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What sort of studio could one build for 100K? Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 1st May 2003
  #1
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

What sort of studio could one build for 100K?

I plunked out about 50K for my studio, and it consistently brings in clients at $40/hr. I think that with quality gear coming down in price, one could spend 100k and have a really nice studio that draws clients willing to pay $75-100/hr. What do y'all think? And why?
Old 1st May 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
atticus's Avatar
Well for starters you could score a pretty decent console for that kind of jack, which is always a client grabber. At that price you may be able to score a very used SSL or Neve VR along with a few other name pieces. So you could go several routes, either the big console with a little outboard or a super trick DAW with tons of cool outboard. It's an interesting choice, but I think that you could probably get better sound going with the latter scenario.
Old 1st May 2003
  #3
At the level you want to step up to, the gear is just a small piece of the pie.

Location,services and your competition are more important factors.

If its Cali,NYC or Nashville if $45hr is letting you pay your bills,put some food on the table and have enough just survive than you are lucky. Keep it that way.

The Mid level recording studio is just about dead. The home/project studio phenomenon has just about done away with the need.

Sure with $100K you can buy a lot of cool gear, but it comes with its own headaches also.

If you buy an SSL or Neve VR you will need proper ventihilation. That means your electric bills wil double. How about maintance(which up to now you are probably doing yourself right?). A new console equals new wiring=$$$$

All of this will not guarantee new customers. You may actually may lose some(which is normal) who are happy just paying $45hr for your services. You will have to up the advertisement costs. Maybe hire a new studio manager to go out an hustle clients away from the other mid studios, which means you will have to pay them=$$$$

Also lastly you are getting a new kind of clientele who are used to certain benefits. Hey why not remodel the studio while we are at it?=$$$$

Is it an ugly picture I am painting?

You betcha!!grudge

The studio business is first and foremost a business. And it has to be treated as so, if you will survive in the long run.
Old 2nd May 2003
  #4
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

What level of studio is safest in these DAW times?
Old 2nd May 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 
littledog's Avatar
 

depends how big a Steinway you want to buy!
Old 2nd May 2003
  #6
Quote:
Originally posted by Fat Cat
What level of studio is safest in these DAW times?

Not that I ever eat there, but I went by a Mcdonalds today and peeked inside to see if it was still busy(with all of the flak going on around the world)and the answer is yes.

I think a Mcdonald's like studio, fast service, high turn around,low price,low investment will do ok.

I notice here in NYC, the studios with the highest volume are the low cost rap studios.

Now it comes with a price(have you ever used a Mcdonalds bathroom?)

The kind of clientele won't be the greatest, but you will be booked 24/7.

The other extreme also survives, the big,cavernous, money is no object type of place. Even though they aren't doing as great, I can't see The Hitfactory or the Record Plant closing down. They are run like a true business, not like an artist hangout.

If you are in the middle, eventually you will be squeezed out.

Here in America there is no room for the middle class. grudge

I had a great conversation the other day with a semi-famous old school producer. The argument was the studio business. His argument was that there really isn't a need for a recording studio anymore. The market has kinda squeezed it out. the cheaper things get, the more an more there will be less of a need. He did stress though that there is still a big need for great engineers. Guys that can do all kinda stuff. With all of the home studios around, there is a greater need for skilled operators.

I agreed to a point. I do believe that mid level studios should focus less on the gear and more on hiring the best engineers they can find. Here in NYC that is how a lot of the top studios built their reputations. Basically they had the best guys and everyone came there to work with them. As their reputations grew, so did the studios. What I disagreed with him on, was that I believe that as the bottomn gear gets better, the top stuff will also but it should be at a higher price. I know it sounds crazy, but I believe that there should be a line established again, between professional and semi professional products. In the old days if you wanted a certain sound, you had to go to such and such studio. I think if we make the seperation again, it will force people to choose. I think making everything available has watered down stuff. Its like its ok to be mediocre. I know people will say, now I can make music like I've always wanted with out the hassles, but just because you can music, doesn't mean its good and you should put it out.

