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Studios that are out of the city... Single-Channel Preamps
Old 3rd September 2007
  #1
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FormulaReed's Avatar
 

Studios that are out of the city...

So there is a good chance that I am going to loose my studio space so I have been looking for a space. Right now my studio has a great location, so great that there building condos on it's property. Rent in the city (Seattle) for a space that would work for a studio is really expensive and finding a space that would accommodate live music has been a real pain.

I found a great space (an old church) but it's really out in the sticks and I am afraid that it would be too far out of way. Any one out there running a studio that is not in a city? How does it work out?

Cheers,

Reed
Old 3rd September 2007
  #2
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Harvey Gerst's Avatar
How far out in the sticks? What do you have as an incentive for musicians to make the journey to your studio? Have you discussed it with some of the groups you currently record? What's their reaction?
Old 4th September 2007
  #3
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For me, a studio NOT located in the city is good. When I record as a musician (and as an engineer too for that matter) I really like to get away from everything and just focus at the work at hand.
If you're out in the sticks, recording/mixing is pretty much all there is to do, so I feel you get more done and everybody stays more focused.

Just my 2 cents..
Old 4th September 2007
  #4
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Of course, accomodation would have to be provided..
Old 4th September 2007
  #5
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1. It has to be somewhere nice (lakes, mountains, coast etc.)

2. Accomodation - either in-house or very close by.

3. It has to be good, nice room, great gear etc.
Old 4th September 2007
  #6
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mitgong's Avatar
 

Residential and beautiful are mandatory qualities. In my experience, it's very hard to get artists out of the city, where their income is. I guess it depends on your level of clientelle.

A church, though.....can't be beat.
Old 4th September 2007
  #7
Gear Addict
 

I'd personally prefer to have a days tracking out in the country somewhere.
Too many distractions.. people coming and going etc in the city.

More inspiration out there.

However...for a quick rehearsal or a small session etc... the travelling time had better be less than the time spent in the studio!
Old 4th September 2007
  #8
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I absolutely love residential recording out in the stix. Its my favorite way to work. Taking over an old church in a beautiful place out in the country sounds perfect to me. But that being said It can be really hard to convince clients to head out to the country.

I have been thinking about doing this myself for many years, since I have lots of clients that travel thousands of miles to work with me, its no problem to get them to travel another 50 miles, but at the end of the year picking up smaller local projects between the bigger projects can make a significant difference at the end of the year. ( I don't advertise y studio, its all word of mouth)

I heard this second hand so I can not verify it, but Daniel Lanois had a cool studio in Ventura, CA about a 80-90 minute drive north of LA (with good traffic), and eventually closed it because it ended being too inconvenient for his clients to be outside of LA. If this is true, if a guy like Lanois has trouble getting people out into the stix, it scares me to think about the trouble a chump like me would have.
Old 4th September 2007
  #9
84K
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We are in the process of building a rather large and very well equipped studio on farmlands in New Jersey. The location is 35 miles from Atlantic City (casinos and clubs), 30 miles from Philly, and an-hour-and-twenty minute car ride from Manhattan. Needless to say, we are not expecting walk-in clients, it's not that kind of room.
Old 4th September 2007
  #10
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The space is about 45 min out of town including a ferry ride. It's on a island in the puget sound. There is a great beach about 5 min away and it's all farm land/open country around. It's really pretty and very different from the city. The property also includes a large 3 bedroom house that people could use during the session so lodging would not be an issue.

The part that concerns me is that I am not a big time engineer/producer. All of the clients that I have are local and I have only been doing this for 3 years or so. I have talked to some of my clients, all of them said that it would be awesome and would love to record there but I doubt that they could take the time off work and driving to the studio every day would be a hassle.

Right now I am just kicking around ideas. I have done pretty well with my current studio and if I were not loosing my space I would keep recording there. Staying in Seattle would be great but I really like the idea of having a studio out of town, I just need to figure out if I could make it work.
Old 4th September 2007
  #11
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I know what you mean about crazy rent in Seattle.

FWIW, I've got a space in Seattle, but just got done doing 2 weeks at a studio out in the mountains. Being away from the city, out in some fresh air, and not to mention working in an amazing room, led to some amazing performances. No distractions, no bars, no weeklys, just focusing on making a record.

The only thing I would suggest, if you're gonna go for the "destination" studio, and you want to appeal to outside engineers/producers, would be to have something there that really makes the trip worth it. Could be gear, instruments, a nice chamber and/or plate reverb, a nice big tracking room, etc.
Old 5th September 2007
  #12
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samwinston123's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FormulaReed View Post
The space is about 45 min out of town including a ferry ride. It's on a island in the puget sound. There is a great beach about 5 min away and it's all farm land/open country around. It's really pretty and very different from the city. The property also includes a large 3 bedroom house that people could use during the session so lodging would not be an issue.

