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Opening up for Business. An open invitation to be torn apart by all vetran gearslutz.
Old 6th February 2009
  #1
Gear Nut
 
dave_w's Avatar
 

Opening up for Business. An open invitation to be torn apart by all vetran gearslutz.

Hey all. I'll explain this quickly so you can tear into me quicker.
I've been gradually building my studio for years now. I started at 14 years old with a tascam 4-track and I'm now 20 years old with a very decent setup.

What I'd like to do is open up a very affordable recording studio/space to compose with the artists. I know that this is just the begining and I am doing it mostly to learn, but I would like to make a little money while producing, engineering.

Since this is gearslutz I'll give a little gear tour. Macbook Pro/4 GB Ram/500 GB internal memory, Logic Pro 8, Apogee duet, Adam a7's, sm7, 2 sm57s, Rode NT1-A, GT Brick, Oxygen Midi controller, Real nice guitars, Amps, Drums etc. DIY bass traps (need to keep working on acoustics)

What do you PROS feel that I need to know before advertising my space.

Opinions for rates, gear needed, general studio tips from your experience, studio NAMES?

Thanks in advance everyone!

Disclaimer: I am getting good at what I do... not just another kid with pipe dreams.
Old 6th February 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Realziment's Avatar
 

Vocal booth, Decent mic - mic pre. Some nice skillz and thats it really. Rates are hard to give depending on the job. Mixing give a rate per song and have a maximum of tracks, if it goes over charge extra. For recording an hourly rate or 20 - 25 dollars maybe. Hope this helps.
Old 6th February 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 
andersmv's Avatar
 

Probably the first thing you need to do is set up a good website with samples of your work. I know that when it comes to people considering going to a budget studio, a website with samples will make or break their decision.

Also, plan on not really making any money for a little while. You will have to be flexible with what you charge an hour and be willing to eat some overtime for free. This will help you build up a client base. For the first few sessions, you might want to approach things with a mindset of "Well, I charge $20 an hour, you think it's going to take you about 4 hours to do what you need to do, why don't we just call it an even $50". Be nice and give people a good deal and a comfortable environment with an engineer they enjoy being around and you will keep them coming back.

I'm 22 years old, I just got out of college in December and I'm trying to put together a little studio in my parents house while I'm here. It will be more for me but I'm going to try and pull some people in on the side. I think flexibility is going to be the key, and the fact that I'm staying here for free means no overhead to worry about which allows me to be flexible.
Old 6th February 2009
  #4
Me personally, I would hide the laptop (not very pro) at least run an extension for a big moniter / keyboard / mouse.

And get an argosey or something. What's the room like?
Argosy Studio Furniture and Technical Furniture 2008
Check out foambymail.com save some money.
sound proofing and deadening foam products, acoustic insulation, home studio soundproofing,

Rates would depend on your ears, room, product and quickness.

Good luck, TW
Old 6th February 2009
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
WiZKiD's Avatar
 

Every kid in North America has PT LE or a Duet.

I'm sure what you are doing is great stuff, and I'm hoping your plan is to sell your skills, because I think you'd be underestimating how many kids your age have a very similar set up in their house.

my advice would be keep grinding, I would recommend working at a decent studio before you try and open one up. Not trying to discourage you, but I would want to see a list of credits if I was an artist, and hear what you have produced/engineered, not see a list of gear.

btw, How do you plan to track drums with a 2 channel interface?

if you decide to open a studio, best of luck to you. If you are this driven at 20, I'm sure your on the path to success.

heh
Old 6th February 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
 
andersmv's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WiZKiD View Post
I'm sure what you are doing is great stuff, and I'm hoping your plan is to sell your skills, because I think you'd be underestimating how many kids your age have a very similar set up in their house.

my advice would be keep grinding, I would recommend working at a decent studio before you try and open one up. Not trying to discourage you, but I would want to see a list of credits if I was an artist, and hear what you have produced/engineered, not see a list of gear.

btw, How do you plan to track drums with a 2 channel interface?

if you decide to open a studio, best of luck to you. If you are this driven at 20, I'm sure your on the path to success.

heh
That's good advise. I'm doing an internship in Nashville this summer, should be a great experience and teach me a lot on top of the past 4 years running the studio at my school. I did not notice that you are using a duet. What I'm about to say might sound harsh but it's a hard truth: It's going to be really hard to market yourself with a 2 input interface. I think your first step should be to get more input capacity.

