Home Recording Vs Studio Recording – Kit Or Pro Studio Sound?
When it comes to recording your music, you have a number of options in front of you. You could get yourself down to a recording studio, pay out for the expertise and equipment use, and get the results you want. If not, you could buy in all the equipment you need and do the recording yourself. If you are considering whether to go down the DIY route for recording your music, there are a number of considerations you should take into account before you splash out on some pricey hardware and software plug ins. In the following article, we will discuss some of these and hopefully shed some like on the best option for you.
One of the first things you need to think about is the cost. Although be careful, you shouldn’t confuse cost with value. If you go out and spend an amount of cash on home recording equipment and you find you don’t get the results you want, it’s money down the drain. Of course you may have financial constraints, but you shouldn’t go for the seemingly cheaper option and not get the results you want.
To give you an idea on the kinds of costs that are associated with creating your own home recording studio and a professional studio session, below are some figures that have been taken from various providers:
The home recording starter kit
You can go with a bundle kit; this is advantageous in that you know the hardware and software will be compatible with each other and generally this is a lower cost option. The other option is to buy the components separately; this is probably for the more advanced and knowledgeable buyer, but could yield a better quality bundle with distinct enhancements in required areas. Looking at various starter kits available, prices range from as little as £200 all the way up to, and sometimes in excess of, £1,000. It is safe to assume that the lower end is less likely to give you the desired recording quality.
There are various ways to pay for the recording studio sessions, but one common way is by the hour (or in hourly bundles). To give you an idea on the costs that could be involved, we will consider one particular provider www.recordingstudiolondon.co.uk, (although many recording studios we looked at were in a similar price range). This provider uses the following pricing range:
Studio with standard engineer is £325 for the first 9 hours – each extra hour is £35
Studio with senior engineer is £395 for the first 9 hours – each extra hour is £40
Studio with senior engineer, musician and producer is £495 for the first 9 hours – each extra hour is £55
Agreed, a recording studio, ran by a professional, could seem like the most expensive route to take (given you could be looking at multiple sessions over a period of time with various professionals involved), but this is not always the case. Consider the DIY route, without the skills and experience of the professional recording engineer, how long are you going to spend tweaking and manipulating the audio to get it right? Will you be able to give yourself a space to do the recording which exhibits the right acoustics? Do you have the same quality of equipment that will capture the sound in the way that you really want?
There is another issue to consider and this is focus! If you are recording at home, you have all the time in the world, you are in a comfortable environment and the pressure is off. These may all sound like positive aspects, but to put another spin on it, you could lose focus and determination. If you organise and pay for a set time in a recording studio, your focus and determination will be enhanced. You will be well prepared in order to ensure you get the best value for your expense. Your songs will be prepared and well-practiced, you will know what you want to get out of the session, and your recording engineer will be briefed and ready to get you the results you want.
Before we rule out the idea of getting your DIY recording studio set up, there are some benefits to obtaining the equipment you would need. Firstly, going down the recording studio route is expensive and can only offer a finite amount of recording time. Once the session is over, if you don’t have the result you wanted, you need to pay again and hope you get there. If you have invested in the equipment, you have time on your side. You can tweak, practice and change all the variables to get the sound you want.
Another point to consider is mixing. If you have the skills and the equipment, you could attempt this at home, but chances are you are not going to get the quality you are looking for. One route to getting the desired results, and make the professional process a smoother and less expensive one is to do an initial mix on your own equipment before submission to a professional. This way you get the mixing engineer to spend all of their time making your tracks sounds as great as possible and not have to worry about cutting out the obvious flaws.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider, and we have only just touched the surface of all the components that would help you make the right decision. The best advice would be to do your research, get some clear goals in mind, decide on your budget and skill level and take the plunge. There is a great deal if information available online, so do your research.