Man, I think people right now are overwhelmed with too many choices and when they choose they are dissapointed.

I know I am probably in the minority here on this, but its just an opinion.
Old 2nd May 2003
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Thrill,

You know what business Ray Kroc, MacDonald's founder, said he is in?

Fast food? No.

Real estate. He owns the land while the franchisee, in effect, pays for it. What do you think the value of all the MacDonalds' real estate is? It boggles the mind. The burgers and fries are just paying for Ray's real estate empire.

It seems to me, that the real longterm money to be made in the studio biz, especially in the cities you mention, is in the real estate. Own the land, let the biz (hopefully) make the nut and when it's time to leave, sell the land/building/biz/whatever you can.

After 25 years of doing this and a few studios built, I'd say the appreciation of the land a studio sits on, and maybe the building as well, are likely to be the most profitable longterm benefits, after all the depreciating gear, rep and slow times are factored in.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 2nd May 2003
  #8
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Thrill,

You know what business Ray Kroc, MacDonald's founder, said he is in?

Fast food? No.

Real estate. He owns the land while the franchisee, in effect, pays for it. What do you think the value of all the MacDonalds' real estate is? It boggles the mind. The burgers and fries are just paying for Ray's real estate empire.

It seems to me, that the real longterm money to be made in the studio biz, especially in the cities you mention, is in the real estate. Own the land, let the biz (hopefully) make the nut and when it's time to leave, sell the land/building/biz/whatever you can.

After 25 years of doing this and a few studios built, I'd say the appreciation of the land a studio sits on, and maybe the building as well, are likely to be the most profitable longterm benefits, after all the depreciating gear, rep and slow times are factored in.


Regards,
Brian T

Hey Brian,

Excellent point!!

Its actually what first came to mind when I saw the post about the $100K.

What my mom said growing up" Son nothing in life lasts,relationships,job security,money, the only thing you'll have left is your land. Buy property!!!"

Here in NYC, the reason most studios go out of business, is not lack of clientele, but the crazy costs of the real estate its built on.

RENT!!!!grudge

The problem is alot of guys don't approach running a studio like a business, but more like trying to run a band.

They think more with their hearts...than with the wallet.heh
Old 2nd May 2003
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor

They think more with their hearts...than with the wallet.heh
That would be me as well, for about 24 out of the last 25 years.

You know, I would never normally be this candid, but it's 2:30AM and I'm still caffeine buzzed, so indulge me in a bit of musing......

I have made millions of $$$ over these years. (Wow, that looks weird in writing.) I have recorded, produced and mixed #1 records across many genres and charts, in various countries and continents. I worked many hard weeks, months and years to get there. But I would not trade a hug and kiss from one of my daughters for all the "precious" metal on the studio wall.

I have never had substance issues, never done anything overtly and abysmally stupid (that I know of), have been married for 25 years now to the girl I dated in highschool. No money draining divorces for me.

Nevertheless, I have precious little of that money in my possession now, simply for the lack of wisdom. It's OK. Life's an adventure. I could be much richer or much poorer, financially, and still feel well blessed in my relationships.

But for those of you in your teens and twenties. Be smart. Learn to know good advice when you hear it and more importantly, follow the rare good advice you get.

Buy, don't rent.

Live within your means, even when your friends don't.

Save some money. You'll need it at some point.

And most importantly..........

You will never regret having been kind. But you will regret having been hateful, even if you don't think so at the time.



Regards,
Brian T


P.S. It's not the one with the most toys that wins. It's the one with the most peace in their heart. Chase that.


(The philosopher now shuffles off to bed for the night.)
Old 2nd May 2003
  #10
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

Gosh, after reading those posts I feel like selling my studio and buying some land in Montana, where I can have some tranquility and peace of mind.

Of course, if I wanted peace of mind I probably wouldn't be in the music business. I would just be some hippie playing folk songs by the sea.

Brian T., you did have an addiction problem: Making music sound good. I'd bet that most everyone on this forum does.

