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What sort of studio could one build for 100K?
Old 5th May 2003

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?"

Whoa! Steady on there Jon, I dont think the idea was to build a maxed out high end room! And carefull who you are calling trash there!

Jules' "Track & Go" requirements:

large great sounding space
Iso booths
Mic & Headphone tie lines
Basic mic selection Di Boxes
24 primo pre's (API, Neve-esque clones etc)
DAW with best converters
Conrol room with 'mid field' monitors

The great sounding room, could be an existing room that just sounds great already...
Old 5th May 2003
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Originally posted by Jules
[BWhoa! Steady on there Jon, I dont think the idea was to build a maxed out high end room! And carefull who you are calling trash there!
Jules, no need to focus on the most negative possible interpretation.

I think it was clear from my posts that I recommend either a low end or a high end strategy, while avoiding a mid-level positioning.

I encouraged Fat Cat that both strategies are possible. I mean that honestly.


Fat Cat -- if your clients don't know the difference between trash and high-end gear, then investing further in GEAR, including Jules' suggested primo mic pres and converters, is probably futile from a business point of view. Invest rather in client comfort, as long as the price stays low.

A killer tracking room with clients that don't know the difference between good and bad pres and converters is not necessarily an advisable strategy.

Such a room, IMO, would still need all the elements of service/maintenance/space/personnel/structural costs of a high-end room to avoid the mid-level trap and justify a rate that makes sense from a financial point of view.
Old 5th May 2003
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Guys, as I mentioned above, I also have a low-end, trash-for-cash room in my old studio located about 2 miles from my main place.

It's doing better business than before when it was a mid-level room with tons of great outboard and a nice mic locker. Removing the good gear save one PT MixPlus and an U87 and dropping the price 30% made it more profitable.

So I know very well what trash-for-cash clients are like.
Old 5th May 2003
Lives for gear
adamcal's Avatar
🎧 15 years
"You know what business Ray Kroc, MacDonald's founder, said he is in?"

I wonder, if he did have a studio, would he get a set of K-ROK's

Old 5th May 2003
Lives for gear
davemc's Avatar
🎧 15 years
A lot of clients do not know gear...
I know the more gear I built up the harder it is.
I am left in limbo.
At AUD$45-50/hr I have priced myself above the other studios with less gear. So I loose a lot of work on price alone.
At AUD$35 which seems the standard for a basic Mix/Logic/Alesis room with about AUD$10-25k of gear...
Its hard to drop your price to the same as a studio with about 1/4 of the gear after investing in upgrades.
The bands with good enough budgets always seem to go back to the same 5-6 studios around here and it is hard to really compete for them with gear/space and the cleints they have built up.

A lot of bands doing stuff at home with daws, have been lulled into thinking that the mackie pres are as good as a neve etc etc. So a lot of these bands even do drums at home....
So yes the middle ground is not the best place to be now...
Old 5th May 2003
Lives for gear
adamcal's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Whats funny to me is that I charge 3 to 4 times the ammount of what bands pay for voice over work , and they dont even blink. And I even heard that some of the agencys dont take my studio seriously cause im too cheap!

And for voice stuff I have 1 channel (sometimes even 2, woo-hoo) into a computer. and they sometimes even bring good looking chicks with em. (unlike the bands)
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Old 5th May 2003
Lives for gear
davemc's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Although lucky for me I still work in IT during the day so do not live off the studio...That day running the studio fulltime might never come...
Hows things over there Adam at Toyland?
Old 5th May 2003
Lives for gear
adamcal's Avatar
🎧 15 years
The first 3 months of this year were stupidly busy, I think left for work in January and went home last week (well not really, but you get the idea). But now it’s quiet again, and I’m enjoying it for the moment, but hopefully it won’t last too long.

Anyway it gives me time to write amusing and stupid posts on forums to entertain and annoy the other slutz.

This studio just pays for itself, if do a big run of work and make some bigger cash I just buy a more expensive class of equipment, and im back to where I started, if I could just stop buying equipm(stop right there, as if)

I don’t think Ill ever make any big money out of this, I can see myself in the future with amazing gear and no money for shoes (again, not really). But I own all my equipment, I owe nothing to anyone, and earn enough to keep me in the life to witch I am accustomed. That’s the path ive chosen and I wouldn’t do anything else.

