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studio rates?
Old 25th July 2005
  #1
Gear Head
 

studio rates?

i have a multi faceted question about studio rates.
1- what do u charge for your room and gear?
2-do u charge seperately for engineer or is engineer included in ur fees.
3-what is a good room itself worth? (not counting gear/engineer)
4-what is a good engineer worth (not counting room and gear)
and the mostly difficult question
5- how do u equate money spent vs. what u can charge per day?

i have a mid-level project studio with about 20K worth of gear and a very good set of ears. i have been charging a small fee and basically have been ripping myself off. i live in the midwest (Kentucky) and my market is small. but i do the best work around and i have a very good room. do i keep it available for $100-$200 day or should i increase to $500 or more?
Old 25th July 2005
  #2
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Try about $35 to $40 an hour. If you're still busier than you want to be, bump it up.

You sure can get a great sound out of a $20k rig these days.

War
Old 25th July 2005
  #3
Our "indie" rate is $95/hr for tracking or mixing, but can be had for less with guaranteed "block" rates. That includes me as first engineer and the gear that you see on our "A" rate at our studio (see link below). I think our rate is silly cheap @ the block rate, but I've seen huge million dollar rooms charge close to the same which is very sad. But that's really the bane of this industry, those rooms are going out of business every day because they cannot self sustain. But it's really very variable as to what you can get. If you have a comfortable room, great sound, great gear, and a good reputation you can get more. If you are a bigger fish in a small market you can get more. If you have a 'niche' (for us that includes a decent size drum room and 2" 16 track analog which that specific combination is not available anywhere close to us). We also offer a lower "B" rate, where the customer doesn't have access to most of the higher level gear (like the better mics, 2" tape, the better console, and most of the outboard gear, but they still get Class A-A/B preamps, Lavry conversion and the better tracking room though so it's value added), but this lower rate is intended for 'demo' quality.

My advice is to see what other similar studios in your area are charging, and charge similarly. Once you grow in gear/service/knowledge/sound quality you can charge more. When you are booked more than you can handle, raise your rates again until it puts you into the amount of hours you are comfortable working. I did something like 52 hours of engineering in the last 7 days, for me that's more than enough (considering I've got to run the pro audio biz too), I'd prefer it to be more like 30-40 a week, so maybe I'll raise the rate. But at the same time, this business is often feast or famine so the good times can balance out the bad times.
Old 25th July 2005
  #4
Here for the gear
 

My rate is £300 a day, or about $520.

This is the same whether my studio is used or not.

I have been paid much much more, I have made entire albums for a pair of sunglasses.

I got paid with a samurai sword once, and a Fender Rhodes piano

It all depends on the band and the music,

If I like the band, I'll do a deal. If they're good ( which is the only time I'll do a deal ) they'll be noticed, they'll come back and I get more work down the line from labels etc as well as having a great time in the first place.

It only gets difficult when the taxman calls "What did I earn? Well I got paid in dinners and free drinks from the bass players reastaurant and a push bike."

They don't like it.

Cash is over-rated.
Old 26th July 2005
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Man
My rate is £300 a day, or about $520.

This is the same whether my studio is used or not.

I have been paid much much more, I have made entire albums for a pair of sunglasses.

I got paid with a samurai sword once, and a Fender Rhodes piano

It all depends on the band and the music,

If I like the band, I'll do a deal. If they're good ( which is the only time I'll do a deal ) they'll be noticed, they'll come back and I get more work down the line from labels etc as well as having a great time in the first place.

It only gets difficult when the taxman calls "What did I earn? Well I got paid in dinners and free drinks from the bass players reastaurant and a push bike."

They don't like it.

Cash is over-rated.


LOL!!!!
I just cut a song for a bass POD
Old 26th July 2005
  #6
11 hour days - 1 hour = food / tea breaks. Noon - 11pm

$435 = studio with assistant (for freelancers to bring work in and charge for themselves in addition to this price)
$520 = studio with in house engineer producing (+ production agreement)
$700 = studio with senior in house engineer (me) producing (+ production agreement)
$950 = major lable rate inc in house engineer (+ production agreement)

Studio is small but jammed with cool stuff I have collected over the years..

"how do u equate money spent vs. what u can charge per day?" - impossible, mad business to get into!!!!
Old 26th July 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 
T_R_S's Avatar
Times are rough you can book an SSL room in Vancouver for $500.00/day (or even less) Canadian.
Old 26th July 2005
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Jason Poulin's Avatar
 

Neve room in Montreal go for $350 CAN a day and that's 24hour blocks with no engineer.

