Finding a new studio

I took a day off before beginning the search for a new stdio.  I was exhausted  in everyway!

I didn’t have to look very hard for the new studio.  I had heard about a studio in Forest Hill so did a google search and found Perry Vale Studios, they specialise in guitar music, I new Perry Vale well but didn’t know that there was a studio on it’s door step.  I gave them a call.  I really liked the sound of the studio, they had good facilities, the studio owner had a lovely approach to me and my project and he had heaps of experience having been in the recording business all his life. 

On Monday I transferred all the files to the second studio.  I met Pat Collier at Perry Vale studios.  Pat said that I needed to hear all the tracks so that I could work out what worked, what didn’t and what still needed doing.  We also discussed how long he thought it would take to mix the tracks, how much it would cost, what times where available (generally a day in the studio is 9 hours long with no lunch breaks.  Most studios offer lock down days, which means for an agreed rate you keep working into the early hours until you have achieved your goals for the day).  We also discussed when I would pay the studio.  The done thing is to pay up  after your last consecutive day or if you are using the studio hourly or for intermittent sessions pay up at the end of your session.  You should agree payment methods too.

Other things that I found helpful when looking for the studio were:

1, Do you and your team work well with the engineer?  If the answer is yes great if the answer is no I suggest you keep looking.  Your project will be compromised if you don’t get this one right.

2, What are the facilities like?  Is there somewhere for the band to chill out?   Is there a kitchen and tv?  Can the whole band sit with the engineer in the control room?

3,  Are there isolation booths for drums and electrics?  If you’re recording more than one instrument at a time isolation booths are useful.

4, Agree start times, what time will the studio open so that everyone can get in and get prepared work should start at the agreed time, you are paying for late starts and bad planning.  Be flexible but expect to get what you are paying for.

5, What equipment does the studio have?  How are they recording.  What amps do they have etc (not my strong point).  Is there a piano available?

6, What editing equipment does the studio offer.  For example if the studio doesn’t have auto tune modules (they do not come as standard with Pro Tools).  You will be paying for someone to manually tune vocals.

7, How much experience does the engineer have and is that important to your project?  It maybe less important if you’re recording a demo but may be extremely important if you are recording an album.

8, Where is the studio located?  Does that work for you and your band?  Are there alternatives?  I chose not to go out of London because I didn’t want to incur accommodation costs.

9, Get everything you have agreed down on paper, this is a business, you’ll be glad you have put things in writing if things get confused, sadly they often do.

So back to  the project, Pat did a rough mix of one of the tracks and sent it to me so that i could evaluate his work and decide if I wanted to work with him.  I decided that I wanted to work with him.  Pat then sent me rough mixes of all the tracks and I sent him tracks that had been sent to the band so that he could familiarise himself with the sound I was after.