One of my goals to achieve in the next 10 years, is to Produce good artists and get paid well to do it. What would be a good back up plan if that dos'nt happen?
Old 2nd May 2003
  #11
Gear Nut
 
drummerman15's Avatar
 

I certainly agree with the "buy, don't rent" mentality. Owning the real estate gives you so many more options (even in down times). Case in point: I bought my property 5 yrs ago and since then it has more than doubled on the marketplace. That equals precious equity! That equity is allowing me to refinance (super low rates now) and get some almighty cash for what else....more gear that I will also own (not rent or lease). In addition, you get the tax write-off on the interest you pay (which for the first 5 years is basically all of the mortgage payment - i.e. $1,000.00 p/mo = a $12,000.00 write off at year end!). And, guess what, if it all comes crashing down, the property and gear go nowhere- liquidate and probably make money. If you rent, you just return the keys and get nothing.

Also, go for the property first and let the equipment come in later. Conventional wisdom indicates that it will increase in value (there's only so much of it after all). Equipment does not appreciate as fast as real estate (with the exception of the Fairchild 670)

my $0.02
Old 2nd May 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 
subspace's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Fat Cat

One of my goals to achieve in the next 10 years, is to Produce good artists and get paid well to do it. What would be a good back up plan if that dos'nt happen?
Marry well.
Old 3rd May 2003
  #13
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Great posts, guys....esp. your last one, Brian. Wow.

As for the studio business...like Thrill, I basically see a future for the very top end and for the very cheap end (aka the rap room with PT and one mic and a couple turntables and big speakers).

I have one studio of each and they are both doing pretty well in these catastrophic times for studios and record sales.

The high-end one is always busy simply because there is still a great deal of demand for that kind of studio compared to the number of rooms that truly meet those requirements...not as many as you'd think...and we're starting to get there. You're looking at a cumulative investment of $2-10 million for that level of facility if you want to own the real estate and building.

And the low-end studio is always busy because it's cheap enough for all the rap auto-productions in town and the word in those circles gets out very quickly. Investment: $200k in property and $30k in gear.

I don't know how important advertising is because I've never done any of the formal kind for either studio. Given limited time and resources, I felt the most important thing was to take care of clients. Word of mouth is probably the most efficient advertising there is.

Between the two studios and the three hats I wear (studio owner, engineer/producer, and artist/composer/singer in a band)...there is a certain need to be multi-faceted & adaptable, and to get great people involved to help out. Listen to advice, don't re-invent the wheel -- I will never forget the kindness of people like Chris Stone, Jules, Ed C., GM, Jungle Girl, Mix Fix and Dave Reitzas who took their precious time to help to me figure out what to do. Above all, learn from your mistakes. You're sure to make some -- boy, I sure did and still do. Learning from them and from your mentors, clients and peers (like you guys), and running the studio or your career like a real business, is what separates the men from the boys.
Old 3rd May 2003
  #14
Lives for gear
 
littledog's Avatar
 

Some of the earlier responses on this thread really resonated with my situation. It reminds me of a few years back when i invited Dave Moulton over to my place to give me some advice on creating an organized long-term studio improvement plan.

After viewing my space, his unforgettable words were:

"Wow, you're one of the few people I've met who has successfully managed to stuff a gallon of **** into a quart bottle."

Not sure whether I should be proud or embarassed, I began muttering about how I fantasized about building an extra room, etc. I also started reciting a long list of expensive equipment and acoustic improvements that I would like to do.

He cut me off... (I'm paraphrasing here, as i don't have an actual transcript of the conversation):

"Listen, you have a thriving little business here dealing with the bottom feeder end of the market. You enjoy what you do. You have list of steady clientele who feel you give good quality product for the price you charge, and they generate even more business for you via word of mouth. As soon as you start talking about sinking $50,000-$100,000 (or more) in new construction and radical equipment improvement, you will automatically price yourself away from all but a few of your current clients. That means you will have to fight to take clients away from existing studios that are on a much higher level than the studios you are currently successfully competing against. Your past success provides no guarantee of future success at that higher level. So are you sure you want to take that gamble, essentially trying to fix what ain't really broken?"