Big room, top noche gear, most mic/pre/comp possible.


http://www.economik.com/studio_b_f.htm

Best rates I've seen.


Jason
Old 26th July 2005
  #9
Lives for gear
 
audioez's Avatar
 

STUDIO RATES

are lower than ever!!!! in NYC...as long as the record co. aren't hoggin up the spaces!
Old 26th July 2005
  #10
Lives for gear
 
macr0w's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Poulin
Neve room in Montreal go for $350 CAN a day and that's 24hour blocks with no engineer.

Big room, top noche gear, most mic/pre/comp possible.


http://www.economik.com/studio_b_f.htm

Best rates I've seen.


Jason
that's quite an equipment list.
Old 26th July 2005
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Poulin
Here's what we recorded there.


my band... deathmetal




What format was that recorded to?



Old 26th July 2005
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Jason Poulin's Avatar
 

Tascam MX-2424


Jason
Old 26th July 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 
nukmusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xiandishinger
i have a multi faceted question about studio rates.
1- what do u charge for your room and gear?
2-do u charge seperately for engineer or is engineer included in ur fees.
3-what is a good room itself worth? (not counting gear/engineer)
4-what is a good engineer worth (not counting room and gear)
and the mostly difficult question
5- how do u equate money spent vs. what u can charge per day?

i have a mid-level project studio with about 20K worth of gear and a very good set of ears. i have been charging a small fee and basically have been ripping myself off. i live in the midwest (Kentucky) and my market is small. but i do the best work around and i have a very good room. do i keep it available for $100-$200 day or should i increase to $500 or more?


I've always wondered if "Cost Of Living" factors into the rates(USA)??? Some cities cost more to living and work in, while other are much cheaper.

How do you folks see this?
Old 26th July 2005
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Sorry but I have been to some of these studios in Montreal and although equipment is great and people are nice the sound obtained was really below standards.

Equipment does not equate quality! Its really the person behind the board.

I guess it all depends on "yes its great but compared to what".

Its still may be worth it if you bring your own engineer.

In Montreal there is a studio in every corner, so you get the bargaining customer on the phone....well I can get cheaper at so and so....can you do better?
NO! Please go there and come back when you are willing to pay reasonable rates.
We have way too many people with a PC and a few mikes that have absolutely no idea what they are doing but know enough to convince people to record in their parent's basement. I must say though that I have been impressed by one or 2 studios here that are quite small but whose engineer/owner get excellent results. So it is possible to get great rates and quality.

Sorry for the rant but I am sometimes ashamed of what passes for quality in this city. (Not everyone but I knwo some of those cheap Neve equiped studios and they simply have no substance. IMHO.

Jim
Old 26th July 2005
  #15
Our rate is for a

Mix + rig / ProControl / vintage & cool outboard set up

but most of our clients have NO IDEA about what gear we own

(none have any concept of PT HD being better than Mix +, they really aren't aware of any diference or even what "HD" is)

They are there because of our reputation and want us to produce them. Thats is what our charges are based on. Our logic is - We hope they will get deals and come back to do more work at the "major lable rate"

We have a small group of freelance engineers & producers that book the studio, they DO know what gear we have They are very tollerant that we don't have PTHD (but none of them are working at 96k and they like our spendy non Digi converters) but we have to keep the studio price low enough so that THEY can add THEIR daily rate to the sesssion and still make $$$. The quality of our assistant engineer staff is very "key" to these booking. The studio is not for hire to anyone as a 'self drive' studio (except to one ex staff member who knows it like the back of his hand) ALL outside engineers & producers have an assistant on sesssion fulltime.

So to sum up

As a "production hub" - our gear counts for very little / nothing to our artist / clients / bands

As a empty studio for hire - our gear & assistant staff counts for a LOT with our freelance engineer / producer clients.

Therefore...

I would guess that for bands & artists only - if you set up an amazing LOOKING studio / a great place to work in... You could keep the bands happy without spending the megga $$$ on gear...cause they wouldnt know the difference...
Decor
Accoustics
Great monitors
Cheap gear

If you want to attract freelancers - then the gear becomes far more important..
Decor
Accoustics
Great monitors
Trained staff
Lots of $$$ gear

As you progress as an engineer you will want to work with better & better stuff as time progresses..

it's a CURSE!

