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HOME STUDIO vs PRO STUDIO

Home studios have evolved over the years to become genuine hit-making options for artists.  Professional studios have adapted to meet the demands and agility of the online remote musician by providing additional services.  Today, I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of the home studio versus the pro recording studio.

Now, I must preface this article by saying this is not a comparison that suggests either type of studio is better, it’s simply an overview of some of the key advantages and disadvantages of both options for recording artists.

EQUIPMENT

There’s no question that many studios (both professional and home-based) are leaning towards more minimalistic setups that are largely digitally based around computers.  The minimum requirements to record audio have changed dramatically over the years, with readily available industry standard tools now accessible to all artists and to suit all budgets.  If you’re an artist that works in the electronic music genre, you could literally get by with a laptop and a single input audio interface (and some decent software of course).  If you’re in a guitar-based band with a more traditional setup of drums, bass, guitars and vocals for example, you’re more likely to need access to a wider range of equipment (both in terms of instruments and recording gear).  This is where pro studios often have an advantage, as they often have many options available from instruments, to amps, effects, outboard gear etc.  Even if you don’t have any budget constraints around acquiring your own equipment, the learning curve and time needed to invest in figuring out how to operate it correctly can be significant.  So, it’s always worthwhile taking this into consideration, because an investment in a producer/engineer or an already established recording facility can be an advantage, depending on your situation.

EFFICIENCY

Speed and efficiency is super important in the studio, if you have any intentions of releasing music on a regular basis.  One of the great aspects of having a home studio, is that you can hit the record button as soon as that moment of creativity strikes.  With a bit planning and organisation, you can easily have a readily accessible, efficient and agile studio setup at home, that is tailored to your own style and technique.  If you’re a singer songwriter that plays predominantly acoustic guitar, for example, you can also get by with a laptop, decent interface and a couple of microphones.  When we’re talking about efficiency of recording big bands, that’s where a much larger pro recording facility is going to have the edge in efficiency.  Pro studios are designed to record many instruments and tracks simultaneously, whether it’s through a large format console or with a digital setup with upwards of 64 tracks plus.  Having assistance from an engineer and producer can really speed up the recording process for a band, who then have the freedom to focus on the performance, rather than trying to figure out the gain staging of multiple preamps and setting up microphones etc.

THE VIBE

Creating a vibe can be one of those elusive things that can often open up a whole new world of creativity when writing and recording music.  The benefit of having your own home studio, is that you can create your own vibe that caters specifically to your own creative needs.  No matter what you’re inspired by, you can setup the room to be as moody or quirky as you like, and that then becomes your creative space.  You can also easily make changes to the space whenever you like, creating fresh vibes whenever a new inspiration comes along.  Finding a vibe that suits your needs in a pro recording facility can be tricky, because pro studios are often setup in a fairly sterile way, as they are more functional spaces designed for capturing recordings efficiently and to cater to as many styles as possible.  Yes, there are definitely studios out there that do have a specific vibe that people may seek out, but it’s one of those aspects that’s very difficult quantify and it really does come down to personal taste.  If the vibe in the room is wrong, it’s more than likely the recording process may not necessarily turn out as expected.

THE ROOM

Pro studios invest a lot of time and money into getting the room to sound right.  It’s an expensive process and even after investing a lot, no room is ever perfect.  Some studios survive purely on their imperfections, as they create a sound that is unique and unattainable at other studios, and becomes an enduring quality.  It’s important to think about what your studio space is going to be used for predominantly.  For example, if you’re recording acoustic drums regularly at home, then you need to put some serious thought into sound proofing and acoustic treatment (not to mention sweet talking your neighbours!).   Even if you’re only planning on recording vocals in your home studio, the room can have a big influence on how that recording is going to turn out.  The size of the room will also play a big role and this is often the reason why bands will seek out larger facilities, simply so that can have the room to get the job done properly.  It’s important to do some research on the equipment you might need to create a space that sounds appropriate for the type of recording or post production that you plan to do in the space.  I’m not going to get into the specifics and principles of acoustic room treatment, but I do recommend you invest some time into setting up the room to get it sounding as best as possible for your recordings.

THE SERVICE & PEOPLE

For me personally, working with recording artists has been a passion of mine for sometime, I enjoy the process of creating a great environment for an artist and also creating a great experience, whether we are working together locally, or remotely online.  The service and the people that you might work with at pro studio can often be one of those elements that makes you feel good about the recording process and makes it a enjoyable experience, compared to a head-scratching stress session on your own at home.  Of course, everyone’s different and there’s no one-size-fits all when it comes to music production, but collaboration and working with other professionals can be a very rewarding experience for all involved.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article, I hope you’ve enjoyed delving into the world of home studios versus professional recording studios!

Until next time,

Mike

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