Hmmmmmm....

A few years later, I would like to report that this little dog is still camped out in his quart bottle....
Old 3rd May 2003
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
fishtop_records's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
Thrill,

You know what business Ray Kroc, MacDonald's founder, said he is in?

Fast food? No.

Real estate.

More recently, the official McD's business is two fold:
1) real estate
2) retail sales

#1 is as said before. #2 is selling "stuff" which is usually
Happy Meal toys, collector glasses, and an occasional
hamburger and fries.

McDonalds are not called "restuarants" they are called
"stores". There is a reason.

I had moved from the small, cheap project studio
into the larger, better studio with real mics, a selection
of pres, etc. hoping that I could partially recover
my gearlust. Hah!. Low end projects studios
have killed my business of being a mid-tier
project studio. I feel only sympathy for
folks trying to earn a living as a mid-tier
commercial studio.
Old 3rd May 2003
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Guys! All this talk of mid-level studios going down the pan by being squeezed between lo-end project studios & the hi-end dumping their rate cards, you're getting me worried here.

Here's my situation: I live in a region where there are no hi-end studios, in neighbouring regions there are a couple of nice places but they are i) expensive ii) in remote,hard to get to areas, and ridiculous as it may seem, it would be quicker to get to London which is twice the distance iii) generally privately owned with the odd commercial booking (from their mates in the industry) & do not serve the local or regional music scene.

The lo-end market is oversubscribed with digital set-ups in mostly cramped conditions with poorly stocked mic cupboards & outboard racks. The talent behind these places is IMHO not up to much either if what my ears have heard is to be believed.

So, no other option for me than to build my own shop. While money is a problem at one level, I certainly have resources way above anyone else around and have managed to buy the premises and arranged for loans for the fit-out from close family at better rates than the bank. I already own a large console & 2" & PTLE and a couple of bits of tasty outboard.

I have a decent track record & experience with running a studio in London and working with label clientele.

I want a studio that is better equipped and better sounding than anyone else. In a way, it's my Unique Selling Point.
But, it won't cost people the earth because being where I am and my financial situation makes it easier. I would not attempt this if I were still in London, property & rates prohibit this (I notice a couple of studios not open long are up for sale already).

Well, that's the plan. Does anyone think I should stop before it's too late???!!

I agree with Thrill on a couple of things posted, the line between pro & semi-pro gear is becoming increasingly blurred and I think it's largely down to certain manufacturers relationships with 'box-shifter' retail businesses. The biggest sector in pro-audio appears to be pro-audio retail, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me .

But the one that gets me as Thrill pointed out in his'conversation' was the SKILL of the engineer. The lo-end market is killing the art of recording & the recording schools aren't redressing this at all.
If the independent, internet revolution is going to succeed, then surely it needs access to good engineers, producers and facilities at an affordable price. Unfortunately, it seems to be polarized with the hi-end dealing only with the money-no-object labels and the lo-end producing stuff no-one can listen toheh !
Old 3rd May 2003
  #17
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Offering the standard of quality, comfort and services that the folks with budgets demand costs so much money that the top 5 rooms in my market do not dump their rate cards very often. They can't do that if they want to survive and continue to invest in the quality of gear and service and maintenance. And they don't need to most of the time.

The exception I see in my market would be to offer nice rates to indie producers and self-producing artists to fill a last-minute cancellation or a slow period like Christmas vacation.

FWIW, my low-end studio is much busier now than it was when it was a mid-level room with a lot of quality outboard and a big mic locker (now in the high-end room).

Go low, go high, but don't stay in the middle.

P.S. - Littledog, I was concerned about the exact same thing two years ago when considering whether to buy the 9k. I was also "warned" by competitors when considering 18 months ago to move to far larger 5000 sqr ft. premises...they said I'd lose my old clients and never get theirs.

What happened? 90% of my former clients moved over with me and found more budget/financing, I gave them nice rates for their loyalty (that nevertheless were still 2/2.5 times what they used to pay), and now they make up a stable half of the business in my high-end facility. It took them 2-6 months to step up to the higher level and get used to it. They're selling more and better-sounding records than ever.

