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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Recording Corner »

Permalink To "Studio" Or Not To "Studio"

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I just did another demo for the next record and dug into the mix and mastering a little bit more. I then put the disc into my 8 speaker Bose audio car system with a 12 inch sub and compared it to my favorite, high quality, surf cd. The mix and master was very close. I think I'll be sticking with the entire project being done in the home studio. I did very little EQ and only a moderate amount of mic placement adjustments. Just a pure and moderately hot mic signal on a D130, bass into a compressor straight in and a good drum mic array.

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

stratdancer wrote:

I just did another demo for the next record and dug into the mix and mastering a little bit more. I then put the disc into my 8 speaker Bose audio car system with a 12 inch sub and compared it to my favorite, high quality, surf cd. The mix and master was very close. I think I'll be sticking with the entire project being done in the home studio. I did very little EQ and only a moderate amount of mic placement adjustments. Just a pure and moderately hot mic signal on a D130, bass into a compressor straight in and a good drum mic array.

I don’t claim that any of my home recordings have approached commercial studio quality, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the results of my modest efforts.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

I called two recording studios this week to get pricing. One is run by a local band leader that we have shared gigs with. They have a fantastic studio space and a very reasonable price structure. The problem is that all of the music they have posted on their website lacks punch and warmth. I'm not impressed at all. The other studio has produced some great music and all the sample songs were big and loaded with punch and warmth. The price I was quoted for mixing and mastering was 400.00 per song. That would be 2400.00 to 3000.00 for the next record just to mix and master.

I trust my own ears on mixing and have the free time to experiment. Mastering is nothing more than following a formula. If you can remain consistent with mic placement, clean and clear tracking, you should be able to work through a project and end up with punch and warmth.

I've got 15 years on my current studio console. I learn something new every time I use it. This next project will be completed at home.

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

Personally, I think it's worth paying a decent sound engineer to master a CD, if only to get a fairly consistent sound and all the coding information. Our last CD cost £80 to master and it sounded much improved.

A studio is necessary for drums - I think everything else can be don at home. Our next CD I'll record the song with a drum pattern, then take it into a studio and get our drummer to put actual drums down instead.

http://thewaterboarders.bandcamp.com/

80 Euro's to master? That is a great price if done well! The last Cd we did was not all that expensive either. I just wasn't happy with it. That studio went under though.

I compared my latest demo to Ben Tanaka from Satan's Pilgrims Frankenstomp, which is a great sounding song, at huge volume and although my equing needed some tweaks, the comp/limiter settings seemed to produce the punch and dynamics. After we track the first song I will mix and master then pay to have the less expensive studio master and compare.

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

stratdancer wrote:

I called two recording studios this week to get pricing. One is run by a local band leader that we have shared gigs with. They have a fantastic studio space and a very reasonable price structure. The problem is that all of the music they have posted on their website lacks punch and warmth. I'm not impressed at all. The other studio has produced some great music and all the sample songs were big and loaded with punch and warmth. The price I was quoted for mixing and mastering was 400.00 per song. That would be 2400.00 to 3000.00 for the next record just to mix and master.

I trust my own ears on mixing and have the free time to experiment. Mastering is nothing more than following a formula. If you can remain consistent with mic placement, clean and clear tracking, you should be able to work through a project and end up with punch and warmth.

I've got 15 years on my current studio console. I learn something new every time I use it. This next project will be completed at home.

Now your talking Yes I like to hear your new song - I like the other stuff you have out,

If you got 15 years under your belt ….yeah DIY works

And $3000 would take a lot of sales just to break even - its hard now to squeak out some dimes to break even on recordings it looks like to me.

Thanks Sam!

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

A lot of it depends on your end goals are. If you're just wanting a product to sell at shows of your stuff, go the home recording route. It's easier than ever to produce your own stuff at home at a very inexpensive rate and potentially get a bigger return.

If you're wanting more of a business card, like something to shop out to labels and higher end venues, spend your $$ on quality and not quantity. A two or three song EP that's well produced, looks professional in terms of packaging, etc, will get the suits to take more notice than a home baked CD with a band name written on a paper sleeve.

Either way, I highly recommend getting plenty of time in at home before you hit the studio. Bring someone with experience in to help you produce your home recordings and get you accustomed to the process. Doing that and being well rehearsed will help to maximize your time under the red light.

Forever known as the luckiest man alive.

https://www.facebook.com/zachcarpentermusic/

i got a question, what about recording your sources at home and sending the raws to a online mixing/mastering service?

We are thinking of cutting our demo in a studio, or do it in our practice pad. Which would be easier and harbor good results. Im very confident in my mixing skills.

Yeah studio time is expensive usually, depends on your budget, many bands DYI recording - sometimes even live; whatever sounds the best to you and is in your budget is the best option. I recorded everything my band did 20 years ago, its good to hear how you sound on recordings to improve etc. If there is a version you don't like just do it again till you get it the way you want, some songs for whatever reason can become a problem child up to a point and requires more takes or practice anyway so just record everything and tape over the bad stuff etc.