You and I both know that it's possible to make great stuff on just about anything these days. The problem is most of the morons that are potentially going to pay you do not know that. Many people ask lots of questions when the are thinking about coming in to record. I can almost guarantee you that a common one will be something to the extent of "What's your input capacity?" It was hard enough when I was at school dealing with a PTLE and an 002 rack. A lot of people see a lack of the word "HD" and immediately are turned off. It sucks but it's true. What I had to do was make sure I told people about our amazing microphone collection (Which was pretty damn great) and other gear to offset the fact that we did not have HD.

You are going to have to do the same thing man. That's why I said make sure you have a website so that people can hear what you can do with the "little" that you have. But like WizKid said, 2 inputs means you can't really do drums and that's going to turn a lot of people off.

Market youself.
Old 6th February 2009
  #7
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_w View Post
Hey all. I'll explain this quickly so you can tear into me quicker.
I've been gradually building my studio for years now. I started at 14 years old with a tascam 4-track and I'm now 20 years old with a very decent setup.

What I'd like to do is open up a very affordable recording studio/space to compose with the artists. I know that this is just the begining and I am doing it mostly to learn, but I would like to make a little money while producing, engineering.

Since this is gearslutz I'll give a little gear tour. Macbook Pro/4 GB Ram/500 GB internal memory, Logic Pro 8, Apogee duet, Adam a7's, sm7, 2 sm57s, Rode NT1-A, GT Brick, Oxygen Midi controller, Real nice guitars, Amps, Drums etc. DIY bass traps (need to keep working on acoustics)

What do you PROS feel that I need to know before advertising my space.

Opinions for rates, gear needed, general studio tips from your experience, studio NAMES?

Thanks in advance everyone!

Disclaimer: I am getting good at what I do... not just another kid with pipe dreams.

You only need one thing.

Really, quite simple.

A reason.

A reason why people would pay you even $20 per hour over the 900,000 other small studios out there. Find the reason and you're good to go. If you don't find it, you're out of business. No amount of gear, acoustics, monitoring, mics or pre's are a "reason". There are many with 50X's what you have invested that would kill to be booked for 20 hours a week at $25 per hour. Find a reason and charge a worthwhile rate.
Old 6th February 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
You only need one thing.

Really, quite simple.

A reason.

A reason why people would pay you even $20 per hour over the 900,000 other small studios out there. Find the reason and you're good to go. If you don't find it, you're out of business. No amount of gear, acoustics, monitoring, mics or pre's are a "reason". There are many with 50X's what you have invested that would kill to be booked for 20 hours a week at $25 per hour. Find a reason and charge a worthwhile rate.
Very Good, drBill....
Old 6th February 2009
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
strat+ac30's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
You only need one thing.

Really, quite simple.

A reason.

A reason why people would pay you even $20 per hour over the 900,000 other small studios out there. Find the reason and you're good to go. If you don't find it, you're out of business. No amount of gear, acoustics, monitoring, mics or pre's are a "reason". There are many with 50X's what you have invested that would kill to be booked for 20 hours a week at $25 per hour. Find a reason and charge a worthwhile rate.
Great post.

Reminds me of some of Seth Godin's writings (All Marketers are Liars, Purple Cow, Meatball Sundae, Tribes, etc)...in this age, people don't sell goods or services, they sell stories. Or, as drBill called them, "a reason".

