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any advice on starting a small studio
Old 28th February 2014
  #1
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jakson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
any advice on starting a small studio

Sta
Old 28th February 2014
  #2
Gear Nut
 
Diastro's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Sta-Level, yes, very nice.

:p
Old 28th February 2014
  #3
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sameal's Avatar
Uhm. Have a day job?
Old 28th February 2014
  #4
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gravyface's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Don't do it!
Old 28th February 2014
  #5
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Led Music's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Be prepared to buy way more gear than you expected.
Try several pieces of gear before deciding on one when you're purchasing.
And also there's going to be many ups and downs so prepare for the long haul and do whatever it takes to stay motivated and encouraged about what you do.
Never stop learning and don't become a know it all.
Stay humble and treat ppl with respect and do your best to understand their vision and be the type of guy who's willing to always go the extra mile.

Oh and be prepared for many nights of going to bed at 4,5,6 in the morning. Coffee is your friend.
Old 28th February 2014
  #6
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
any advice on starting a small studio
you mean as a business??

be prepared to lose money - that's my advice

be prepared to never show a profit
Old 28th February 2014
  #7
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clearwave's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'd buy a giant iron safe to put the money you make in.
Old 28th February 2014
  #8
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RedTuxedo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Learn about music, even just a little theory can go a long way.

Learn how to network. Learn exactly what type of client you want.

Take some business classes. Get good grades and study it hard. Make it a part of your development.

I'd say those are good traits to have nonetheless.
Old 28th February 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Make sure there isn't a ton of them already in your area.
Old 28th February 2014
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
If you're doing it for enjoyment then enjoy!

If you're doing it for moola, clone yourself and still be prepared to work long days for little return.

Buy gear when you have a client paying for what that gear will do.

Don't buy cheap crap - it quickly becomes worthless crap.
Old 28th February 2014
  #11
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Oldone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If its smaller than 20x19x8 you will need a lot of bass traps to make it a good listening environment. Take that into your cost considerations.
Old 28th February 2014
  #12
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johnwayne's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Don't go into debt.
Old 28th February 2014
  #13
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cinealta's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Pass.
Old 28th February 2014
  #14
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csimprov's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
1) Live modestly.
2) Make recordings you'll be proud of years down the road.
Old 28th February 2014
  #15
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
start with TWO million dollars
Old 28th February 2014
  #16
Baz
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Baz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Be prepared to meet more mediocre talents that fancy themselves bona fide "stars" and more flakes than you'd ever imagine you'd encounter,ever,for real...enjoy it!
Old 28th February 2014
  #17
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Put a minimum size on it, the air is your worst enemy.
Old 28th February 2014
  #18
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jakson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Im pretty embarrased now. I went to start this thread but something came up. And i didnt realize what i started actually posted. I was just going to come back to it later.

Anyhow.. there is a lot of good advice here. Also a lot of discouraging advice. So if i can redirect the question a bit. Lets say i only run the small studio on weekends, how are studios that dont constantly have artist coming in, utilizing thier facility on off days? I ask this because there is just big enough of a market around here that i should have no problem filling up my weekends.. but im not delusional enough to think this will ever be a full time gig. But i would love to be doing anything during the week just to keep practicing ya know. Wether it be for money or not
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakson ➑️
Im pretty embarrased now. I went to start this thread but something came up. And i didnt realize what i started posted. I was just going to come back to it later.

Anyhow.. there is a lot if good advice here. Also a lot if discouraging advice. So if i can redirect the question a bit. Lets say i only run the small studio on weekends, how are studios that dont constantly have artist coming in, utilizing thier facility on iff days? I ask this because there is just big enough of a market around here that i should have no problem filling up my weekends.. but im not delusional enough to think this will ever be a full time gig. But i would love to be doing anything during the week just to keep practicing ya know. Wether it be for money or not
So some pretty discouraging advice so far

Do you have any gear? Any experience? Are you a musician? There is nothing wrong with having a hobby or a passion, and spending some money on it to have fun with, and then eventually make some money at it if you're lucky and good.

So, if you have enough gear to get started, then just jump in and have fun. Record and mix bands that are willing to come in. When you do work with someone, bend over backwards to be nice and get along with them. If you make them feel comfortable, and as if their music is friggin killer, they will love you...and likely come back.