Old 26th July 2005
  #16
most of the time its $50 an hour with me. I have alot of gear and offer either 2"
analog or daw recording or usually a combination of both. I dont charge anymore for different services, except for playing on a track. I can keep my rate low since the studio is built out in my home so no rent and I own the gear outright.
Old 26th July 2005
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab
most of the time its $50 an hour with me. I have alot of gear and offer either 2"
analog or daw recording or usually a combination of both. I dont charge anymore for different services, except for playing on a track. I can keep my rate low since the studio is built out in my home so no rent and I own the gear outright.
I would LOVE (L.O.V.E) to have a working for hire studio in my house. I have the gear and on the edge of enough room but I also have a girlfriend (more than it sounds but we are not married so... ) and a few dogs to contend with.

Studio in the house is the best way to go because there is so much less overhead. I have been tempted to look at another house around the area to rent or rent to own but I am not sure I want to take on the extra expense.....

Anyway I could charge $30 to $50 an hour and be booked pretty solid. At 40 hours a week at $30 an hour I would take a huge pay cut from my current job but I would also probably keep my sanity....
Old 26th July 2005
  #18
Gear Nut
 
Micgiver's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred
Our "indie" rate is $95/hr for tracking or mixing, but can be had for less with guaranteed "block" rates. That includes me as first engineer and the gear that you see on our "A" rate at our studio (see link below). I think our rate is silly cheap @ the block rate, but I've seen huge million dollar rooms charge close to the same which is very sad. But that's really the bane of this industry, those rooms are going out of business every day because they cannot self sustain. But it's really very variable as to what you can get. If you have a comfortable room, great sound, great gear, and a good reputation you can get more. If you are a bigger fish in a small market you can get more. If you have a 'niche' (for us that includes a decent size drum room and 2" 16 track analog which that specific combination is not available anywhere close to us). We also offer a lower "B" rate, where the customer doesn't have access to most of the higher level gear (like the better mics, 2" tape, the better console, and most of the outboard gear, but they still get Class A-A/B preamps, Lavry conversion and the better tracking room though so it's value added), but this lower rate is intended for 'demo' quality.

My advice is to see what other similar studios in your area are charging, and charge similarly. Once you grow in gear/service/knowledge/sound quality you can charge more. When you are booked more than you can handle, raise your rates again until it puts you into the amount of hours you are comfortable working. I did something like 52 hours of engineering in the last 7 days, for me that's more than enough (considering I've got to run the pro audio biz too), I'd prefer it to be more like 30-40 a week, so maybe I'll raise the rate. But at the same time, this business is often feast or famine so the good times can balance out the bad times.
I saw your studio and I would never pay $95 an hour..... no offense
the reason the "big studios" are closing is because of guys like you that seem to to be charging similar prices. P.s. $95?
dfegad
Old 26th July 2005
  #19
Lives for gear
 
blackcatdigi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
At 40 hours a week at $30 an hour I would take a huge pay cut from my current job but I would also probably keep my sanity....
(Not aimed at you in particular, but rather a good rule of thumb for these bluesky projections):

I'd take those projections (best case) and multiply by (hopefully, worst case) 10%. Really.

Can you survive on that figure? If not, I'd be looking elsewhere for primary income. Just a tip.
Old 26th July 2005
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micgiver
I saw your studio and I would never pay $95 an hour..... no offense

The general rule of thumb is that if the studio is booked as much or more than the studio can handle, then the studio should raise their rate. And when studios aren't booked, they lower their rate. Of course you wouldn't pay us considering you work at BearTracks (nice place BTW, I just hope you are charging what it's worth...and getting it). How much do you charge for yourself when/ if freelancing (no gear included)? Why would anyone come to our studio if it wasn't worth it? (These are rhetorical questions BTW). That rate includes myself as 1st engineer with assistant. NY must be a lot different, there must be more cutthroat competition in your area than west Florida, because we are doing great. In our area we are undercharging, our block rate is $65/hr and you can't get anything as good for even close to this price in a publicly available studio within 300 mile radius...Vintage Neumanns, 2" 16 MM1200, Neve, API, 1176's, Lavry, ADAM, PMC's, yada yada...and it all works to 100% capacity (we have 3 techs local and out of state that take care of anything as soon as it breaks).

The closest studio to us that is our biggest competition charges 20% more, and gives you a lot less sonically. Literally **** from the late 80's only, no analog, preamps are prosumer, converters are B-, no tape, room is equivalent to ours, only mixing ITB, NS-10's & Mackie speakers. Everything they offer that's even remotely good is a rental, their best mic is a U87ai. If you rented all equivalent gear from them to make it the same as ours, it would end up being $500/hr from them. You couldn't rent all the gear we offer as standard for $95/hr either. Our biz charges offsite $95/hr + travel just for myself (consultation, minimal stereo remote recording). I've been OVERbooked solid (i.e OT) since after the Tape Op Conference (and very busy before just not to the point of burn out), I have to actually schedule time off, so we must be doing something right. I'm not trying to brag, it's just that I can tell you don't understand my market, and are basing it only on what's going on in your immediate area. Unless you are doing multiplatinum work, then it's all about what's happening within a one hour drive.