It's not gear-related, it's not even music-related, but his books are quick reads and inspirational. Spend a couple afternoons at Barnes & Noble and read a bunch of them.

And since you mention that you're "getting good at what you do"...are you prepared to back that up for clients? Are you confident enough to have your work - not your gear list - ripped apart by Gearslutz?
Old 6th February 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Eganmedia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_w View Post
What I'd like to do is open up a very affordable recording studio/space to compose with the artists.
You have to figure out a way a way to make them want to compose with you. Most bands are pretty protective of their sound. To open up their vision to a 20 -year old with a modest home recording rig, you need to to prove to them that your opinions matter, and that they should pay you money for those opinions. Anyone can buy a fistful of mics, a mixer and some monitors. If you have work you've done in a specific genre that sounds great, if you've written or co-written some killer tunes you can show as a demo, you might win their confidence. Realize it's a buyers' market when it comes to studios. Good producers can demand (and receive) a premium for their input. But a lot of bands will look for the studio with the best gear and fitup and expect a competent button pusher who won't get in their way. That's not a business model with any likelihood for long term success. There are plenty of guys with money who build nice studios with nice gear. Often, those places are yard sales waiting to happen.
Old 6th February 2009
  #11
Lives for gear
 
larry b's Avatar
 

Youre going to need more than a 2 channel audio interface to open a business recoding music. Period.

You're going to need at least one really great mic and preamp. Period.

You're going to need a full compliment of mics to do decent drums, and a well-treated room.

You're going to need many small things like 15 mic stands, 4-6 pairs of headphones, headphone monitor amps, power conditioners.

You're going to need a way to send a seperate cue mix to your talent, possibly even multiple seperate cue mixes. (again, the duet is not going to come anywhere close to cutting it).

You're going to need more than one set of speakers for mixing. At least two.

You're going to need a larger screen for your computer if not a dedicated desktop machine with dual screens.

You're going to need an endless amount of things you wish you could just forget about like direct boxes, cabling, 8 channel snakes, patchbays, cabling, and more cabling.

You're going to need some outboard processing such as reverb, compression and eq units available at your patchbay, and to use it all you will need a more comprehensive DAW interface with multiple ins and outs for patching in that outboard processing.

You're going to need treatment in your control room to keep your monitoring at least semi-honest.

You're going to need a 2-track mixdown machine, either something like the Alesis Masterlink and/or an analog deck.

You'll also want to have a client base already set up so that you dont have to just hope people will call you.

You'll want to have a ton of experience and skill recording all types of instruments and vocals.

You'll want to have a list of great sounding music you've recorded available on the web for potential clients to scope out.

And, as Dr. Bill mentioned, you're going to need a reason above and beyond all that gear, for people to choose your place to do their next album.

I could go on and on but i think you get the point.

I could list off hundreds and hundreds of small-time studios (including mine) that have all of the stuff i just listed off (and far more) that also charge 25/hr.

How are you going to compete with that with a laptop and a duet?

I'm not trying to bash you, in fact, i respect your drive and your goal of owning your own place. I'm simply trying to bring some reality into this equation.

Finally, good luck with your endeavor, and may the force be with you.
Old 6th February 2009
  #12
Gear Nut
 
dave_w's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WiZKiD View Post
btw, How do you plan to track drums with a 2 channel interface?

heh
Well I was working with a few of friend's bands with a Onyx 800 going into a MOTU 828 II... but I realized that it wasn't giving me the sounds that I wanted. So, (being primarily into recording hip hop/electro etc.) I decided to see it to get a decent one or two track interface and some good monitors to get some quality over quantity. The plan of course is to continue upgrading as I have been over the last 5 years... but I want to gain experience while doing this. Of course I don't plan to advertise myself as a professional studio by any means.. just a nice space for vocalists, solo artists...whatever.. to come and write with me/record to the best of my abilities.