The other half of our current biz came from new major-label clients and freelance engineers. It's not as base as stealing clients...it's about the natural tendency for people to want to try out the newest and latest, to meet the new babe on the block and see what she's about. If they like the experience, they come back for more.

Many of the best freelance engineers have killer home studios for overdubbing and editing...and they come to the mothership for tracking the basics and for the mix.

In any case, you do have to consider the level and quantity of the higher-end budgets in your local market within the radius of a 30-60 minute drive. That's going to be your bread and butter.
Old 3rd May 2003
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 

Jon,

Do you spend most of your time managing the studio or are you hands on with the sound mainly?

Working with audio, as an individual where does your expertise lie in as far as genre and your working role go?

Thanks

Renie
Old 3rd May 2003
  #19
Crispy...

If I were surrounded by cheap DAW studios, I would build a 'track & go" facility.

Create a 'big time' wood / stone / drum tracking room, with grand piano, hammond and vocal, bass, and two gtr rig booths...

Market it to DAW folks, use your experience to suggest mic's and tracking set ups. Then send em home to overdub & mix with the sound files..

Dont expect to keep all projects from 'soup to nuts'. I think this is blinkered thinking in this day & age.

Sure use the place from beginning to end for your OWN stuff.

I hope to expand later this year.... and will be offering this service to my freelance engineer chums, yes, even tracking to 2" tape (rented in per project)
Old 3rd May 2003
  #20
Quote:
Originally posted by crispy
Guys! All this talk of mid-level studios going down the pan by being squeezed between lo-end project studios & the hi-end dumping their rate cards, you're getting me worried here.

Here's my situation: I live in a region where there are no hi-end studios, in neighbouring regions there are a couple of nice places but they are i) expensive ii) in remote,hard to get to areas, and ridiculous as it may seem, it would be quicker to get to London which is twice the distance iii) generally privately owned with the odd commercial booking (from their mates in the industry) & do not serve the local or regional music scene.

The lo-end market is oversubscribed with digital set-ups in mostly cramped conditions with poorly stocked mic cupboards & outboard racks. The talent behind these places is IMHO not up to much either if what my ears have heard is to be believed.

So, no other option for me than to build my own shop. While money is a problem at one level, I certainly have resources way above anyone else around and have managed to buy the premises and arranged for loans for the fit-out from close family at better rates than the bank. I already own a large console & 2" & PTLE and a couple of bits of tasty outboard.

I have a decent track record & experience with running a studio in London and working with label clientele.

I want a studio that is better equipped and better sounding than anyone else. In a way, it's my Unique Selling Point.
But, it won't cost people the earth because being where I am and my financial situation makes it easier. I would not attempt this if I were still in London, property & rates prohibit this (I notice a couple of studios not open long are up for sale already).

Well, that's the plan. Does anyone think I should stop before it's too late???!!

I agree with Thrill on a couple of things posted, the line between pro & semi-pro gear is becoming increasingly blurred and I think it's largely down to certain manufacturers relationships with 'box-shifter' retail businesses. The biggest sector in pro-audio appears to be pro-audio retail, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me .

But the one that gets me as Thrill pointed out in his'conversation' was the SKILL of the engineer. The lo-end market is killing the art of recording & the recording schools aren't redressing this at all.
If the independent, internet revolution is going to succeed, then surely it needs access to good engineers, producers and facilities at an affordable price. Unfortunately, it seems to be polarized with the hi-end dealing only with the money-no-object labels and the lo-end producing stuff no-one can listen toheh !

Hi Crispy,

Looks like you are actually in a great situation.

As long as there is a demand and you have the means to fufill it, than its a worth while venture.

My point was more along the lines of selling your shirt(or starting in debt) to fufill it. If its the one thing in this business that I've learned is that once you start in debt, you will mostly likely end in it.

