar
What makes for a truly great studio?

I know this has been asked in the past- but in this day & age- what makes for a truly great music recording & mixing studio for any ensemble including jazz, rock, etc (maybe even contemporary classical).

We all know the basic ingredients: great gear, a great sounding room, all the necessary instruments whether a great piano/organ/Wurlitzer/Rhodes.

And what about engineering? I would think many artists bring their own engineer, so I'm not sure that makes a difference or not.

But what do you think are the more subtle or nuanced ingredients that are necessary, such as say- 'having a great vibe' (although what that is, is perhaps worth clarifying too).

What else? What makes a particular studio (presumably high-end) successful?

Is there any other magic ingredient?
Old 21st February 2015
  #2
Gear Addict
 
carival's Avatar
the operator
Old 21st February 2015
  #3
Old 21st February 2015
  #4
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

I'd say these days the room is getting more and more rare, and would be the one nice thing you could find in a proper studio vs most home studios. I'm talking about a well designed and implemented space that has it all from acoustics to workflow.

Everything is always about people, from bathroom attendants to cab drivers to recording engineers and musicians...so I consider that a given.

War
Old 21st February 2015
  #5
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shortstory's Avatar
Thanks warren

Yes people and their service and talents are a given. I agree that a truly great room or acoustic space is definitely a big differentiator from most studios these days.
Old 21st February 2015
  #6
DKT
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DKT's Avatar
Nice (expensive) gear is nice - but fulling functional, accessible, USEFUL gear is better - I think a lot of studios can forget that, especially when in house tech departments are now a rarity and there is a pressure to have a bunch of vintage pieces is expected by clients.

Any place that can keep the focus on the engineer and musicians actually creating - whether that be having an competent staff assistant to run the tape machines and patch, a computer system that works fast and well, a cue system that doesn't take 30 minutes to setup up etc.

Great sounding (and comfortable) / UNIQUE acoustic spaces really help any studio set themselves apart - it's a hard sell on paper (as opposed to a sick gear list) but word of mouth spreads quick when a studio has a great drum room or echo chamber.

I think a good house engineer is definitely an asset but having someone present in the studio, whether a manager / assistant / owner, that really knows the in and outs of the place goes a long way - along with some form design that is in an easy to understand layout that isn't so "personalized" that it starts to run the clock figuring out how everything is put together.
Old 21st February 2015
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortstory View Post
I know this has been asked in the past- but in this day & age- what makes for a truly great music recording & mixing studio for any ensemble including jazz, rock, etc (maybe even contemporary classical).

We all know the basic ingredients: great gear, a great sounding room, all the necessary instruments whether a great piano/organ/Wurlitzer/Rhodes.

And what about engineering? I would think many artists bring their own engineer, so I'm not sure that makes a difference or not.

But what do you think are the more subtle or nuanced ingredients that are necessary, such as say- 'having a great vibe' (although what that is, is perhaps worth clarifying too).

What else? What makes a particular studio (presumably high-end) successful?

Is there any other magic ingredient?
live room is #1
This is why studios like oceanway and abbey road are so great.

If you have a great live room everything else comes easy. IMO anyone can make a great record in a great room.
Old 21st February 2015
  #8
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jindrich's Avatar
 

Step into Air studios (Lyndhurst Hall) and you'll sense it in half a second.

The Room.

Everything else (gear, assistants, engineers..) can be brought in at will.

Last edited by jindrich; 21st February 2015 at 10:01 PM..
Old 21st February 2015
  #9
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dabigfrog's Avatar
 

#1 great large fantastic sounding live tracking room….
#2 people, your engineer should be a happy helpful friend expediting tone and saving you time making your real studio experience as productive as possible. that also includes assistants, repair techs, security guards, masseuses and runners/gophers, drug dealers or whoever you have hanging at your studio. nice cool friendly helpful people.
#3 gear that is good, works great consistently, maintained properly so that all your stuff works during sessions.
#4 organized studio / patch bay that a guest engineer can grasp quickly and get working fast
#5 vibe, view, atmosphere, lighting, set and setting.
Old 21st February 2015
  #10
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vernier's Avatar
Yep, the usualv..room, gear, engineer. Things that stand out in my travels: chambers at Capitol, the vibe at Village and Heiders, and just about everything at A&M. Ah, the good ole days.
Old 22nd February 2015
  #11
it's not just the room, it's about the vibe and atmosphere of the place, it has a presence of its own that brings out the creativity in people. People skills are probably no1 above anything else
Old 22nd February 2015
  #12
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Kronos147's Avatar
Don't forget good coffee.
Old 23rd February 2015
  #13
Profit, success and longivity.
Old 23rd February 2015
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Profit, success and longivity.
Which will follow if you have good people with a good attitude who care about what they are doing, in great rooms with a nice vibe, with good well maintained gear
Old 23rd February 2015
  #15
The sound of the end product. I'm surprised no one has put any emphasis on the mixing studio or the mastering *studio*. The quality of raw tracks that come from the room/musicians are ultimately important, but it can be make or break particularly by the mix (and secondarily mastering, which IME are both more subtle/specialized skills which take much longer to master as compared to tracking).
Old 24th February 2015
  #16
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jindrich's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred View Post
The sound of the end product.
That precisely is 100% dependant on the engineer's skills, not from the studio. If you put a monkey at the wheels at Real World Studios, you'll get bananas. On the other hand, competent engineers have brought out stunning records made in the most akward places.

But from the studio owner point of view, or rather, from the potential client, it's the things that are nowhere else to find, and most definitely not at the possible client's home studios: a great, big sounding room. Big desk+monitors are also considered.

As for a good inhouse engineer, that caters most to local and self-financed bands, as anything that comes from a label will be driven by a freelance engineer/producer.
Old 24th February 2015
  #17
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shortstory's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Profit, success and longivity.
Nice to have you back sir- and I appreciate the sentiment. although the 'profit' part has been challenging over my almost 30 years.
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