Am I crazy to think that this is a good idea?
Be real with me.
Old 6th February 2009
  #13
Gear Nut
 
dave_w's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
You only need one thing.

Really, quite simple.

A reason.
I fully agree. I know that to a certain point gear=quality sound.... but I know that talent is so much more important in music. I fully believe that I have and can make artists perform and compose better and give quality input... the gear always takes a backseat to that.
Old 6th February 2009
  #14
i second the idea of working on THE STORY. The WHY. The emotional element that allows for people to open up their wallets happily.

screw the gear. why not start working at a studio with all of the gear you want?

they probably want you around more than you know.
Old 6th February 2009
  #15
.

just charge $800/hr. and be done with it...

...and don't forget to have fun - you only have one life.

if you take everything too seriously, you might miss it...


good luck...

.
Old 6th February 2009
  #16
Lives for gear
 
E.rOk.stA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_w View Post
Well I was working with a few of friend's bands with a Onyx 800 going into a MOTU 828 II... but I realized that it wasn't giving me the sounds that I wanted. So, (being primarily into recording hip hop/electro etc.) I decided to see it to get a decent one or two track interface and some good monitors to get some quality over quantity. The plan of course is to continue upgrading as I have been over the last 5 years... but I want to gain experience while doing this. Of course I don't plan to advertise myself as a professional studio by any means.. just a nice space for vocalists, solo artists...whatever.. to come and write with me/record to the best of my abilities.

Am I crazy to think that this is a good idea?
Be real with me.
Nah, bro. Listen, you posted hip-hop/electro so you really only need 2 channels for this. L/R for keyboards, MPC's, etc. and mono for vox. Get some nice plugins, charge $10-15/hr. to start off. If your mix game's on point, you will build up clientel in no time. I would look into a decent mic and pre. The thing is, consistency. You do something well long enough, you WILL get noticed. You're young yet. Spend the next 2 years grindin', flip your $$ into gear. Shoot, you'd be amazed at what can happen in just 1 year. Focus on 2 or 3 DECENT artists that haven't blown up yet. Help them blow up and you will too. They'll have friends. Those friends have friends. That's how most success stories happen. Don't be scared to find a local studio and pay an engineer to critique your mixing. You'll learn more in 2 hours than you ever thought.
Old 6th February 2009
  #17
Gear Nut
 
jonsays's Avatar
 

Apologies for the long post -- I hope it is helpful.

First, to others:

Whatever happened to Slutz who were crooning over Daniel Lanois' DIY-ethic? Sure he had good gear too, but his methods were not scientific. JUST DO IT. You don't need to spend at least $10,000 to make music for other people. I'm sad that the engineering world thinks so binary about gear. Lennon would have sounded good on an answering machine. If it serves the music, do it. Be creative.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm seeing good advice here, but, to be honest, I'm a bit insulted about this high-end gear jargon. It is really discouraging for people who want to run their own recording set-up WITHOUT ambitions of climbing some ladder that ends with some ridiculously expensive rig (like me -- or dave w, if I may use him here).

Plenty of people DO NOT have even a Duet, nor do they wish to buy one, nor the mics, the laptop, and all the other components that allow for a decent lo-fi record (although, I see many on here hesitant to even call the Duet lo-fi... it is a great tool). They'd rather work on their craft, and find someone who has a set-up like dave w (similar to mine, i might add), who is willing to record a collection of their music for them at a modest price.

I've spent plenty of time in expensive studios, and I for one am NOT convinced from good gear follows good music. If Dave has artists in his neighborhood that want to record demos, EPs, or lo-fi stuff, by all means, don't discourage him with unproductive criticism like "get better gear or you won't be legit." There are A LOT of great bands emerging SOLEY due to the fact that lo-fi recordings are more possible than ever -- and most times these lo-fi recordings do justice to their music better than any upscale pretentious studio space that freak out if the E string isn't properly tuned (see the forum about $2,000 + tuners...).

