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Recording studio research

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Hey folks, I'm doing some research at the mo and need some feedback.

Basically I'm lookin into the possibility of setting up a new recording/rehearsal studio and would like some suggestions as to what you guys think is lacking from any current ones in the city other than just cheaper prices!

What do you guys and girls feel would make the difference and could give you a better experience?

What's currently missing from the current options?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Like I say this is purely market research to see if there's even a need for this kind of venture but I feel that the best opinions come from those who would be using the facilities.

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probably just a cheaper price to be honest, but then how would you make any income. the majority of people probably don't mind paying a little bit extra to practise in order to support the local businesses such as captain toms, and musical vision. i don't think there really is a need for another venture like this in aberdeen, not only have you got tom's, musical vision, and the foyer for practising and rehersing, there are a number of great studios in the shire, for example exile. on top of that i've heard about people who have independant studio set ups in their homes who offer to record bands.

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decent quality without breaking the bank. and I mean good quality - there are no studios in aberdeen that I think are making really good recordings.

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probably just a cheaper price to be honest, but then how would you make any income. the majority of people probably don't mind paying a little bit extra to practise in order to support the local businesses such as captain toms, and musical vision. i don't think there really is a need for another venture like this in aberdeen, not only have you got tom's, musical vision, and the foyer for practising and rehersing, there are a number of great studios in the shire, for example exile. on top of that i've heard about people who have independant studio set ups in their homes who offer to record bands.

Yes, thats a good mention and something i've been aware of for a while, also something i'm contemplating doing in the meantime as a move to a different city may be on the cards.

On the point of income, sometimes I think it may not be the be all and end all of doing something like this, personally as long as i can support my family as well as offering the musicians of the city a really great product would be worth it.

Another contemplation I have is a joint recording/ rehearsal AND gig venue which would give bands another place to come and play and not have to worry about hiring equipment etc. Would also give the people another venue to check out new bands. Thoughts?

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yeah but you've got to remember a recording studio is primarily a business, and you don't want to lose money out of your own pocket so you can't charge buttons, and then you have to think about your staff, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

having a joint recording studio/ gig venue is an interesting idea though. i thought it was really cool when tunnel 2 was the record shop, and if you managed to make it work it would probably create a sense of unity between the bands of aberdeen

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I don't think the prices would be such an issue if the quality, like Tom says was really good.

Captain Toms (don't get me wrong the place and the staff are great and I always buy my strings, picks etc and practice there) for example you pay 120 for most of a day. Go down to Dundee and you can get the Seagate studio for a similar price. The gulf in quality is enormous. I would say the CT recordings are good enough for free/cheap demos, but Seagate is defintely good enough for an album (for unsigned acts I guess) and with a bit more money even some airplay. Kaddish and Archives both have albums recorded there and are both very listenable. They're by no means perfect (the kick drum sound being the most noticable problem), but definitely value for money.

When Carson recorded with Robin sutherland he was 120 bucks a day too and he's done some really great, high quality stuff like Copy Haho's first seven inch, the most recent Stapleton album and the Avast! album.

Even Tom who used to play in Allergo is better and although I don't know his rates, I'm sure it's little more than fuck all. I would happily use his recordings (based on the most recent uncalm and Grader recordings) for an album.

Aberdeen just has very very little to offer by way of studios with good gear or top quality engineers that really should be doing better things, but aren't there yet and/or actually give a crap.

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Yep, I know from my playing days that high quality recording in aberdeen is nowhere to be found. The forum is worth a mention for being the worst quality but I like that it gives young students the chance to ehance their skills. Cap Toms is a reliable old favourite who pretty much have aberdeen cornered as far as affordable demo quality is concerned. I just dont think they've been properly tested to produce a great sounding record. So in my mind the quality of the product offered would always be priority.

AS far as the joint gig/recording venue I'm 70% sure that's the route i'm going down.

Keep up the good work guys!

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Kitting out a small room for gigs would be awesome. There really isn't enough options for small DIY gigs in town. Having a drum kit and a PA already set up saves the hassle of having to hire gear from places too.

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IMO the biggest gap in the market is for a decent studio, even if the rates had to go up.

as others have said there are a handful of far superior studios in dundee which is really only an hour and a bit's drive away. if you launch ANOTHER studio doing average quality recordings, even at low prices, you will be entering a saturated market.

if you can match the likes of the dundee studios mentioned earlier on quality & not go much higher with the price, you'll be onto a complete winner.

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Even Tom who used to play in Allergo is better and although I don't know his rates, I'm sure it's little more than fuck all. I would happily use his recordings (based on the most recent uncalm and Grader recordings) for an album.

.

50 buts i think that mates rates.

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Kitting out a small room for gigs would be awesome. There really isn't enough options for small DIY gigs in town. Having a drum kit and a PA already set up saves the hassle of having to hire gear from places too.

The place we used to practice would have been perfect for this. Had a studio set up with a separate control room and that, but the live room would have been awesome for wee basement gigs. Shame it all fell through.

There is a huge gap in the market in Aberdeen for just what Tom is saying. If I had the capital/know how I'd be on it in a second. In fact, either would do.

There might be some help available financially from the gov't too if you look in the right place, I can't be sure though.

