Recording studios have changed a lot since the days of vinyl recordings. The technology of today’s studio is light-years ahead of what was considered state-of-the-art even in the 1980’s. The hip hop artists are actually choosing to record at home more than in the studios. They cite the savings in time and money as a big reason. The advent of the digital music age has almost decimated the recording studio industry.
Never Say Die
There are still some diehard studios out there and new small digitally-oriented studios are popping up all the time. Some of the giants are still leasing rooms as well. It is possible to find a local small studio or even a garage studio that can give you a great rate and radio-quality CDs. The sound mastering engineer will make all the difference.
It Is Okay To Ask
A lot of studios will use the owner or other front man to do the actual day-to-day sales, so what you will want to do is ask to meet the engineer that will be working on your personal hip hop CD. It is important to know that you will be able to get along with the people that will be working on your project. Ask him to let you hear music that he personally worked on. The only way to tell if the guy knows his craft is to use your own ears. Ask if the engineer and the mastering engineer are a part of the price quote. These are sometimes billed separately. A good mastering engineer can cost twice as much as the actual studio.
Cost and Time Consumption
There are a lot of factors that go into getting a price on studio time. It depends on the number of people you will be using to record, and the space you will need to accommodate them. It will also have to include any equipment the studio uses for your project. The knowledge and experience of the engineers and other staff at the studio are included in the overall price. Home studios will start the negotiations at $25 an hour, but if you are seeking a professional level studio, expect the price per hour to be $200 an hour or more. There is also a huge price difference if you need to use a large studio that has room for live musicians or one that is designed to handle vocals over an existing track.
Another Cost to Consider
Parking fees and CD copy fees are just as important when figuring your budget as the hourly rate. These all add to the total cost of producing a hip hop CD. Some studios will charge anywhere from $5-10 for a master copy of your work. Ask if you can bring in your own blanks; chances are you can get a lot of blanks for the price they are charging you. You will also want to acquaint yourself with the studio cancellation policies. This will save you a lot of aggravation as most hip hop recording studios will expect a full payment if you cancel with less than a 48-hour notice.
Of course, the cheapest option is just to record your tracks using software like DUBturbo, but if you insist on getting studio time then the best way to find the right studio is to start calling around. Word of mouth also will give you a heads-up on who in your area is good at what they do.