And now to the OP's questions:

Dave, I enjoyed this thread. Your post could have been mine. I have a very similar set-up and have wondered the same things. I am NOT charging an hourly rate. I run a small, organized, and smoke-free rig in the spare bedroom of my apartment in East Lansing, MI (home of MSU -- lots of young, talented folks here). I run an Apogee Duet through my Mac PowerBook G4, and back everything up to an external drive to free up space. I use an SM57, and various other low-end mics. I do it more for the experience and the enjoyment of independent artists. I enjoy their company, their creativity, their motivation. I offer a comfortable, eclectic environment with great instruments, great amps, and even a 19th century piano I found on craigslist for free, not to mention other vintage 'toys'. I assess people on the size of the project:

Depending on the size of the project, the first song is free. If the first song takes more than 4 hours, I usually have to give a price for that overtime. After that it is $40-75/song (depending on scale of project), and if there is a full album, then I assess a whole price that requires 50% upfront and 50% at the end. A hip hop artist I'm working with now is paying $240 for a 7 track EP. If a song starts to take more than 5-6 hours to track out, we negotiate then. That's a steal if you ask me. My Duet cost twice that, and he got to use it (as well as all my other stuff) for less than the cost of buying one -- and now he has a musical project under his belt for very little money. He's happy, I'm happy. Don't let people tell you you can't be in the music business. The agreement I have with my clients (I use this term loosely) is as casual as my recording space.

I'd avoid the hourly rate, or go with what someone said earlier: Tell them you are $10-15/hr and give a ballpark per song and take some off the top. The economy sucks -- people don't want to be charged by the hour in ANY studio. And most musicians I know would rather spend their money in a lo-fi environment for WAY LESS, then deal with guys that are so formal it makes the creative environment disintegrate.

Your gear is only as good as you can make it. I've seen people do awesome things in a bathroom with an answering machine. Don't let people discourage you. You seem to have a musical mind. Take your talents, the things that you think others don't have, and let them shine in your work. People will be drawn to your DIY-ethic and ability to make good-sounding music for modest prices. Not everyone is trying to get their music on Billboard Top 40.

Thanks for reading, happy tracking.

jon
Old 7th February 2009
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_w View Post
Opinions for rates
I favor a per track rate.

But not every studio owner / producer likes that system..

But its one way to work that lets the artist know up front 100% accurately - what its going to cost them to walk out with finished product.
Old 7th February 2009
  #19
a good friend of mine who is well established in the pro side of the M.I. industry told me this once when I was trying to set up a promotion between a large instrument company, a large gear selling chain, and a large movie studio for a certain project...

he said:

"Dude, we're not selling guitars, or keyboards, drums or software. we're selling THE DREAM. It just so happens the THE DREAM comes packaged as guitars, keyboards, drums and software...

If you want to get people excited about supporting your project, you have to be able to help them sell THE DREAM."

and so the fortunes of gear makers, retailers and aspiring artists are born... the same probably applies to why certain studios and ae and producers can charge what they do... they too, are selling THE DREAM...
Old 7th February 2009
  #20
Gear Nut
 

My advice is jump in and go for it. You have enough gear to get started. I've been getting paid to record music for 22 years, and started with a Tascam cassette four track. Don't let anyone tell you a certain list of gear is needed. You will always have stuff you want to add to your studio. Record yourself, your friends, talk your studio up when you meet anyone who might be interested. If you have good music and recording skills AND are good at making people feel comfortable recording with you, good things will happen.

As far as rates go, I would start at around $25 an hour and be flexible. I think it's a mistake to be too cheap because potential clients won't take you seriously. The one thing I wouldn't do at this point is sign a lease and build out a commercial space. You need a solid client base and years of experience to support that. Until you get there, operate out of your basement, apartment, garage, or whatever and keep your overhead low. Best of luck to you.

Randy
gildersound.com
Old 7th February 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 
ScumBum's Avatar
 

Trust me , this is what you do.......................

