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Setting up a community studio
Old 21st July 2016
Gear Head
Xaser's Avatar
🎧 5 years
Setting up a community studio

Hi Sylvia,

thanks so much for doing this again! First round was epic

So I sometimes thought about setting up a small recording studio somewhere to support the local musician community (if I will every have enough cash). It should be a place were young bands that just play for fun could go and come together and record some songs, which would then hopefully sound a bit more decent than what they would record in their band room.

So I wonder what advice you would have when it comes to starting such a project, in terms of studio space, gear etc. maybe some hints on how to NOT blow all the money instantly on a fancy console. Just anything you have in mind about such an idea.
Old 7th August 2016
Radiant Being
SylviaMassy's Avatar
🎧 5 years
Community Music Center

What a great idea this is. I fully support your endeavor. I've often though about starting a similar place.

I would create a non-profit organization to get this started, and contact manufacturers for their support. Most manufacturers offer steep discounts to educational and non-profit programs teaching music and technical skills. Plus there are excellent private and government grant programs for the arts, but only to non-profits. This will help you to stretch out your own dollar investment. To go for the non-profit, you will need a very detailed plan on what you want to do. This will include:

-Mission Statement
-Key Personnel Info
-Start-up Costs (including equipment lists)
-Operational Plan (where is the facility?will there be accommodations?)
-Financial Plan (where will the funds come from? private/crowdfunding/grants)

As far as what to get for gear... well I would go with Pro Tools or Logic as your recorder. Solicit Apple for an educational discount on computers. Solicit software companies for discounts or comps on plug-ins. Presonus makes some reasonably priced and good sounding mic pres that you can rack mount. The M80 8-channel is very good. You'll probably need two or three of them. Here is a simple ensemble of mics and other gear:

1 Sennheiser 421
2 Shure SM57
4 Shure SM98
2 Shure SM81
2 Shure KSM 32

1 Countryman DI box
1 Sennheiser 421

2 Sennheiser 421
2 Shure SM57

2 Countryman DI
2 AKG 414

Shure SM57
Shure SM7

Mackie Big Knob
6 sets of Beyerdynamic D770 headphones
Furman Headphone System w/ 5 boxes
3 Presonus M-80 mic pres
KRK Rokit 6
Buncha Mic Cables
Buncha Instrument Cables
Buncha Speaker Cables
Lotsa Adaptors
Lotsa Power Strips

Setting up in a business incubator type commercial space could be a good starting spot. I like open-room recording, but that may be too weird for most engineers, so you might need to budget for control room walls and windows.

One other thing missing from the list is a good analog summing system, but maybe for the baby bands you don't need it. But, if you have a non-profit, actively helping young musicians to cut their teeth on recording, you'll find analog consoles being dropped off at your doorstep soon enough.

And finally, you'll probably want to budget for some decent instruments. Young guitar players grow immeasurably when you put a real Gibson in their hands. Or put the drummer on a nice Yamaha Recording Series kit. Suddenly they get it!

Good luck!

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