If that is your prospect, than it is not good business sense...especially nowadays. In the old days it was different, you could start in the hole and if the demand was large enough, you could wait it out and hopefully get your shirt back.

5 years was always the time table. If in 5 years you did not turn a profit, than it was a loss. Nowadays because of the accelaration of technology, that time table has been cut in half. I think 2 years is a great barometer. If in 2 years you are still in debt, than it will likely be a loss.

Hey we have to admit it to ourselves. To want to own a studio and run it as business is strictly a labor of love only. Business wise it just doesn't make financial sense(the depreciation of assets,increase in operation costs to maintain it, the minute you start to do better the salaries start to go up).

When we look at the numbers only, its actually a ridiculous proposition. If i were to tell you"hey lets setup a business that will not guarantee us any return,will have escalating costs every year,with our assets that depreciate faster and faster every year, that we have to payout salaries&taxes and we may not see a cent for ourselves after" what would you say?

Like its get out of my face!!!fuuck

That's what you are up against. I know its ugly,depressing and bleek.grudge

But the thing is Crispy, if against all that you still feel you can make it work, than more power to you.

For every obstacle in this world, it took someone with "big cajones" to move it.
Old 3rd May 2003
  #21
Here for the gear
 
chrisv's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
Crispy...

If I were surrounded by cheap DAW studios, I would build a 'track & go" facility.

Create a 'big time' wood / stone / drum tracking room, with grand piano, hammond and vocal, bass, and two gtr rig booths...

Market it to DAW folks, use your experience to suggest mic's and tracking set ups. Then send em home to overdub & mix with the sound files..

Dont expect to keep all projects from 'soup to nuts'. I think this is blinkered thinking in this day & age.

Sure use the place from beginning to end for your OWN stuff.

I hope to expand later this year.... and will be offering this service to my freelance engineer chums, yes, even tracking to 2" tape (rented in per project)
I'm with Jules on this one, this is the one thing that won't be squeezed out of the market with home DAW's.

I also think that if someone has $100K to blow on a studio, 75% should be spent on the room - it's the one thing that separates a 'real' studio from homereccers.

I know plenty of people that decide to record their own album at home, hiring pre's and mics (pretty cheap in the scheme of things compared to cost of ownership), but tracking drums, bass and guitars is virtually impossible at your noisey home or apartment.

It's really about assessing what's around and carving out your own niche. And a great sounding tracking room will almost always carve out it's own niche, especially if word gets around.

Chris
Old 3rd May 2003
  #22
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Renie
Jon,

Do you spend most of your time managing the studio or are you hands on with the sound mainly?

Working with audio, as an individual where does your expertise lie in as far as genre and your working role go?

Thanks

Renie
Hi Renie,

Studio-wise, I deal with finances, bookings and label relations and delegate the day-to-day operational/client service/maintenance/personnel aspects.

About 1/3 to 1/2 of my time is spent engineering or producing or composing/writing. I'd like to increase the time spent on that side and am currently recording/producing my band's album during off days. We play shows in Paris clubs now and then...the next one is at the New Morning on May 31.

Occasionally, I still do live FOH work or tour production, usually in exotic destinations, which is a nice change of vibe.

Lately I haven't had much time or inclination to engineer for clients much...much prefer engineering my own productions. Not competing with the freelancers for work is always a good policy, and my plate is really full enough with the rest.

Oh...to answer the second part of your question...I'm best at tracking and mixing guitar-and-live-drums-based rock/pop/metal music. Things like U2, Korn, Smashing Pumpkins/Zwan, Deftones, Audioslave/Rage, Tool, P.O.D., Mudvayne, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, the Beatles/Stones/Doors, etc. would be right up my alley.
Old 3rd May 2003
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Phew! Thanx Jules & Chris, I am thinking along exactly those lines. I agree that there is no point in creating a 'larger' DAW based set-up. It's more of yer classic music studio thing, with the big live room, but alas no grand piano as yet.
Old 4th May 2003
  #24
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Re: What sort of studio could one build for 100K?