First you need at least one High End channel for vocals and overdubs , but after that ,


DO NOT GO INTO DEBT !!!

There is no reason to go into debt .



RENT !!!!!!!!!!!High End Gear and the client pays for the rental fee for what ever is needed for that project . Get to know a local guy that rents high end recording gear , Neves , API , tube mics , whatever and become friends with him and use his gear for awhile till you made enough money to buy and expand your own gear, with out going into debt .


This way you can handle ANY project you want ,



Lets say a rock band wants you to record an album . Rent 2 api 3124s , converters , cables , drum mics ect . Probably cost $300-$500 for the weekend.

Have the band pay for the rental fees UPFRONT then go pick up the gear . Track them for a weekend then return it all monday .

Then you can do the vocals or other overdubs later cause you have at least one good channel .


Slowly buy the gear you need .......................



Or what I did alot was when I got a project I had them buy me a piece of gear for payment and to use on their album .


Basically don't turn anyone down because you down own the gear you need . Take every client and RENT what you need for each project .

You will also get more work because when renting and using high end gear your music is gonna sound really good . Then word of mouth spreads that you make killer sounding recordings and you didn't have to spend a dime to deliver a great sounding pro record .
Old 7th February 2009
  #22
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
RENT !!!!!!!!!!!
Great idea - unless the client balks when he's hit with hundreds of dollars of rental charges. In today's market, that could easily kill the deal. Still, that's how I'd handle it, but I'm not recording young bands/artists with no money....
Old 7th February 2009
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by larry b View Post
Youre going to need more than a 2 channel audio interface to open a business recoding music. Period.

You're going to need at least one really great mic and preamp. Period.

You're going to need a full compliment of mics to do decent drums, and a well-treated room.

You're going to need many small things like 15 mic stands, 4-6 pairs of headphones, headphone monitor amps, power conditioners.

You're going to need a way to send a seperate cue mix to your talent, possibly even multiple seperate cue mixes. (again, the duet is not going to come anywhere close to cutting it).

You're going to need more than one set of speakers for mixing. At least two.

You're going to need a larger screen for your computer if not a dedicated desktop machine with dual screens.

You're going to need an endless amount of things you wish you could just forget about like direct boxes, cabling, 8 channel snakes, patchbays, cabling, and more cabling.

You're going to need some outboard processing such as reverb, compression and eq units available at your patchbay, and to use it all you will need a more comprehensive DAW interface with multiple ins and outs for patching in that outboard processing.

You're going to need treatment in your control room to keep your monitoring at least semi-honest.

You're going to need a 2-track mixdown machine, either something like the Alesis Masterlink and/or an analog deck.

You'll also want to have a client base already set up so that you dont have to just hope people will call you.

You'll want to have a ton of experience and skill recording all types of instruments and vocals.

You'll want to have a list of great sounding music you've recorded available on the web for potential clients to scope out.

And, as Dr. Bill mentioned, you're going to need a reason above and beyond all that gear, for people to choose your place to do their next album.

I could go on and on but i think you get the point.

I could list off hundreds and hundreds of small-time studios (including mine) that have all of the stuff i just listed off (and far more) that also charge 25/hr.

How are you going to compete with that with a laptop and a duet?

I'm not trying to bash you, in fact, i respect your drive and your goal of owning your own place. I'm simply trying to bring some reality into this equation.

Finally, good luck with your endeavor, and may the force be with you.
You don't need all that. Especially to start making music for friends, classmates, relatives, local organizations, etc etc. There's a ton of potential work that, in my opinion, translates to excellent practice and experience for budding audio engineers like the OP and myself.