The part that concerns me is that I am not a big time engineer/producer. All of the clients that I have are local and I have only been doing this for 3 years or so. I have talked to some of my clients, all of them said that it would be awesome and would love to record there but I doubt that they could take the time off work and driving to the studio every day would be a hassle.

Right now I am just kicking around ideas. I have done pretty well with my current studio and if I were not loosing my space I would keep recording there. Staying in Seattle would be great but I really like the idea of having a studio out of town, I just need to figure out if I could make it work.
Is it out on Vashon? The traffic on that ferry is a serious pain in the ass. If you are mostly dealing with working musicians (who can only record in the evenings/weekends) then you will probably run into a lot of problems. There are a few out of town studios around here (Bear Creek, Paradise Sound, Robert Lang) but they all have super nice equipment and/or reputations.
Old 5th September 2007
  #13
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Benmrx's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by samwinston123 View Post
There are a few out of town studios around here (Bear Creek, Paradise Sound, Robert Lang).
Not too hi-jack the thread, but that tracking room at Paradise is ****ing amazing. The entire back wall is one big transformer!
Old 5th September 2007
  #14
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benmrx View Post
Not too hi-jack the thread, but that tracking room at Paradise is ****ing amazing. The entire back wall is one big transformer!
Totally agreed!! Its my favorite studio in the world. I have probably done about 30 albums in that room, and going to try and bring a mix up there in the fall.
Old 5th September 2007
  #15
Lives for gear
Well, we are the people who seem to have the t-shirt on this one.

So here are my opinions on 'destination' studios based on just five years trading experience.

1. It takes far longer to get the word out. But once the word is out there, some people will just keep coming back. These people then become friends and sometimes you end up exchanging work with them (three days recording in exchange for three days editing, one day session work for two days recording and stuff like that).

2. Location is everything. You have to get a whole range of factors right.

a) There has to be an airport close by, with good and cheap connections. No exceptions to this rule allowed!!!

b) The countryside around you has to be jaw-dropping. You must have Mother Nature right at your doorstep. The best is to have your own beach-front or lake-side location.

c) There must be a town close by with good shopping facilities.

3. You must be able to offer accomadation AND there has to be overflow accomodation nearby in the form of hotels and good, budget bed-and-breakfast places.

4. You will be a tracking room and you must put all your effort in being a great tracking room. Editing and mixing is all stuff your customers will want to do at home or in a hole-in-the-wall city studio. You have to offer them the tools to be creative. That means a concert grand, Hammond, Wurly and-or Rhodes, good back-line, old synths, great mics, good room or rooms, classic desk and an altogether great 'vibe' about the place.

5. You have to be a nice person. Genuinly nice, i.e. not creepy ("have a great day") nice, but actually enjoy their company. When they arrive, keep the beers flowing, help them set up, catch up on the latest gossip, wecome them with a great meal.

6. Solve all their problems. Book the flights, book the hotels, have a list of cabs and resturants available and have all the numbers at hand. Have copies of local maps to give away. Whilst they are working, do things like copy CDs for them, back-up tracks, perform simple repairs on their kit, photocopy the sheet music and generally oil the wheels that keep the whole recording locomotive going with a full head of steam.

7. Technically, you must be able to cover all bases and allow any recording system to be wheeled into your machine room. That means spare d-subs going in and out of the machine room to the patch bay.

8. You will need at least one additional room for lap-top editing. we have a small office with desk and chair just for customers to use as a production room, with white-boards to plan the whole project on.

9. A green room or living room or some place to relax is important.

10. You MUST have WiFi and broadband.
Old 5th September 2007
  #16
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
Having a client list that will follow you would help

I would love to build another room in Whitefish MT ) Int Airport, Glacier Park, Lakes.... ect....

but there are NO musicians there,.. ok,.. there is one band, they have been playing at the same bar for 10 years and they shouldn't really record anything

if you got 3or 4 big records a year it might work, but they would have to be big projects


Sounds good to me,,,, no more Leaf Blowers



.
Old 5th September 2007
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
DBArnold's Avatar
 

We are located 1 1/2 hours outside RTP area in North Carolina on an old dariy farm converted into house and studio. I do not get cell phone reception and it is the most quiet place to work on a project. There is not a major road or subdivision within 30 miles(meaning no construction or leaf blowers). I enjoy having a studio out in the stix.
Old 5th September 2007
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
Well, we are the people who seem to have the t-shirt on this one.

