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Studio costs

madspirit

Member
Messages
505
What are people paying to record in "local" studios these days? Not home/project stuff but not "we just did the new "x" record that's blowing up" either. Just local, good demo/indie/self-released stuff. I'm curious because I've inquired at two local studios. Both are cool but neither are really known for putting out anything with exceptional sound. Competent but no one with a budget is clamoring to record with them either. It's all local stuff. I inquired about costs for both 2 songs (single) and 5 songs (ep). Track bass, drums, gtr 1 live. Vocals, misc overdubbed. Mix and done. I like to record similarly to Neil Young. Capture a moment. Add a little texture and move on. Both places hit me with prices I thought were silly. One especially. So, I'm curious, given the situation I described what you studio owner/engineers think is fair. 2 songs tracked/mixed. 5 songs tracked/mixed. Moving pretty quickly with a solid band (three-piece). Thanks.
 

Guitarman6730

Member
Messages
128
From my experience a well equipped professional studio that has great gear and a decent room can run $100-$200 an hour or $1000-$2000 a day and usually a little bit cheaper if you lockout for a few days and a lot cheaper if your notable artist (like around $600 a day) But I'm from LA so it might be different in other parts of the country and a lot of the "local" studios in my area are historic state of the art recording studios with lots of vintage gear and amazing rooms.
 

mattball826

Senior Member
Messages
20,798
my co guitarist runs a nice studio here. it goes about $50/hr. nice rooms, quality gear. he has had to really come down though.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,312
You can get very nice rooms for $35-50/hr. or $350 or so a day.

That will get you a nice room, very good mic collection and some decent outboard gear and a good engineer.

For an indie project, you don't need any more than that, IMHO.
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,528
What are people paying to record in "local" studios these days? Not home/project stuff but not "we just did the new "x" record that's blowing up" either. Just local, good demo/indie/self-released stuff. I'm curious because I've inquired at two local studios. Both are cool but neither are really known for putting out anything with exceptional sound. Competent but no one with a budget is clamoring to record with them either. It's all local stuff. I inquired about costs for both 2 songs (single) and 5 songs (ep). Track bass, drums, gtr 1 live. Vocals, misc overdubbed. Mix and done. I like to record similarly to Neil Young. Capture a moment. Add a little texture and move on. Both places hit me with prices I thought were silly.
I'm sure people reading this thread later on would like to know where you are (approximately at least) and what the quotes were. Can you share that?
 

dporto

Member
Messages
760
" I like to record similarly to Neil Young. Capture a moment. Add a little texture and move on. Both places hit me with prices I thought were silly. One especially. So, I'm curious, given the situation I described what you studio owner/engineers think is fair. 2 songs tracked/mixed. 5 songs tracked/mixed. Moving pretty quickly with a solid band (three-piece). Thanks."

Neil Young has had a long a varied career - has he recorded the same way the whole time? What do you consider a "silly" price? That's a fairly nebulous/ambiguous description imo. FWIW, for that type of project, if I weren't very familiar with your band and/or your recording habits, I would be very leery of quoting a set price - I would go by the hour/day. Mixing alone could take 2 or 3 times longer than tracking in some cases. What I'm saying is, unless the studio owner/manager knows you well, they're going to approach a set price with caution...That equals more $

** I had a guy come in to do a 10 song CD of Standard Ballads (on the street where you live, skylark, Wonderful World, etc...). he brought in a a Piano Player, Upright Bass, Drums and Scratch vocals. They cut 12 tracks (including setup) in 3.5 hrs. - these were all keepers - some done in two takes but none more than that, these guys were pro's. Final Vocals/overdubs took almost a year to complete. There were times when he couldn't come in for a month or so, so it wasn't steady work for a year but you get the picture. he wasn't a "bad" singer either he was actually very good, but he was overly critical of things that actually mattered very little and he had a hard time making decisions. Seeing that he was paying as he went (which he was happy to do btw) this wasn't a problem...see my point?
 

wpawley

Member
Messages
799
The "final" price of recording depends a lot on the payers attitude also. Someone walks into a studio with the "Holier than Thou" attitude is going to get the quote that may bring them back to Earth.
 

