Avoid The Single Biggest Mistake When Booking A Studio!

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You've done your research. You've googled all of the recording studios in your area, listened to examples and read reviews, right? Good! But, should that be the end of your research trail?

Typically, a studio will have a section on their website with a music player that they've loaded up with all of their best work. You listen. You're impressed. You book time.

You might have gone down the Google rabbit hole a bit further and found the studio your favorite band recorded in. You don't even need to visit the examples page. I mean, your favorite band recorded there! It's going to be great. You book time.

What's missing from your research is not where, but who. If you needed surgery (and hopefully you don't and never do) you wouldn't research hospitals - you would research doctors. The worlds greatest heart surgeon can work in any hospital. We're relying on the doctor's expertise to achieve the results, not the room s/he is working in. Of course this assumes the hospital is equipped with the tools s/he needs to work. The same goes for making an album, recording a song, or getting it mixed or mastered. A professional studio provides the tools, the engineer or producer creates the sound.

I've witnessed some horror stories of clients (you) getting taken advantage of through clever marketing.

Studios love celebrities. Just check out the client page on any studio website. It's a list of the most popular / famous people to step foot on the facility since the day it opened. Scroll to the bottom and you'll probably see "and many more!". Those are the people I care about. What the studios don't tell you is that 9 times out of 10 the celebs on that list brought their own team, and probably their own gear. So while technically yes, so-and-so recorded at such-and-such studios, you won't ever have an opportunity to work with the same people who made their record! Those people were hired by the record label who outsourced the studio to save some money. And if that singer requires a $40,000 vintage microphone, they probably brought their own.

So how do we avoid this marketing trick? Ask questions! Studios with staff engineers and producers typically have a few on rotation. You want to know exactly who worked on the project that drew you to that studio.

Im not saying that staff engineers and producers won't make you an amazing record, or that all studios are out to trick you. I was a staff engineer at a really cool studio for a few years. I met a lot of extremely talented artists and formed long lasting relationships that I still continue to work with out of that very studio to this day.

If you know exactly the sound you want, research the "who" and not just the "where". Otherwise, be open to a new experience! It might be just the sound your project needs.