Quote:
the reason the "big studios" are closing is because of guys like you that seem to to be charging similar prices. P.s. $95?

That doesn't make much sense. I'm the cause of the big studios closing, give me a break. We're a 'mid level' studio, with a mid level price. I would consider $300/hr-$600/hr an upper level price, 3x's to 9x's our general price. People going to studios of that level are not self financed. But there are a breed of customers looking for better than the typical $50/hr studio, something more value added (gear, skill, room). Guys with studios 'better' than ours (who include first engineer, again this isn't a sound hotel) should be charging accordingly. If a studio is worth, say a couple million dollars, has to charge $100/hr, then I would not think they would be in business for very long IMO (which has apparently been happening). It doesn't sound like a smart business plan. There are many more other reasons that studios go out of business, such as their market can't bear their weight i.e. too saturated, mismanagement, or everybody in their area (i.e. producers) are recording at home.
Old 26th July 2005
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
the reason the "big studios" are closing is because of guys like you that seem to to be charging similar prices. P.s. $95?
HAHAHA you haven't seen nothing yet! The studio I'm developing will be state of the art acoustically and will have no competition equipment wise in my city of 600,000 people.

Rate: Free
Engineer: Free

I'm doing it for the love Rock & Roll and good original music. Opening is March of 2006. The only catch is you can only use it for a week - then your outta there. heh
Old 27th July 2005
  #22
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
Anyway I could charge $30 to $50 an hour and be booked pretty solid. At 40 hours a week at $30 an hour I would take a huge pay cut from my current job but I would also probably keep my sanity....
Is that rate of $30 an hour fair to you? Is it fair to you clients? How about your competition?

If two out of those three are a yes, then it's probably fair but you should raise it. If it's only one of the three then you should definatly raise it!
Old 27th July 2005
  #23
Quote:
Is that rate of $30 an hour fair to you? Is it fair to you clients? How about your competition?

If two out of those three are a yes, then it's probably fair but you should raise it. If it's only one of the three then you should definatly raise it!
(sorry just thinking outloud)

Well I have most of my gear paid off. The part that is not paid I could pay off in 2 months if I really put my mind to it so my only overhead would be the space, either a rental or a mortgage on a house in the area. I believe the zoning laws in my area state that I can have a home run business as long as it is confined to one room of the house (I could fake that) and that I live there as my full time residence (I could fake that as well).

So really I would only need to cover $800 or $900 a month plus plus and plus (utilities, insurance etc). That is nothing with my current salary but that is a big chunk of change on a new business.

I have kicked around the idea of going to part time at my day gig while I start to build up my client list again (I have been out of the game for real for a bout 4 years, maybe a bit more).

I could live on my part time income with out too much problem but I could not buy any gear (that would suck) but at $30 an hour I could build a client base pretty quickly. I produce a good product, I make my clients happy and I have good to great gear.

Every day at my day gig I feel like I am loosing a little more of myself so as I said at one point it will be better for my health to make a whole lot less but do what I want..... *sigh* Someday (or at least I keep telling myself that anyway)

heh

Money has a funny way of trapping a person doesn't it????
Old 27th July 2005
  #24
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micgiver
I saw your studio and I would never pay $95 an hour..... no offense
the reason the "big studios" are closing is because of guys like you that seem to to be charging similar prices. P.s. $95?
dfegad
Have you heard the records that come out of Nathan's room? Have you heard the records that come out of the other rooms in his area? Do you know what the scene in his area is like?
Old 27th July 2005
  #25
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
So really I would only need to cover $800 or $900 a month plus plus and plus (utilities, insurance etc). That is nothing with my current salary but that is a big chunk of change on a new business.
(...)
I could live on my part time income with out too much problem but I could not buy any gear (that would suck) but at $30 an hour I could build a client base pretty quickly. I produce a good product, I make my clients happy and I have good to great gear.
What's more important?

Building a client base quickly based on a low rate? Or building a client base slowly based on quality of work that enables you to earn more and live well over the long haul?

Covering the nut is only part of the battle. Imagine a dude in a high end multi-room facility and what his monthly nut is, figure the electric bill alone is $1500 a month. Now imagine a guy like yourself who's whole nut is $1500.

If both engineers are turning out similar product in a similar market, who should, could or would charge more?

Or would they charge about the same rate?

