So, it’s been about a week since I finished off my home studio build and I’ve finally had a little down time to gather my thoughts on the whole concept. I’ve previously looked at dos and don’ts of building a home studio, but here’s a list of pros and cons. If you’ve even wondered if building a semi pro or bedroom studio is for you, this may help put things into perspective.
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Pro – Building Your Own Recording Studio Will Allow More Creativity And Save You Money
For many, probably the single most definitive reason for building your own recording space is to save money in the long-run. Studio sessions can cost a hefty price if you’re an independent artist.
A session where I’m located can cost anything between $300 and $600 a day. If you’re looking at doing a full length album with pre-production, it’s going to cost you a small fortune. If you’ve got the drive and motivation, that money is better spent in building and learning your own setup.
Once your studio is built and gear is in place, you’re really only investing in two things; time and creativity. This is a lot cheaper than several mix revisions or worse, a re-visit to the studio.
Another pro is being able to do things on your schedule. Often your session will last 8 hours or so and then you’re out. From my own experience, I’ve seen engineers literally clock out the minute those 8 hours end.
In one particular session I was in, it was clear that the engineer had no interest in the session at all. It was simply work. But studio sessions should be all about creativity. If the person controlling your work flow isn’t interested, even if you need 20 more minutes before calling it a day, it’s not their problem and you’ll be out. Not cool.
Building your own studio allows you to take control of this and allow the creativity to flow as long as it needs to.
Con – The Initial Expense Of A Studio Build
When starting a studio build, you can find yourself lost in numbers very easily and extremely fast. Every build I’ve ever witnessed has either come close to or gone over budget. If you’re really tight on your budget, perhaps it’s best to save a little longer. The massive con in building your own space is that you really need the capital before starting a full studio build including contingency, or else you can find yourself in hot water very quickly. Remember, if you get it wrong, you’re stuck with what you’ve got.
Here’s a quick tip! Take a look back at our recent post on studio building. You’ll find some advice in regards to research and preparation.
Pro – New Money Making Opportunities
If you do actually take the time to take a breather and learn this material, you’ll find that there are plenty of opportunities to generate income. If you’re open to it, you can begin to take in clients for recording sessions. If your space is “your” space and you don’t want randoms in your house, there’s always the option of going down the route of solely mixing music. This money can then be used to invest in your own music or even into furthering your production capabilities.
Be open to what your space can do. Plenty of people make a living out of voice-over work, mixing or even making short advertisement jingles. (Try that last one. It’s fun! 🙂
Con – The Time Investment
If you’re like me and didn’t really care for the whole college / school thing, then the last thing you’ll probably want to do is sit down and read a book. But this is the one aspect that can really make or break your recordings; proper producer education.
Don’t get me wrong though, this doesn’t mean signing yourself up to a three year course and throwing your life savings at it!
There are plenty of online tutorials, articles and forums to learn from. Just sit down for a week and learn what a compressor does and other related studio equipment. More Is always less in your mix, but never in your knowledge.
Pro – Having More Control Over Your Work Flow
Going back to the first point, I can’t tell you how many artists I’ve seen leave the studio wishing they had done something differently. When you’re in a situation like the above, you’re shooting yourself in the foot from the get-go. The studio is all about creativity. Enter the studio with an open mind and leave with a closed product. Owning your own recording space allows you to have that control of your work flow.
Having a space so near to you allows you the facilities of tracking every little idea you have. It gives freedom for development, which is important. Your own studio is the place where you can record draft tracks and mix them any way you like.
In reality, there are no rules with music making. In my personal opinion, the control and versatility owning your own space gives you is the single most amazing aspect of it all.
Con – Gear Can Break
It’s something you never think of when purchasing equipment:
How can I know the lifespan of this particular product?
The answer is simple:
You know that when you record out-of-house that you’ll be leaving with a finished product. If the studio owner’s equipment breaks, it’s not your problem. It’s his / her responsibility to rectify the situation. This can mean either re-booking the session or visiting a different studio where the engineer sorts the cost.
At the end of the day, all it takes to halt a session is a software malfunction or even something like hard drive failure. This is why it’s always important to back-up your files.
Owning your space leaves you with that responsibility. If your equipment breaks, you’re back to step one and have to save all over again for your re-build. Always keep this in mind, not only when venturing into a build but when you’re recording in the studio also. Keep back up money for situations like this.
Conclusion, Should You Create A Recording Studio?
If you’ve come here looking for an overall decision maker into whether you should build your own space or not, here’s my verdict:
You should heavily consider it.
First of all, weigh up your options financially. If it’s going to put you into debt for a long time, then don’t do it. At least not straight away, what’s the rush anyway?
If it’s something you hand on heart know that you want to do and are committed to it, then go for it. As cliché as it sounds, you only live once.