Well you asked.

Old 5th May 2003
Lives for gear
davemc's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Well I stopped advertising in Jan. Wanted to get a clean month off and work out where I go next..
I have been on the fence about closing or expanding.
Although been busy with retrun work and working around 70% of what I would be with advertising.. Go Figure

The type of band you normally get off the ad's are ones that want to record the following weekend. 50% of these newbies if your booked they go elsewhere, if the price does not scare them away anyway. There are a few sub AUD$200 a day studios around.

I would say interest I get in the studio from email/phone calls breaks down.
50% jobs/work expirance..
15% I need a demo like in the next week.
10% in the next 2-3 weeks,
5% duplicating Vinyl and or CD's...
5% Do you have a rehersal room for tonight

The last 15% would be work I get in, unless I have a free day...
What would a lot of the other smaller studios say about there inward calls.

Hey Adam, do you do it alone there.. As I feel that being a one man shop and working 3 days a week I just do not network and pitch the studio anyways...
Old 5th May 2003
Lives for gear
davemc's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I'll also add..

Instead of spending the money on gear to prop up the studio and get into debt..
You are actually not making the extra $$'s you put the rate up to as this and more goes into upgrades.
Find a few good bands around..
Sign them up to deals.
Do some recording for cheap/free on down days.
Make sure its sounds great.. Hire a mic for the session.
Hire another studio to track the drums if you are short ofr mics/pres/room. No one will know..
Put these bands out and make sure people know you record it.

The money you invest in these bands will get you better clientelle then the gear ever will..

I am looking at this as my new plan if I continue on.
You just cannot allow the bands to put out sub par stuff from your studio as they have sub par playing skills and no money.
You cannot into a habit of doing some free time for bands.
Been there done that. You do some extra hours for free to clean up there tracks and they still do not have the money to push it or promote it so your next cleint can here it..
Old 5th May 2003
Lives for gear
adamcal's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Instead of spending the money on gear to prop up the studio and get into debt..

aside from my first ever bank loan 15 years ago, I’ve only ever bought the gear I could afford at the time, this means a slower upgrade path, but it also have given me the time to learn this craft and also never having to worry about the bank closing me down. I’ve seen too many businesses close this way (studio or otherwise). also I’ve never really bought gear for the clients sake, more because as I’ve (slowly) become a better engineer I’ve wanted better tools and learnt to hear the difference. Plus a little slutyness as well :-)

Do some recording for cheap/free on down days

there is a part of me just cant do this, I believe im worth X, and im not willing to record anyone unless they agree and are willing pay X. Particularly if im producing as well, then its x plus more.

Hire a mic for the session

What, just the one, what did you mean by this

Hire another studio to track the drums if you are short of mics/pres/room

Have you seen my web site lately?

But I do understand what you are getting at, but its a little different for me here, its a great plan for a freelance engineer or someone with a more stable financial background that can afford to venture a little on some bands. I guess Id really have to like the music, and the whole band as a package and that starts getting into manager, producer, label territory where im not very comfortable. I need someone else to do all that (see above pic of blonde)heh
Old 22nd February 2007 | Show parent
Gear Addict
Chris G's Avatar
🎧 15 years
i bought an existing 2500 sq foot home with a 4 car garage fully built out pro studio in it. they went out of biz to "go big" and guess what.... they flopped. This place had a huge following and many great mixes came out of here, and it was all word of mouth. heck... i recorded here 10 years ago with 3 different bands, and it was great.

my point is, that this guy had all the vintage gear and a decent trident desk and great rooms and he made the mistake of taking for granted his clients and the zero overhead (other than elec bill) and bit off more than he could chew "going big".

i will be done renovating and update the wiring soon and hope to take on that market and be successful. praise God i was able to snatch this place up and buy it instead of renting and buying new gear.
Old 22nd February 2007 | Show parent
Lives for Jesus
stevep's Avatar
🎧 15 years
WoW old thread........ it was cool reading from the top, seeing where this business was and has gone in the last few years

Old 22nd February 2007 | Show parent
Lives for gear
tomdarude's Avatar
🎧 15 years
yeah, me too! of the best threads, I´ve read recently!
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