madspirit

Member
Messages
505
Midwest. One initially quoted me $60 per hour + $225 per song to mix (2 songs). He, a couple of days later, modded that to $500 flat (tracked/mixed). The other wanted $1500 for 5 songs tracked/mixed. We're talking moving it along pace here. Not, until the cows come home. I'm not knocking them. They're not in fantasy land (well the initial $60 per hour + $225 per song to mix is pretty close to fantasy territory imo) but, considering their customer base is almost exclusively the local diy scene, I though it was a bit high. Anyway, thanks for the feedback.
 

dporto

Member
Messages
760
*Judging any of this without seeing the studio or perhaps hearing their previous work is kind of a shot in the dark. If they're decent "studios" (I'm not talking about a spare bedroom or a cleared out corner of the basement and a Mac Pro...) then the prices don't seem like "fantasy" to me (3.5 hrs. to mix a song might be a little high, but it also depends on what you expect re: production). If you and your band are well rehearsed and you've got a solid production plan for tracking/mixing you should be able to pull it off on budget at those rates. Good luck
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,528
I'm sure I'm going to catch hell for this but here goes:

Let's break down the types of studios you're going to encounter (these are complete and total generalizations, of course):

1) High-end studio - 10,000 square feet or more, acoustically treated, treated to make tracking + control rooms ultra quiet, high-end hardware, high quality engineers, dedicated control/mixing room

2) Good studio - 3,000 sq ft or more, some acoustic treatment, treated to make tracking room pretty quiet, some excellent mics, excellent monitoring environment, a very good engineer, dedicated control/mixing room

3) Average studio - 2,000 sq ft+, some acoustic treatment, a few things here and there to make it quiet, some decent mics, decent monitors, an engineer, dedicated control/mixing room

4) Project studio - 400-1000 sq ft+, some acoustic treatment, low budget monitors, an engineer, one room for tracking + mixing

5) Home studio - 100-200 sq ft+, some acoustic treatment, low budget monitors, an engineer, one room for tracking + mixing

(There are lots more types, of course, but we have to end this at some point haha)

Now, since we have no other info about the studios other than what you've told us, let us try to match up the quote to the type of studio.

Quote #1: $60/hr + $225 mix per song for two songs. Knowing no other info, I would've guessed that was an "Good studio" quote

Quote #2: $500 for two songs tracked/mixed - without more info, I'm guessing that's a "Average studio" (Yes, I know that quotes 1 & 2 are from same studio - I'm just matching price to expectation)

Quote #3: $1500 for 5 songs tracked/mixed - another "Average studio" quote, I'd guess.

So, if you buy into that methodology of matching price to expectations, then you have to figure out where the studios lie - are they "Average" or "Good"? If they are average, I'd say you're getting an average price but perhaps on the high side. If they "Good", then you're getting a very good price.

A few notes:

  • "Average" does not mean "bad" so please don't misinterpret what I'm suggesting - it just means "average" so let's remember that
  • Every area has it's own variations of the above - an "Average studio" in Los Angeles is obviously different than one in Jackson, Mississippi. Let's recognize that and move on.
  • Don't beat me up because I left one a studio "type" - come on, sheesh! A guy can't type everything :)
 

Nelson89

Member
Messages
3,609
Let's look at this another way, what price were you expecting to pay in the first place? You haven't given us much info as far as the size or the gear etc etc.

You have to remember that the price they're quoting you isn't just for a guy to be there, its actually rent, gear hire, gear maintenance, insurance on top of whatever expertise they're providing. FWIW, unless they're dingy "studio's", i don't think any of those quotes were unreasonable. Over here in Australia, the standard rate is around $770/day for a "good" studio and $500/day for an "average" studio. Some of our High End studio's run into the thousands per hour...
 

Endr_rpm

Member
Messages
3,309
When we did our demo last summer, it was 2x10 hour days, day one was tracking, day 2 was mixing, 6 songs. Engineer stayed on as mixer, then we sent it out for mastering. I think it ended up in the $3K range.