If you are just getting started, find friends bands to record for free or really cheap, until you get a decent demo going. When you do start charging, don't go too cheap...or you won't get serious clients...and it will be hard to get out of "being the cheap guy." Maybe stay low key while you are learning, before you start advertising as a "studio" to the world with super cheap rates and not much to show for it...you don't want that name for yourself.

Don't go into debt...get a job, and save some money to spend on music toys...as long as you are ok with knowing they are toys, and may eventually make you money. But do not go in debt for it.

Just live within your means, start small, have fun, be nice, socialize and make contacts, and grow with your business. It will be a blast, and eventually it could pay off
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #20
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jakson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 ➑️
So some pretty discouraging advice so far

Do you have any gear? Any experience? Are you a musician? There is nothing wrong with having a hobby or a passion, and spending some money on it to have fun with, and then eventually make some money at it if you're lucky and good.

So, if you have enough gear to get started, then just jump in and have fun. Record and mix bands that are willing to come in. When you do work with someone, bend over backwards to be nice and get along with them. If you make them feel comfortable, and as if their music is friggin killer, they will love you...and likely come back.

If you are just getting started, find friends bands to record for free or really cheap, until you get a decent demo going. When you do start charging, don't go too cheap...or you won't get serious clients...and it will be hard to get out of "being the cheap guy." Maybe stay low key while you are learning, before you start advertising as a "studio" to the world with super cheap rates and not much to show for it...you don't want that name for yourself.

Don't go into debt...get a job, and save some money to spend on music toys...as long as you are ok with knowing they are toys, and may eventually make you money. But do not go in debt for it.

Just live within your means, start small, have fun, be nice, socialize and make contacts, and grow with your business. It will be a blast, and eventually it could pay off
Im in the process of building up my mic locker. But im good on everything else. I actually bought some simple recording gear just to rough up some demos for pre production on a project i was in. And really fell in love with recording. And now i dont play music as much because of the physical beating my body and hands take at my day to day job.

You do bring up some really intresting points on not under charging. This has been a very difficult part of my business plan to work out. Im in no position to try to under cut pro studios nor would i want to. I know how my work compares to the work of a professional engineer and i would never try and claim that my mixes could compete. I am really intrested in finding local artist that i enjoy.. and basically produce them a bit. Work hard on helping them step up to a new level, help them make there songs as good as they can possibly be, then work hard to make the best demo i can for their budget. If they can take that demo and really get a buzz going around it then i would advise them to step into a good pro studio and cut a full album. And with any luck i could stay on as a producer / assistant engineer.

I dont know if that sounds nutty at all. But thats my overall idea of what i would like to do.

ps i checked out your bandcamp page. Your recordings came out really good. I couldnt listen to your album while driving though.. it would relax me into a deep sleep. Your voice reminds me of the singer from jars of clay
Old 1st March 2014
  #21
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jakson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Actually i started on cubase. Then tried pro tools and just couldnt get into it. I think im just gonna stick with cubase 6
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakson ➑️
Also a lot of discouraging advice.
when I say "be prepared to lose money" that is just realistic, not discouraging. You MAY make money, but you need to be prepared to lose money. Even normal businesses in not-crazy fields mostly lose money in their first years. If you don't have the resources to suffer through a considerable period of red ink, you won't last long enough to ever see a profit.

Quote:
So if i can redirect the question a bit. Lets say i only run the small studio on weekends,
You are "bargaining" with the wrong gods. The cost of building your studio is a fixed number. Being "only" open on weekends just means it will take that much longer to pay off the gear. If you want to present a 'less ambitious' plan to the universe, it would have to involve less gear, a smaller space, or operating at a loss.
Old 1st March 2014
  #23
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Oldone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Are we talking big bang spend or slowly grow the thing over time? If you are thinking big bang, then the only way to approach it is to carefully buy used gear so you can have a high cost recovery when either A) You get tired of the effort B) You can't make it work as a business. Do a lot of research and get the minimum gear for the maximum results.