So here are my opinions on 'destination' studios based on just five years trading experience.

1. It takes far longer to get the word out. But once the word is out there, some people will just keep coming back. These people then become friends and sometimes you end up exchanging work with them (three days recording in exchange for three days editing, one day session work for two days recording and stuff like that).

2. Location is everything. You have to get a whole range of factors right.

a) There has to be an airport close by, with good and cheap connections. No exceptions to this rule allowed!!!

b) The countryside around you has to be jaw-dropping. You must have Mother Nature right at your doorstep. The best is to have your own beach-front or lake-side location.

c) There must be a town close by with good shopping facilities.

3. You must be able to offer accomadation AND there has to be overflow accomodation nearby in the form of hotels and good, budget bed-and-breakfast places.

4. You will be a tracking room and you must put all your effort in being a great tracking room. Editing and mixing is all stuff your customers will want to do at home or in a hole-in-the-wall city studio. You have to offer them the tools to be creative. That means a concert grand, Hammond, Wurly and-or Rhodes, good back-line, old synths, great mics, good room or rooms, classic desk and an altogether great 'vibe' about the place.

5. You have to be a nice person. Genuinly nice, i.e. not creepy ("have a great day") nice, but actually enjoy their company. When they arrive, keep the beers flowing, help them set up, catch up on the latest gossip, wecome them with a great meal.

6. Solve all their problems. Book the flights, book the hotels, have a list of cabs and resturants available and have all the numbers at hand. Have copies of local maps to give away. Whilst they are working, do things like copy CDs for them, back-up tracks, perform simple repairs on their kit, photocopy the sheet music and generally oil the wheels that keep the whole recording locomotive going with a full head of steam.

7. Technically, you must be able to cover all bases and allow any recording system to be wheeled into your machine room. That means spare d-subs going in and out of the machine room to the patch bay.

8. You will need at least one additional room for lap-top editing. we have a small office with desk and chair just for customers to use as a production room, with white-boards to plan the whole project on.

9. A green room or living room or some place to relax is important.

10. You MUST have WiFi and broadband.
ok, now tell how to do it whilst making money?

many of your suggestions are good though.

personally i think people will travel for their art to sound like a record. but it definitely must, otherwise there is no point to traveling. studios are becoming destinations due to the cost of real estate and the direction of rate cards; it is inevitable. just make sure you have the best room ever. copy the avatar studio a room design in you have to. but that's just me.

now, as far as competing with those studios which have huge "sunk costs" (i.e. lots of expensive old equipment already paid off), you really can't and will go broke trying. so you have to offer something compelling and different. go an extra step and offer things that the city studios aren't, even if it's ala carte.

if i were doing what you are contemplating, i would get a beat up van (used school bus?) and offer pick-up and drop-off door to door for band members when they do X songs or more. take the question of location out of the equation, get them in there. at least for the first couple years, then you won't be wondering if it was the location.

i'm just thinking out of my ass but I would think it can be done. Making money with a studio is hard no matter where it is.
Old 5th September 2007
  #19
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BJohnston's Avatar
 

I live an hour and a half outside of any major cities. The town I'm located in is about 50,000 strong. Not a metropolis by any means. When I built my place my goal was to somehow draw work out this way. You may have to pursue projects a little heavier than being in a major city and allow your rates to be flexible enough for your clients to afford the drive or living accomodations. I've found that most people seem to enjoy getting out of the city. If you're good at what you do people will travel work with you.


B
Old 5th September 2007
  #20
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Surfkat's Avatar
 

7 years ago we built a 2 room facility near the Jersey shore, one hour from Phillie, two hours from NYC. We have a nice place with good gear and instruments. 5 years ago it was much easier to get people to come from Phillie and NYC than it is today. The studio business climate has changed drastically and is continuing to change. My advice is unless you already have the clients who will come to your new location, now is not the time to make such a commitment. I think you also need some other income stream to supplement the business like songwriting, equipment rentals, consulting or whatever (organic farming?).
Old 29th May 2009
  #21
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Rednose's Avatar
I vote for staying in or as near the city as you can. Just my two cents, but I've worked in both and location is factor for a certain percentage.
I would say your bookings would decrease %30 or more moving to the stix.
If its that much cheaper in the stix it may be worth it for you.

I would also think that last minute sessions might not come up as much seeing as though it would be more of a cruise. The Ferry thing...

City or near outskirts
Stix
Just My 2 cents, I wish you the best of luck!
Matt
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