Recording Studios Versus Producing & Mixing Remotely
More and more over the last 12 months, I’ve been working remotely with my clients, as opposed to the traditional physical recording studio setup. It saves my clients time and money, and it saves me time and money too. How? I hear you ask. Well, I’ll explain further below as I share a few of my thoughts on the differences between these two approaches to recording and mixing music.
When it comes to recording music, no two clients are the same. Whether they are the artist, the songwriter or even the music producer, every project is different. Every person is different. They want to do different styles of music and usually they’re at very different stages of their careers or journeys. Some know exactly what they want and how to get to where they want to be. Others have no clue. Either way, whatever the circumstances, my job remains the same. That is to create a professional sounding record. Simple. Who I’m working with or how I get to the end goal isn’t of massive importance to me. It’s usually not so important to the client either. All they are concerned about is the end product. A great sounding record. That’s all I’m concerned about too.
So we’re on the same page.
Producing a song to a high standard can take a considerable amount of time. I typically spend a good couple of weeks producing and mixing a song. I read an interview with Calvin Harris recently where he said that This Is What You Came For took 2 months to produce. That’s quite an amount of time. He has time though. It’s true that it varies from song to song, but to produce a song, record vocals for that song and mix & master that song can easily take a couple of weeks. It’s certainly not a couple of days, that’s for sure.
A recording studio in London can charge anything from £20 per hour to in excess of £50 per hour. Let’s call it £35 for argument's sake. An 8 hour day in a recording studio will cost £280. That’s £1,400 for a 5 day week. So if a track takes a couple of weeks on average, that’s £2,800. That may not be much to pay if you’re an established artist, and the label is paying for studio time. But if you’re just starting out and you’re independent, it’s an awful lot of money.
Whilst working with clients in my London recording studio, a question that sprang to mind was 'does the client need to be present throughout the whole production stage?' Do they really need to be there while I flick through 200+ kick drum samples, 200+ claps or snares and 200+ hi hats? Do they even want to be there? In my experience, probably not. It comes back to my original point, that the amount of time needed to produce a record and the amount of attention to detail required isn’t for everyone.
Through my website, I found myself working for people who were not London based, not even UK based. It got to the stage where I was working for most of my clients remotely. I wasn't even meeting the majority of my clients anymore. That's the power of the internet. They were in Malaysia, Qatar, mainland Europe, USA.
Back to the cost. Working from a recording studio, the prices charged per hour were inflated because of what I needed to make to pay the rates I was being charged for the London studio space. I asked myself why I needed to be in that space anymore. I was now working the majority of my sessions by myself. The only reason left was because it was acoustically treated. I needed to be able to trust that what I was hearing through my studio monitors was accurate. Something I couldn’t trust at my home, as much as I wanted to move my studio into my apartment.
Then I saw an interview with Jordan Young, a mix engineer who has mixed all of The Chainsmokers' tracks, most of Beyoncé’s music, and much more. I was intrigued to hear that he works from home in his living room. An untreated run of the mill living room. He explained the reason he was able to do this is because of his monitors. Genelec 8351’s. I won’t get too technical here, but they tune themselves to your room and correct any flaws with the acoustics. You can trust that what you're hearing is correct. Genius. I was sold. So I invested. Enough of the technical stuff.
I’m now producing and mixing predominantly from home. I do still have access to recording studios in London as and when I need them. Because I’m no longer paying the high rates that come with hiring London studio space and London recording studios, I’ve managed to pass that on to clients. Instead of offering by the hour sessions, I can offer a capped price for the whole project. I’m saving money and my clients are saving money too, but the product remains the same, if not better. I'll let you be the judge of that. Have a listen to some of my samples here. I have more time to get things just right without being under pressure to work against the clock. I’m also pretty fast at making changes, because I don’t have to jump in my car to get to the recording studio.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many situations that require a recording studio, and if that’s what you need, then that’s what you need! Live bands for instance will always need to get into a space that is acoustically treated. Recording vocals is still something that requires a vocal booth, or a make shift vocal booth. For the time being, I'll continue to record my vocals in a recording studio in London, but my production and mixing will be handled at home. In this day and age of super high technology, there may be cheaper ways to achieve the same if not better product than hiring an expensive recording studio in London, or any other city.
If you’re interested in hiring me or finding out more about how I’m currently working, please get in touch via my contact form or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to working with you.