The other alternative is to slowly acquire gear and pay it off as you go. This works up to a point i.e. if getting a useable studio is going to be over 5 years in the making, there are time tradeoffs that come along to make the endgoal unattainable.
Old 1st March 2014
  #24
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cavern's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Never take checks.
Old 1st March 2014
  #25
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Everland Studios's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
There is a way to reduce your overheads if you are thinking of leasing a space, but it involves more initial outlay. Find a space large enough that it can accomodate your control room and live room plus 3-4 additional spaces that can be used as mix rooms. You can then lease these mix rooms to other producers/mix engineers and offset your rent. Obvioulsy you spend more initially though because you need to fit-out 3-4 additional rooms. Can be done though...
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #26
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BrianVengeance's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern ➑️
Never take checks.
Ahaha, this.

Get the money out of the way first so you can get on without that being a distraction. Make promises, deliver on them and move on if others don't do the same. Enjoy your work, love your family and friends. Take risks, but be prepared to lose... So don't risk it all.

And finally, walk away before it starts to ruin music for you... You can always come back.
Old 1st March 2014
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
Puget Sounds's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Get to know your studio inside and out. Problems arise, and knowing your system, signal flow, and trouble shooting will serve you VERY well. If you want to have a professional, operating studio, know your competition in your area and their rates. You don't want to have another facility close by with superior gear, experience, and expertise charging $10 an hour less than you can afford to go. Be professional, keep overhead low, and don't let people take advantage of you, because they will! (Scratch that. If you have no experience, get some by letting people take advantage of you!) Good luck! It can be the best job in the world, but also a grind.
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Addict
 
jakson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➑️
when I say "be prepared to lose money" that is just realistic, not discouraging.
I didnt really mean discouraging as in making me not want to do it. Just simply the fact that there is A LOT of living proof that this is an extremely tough business. I know its equal parts of skill, hard work, and luck.

This is going to be a slow build. Luckily i make enough money at my job to pay for gear so that i wont have to go in debt for gear. However getting a space worries me. The last thing i want to do is pay rent for a space when im just getting started. That seems like losing the game before you even play. However cutting drums at my home just isnt going to work. Has anyone ever just rented cheap halls or something like that and just tracked drums there and then just tracked the rest at their homes or some kind of strange scenario like that and had it pan out?
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Addict
 
jakson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puget Sounds ➑️
Get to know your studio inside and out. Problems arise, and knowing your system, signal flow, and trouble shooting will serve you VERY well. If you want to have a professional, operating studio, know your competition in your area and their rates. You don't want to have another facility close by with superior gear, experience, and expertise charging $10 an hour less than you can afford to go. Be professional, keep overhead low, and don't let people take advantage of you, because they will! (Scratch that. If you have no experience, get some by letting people take advantage of you!) Good luck! It can be the best job in the world, but also a grind.

The nice thing about this is that the closest studio to me is roughly 2 hours away. But i have a pretty decent music scene around. There have been other studios open up in the area.. but they were people coming out of the blue that had no connections with the local bands and in all honesty were just over charging for poor recordings. When i can make a better sounding recording at my house with superior drummer and a shure 57 than these guys with a room full of outboard gear, charging $500 a day. Its no wonder they werent lasting long. I definitely think there is a market here, big enough to have a local studio do well. But its nice to have people out there doing the same thing i want to do, giving their .02 cents on what has worked and not worked.

I truly appreciate all the input so far.
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakson ➑️
... However getting a space worries me. The last thing i want to do is pay rent for a space when im just getting started. That seems like losing the game before you even play. However cutting drums at my home just isnt going to work. Has anyone ever just rented cheap halls or something like that and just tracked drums there and then just tracked the rest at their homes or some kind of strange scenario like that and had it pan out?
I sometimes do that, not so much for drum space, but to go and 'visit' a grand piano someone has, or to use a church organ,

I also do location recording of bands and orchestras, but unfortunately for the bigger jobs, I require many items from my "permanent" studio to really do it right. So it's a pain to grab things, rack them up, drag them to the site, then come home and put them back into the studio. You might think twice about wanting to do this on a regular basis as your go-to method for tracking drums.

If I did more of that work I think I would assemble my gear so that it all resides in flight cases, all the time, and make mass connectors to hook it all up. Then it would be just: unplug what I need and go. (well, except for all the mic stands, mics, cables, headphones)
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