Home Recording vs. Studio

By Frank Dee

As you will see from the other features in this section, it is becoming more and more feasible to set up a home recording system and obtain professional results. So, does that mean you shouldn’t consider the studio option? Both methods have their fans, with cost and control often cited as the main benefits of the DIY approach. However, let’s just look at the advantages a professional studio can offer:

First off, and to state the obvious, the recording studio is purpose-built to churn out professional recordings. It should already have the latest equipment, which will nearly always be better and more expensive than any home-based gear. But state-of-the-art technology is not much use without the expertise to exploit it. And here’s where the main advantage of the studio kicks in – the professional recording engineer.

As long as you choose a studio run by a serious engineer who cares about your music, you’ll be able to just concentrate on recording your songs and leave the technical details to the expert. You won’t have to worry about the specs of the computer, the soundcard or the cables connecting the preamps.

The engineer will know about room acoustics. This is something that is difficult to control in a home studio environment, yet is probably one of the most important factors in determining the sound of a recording. A good studio will have spent much time and money perfecting their acoustics.

An engineer will also know about correct microphone selection and have the facility to change the mics when necessary; for example by putting a bright mic on a vocalist who has been sounding dull. It’s hard to justify an expensive collection of microphones as part of a home studio set-up, but a recording studio will have this equipment readily available. The engineer will be able to suggest where to place the mics to achieve the desired sound which could avoid hours of experimenting.

Now, of course, all this comes at a price. Hiring a studio and engineer is not going to be cheap – at least if you pick a good one. But this could work in your favour. Spending money can focus the mind. You’ll be determined to get the best value per hour so you’ll take the time to get your guitar set up beforehand and you’ll ensure that your songs are ultra tight and ready to go. This sense of urgency and focus could result in a faster, better quality recording than one made after weeks of tinkering in a home environment.

Ultimately, you need to decide what method is going to work best for you, taking into account your personality and those of the other band members involved in the recording. But the decision isn’t one that should only be determined by finance.

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