Starting my own professional recording studio...advice/help needed

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Member Since: Apr 23, 2008

i have some questions and one of my friends referred me to this site so hopefully you guys will be able to help me out.

so yea, the one i'm currently working at is alright, the setup is nice, a lil bit better than what i have, but only because of a few small reasons, I'm able to achieve the same quality at my own home studio as I am at the regular studio, and I actually have a better interface and microphone so my vocal quality is great. but he's got more inputs and a better mixing interface for bands and stuff, which I can work around for a while...the thing that's not great at the studio i'm working at is the owner...he's been a lil shady so far, i dont know...he hasnt given me any work there yet and I haven't made any money, basically all i've had a chance to do is mess around on the equipment and make a few beats and record a couple songs. and for the past week and a half, every time I try and come up there he's always sayin he's gone on a trip or not in town. I dont know if he's doing business behind my back, if he is, then i feel bad for the artists he's recorded cuz he knows nothing about mixing and mastering lol. Maybe he's just really unmotivated and that's just not going to work with me because I'm trying to get things together as soon as I've been talking to some friends and one of them has a rich uncle that might be investing about 1000 bucks to rent a building and buy whatever else i need. the building i'm getting is a nice size and 300$ rent/month. I'm going to charge 30/hr for the first 1-2 months for people to record to show them my quality and what not. I've also gotta good idea on how to handle the business and promote so that's not in my main worries right now. basically all i'm looking to do to upgrade to what i need is build a vocal booth over the summer, buy an extra pair of headphones, and upgrade to dual monitors...maybe soundproof a lil down the road as well as buy a mixing board once the money comes in.

The equiptment I already have:
PC - 3.6ghz processor with 3gbs of ram, 220gb hardrive
Emu1616m PCI soundcard
Behringer Truth Monitors (the higher end model)
KSM32 Condensor Microphone
Kurzwiel SP88 Keyboard
Samson 5kit Drum Mics
Samson Studio Reference Headphones
and just about every type of software I'd need and more (nuendo, all vsts, cubase, fl studio, adobe audition, ETC)

This will be happening all very soon too...I just need some serious advice...most importantly, what legal things do i need to take care of?? I need to get some contracts as far as selling my own beats and for the legal issues for when people record. also, does anyone have some good instructions/plans on building a vocal booth? i want this to look official and my dads gonna help me do this and he's really good at doing stuff like that lol. please help me out and lemme know wassup. THANKS ALOT.

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Since: Apr 23, 2008

Apr 23, 2008 04:36 pm

by the way, today i went and talked to some lawyers and they didnt even try and offer me any advise...they just said that for 5000 dollars they'd take care of all my legal issues...they must think i'm stupid. I wish there was a legal consulting agency around where i'm at but there isnt :(

Since: Mar 03, 2008

Apr 23, 2008 04:57 pm

Not to draw traffic away from this site but you should probably try a site where there are some heavies. has quite a few. Recording engineers who work in the mainstream and in television and other AV post. Again I'm not trying to drag people away from this site but, if you want a professional opinion you need to go to a professional.

Regarding the lawyers. It's not unusual for a lawyer to charge a consultation fee. In fact I would dare say it's the norm. You could try a legal aid but I'm not sure that they would have what you need. There is a site out there with prewritten contracts that you can download. I'll see if I can find it when I get home. The contracts are generic, so you may want to edit them but do so with caution and in consultation with a lawyer.

Since: Mar 03, 2008

Apr 23, 2008 05:03 pm

You will definitely need to get your space inspected if you do any modifications to the structure. All electrical has to be up to spec. Otherwise you could have not only some safety issues but some serious law suits should anything bad happen.

$1000 is a pittance. You might be able to add enough absorbtion and displacement to treat your room but soundproofing is a major investment. I don't think you could soundproof even a small room for under $5000. Look up Rod Gervais. He has a book on soundproofing. It's more complex than putting carpet on the wall.

Since: Apr 23, 2008

Apr 23, 2008 05:09 pm

thanks for the advice hueseph, and also I will not be running my studio at home, its going to be ran at a good sized office so I shouldnt really have to worry about all of that, but thanks for looking into that aspect for me :)

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Apr 24, 2008 10:19 pm

Freddy, I'll get to your questions in a moment.

hueseph, I must ask you something I've been meaning to ask for awhile now. But first I would like to quote you so you know exactly what I am saying.

Not to draw traffic away from this site but you should probably try a site where there are some heavies. has quite a few. Recording engineers who work in the mainstream and in television and other AV post. Again I'm not trying to drag people away from this site but, if you want a professional opinion you need to go to a professional.

As you seem to make a habit of referencing with the word profesional with regard to other sites. Exactly what do you think many of the people here are? Many of us here have or still do make a very nice living at this in a professional manor. I'm not really sure what your vision or idea of professional is to be blunt.

I've seen you make off the wall comments and demeaning comments about this site more then once, in fact many times and not made a big deal out of it. But when you go off constantly about going somewhere else for professional opinions that is something I take personally.

I will say that you do offer up good advice as well, but there are many times you are very condescending to new members and even to long time member's.

I'm not sure how much attention you pay but there are many members here who as I stated earlier are professionals in many aspects. Most of us, myself included to not spend a lot of time bragging about our business unless it pertains to the post.

Please take this as it is intended. Just simply asking you to give a little respect to the people around here that you obviously know nothing about, but seem to think they are simply a bunch of nobodies with no porfessional part in this business.

