Why You Should Use a Professional Recording Studio
Lots of people over the years have asked the question "what's the purpose of going to a recording studio?" I'll tell you why, but with a bit of back story first.
Up until the early 1990s, everything was recorded onto reel-to-reel tape, which slowly began to be outpaced by the introduction of the digital audio workstations (DAW). The DAW was easier to work with, introducing time-saving options like cut-and-paste instead of chopping up tape to produce the perfect take if you couldn't quite nail the part.
Long story short, the more expensive analog equipment working with tape became, the more accessible DAWs grew to be. Every John Smith was out there working from his bedroom with a basic two-channel interface, tracking demos into GarageBand or FL Studios (previously known as Fruity Loops). Fast forward to now (2017), there are plenty of people running home studios that they use simply for themselves or freelance work because it's just easier than investing thousands of dollars into outboard equipment, microphones, monitors etc. Lots of mixing and even mastering is done using EQ and plugins on computers, referred to as mixing 'in the box', using just headphones sitting in a Starbucks somewhere, which begs to question - why should you use a professional recording studio?
The biggest and most important difference is the environment. Instead of working out of your bedroom where it's easy to just go along as you please, the creative process can be much easier and streamlined in a dedicated studio environment, especially if you have an engineer or producer there to bounce your ideas off.
The more people to help with the creative process, the better.
It's easier to get lazy in your bedroom, knowing you can always come back to it later, but it's best to stay focused and on track, especially if you're paying per hour. Lots of gear makes for a variety of tones and options that can make your sound much better than at home. One of the main reasons recording studios are sought after is due to the variety of gear on hand, such as microphones that can colour your sound, guitars or basses that can nail the tone you're looking for, and drum kits or cymbals that might be better than your entry level sets you practice on in the garage.
Great gear makes good songs better.
For years I used to do everything from home, except for drums, because I didn't have access to enough microphones and enough inputs on my interface to make it possible. I would record everything from home and add some demo drums with an SM-57 as an overhead to use as scratch tracks as I worked for the perfect parts. I'd then head on down to my local studio, Subcat Studios in Syracuse, New York, for an hour or two and come home with all of my files on a thumb drive that I could drag and drop into my DAW and mix in later. The quality of drums, to me, dictates the overall sound of the recording.
The clearer and more robust your drums are, the greater the finished song will sound.
For this, it might make the professional recording studio more worth your while. At the time of writing this, Ladd Studios is currently a hybrid home and commercial recording studio. While still making the transition from point A (home environment) to point B (commercial location), every one of our clients has found that coming to us has made a difference in their approach to recording for all of the reasons listed above. Regardless of how easy it is to set up a desk in your bedroom with a two channel interface, nothing will ever replace a proper recording studio with professional gear.
I hope you've found this interesting. If you'd ever love an engineer to work with, great gear to play, or a good drum sound to build your foundation on, don't hesitate to get in touch with me at email@example.com
Audio Engineer + Session Musician