Studios usually have better sounding rooms for drums and for the room sound for guitar amps, etc. they should have a better mic locker than you to get that extra 20% you can't get at home.

That being said, I think learning to record yourselves at home, getting used to recording, and understanding basics (mic placement) will mean that when you go to a studio, you'll be spending less time learning how to record and will already know how you might like your guitar amps to sound. Doesn't mean to be close-minded about new ideas, but if you've never recorded, going to a studio for the first time can be a time suck.

Also with your gear, learn to record live shows as well, whether with a small hand-held recorder (we use a Zoom H2) or multitrack.

If you do go the studio route, negotiate to get get the individual tracks as well as the final recording, so that you can learn on Logic Pro how to mix, EQ, use compression, and effects.


'65 Fender Tremolux, '74 Princeton; '80 Princeton Reverb
Dr. Z MAZ 18 Jr. + 1x12 Cab
Various Telecasters and noise-making pedals
Farfisa Compact Duo

In the past I've always considered a studio absolutely essential. But with surf, when you consider how many great records were recorded with one mic in the middle of the room, and the fact that most people listen to music effectively in mono on a computer makes you wonder if it's worth it.

Mastering though - that's where the magic is. Save on studio, especially if there's no singing, and spend your money on the best mastering you can afford

http://thewaterboarders.bandcamp.com/

Just did some home recording for an upcoming comp. Each of us recorded our part at our own places. I sent the tracks off to the fellow who recorded our last album to mix the tune. It was money well spent, as not only does he have much better gear than me, his skills are most excellent. Just another way to record home & studio.

Rev

The label releasing the comp is mastering.

Home of Surf & Twang

http://www.urbansurfkings.com/
https://www.facebook.com/urbansurfkings/
https://reverbranch.bandcamp.com

Last edited: Apr 30, 2020 19:25:23

It’s totally up to the skill of the person at the controls in home recording. The sky’s the limit. I’ve recorded lots of drum kits in home spaces. The close mics don’t pick up the room sound. The overheads are the only ones that you need to consider the sound/shape of the room. It’s always worked out well for me. The one thing that matters is having enough discreet inputs. A problem is that lots of audio interfaces only have 2 or 4 XLR inputs. For mobile recording I use a Sapphire with 4 mic pres. Plus I also connect a MOTU 8Pre. Total of twelve. That covers most trio situations.

It’s also wise to consider the guitar and bass as scratch tracks. I read the previous idea about recording guitar/bass first and adding drums in a session at proper studio. It’s a great idea. But be prepared for the rhythm to be a bit loose here and there. Be prepared to put in the extra effort of cutting the other stuff again so the groove is totally in the pocket. Without a happening groove all is lost.

If you dislike engineering and producing its better to pay for a studio. If you are the type who loves that stuff, it’s a no brainer. Do it at home.

I’m a ProTools person. Waves are my go to plugs. There’s lots of good options these days. The only thing I’ll say against doing it yourself is that every minute spent producing is a minute not spent being a rock star.

Squid From Madrid - New Single on Bandcamp
MB Website

Here's a tune we did without a studio. I recorded live and then replaced the guitar which I realised could benefit from being recorded at home. We were going for an old sound, like Duane in the garage.

Last edited: May 03, 2020 11:11:43

We are all doing this more or less for fun, I presume. I have long likened playing this offbeat music to a hobby that maybe does not cost quite as much as owning a boat. But recording is expensive. How expensive is up to the imagination. (Then there is the expense of distribution.) Just remember that it is still cheaper than a boat.

With that in mind, I would do what is most fun. And quit the minute you realize that the fun seem reasonably unlikely to continue. Recording in a studio and at home are both fun. Just different kinds of fun, IMO.

In order to make the same quality of recordings at home as in a studio, it will cost you. Not just money but time. Learning the ins and outs of a DAW alone is a kinds of hobby unto itself.

That said, I would try both. I am glad that I have had studio time. I am slightly more glad that I have a recording setup at my disposal.

YMMV.

SSIV

Although it's already been mentioned, I would vote for recording at home and then having the mixing and mastering done off site. I recorded an EP of original surf music on a home studio (Tascam studio in a box). I then had it professionally mastered by Bill Henderson at Azimuth. The cost for this was less than $200. For me, it was worth it because it made my recordings sound much more professional.
I had given alot of thought as to what I wanted to do with the EP. Mostly, I just wanted to have it to sell at any live gigs that I did. I have no aspirations (or probably talent!) to ever be signed by a label. I agree with what LHR said which is to keep it fun - when it stops being fun, what's the point? But I think it really depends on what you would want to do with the finished product.

Vince_Ray wrote:

Here's a tune we did without a studio. I recorded live and then replaced the guitar which I realised could benefit from being recorded at home. We were going for an old sound, like Duane in the garage.

It was worth visiting the site today to hear your record - the name of your band and the album art hit the sweet spot!

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