Now on to Freddy. Have you touched around the local music scene to see if there are possible clients and how many would be interested in using your facility and paying? Setting up a recording studio is not an overnight type thing at all. But you do seem to be willing to warm up to it, and that is good.

The gear you have is a good start, but if you hope to prosper you are going to need to spend a whole lot more on gear to get bigger and better paying clients.

hueseph make a huge point when referring to the legal side of things. That is a must in the music business for sure. And you will either have to travel to another town to find legal council that you like or pay the price of the local lawyers. Getting a business set up is not at all a cheap endeavor and hueseph also stated earlier.

I'll toss a couple of pieces of info your way here on your gear list.

You will need a few more hard drives, preferably something removable as many clients will want a completed copy of their sessions will be more then something you can fit on a single CD. And as well on the multiple hard drives, if you don't have 3 copies of a project you don't have any. Backups are huge and necessary in this business if you want to survive. If you loose a session to a crashed disc or lost files you will be paying through the nose to try and recover your clients loft files, and as well if you are lucky they wont hit the road bashing your studio verbally.

The interface you have is OK for personal use and even some small light weight demo stuff. But in all honesty it will not get you very far in a huge multi track project so be prepared for that when the day comes.

You will find you will need many more then one mic and two pairs of headphones as well.

These are just bits for thought as you need to be prepared when the time comes, and it will come sooner then you think if you are good at it.

Your going to need to think about insurance for your gear and clients gear as well as renters insurance on the space you are renting. That is not cheap either.

These are only a few of the things you will need to think about to run a pro level studio and make money doing it.

If you have some specific question please shoot em out here.

Since: Mar 03, 2008

Apr 25, 2008 12:56 pm

Well I do owe you an apology I suppose. As I said. I don't mean to insinuate that you or others here are not professional. An additon of a private message feature would probably eliminate this kind of conversation. The other site I was referring to does have some heavies though. Not just Franks Recording but people who work for NBC, NPR, Disney, Real Traps, ADK. Not to say that they know any better than you or any one else here does necessarily. But there is definitely a voice of experience there. As I pointed out I don't want to distract attention from this site as it is. It's a Home Recording site.

I have seen some misinformation propagated on sites like this though. Ideas like using compression to get rid of reverb tails from a room. It makes me a little leary. I suppose I'm taking my frustration out on strangers. So my apologies.


Regardless of where you are located, you have to find out what the bylaws are regarding volume levels. Your neighbors can take legal action if they find that your "noise" is interfering with their productivity.

If you are in a commercial industrial area then it is likely they will be interfering with yours. Either way proper sound proofing will be needed.

A cheap(er) solution would be to buy an isolation booth like a Whisper Room. We use one here in the office(mainly dialogue)for (re)educational videos and marketing promo. They aren't cheap though. Cheaper in comparison to full on room treatment but still well above $2000 for a 4' x 4' x 8' iso booth. Not nearly large enough to fit a decent amp. And, they aren't completely sound proof. They aren't completely decoupled from the floor and the ventilation allows some sound in.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Apr 25, 2008 02:40 pm

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with issues, many are different from others people's ways of doing it and they have every right to state it for anyone consideration.

Great ideas can come from unlikely sources, even if they don't have a resume that meets your personal demands of professionalism.

There is quite a few people here that are DAMN good at what they do and make good livings in their studios, even if they don't sit and brag about it to try to impress everybody.

I am really beginning to wonder why you hang out here if we are so far beneath your standards...

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Apr 25, 2008 03:35 pm

It sounded like he was apologizing for being overly 'snooty', for lack of a better term.

For what it's worth, i think hueseph has beneficial input, but gets a little too 'sharp' for our tastes.

Hueseph: this group is more mellow than a lot of others. Harsh statements are not passed over, and I think that's part of this site's charm. People can ask green questions, and not be talked down to.

Some of your posts come off that way, even if you're trying not to post that way. To continue your train of thought re: other boards, this site has had other posters come in here with real crappy attitudes, and expect to be railed, so they come in swinging.

They don't last.

Not saying you won't last, but that we don't expect, nor dole out harsh statements.

Hope that came out in the way intended.

OOp, sorry: On-Topic:

Freddy, see if there's someone else that has done some similar business enterprise, and can maybe help with some legal pointers.

Or, see if there's some lawyer dudes that my want some studio time =).

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

Apr 25, 2008 04:32 pm

I'm semi helping out a open artist space near by so I know a bit about getting the door open. But this studio is a very 'non speculative' operation.

1. You need to have money saved up... enough to last about a year. $1000 might get you a couple weeks.... it will get you 2 here... The studio I'm helping out is buying the building so they spent that last couple weeks getting a couple tenants (an ice cream shop and a plumber needing local storage) that will pay for the building...

2. You have to actually have a market. I got out of trying to make money in audio because in Columbus there's no real market anymore. So I got into video and film. I have a friend who started a studio full time and is doing ok... but his band was also on the shelves of Best Buy... and that experience is probably more important that anything in this area.

3. You need an entertainment lawyer... lawyers specialize...

4. clients often times don't understand 'good'... In the video realm I've heard of companies almost losing clients because they sold off their Betacams and replaced them with HiDef Varicams... betacams were (and almost still are) the mainstay of industrial and commercial video... the client actually had them re-buy betacams to use over the HD package (for the same price).

I've personally talked to studio owners who didn't know what version of protools they were running... it could have been LE for all they knew...

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