(Inner Ear Studio, DC 'burbs, Don Zientara behind the board)
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,322
I just priced them here is Phoenix for a quick demo recording and the average was about $55/hour, but they also are willing to give block time deals. $350/day (what could be 10 - 12 hours, I suppose).

I admit I was surprised, expecting more like $30/hour.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,312
I just priced them here is Phoenix for a quick demo recording and the average was about $55/hour, but they also are willing to give block time deals. $350/day (what could be 10 - 12 hours, I suppose).

I admit I was surprised, expecting more like $30/hour.
The "Good" studio here, is $35/hr. w/engineer.
 

ItsaRat!

Member
Messages
965
If the engineer is good, the facility is beyond a dude in his bedroom, $1500 for 5 songs tracked and mixed is a bargain. If you guys go in there prepared, with great tones, arrangements, good sounding drums, etc, you can expect great results pretty quickly.

I tell you this, unless I've worked with a band before and know what to expect, I'm never doing it by the song again. The band that shows up prepared, with their guitars intonated, well-rehearsed, and ready to rock is the exception rather than the rule, though I find myself working with better and better bands all the time. By the day/hourly is the only way I'm flyin'.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,312
I tell you this, unless I've worked with a band before and know what to expect, I'm never doing it by the song again. The band that shows up prepared, with their guitars intonated, well-rehearsed, and ready to rock is the exception rather than the rule, though I find myself working with better and better bands all the time. By the day/hourly is the only way I'm flyin'.
Project-based pricing is sure way to guarantee that one of the parties gets screwed, usually the studio.

I've always talked with the band, and I'm pretty good at giving them a very accurate estimate of how long it will take, provided they keep their end of the bargain (play well, have gear that works, etc.)

They understand that if they change parameters in the middle of the project, or can't cut the performance part, that the price will go up.

That has always worked well for me, and I don't really do it any other way.
 

NotWesYet

Member
Messages
5,303
I'm sure I'm going to catch hell for this but here goes:

Let's break down the types of studios you're going to encounter (these are complete and total generalizations, of course):

1) High-end studio - 10,000 square feet or more, acoustically treated, treated to make tracking + control rooms ultra quiet, high-end hardware, high quality engineers, dedicated control/mixing room

2) Good studio - 3,000 sq ft or more, some acoustic treatment, treated to make tracking room pretty quiet, some excellent mics, excellent monitoring environment, a very good engineer, dedicated control/mixing room

3) Average studio - 2,000 sq ft+, some acoustic treatment, a few things here and there to make it quiet, some decent mics, decent monitors, an engineer, dedicated control/mixing room

4) Project studio - 400-1000 sq ft+, some acoustic treatment, low budget monitors, an engineer, one room for tracking + mixing

5) Home studio - 100-200 sq ft+, some acoustic treatment, low budget monitors, an engineer, one room for tracking + mixing

(There are lots more types, of course, but we have to end this at some point haha)

Now, since we have no other info about the studios other than what you've told us, let us try to match up the quote to the type of studio.

Quote #1: $60/hr + $225 mix per song for two songs. Knowing no other info, I would've guessed that was an "Good studio" quote

Quote #2: $500 for two songs tracked/mixed - without more info, I'm guessing that's a "Average studio" (Yes, I know that quotes 1 & 2 are from same studio - I'm just matching price to expectation)

Quote #3: $1500 for 5 songs tracked/mixed - another "Average studio" quote, I'd guess.

So, if you buy into that methodology of matching price to expectations, then you have to figure out where the studios lie - are they "Average" or "Good"? If they are average, I'd say you're getting an average price but perhaps on the high side. If they "Good", then you're getting a very good price.

A few notes:

  • "Average" does not mean "bad" so please don't misinterpret what I'm suggesting - it just means "average" so let's remember that
  • Every area has it's own variations of the above - an "Average studio" in Los Angeles is obviously different than one in Jackson, Mississippi. Let's recognize that and move on.
  • Don't beat me up because I left one a studio "type" - come on, sheesh! A guy can't type everything :)

What a great description! It's not my thread but thank you! Any Idea what places like Sear sound in NYC would charge? ( I know Walter passed away.)
 






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