to rent out a home studio or not?

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
davidbarnhart
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to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by davidbarnhart » Thu May 08, 2003 7:56 pm

alright...here's a question for pretty much anyone who has an opinion: in the last couple years i've built up a small amount of recording equipment to serve my electronic music projects. it's not too feasible for me to record electronic music at a real studio, so my solution was just to build my own small one for private use.

the other day, the idea popped into my head that i might look into renting out the space like any other studio does (albeit with a much, much lower rate). i'm only 19, so i'm not expecting to deal with pro clients or real bands or anything. pretty much just kids younger than myself that are even more cash-straped than i and would be happy with semi-semi-pro demo-sounding stuff. i'm moving to an area that's pretty rural (just punk bands and stuff, i think), and so i'm thinking of going a step down from what most of the small studios on tapeop, etc. offer and cater to the nearly-broke-but-we-still-wanna-have-a-real-band teenage crowd. i know that no amount of equipment can substitute for a good, solid knowledge of engineering (which i sort-of have, and i'm only saying that in anticipation that 500 responses will be "it's not what you own...it's what you can do with it!"). regardless, i'm throwing up a little list of most of my main equipment, just so you get an idea of the tools at hand. i guess my question really is...is this a terrible idea that's fraught with disaster or is it feasible? if it is, what's a decent rate? $10 and hour or something? i guess i just know how it feels when you have no money but still gotta record music, and i'm counting on there being more kids like that in ohio.

la lista: protools le (minimal setup, but very stable), 1/2" 8-track analog w/ old ramsa board. adat blackface. handful of shures and an oktava (yeah, not too many mics), event 20/20 monitors, no compressors/reverbs etc. (but i'll pick that up soon), a minimoog, some analog modulars and about a dozen other analog synths of various flavors + some sequencers

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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by eh91311 » Thu May 08, 2003 8:16 pm

At only 19 you're way ahead of the game. Your rate is dependent on the city you live in. For example, in Los Angeles you'll have a hard time finding a rehearsal studio space for less than $15 per hour that's not totally trashed. Recording studios, even lo-budget at-home Digi 001 hard disk ones, cost a minimum of $20-25 a hour. I would not tell you what to charge, but $10/hour is not enough, no matter where you live. You'd be better off charging by the day or 1/2 day.

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markpar
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by markpar » Thu May 08, 2003 9:32 pm

You'd be better off charging by the day or 1/2 day.
I agree. Charging by the day or half-day is probably the way to go. I have a friend who was charging $10 to $15 per hour and he'd get clients who would come in for one session, do half the tracking and never come back. Sure, he got a little money for it, but it was frustrating to not be able to complete a project.

I mostly record my friend's bands and stuff for free. Heck, if I like your music, I'll probably record you for free. :)

-mark

seangannon
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by seangannon » Fri May 09, 2003 12:45 pm

i agree with the other guys on price. i live in columbus, and interned with a studio that charged $45/hr. they even have a rough time of it, and they've got some killer gear. where in ohio are you? if there aren't any other options for kids to record, you have a good opportunity to make a name and charge a decent rate.

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Flight Feathers
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by Flight Feathers » Fri May 09, 2003 1:16 pm

looking at your gear list, you are going to run into some limitations pretty quick if you try and record rock band. you need to approach it from 2 different views: electronic music studio vs. live band studio.

if you get a live band in there, let assume they are 2 guitars, bass, vocals, drums. you are goin to need at least 6 mics (3 on the drums, 1 on everyting else), 6 mic stands, 5 headphones, a headphone amp, and a room to set it all up in. you didn't mention any mic pre's, so i assume it will all be plugged into the ramsa board. if the board has direct outs, you can go straight to the adat or 1/2", even if the board doesn't have direct outs, you can still probably make it work with aux send/insert jack trickery. if you go analog, the 8 track limit may be a problem, maybe not. if you go adat, then you can get a lightpipe interface to dump tracks to the computer, and do more tracks via a DAW of some sort, like protools. but basically, you'll have to buy a bunch of stuff.


an electronic studio is a different approach. usually it is just one or 2 guys. you are going to need the software people work with, so they can take their work back and forth from the stuido to their homes. also, electronic music is pretty time intensive with tweaking stuff on the computer. your role in this situation is problably going to be answering questions about how to work stuff. you need to think about what your studio can offer to the elctronic musician that they can't do already at home, as is worth spending money on.


hope this helps
ayan

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Flight Feathers
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by Flight Feathers » Fri May 09, 2003 1:17 pm

oh also, get used to dealing with music you don't really like/ care about.

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markpar
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by markpar » Fri May 09, 2003 1:23 pm

ion records wrote:oh also, get used to dealing with music you don't really like/ care about.
Amen. That's one of the things I like about not charging and not being a "real business"; I can record music I like.

However, I bet it would be a great learning experience to record a bunch of different styles of music.

