For decades, artists have used recording studios not only as a means to record their music, but also as a space to be creative in, and generate new ideas inside. The traditional recording studio is not only a room with equipment, but also an engineer (turns the knobs), a producer (provides input regarding song structure and album concepts), and multiple assistants. Today, more and more people are pursuing recording as a hobby, and setting up recording studios in their living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, and garages. This is a much more affordable way of recording your music, but doesn’t come without its disadvantages.
If you’re the artist, you have to ask yourself “What do I want to get from this experience?”. Do you want other musicians? Do you want production advice? What’s your budget?
There are many small studios popping up that have exactly what many people are looking for - good quality recordings of their work that they can share.. As you know, it’s easier to get music out to the masses than ever before, and if you have recordings on bandcamp, soundcloud, myspace, or other websites, you can share your music with the world.
That said, larger, more established recording studios can afford more expensive tools to make you sound better than you thought possible. It’s up to you which option is right for you. Larger studios have a greater overhead, and therefore need to pay the bills. Rates at these studios are generally higher than that of small studio rates. Rates at a well established studio can be anywhere from $75 - $200 per hour. Lesser established studios generally charge between $15 - $40 per hour. If you figure that your standard hip-hop album takes 10-12 hours to record, you’re looking at around $1,000 - $2,000 to record at a large studio, and somewhere around $200 - $500 to record at a small studio. It’s a big financial difference, and if you’re happy with the quality from the small studio, it’s the perfect situation.
Another perk of the small studio, is more often than not, really inspired people set them up and work in them, so you know that a lot of love goes into the work. Sometimes in large studios, the workers are just there to put in the hours. Also, since the rates are lower, you get more work for less money in the small studio.
The other option which many people are turning to is home recording studios.. Extra bedrooms or garages make great spaces, and you can get an incredible setup for less than $2,000 that will offer you a lifetime of recording in your own home. For a good hip-hop setup, you need a computer, recording software, a microphone, and an interface that allows you to plug the microphone into the computer. Here are my recommendations priced out -
Computer: Hewlett-Packard, custom built from their website - $800 (Mac equivalent is 3-4k)
Recording Software: Pro Tools 9 - $500 (You pay more, but it’s the
industry standard, and well worth the price)
Microphone: Audio-Technica AT4033 - $200-$300 on the “used” section at guitarcenter.com
Interface: Edirol UA 5 USB Mic Pre-Amp - $289 at soundprofessionals.com
There you have it - everything you need to have a great home studio for under 2k.
As I said before, it’s up to you to decide what you want from a studio. Do you want to build a home recording studio so you can record at your house 24/7? Do you want an affordable professional recording experience, where you walk away with a CD in hand ready to distribute to the masses? Or do you want to go all out and spend the money for the big time recording experience, and have the next platinum single? Choose your own adventure..
Quanstar is an American underground hip hop artist, indie filmmaker, comic creator, and self published author from Atlanta.