When it comes to synthesized music and loop-based tracks, what are the true benefits to recording it in a commercial studio?
I find it incredulous that songs I hear on the radio consisting of a repetitive 4-8 bar loop were multitracked in a $3k per day studio especially considering the overall mix and sound quality.
Well, here in the states, with the closing several big time studios, I guess it's a moot point.
What are you thoughts?
Response from David Mellor...
Firstly, it is a cardinal sin in the music industry to get the artist's name wrong, even in the slightest. It is literally a firing offence. Therefore...
I don't mind e-mailed questions because they tell me what people want to know. However I can't promise to respond to every message, there are simply too many. Questions that don't get answered are usually the vague ones - "How can I become a successful artist?", "What is the best equipment for my studio?" etc.
Getting to the question, there are some things you will get from a commercial studio that you won't get at home, no matter how good your set up. In no particular order...
Being in a professional environment, mixing with people in the business. This cannot be underestimated. The atmosphere of professionalism will raise your game by an order of magnitude.
Related to the above, rubbing shoulders with other creative people. The route to success is often through collaboration - where better to meet people to collaborate with?
Acoustics. The acoustics of the control room are significant in producing a mix that sounds good, and sounds good no matter what it is played on.
You don't always have to record in the same studio. I used to have a studio at home. The day after day sameness gave me a bad case of cabin fever. In the days before home studios were commonplace, it was a known fact that when anyone achieved enough success to build a studio at home, that was the end of their success.
Hire a good engineer. Will a good engineer want to come to your home studio? No. Does a good engineer make a difference? Yes - would you have a trained guitar tech fix your broken guitar, or would you do it yourself?
You can go home. If you record at home there is nowhere to get away from your work. Believe me, you need to.
Work with 'dodgy' people. Many of the great talents of rock 'n' roll, hip hop and every other musical style have been known to have certain 'habits'. You want these people on your recording, but do you want these people in your home?
Paying $3000 a day certainly concentrates your mind!
I could go on - and on - but the bottom line is that most commercially successful records are recorded, overdubbed or mixed in professional studios and few recordings are made entirely at home. That's got to be telling you something.
The Audio Masterclass Newsletter is a free resource to help home recording studio owners improve the standard of their work. The Newsletter is available on this website, and via free email subscription.