Quote:
Originally posted by Fat Cat
I plunked out about 50K for my studio, and it consistently brings in clients at $40/hr. I think that with quality gear coming down in price, one could spend 100k and have a really nice studio that draws clients willing to pay $75-100/hr.
I've never seen much correlation between gear and what a studio can charge.

I've usually found that most people who are paying $75 an hour or more are paying with somebody else's money. What's important to them is comfort, location, easy parking, the ability to run their business from the studio as they record and a good enough reputation and appearance that THEIR CLIENT will never question their studio choice. There are little 8-track voice-over rooms on the right block in North Hollywood who get $100+ an hour and I know of SSL rooms in less than stellar locations that can only get $30.

I've enjoyed the thread. One of the first things Wally Heider ever said to me was "the studio business IS NOTHING BUT the real estate business." It's also funny that I can remember quipping to my mentor the first time I ever saw a little Tascam board around 1965 that "we ought to start a Mc Donalds of recording with these."
Old 4th May 2003
  #25
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

Excellent point Bob. Most of my current clients have no idea how good or bad my gear is, they just like the spaciousness of my rooms.- I made a point to build a large controlroom(30'x21'x10') and also a nice lobby with satellite, Playstation, microwave,etc..-and the quality of the end product is great. I feel that I cater to my clients needs better than my competitors, but I also think that I need to be more diverse so that I can fix and mix stuff that home recordists bring to me. I.e. more s/w and outboard.
Old 4th May 2003
  #26
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Fat Cat
Excellent point Bob. Most of my current clients have no idea how good or bad my gear is, they just like the spaciousness of my rooms.- I made a point to build a large controlroom(30'x21'x10') and also a nice lobby with satellite, Playstation, microwave,etc..-and the quality of the end product is great. I feel that I cater to my clients needs better than my competitors, but I also think that I need to be more diverse so that I can fix and mix stuff that home recordists bring to me. I.e. more s/w and outboard.
I agree that most clients can make little sense of a studio's gear list (although we as owners have the urge to make it as impressive as possible,if only to ourselves!).

Which is why I picked up a Bearinger Toob Comp on the cheap; sounds ****, looks GRRRREAT!
Old 4th May 2003
  #27
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Guys,

It sounds like you're describing trash-for-cash clients. On the other hand, any halfway-experienced artists/A&Rs and decent freelance engineers will know the difference between budget stuff and high-end gear. These clients generally want to see your equipment list before deciding to come visit and for budgeting what gear they have to rent to work at your place.

I think it's a bad idea to underestimate clients because the good ones usually know what they're doing.

Which kind of clients do you want?
Old 4th May 2003
  #28
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 

Jon,
I'm nowhere near competing with the big boys like yourself.
I wouldn't say my clients are trash for cash cause if their not somewhat serious, I turn them away gently. Though, all my clients are unsigned bands looking for a deal. My mantra is "how much do you have to spend?", "well this is how much you can expect to get recorded if you want it to sound good."

I guess I'll be happy for a few years just recording demo bands and hopefully one of these bands will get signed so I can ride the money train with everyone else!!!

Go ahead, gimme the "fat chance" speech.

heh
Old 4th May 2003
  #29
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Fat,

The question of what clients you want and where you want to be is key because it shapes your whole strategy.

If your clients don't know the difference, then it makes little sense -- as a business manager -- to spend any more on gear if they are happy now.

On the other hand, if your clients do know the difference and expect more, you will need to invest quite heavily to move to the high end without being stuck in the mid-level.

Changing client types is quite a shock...rather difficult and requiring a total change of mentality and business model. It is NOT impossible.

Either strategy is viable and possible...it's up to you to decide which you want and make it happen.
Old 4th May 2003
  #30
Gear Addict
 

I think in a similar thread I saw a while back, it was suggested a larger lounge with a pool table was a good step towards becoming a high dollar room. I would never underestimate the comfort issue. This thread is helping me decide that if I give the commercial thing a go in the future, I'm buying a big ass space to do great tracking rooms and booths along with the control room, and also some nice lounge facilities. (Certainly not in Houston, though . . .)

Bear
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