-mark

swillhite
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by swillhite » Sun May 11, 2003 10:13 pm

David, the answer to your question is , YES, absolutely, do it. Everything about it will be a fantastic learning experience. You'll learn about recording, how to run a business and how to deal with people (which can be the most interesting part!) Start out slow. don't invest too much money in renting a space (there's no return in that), consider making your setup mobile at first and offer to go to their practice space to record. Then when you start making some money then maybe consider renting a space. Record a few bands for really cheap, find out what additional equipment you need, invest in some more equipment and then keep going up. Be willing to deal with people or music you may not like at first and you can begin to establish a name for yourself. Most of all, be as professional as you possibly can and have fun! Go for it.

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markpar
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by markpar » Sun May 11, 2003 11:08 pm

David,

If you decide to go for it. It'd be cool if you posted back after a while and let us know how it's going. I'm sure many here (i.e. me) would be interested in your progress.

-mark

rich
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by rich » Sun May 11, 2003 11:23 pm

DO IT!!!
what you are considering is the exact route i took in owning and operating a studio. even the gear you are using is comparable to the stuff i started with. over the last 3 years i have had many projects, learned a ton about engineering, learned a ton about running a small business, increased the size of my studio, got a partner, built a low cost yet functional studio outside of home, havnt had a day job in over a year, and have enjoyed every damn minute! i only have a couple of bits of advice. onbe is the rates. work on a sliding scale. if 4 guys come in and wanna record you know that each of them has money to contribute as oppose to doing a singer songwriter type. fluctuate your rates in accordance to what you think people can afford. offer a couple of differant payment methods. hourly or all up front by the project. you make more on the hourly but its nice to have a pile of cash upfront so you can buy gear or pay your rent. id say do 20 an hour or 175 a 10 hour day. another is book any damn thing you can. you get experience even if you hate the music, hell its even better experience then because you get to learn how to deal with the people and learn how to treat what you do as a business. make some little funny business cards , go to alot of shows and give them to everyone you can. make friends with people who run studios in your area. often times there friendly people who will have a ton of advice for you and its always good to network off them. i send business and vice versa to other studios in my town all the time. thats all i can think of right now. well good luck and have fun

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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by assfortress » Mon May 12, 2003 12:00 am

im in pretty much the same situation, i've got a good start on gear: 1/2" 8 track, 8 buss tascam board, pair of MK012's, A/T 4050, SP C1, ATM 25, and a couple other mics. i need to find some intrested bands. i put a classified ad in the local zine, emailed a couple bands too see if they were intrested, im going to star talking to bands at shows about it. any other tips on finding clients or just about getting into the buisness would be great.

matt.

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helstab
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by helstab » Mon May 12, 2003 5:22 am

I'm right where you are 22 and looking to start recording the local junk. I haven't started yet becuase lack of SPACE to do such a thing. Luckily the new house I will be renting will be perfect. It didn't look that way at first though. Full dirty ass(unfinished) basement 7.5"-, big living, family room with 14"+ ceilings with dirty ass (carpet), and a dirty ass garage 15x18 12"+ ceiling that smells like cat (pee).

But it turns out that........ The landlord with pay for (ALL) the supplies to finish the basement. We asked him if he ever looked under the carpet to see if there were wood floors he said "no". So we looked.... (red oak). He tore up the carpet and finished the floors this past weekend. The garage!!!!..... still smells like cat pee, but with a little (bleach!) everything should work out perfectly.

Oh yeah this is a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, big kitchen, living room, family room, full basement and garage (pets allowed) 30 feet from the park for 950$a month in downtown baltimore . I got VERY lucky
-Matthew Macchio$tab

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eeldip
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by eeldip » Mon May 12, 2003 10:04 am

assfortress wrote:im going to star talking to bands at shows about it.
i think this is probably the best way to get business. it really helps to be already plugged into a music centered social scene. if you arent, plug yourself in. then record a few friend's, and friend's of friend's bands. then, hopefully, things will grow.

start doing it for free, then sneak in fees... make sure you establish yourself as "doing a freebie" when you record a band for free. otherwise people will know you as someone who "does it for free".

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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by deadair » Mon May 12, 2003 10:56 am

My experience has been similar to many other people posting here. recording others is definately a fun way to pay rent if you can do it. i started off very slow and word just travelled and eventually i got to a point where i didn't need another job, but that took about a year and a half or more. at first i did some flyers, but they didnt brign in too many people and usually it was the people/music i was least interested in dealing with. i found that cutting demos and whatnot of friends and friends of friends proved to be far more rewarding and enjoyable and got the word out just fine on its own. i also would suggest starting out recording for free, or for food was my style, and then slowly increase it still giving deals until you work out your hourly or whatever rate. good luck!

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DeafinONEear
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Re: to rent out a home studio or not?

Post by DeafinONEear » Mon May 12, 2003 11:04 am

don't invest too much money in renting a space (there's no return in that),
if you incorporate as a business, rent is 100% tax deductable. You all owe it to yourselves to start businesses-- the amount of stuff that is tax deductable is pretty damn helpful.

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