How do credits play into it? Or are they not a factor in the calculation of a day rate?
Old 27th July 2005
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micgiver
I saw your studio and I would never pay $95 an hour..... no offense
the reason the "big studios" are closing is because of guys like you that seem to to be charging similar prices. P.s. $95?
dfegad
This has to be one of the funniest posts I've read in a while.

Nathan - Quit charging similar prices and forcing big studios to close...dammit!
Old 27th July 2005
  #27
Gear Nut
 
Micgiver's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred
The general rule of thumb is that if the studio is booked as much or more than the studio can handle, then the studio should raise their rate. And when studios aren't booked, they lower their rate. Of course you wouldn't pay ........
When I went to your link It sent me to your B room....thats all I saw until I took a second look at your gear list, samples and best of all your nice A room. It was a cold remark and Im sorry. Im a fool for stating something before i saw for myself your full studio.
Old 27th July 2005
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
What's more important?

Building a client base quickly based on a low rate? Or building a client base slowly based on quality of work that enables you to earn more and live well over the long haul?
I think what is more important is the ability to pay my bills while at the same time taking about 1/2 off the top of my current income.. heh That is always the hard thing to do, go down in pay, especially that drastically.

Quote:
Covering the nut is only part of the battle. Imagine a dude in a high end multi-room facility and what his monthly nut is, figure the electric bill alone is $1500 a month. Now imagine a guy like yourself who's whole nut is $1500.

If both engineers are turning out similar product in a similar market, who should, could or would charge more?
Well I figure there are different answers to the questions. Who should be chargeing more is the guy (or gal) who is producing the best product. That should come from the larger studio but it is not always the case (in my expereince) that the best product comes from the larger studio and it is also not always true that the studio with the best product makes the most money, hard one to judge there.

I think the studio that looks the most impressive (big huge tracking room, 96 in console etc.) changes the highest rates. It is funny because I have worked in a larger sound hotel and the cient reaction is much different there than it is at a smaller project studio.
Quote:
Or would they charge about the same rate?
In my area the larger studios and the smaller project places are in about the same bracket. The larger rooms are probably slightly under $100 an hour and the smallest project studios are around $30 an hour give or take, most places are in the $50-$60 range. The smaller places at $30.. well I have not heard anything great out of them (nothing near what I feel my projects sound like anyway.. not to break my arm patting my own back).

Quote:
How do credits play into it? Or are they not a factor in the calculation of a day rate?
Not really a factor here, we are talking local bands and at some point maybe some regional stuff.
Old 27th July 2005
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micgiver
When I went to your link It sent me to your B room....thats all I saw until I took a second look at your gear list, samples and best of all your nice A room. It was a cold remark and Im sorry. Im a fool for stating something before i saw for myself your full studio.

Thanks, that was a nice thing to say. thumbsup
Old 27th July 2005
  #30
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
I think what is more important is the ability to pay my bills while at the same time taking about 1/2 off the top of my current income.. heh That is always the hard thing to do, go down in pay, especially that drastically.
No doubt...I'm just wondering why you'd want to give up half of your current income (which I would assume is stable) to go into the unstable world of recording. I did it a long time ago and didn't regret it, but I was also engineering about 40 hours a week at the time and I was making a lot more then I was at the day gig.

Quote:
Well I figure there are different answers to the questions. Who should be chargeing more is the guy (or gal) who is producing the best product.
There is no "best" product, or "best" engineer or even a "best" flavor of ice creme. If your setting a rate for yourself as an engineer, then it's based on your work as an engineer and not the studio.

Quote:
I think the studio that looks the most impressive (big huge tracking room, 96 in console etc.) changes the highest rates. It is funny because I have worked in a larger sound hotel and the cient reaction is much different there than it is at a smaller project studio.
That's a huge truth. Potential clients will listen with their eyes before they open their ears. It's actually one of the reasons I closed my shop down a year ago and went freelance.

Quote:
In my area the larger studios and the smaller project places are in about the same bracket. The larger rooms are probably slightly under $100 an hour and the smallest project studios are around $30 an hour give or take, most places are in the $50-$60 range. The smaller places at $30.. well I have not heard anything great out of them (nothing near what I feel my projects sound like anyway.. not to break my arm patting my own back).
If you think you're that much better then the $30 places, maybe you should charge more then $30 lol. Who knows, maybe it'll help drive up rates for all of us if we start charging what we're worth.

I can't tell you what to do, but if you really want to take the plunge and dive-in, go for it. Just make sure you really think though all the permutations of it and have some kind of business plan together.

(why is the yin/yang sideways? there's gotta be bad karma there)
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