Do everything you can to learn every medium and machine you can, and hone your skills/train your ears wherever possible. The most important thing is that you're flexible, adaptable, easy to work with, and know your ****. You don't need a tape deck, two sets of monitors, and 8 channel snakes to make a production. Sure, these things help and streamline the process (usually :P) but you have to start somewhere =].
Old 7th February 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
 
ScumBum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Great idea - unless the client balks when he's hit with hundreds of dollars of rental charges. In today's market, that could easily kill the deal. Still, that's how I'd handle it, but I'm not recording young bands/artists with no money....
And with bands that don't have much money you can rent low end gear , like I rented an Octopre one time for $50 , that eight channels with with conversion .

Work with their budget .
Old 7th February 2009
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
ColourSurround's Avatar
 

I'm in a similar boat as you mate, and not too much older so here's the breakdown (and it's been said before). Start doing it and don't stop til your work becomes masterful and until people know who you are. If you've got confidence in your skills and the drive to get better (you clearly do) you will keep developing and people will start seeking you out. Do it any way you can by any means you've got but make quality products out of everything and give people reasons for coming back and spreading the word.

That's it really. As for rates, don't be rigid. Anyone you have a chance to record, do so. If it's a bum off the street who's only got $20 but has some tunes you know you could definitely work wtih, do it, it just adds to the portfolio. At this stage rates will be the most inconsistent thing for you, so just work with what your clients got.

And that's it. Get at er, keep learning about the art, keep practsing it and just keep loving what you do, cos ultimately that's all it comes down to isn't it?

Cheers,

PiN
Old 7th February 2009
  #26
Lives for gear
 
A LaMere's Avatar
 

the best advice I could give to a beginner... would be just to record as often as possible...
period.

Record for free sometimes if it's music that you like...
Record for cheap.. learn to use the gear that you have.

It might be tough to only have two inputs???
Besides that though...

record as much and as often as possible...
Begin charging, when you are in demand enough to charge.
This, essentially, is a true internship...
Old 7th February 2009
  #27
First off, you don't need any gear to make money as an engineer. A big fat NONE. You just need skills. You can always work at other studios if you get gigs that require more gear than you have. People don't shop at Guitar Center or Sam Ash or a recording studio or even a freakin' Carvel ice cream... They shop with the people. If the guy doesn't roll the ice cream in the sprinkles but just barely pours some on with a spoon, you don't go there again.

If you are good they will work with you wherever you are. If you are pleasant to work with and are good, or are not even that good but particularly cool, they will work with you. I've done so many sessions for people who own Pro Tools just cause they like me and they'd rather me hang out and record them so they don't have to do it. They generally pay me as much to record in their studio with their own gear as they would going to a local studio. True, I have almost 16 years under my belt, but does that really matter when it comes to how long your relationship with new customers is? I have a very nice mid level studio, with some expensive gear and some cheap gear, 2 isolation rooms with double paned glass windows, and a mixing board that looks cool. Do my new customers book a session even thinking about any of that? nope. I'm just good on the phone. Is my gear impressive looking. A little I guess, but people are not stupid. It's my laidback but enthusiastic attitude, and previously done tracks to play customers, that wins them over. Once they hear their song sounding great and have fun doing it, they're usually customers for life. It comes down to 2 things: your end result, and did they enjoy the process? You can give them a taste of enjoying the process before you ever met them or they've seen your studio just buy being cool on the phone.

I say learn on what you got it's enough to get started, you can record a million solo artists with it. Unlike bands, solo artists will want your opinion on the arrangement, and since you said you like to be in on the music, that's a good way to get into that.

I forget where this quote came from but anyway: "By calculating the ratio of a bumble bee wing's surface area vs. the weight of the bumble bee, the bumble bee is incapable of sustained flight... The bumble bee doesn't know this so it flies anyway." Sure they are clumsy animals, they bump into things all the time, but they sure do fly.

My advice to you is JUST WING IT.
Old 7th February 2009
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
WiZKiD's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_w View Post
Well I was working with a few of friend's bands with a Onyx 800 going into a MOTU 828 II... but I realized that it wasn't giving me the sounds that I wanted. So, (being primarily into recording hip hop/electro etc.) I decided to see it to get a decent one or two track interface and some good monitors to get some quality over quantity. The plan of course is to continue upgrading as I have been over the last 5 years... but I want to gain experience while doing this. Of course I don't plan to advertise myself as a professional studio by any means.. just a nice space for vocalists, solo artists...whatever.. to come and write with me/record to the best of my abilities.

Am I crazy to think that this is a good idea?
Be real with me.
That's cool. At least you are thinking bigger. I don't think you are crazy at all. If you were not delusionally optimistic, I would have a lot more concern for you. heh

dfegadanyone who tries to kill the dream.

and go for it

The big thing is finding that "reason" mentioned above. That's possibly the best advice in this thread. Maybe on the side, I would get myself an internship somewhere where I can learn about this stuff on a higher level. Not to say that you don't know what you are doing, but imagine how you will excel every day by surrounding yourself with people that have a bit more experience & knowledge than you do. Immagine if Da vinci never watched Verrocchio paint, or as a better exmple, all the guys that watched Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler over the years...where would music be?!?!
Old 7th February 2009
  #29
I was in the same boat as you and I now feel I have at least 25% of the rock market in my area for my modest basement studio.

1. Learn how to polish turds. 99% of drummers do not know how to play with great recording technique. It is your job to make it sounds like they can. If you can do this, you will have an advantage over the geezers running the big studios that use PT as if it were a tape machine. Learn how to beat detect efficiently (no more than an hr for 3:30 pop/rock song). Learn how to Melodyne/auto tune efficiently. Learn how to get the best sounds for your room situation. Even if you're not a drummer, learn how to tune drums.

2. This is somewhat contradicting my first point, but record only decent bands with decent songs. What good is it going to do you to keep busting out ****ty music? It makes your life hell in the studio and it's not going to build your client base.

3. Bust your ass on the recording. Work on the editing mixing when the band is not paying you. Yeah I know, you're working for free...but the goal is client base. You need to attract clients. Putting in extra effort will make the extra difference in the recordings. The bands will come back. Your samples will attract clients.

4. Get out to the local shows and talk to bands, hand out demos of your work.

5. Think of recording packages that are good for you and the client. For example, I had the problem of bands scheduling 5 hrs here, 3 hrs there, etc. Their projects were dragging out for months. I was losing objectivity. Scheduling became a nightmare. Solution: give discounts for large blocks of time. This encourages the project to get done in a timely manner, you make more money in a shorter period of time.

6. Once you get set up and have a nice client base, it's time for public relations. Give back to the bands. Throw them a showcase at your local venue. "Your_Studio Showcase" at (venue) featuring 6 bands. Not only will you be giving back to the bands, you'll be making money, the bands will be making money, and this is another outlet to promote your studio.
Old 7th February 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
 
numrologst's Avatar
I've been in your position, and this is my take.

I wouldn't advertise your studio. I don't think it is a good idea to advertise home setups... And most of the time it doesn't do any good to advertise bigger commercial studios.

You need to advertise, and promote yourself... nothing else.

Focus on networking yourself and promoting your skills.

Go meet a couple of local studio owners, and create a relationship with them. Have at least 3 studios you can get into. Then take your clients there for live recording, or drum recording, or whatever the session calls for.

Leave your home setup open to use when you need it.

You do what you have to do to survive in this business. Right now you need to focus on what you can do to make money for yourself... Not what you can do to spend money to get where you want to be.

The producers have the relationships with clients, not the studios. Studios aren't doing very well right now, producers are. This becomes an interesting time for producers because you now have the ability to get into rooms for very cheap, thus you can make more money yourself.

I suggest doing the large tracking in a real studio. Get your normal personal rate. Then finish off the overdubs at your house, if the band is okay with that. Mix it at your house if they are okay with it.

No one can give you the answers, but you do what you have to do to make money.

The important thing is to promote yourself, get work, and make money.
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