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IMO the biggest gap in the market is for a decent studio, even if the rates had to go up.

as others have said there are a handful of far superior studios in dundee which is really only an hour and a bit's drive away. if you launch ANOTHER studio doing average quality recordings, even at low prices, you will be entering a saturated market.

if you can match the likes of the dundee studios mentioned earlier on quality & not go much higher with the price, you'll be onto a complete winner.

This.

What I liked about Robin as well is his personality (I suppose you'd call it) as a sound engineer. He appreciates that its his name going on the sleeve if one is made and it is important to him that the CD is not only mixed to a certain standard, but he'll keep making you do takes until you get it right. Unfortunately I was sweating alcohol and dying from a hangover when I recorded the latest Carson Wells songs, so this persistance brought me to the verge of tears (aren't I a badass rockstar...), however the final result was a lot more pleasing.

You have to be sound good and really care about the music. That and what Tam o'Shantie said could lead to you running a successful studio.

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This.

What I liked about Robin as well is his personality (I suppose you'd call it) as a sound engineer. He appreciates that its his name going on the sleeve if one is made and it is important to him that the CD is not only mixed to a certain standard, but he'll keep making you do takes until you get it right. Unfortunately I was sweating alcohol and dying from a hangover when I recorded the latest Carson Wells songs, so this persistance brought me to the verge of tears (aren't I a badass rockstar...), however the final result was a lot more pleasing.

You have to be sound good and really care about the music. That and what Tam o'Shantie said could lead to you running a successful studio.

Yes. We are recording our album just now, and we're working with a guy called Stephen Watkins (remember the name, you'll be hearing it in the future). This is a man so good at what he does that he has custom gear designed to his own spec in the States and shipped over, funded by his work for one of them big bag majors. Everyone likes to say, "oh, we recorded at Sam's Bargain Bucket and it was ace" but if you really want good recordings (as in, comes on Radio 1 outgunning whatever has been done by the Lord Alges), you really need to do your homework and be prepared to pay.

What started in my head as a week long job will probably now take us at least another month to finish, but it is worth it. Of course, that kind of fidelity isn't for everyone, but it seems to me that if you want to go in as a high end studio, you really need to invest and not cut corners.

Just my tuppenceworth.

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Yes. We are recording our album just now, and we're working with a guy called Stephen Watkins (remember the name, you'll be hearing it in the future). This is a man so good at what he does that he has custom gear designed to his own spec in the States and shipped over, funded by his work for one of them big bag majors. Everyone likes to say, "oh, we recorded at Sam's Bargain Bucket and it was ace" but if you really want good recordings (as in, comes on Radio 1 outgunning whatever has been done by the Lord Alges), you really need to do your homework and be prepared to pay.

What started in my head as a week long job will probably now take us at least another month to finish, but it is worth it. Of course, that kind of fidelity isn't for everyone, but it seems to me that if you want to go in as a high end studio, you really need to invest and not cut corners.

Just my tuppenceworth.

this is very interesting. is this chamber studios? who are you guys anyway?

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I agree, you need to spend the money on the right gear for a high end studio. The problem is that on top of the expensive high end gear and quality engineer to use it, you need to have the right kind of property. The propery will be expensive and the so will the rates that you have to pay.

Aberdeen has enough demo standard studios with toms and MV. Around the local area there are also some respectable studios. A new venture would not need to compete with the services that they provide. There is a lot of scope for a place of complete quality though. I'm also interested in developing this idea and have been thinking about it a lot but looking at it as a long term goal. I would be reluctant to connect it to a venue though as cool as that would be, it's probably just a bit of a stretch. In this case, you'd be better plowing all your capital into the studio.

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Curators (Curators on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads). None of the stuff we're doing with him is up there though.

We did the live tracking at Chamber, but everything else has been done in his temporary studio setup (he's hunting for suitable permanent premises). Some of the gear he has is absolutely incredible: Soviet Russian compressors, custom built rack units, vintage mics, stuff from Abbey Road, you name it basically. The website isn't up and running yet but contact details are on Untitled Document. You have to be willing to spend a bit of money, but the results will speak for themselves. He has set himself up to compete with the highest end mixes coming out of America, and is succeeding. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about our record!

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Curators (Curators on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads). None of the stuff we're doing with him is up there though.

We did the live tracking at Chamber, but everything else has been done in his temporary studio setup (he's hunting for suitable permanent premises). Some of the gear he has is absolutely incredible: Soviet Russian compressors, custom built rack units, vintage mics, stuff from Abbey Road, you name it basically. The website isn't up and running yet but contact details are on Untitled Document. You have to be willing to spend a bit of money, but the results will speak for themselves. He has set himself up to compete with the highest end mixes coming out of America, and is succeeding. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about our record!

Is that Chamber studio in Edinburgh?

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That's where we have done the live tracking for the album, yes (not the stuff on Myspace). The rest is being done in his own studio.

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That's where we have done the live tracking for the album, yes (not the stuff on Myspace). The rest is being done in his own studio.

We worked with a Stephen down there, not sure if it was the same guy - back in 2008, he was brilliant. If he was back there we'd probably go back again. We went last year and was told he'd left.

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Aye, he's left to set up on his own, although we went back to Chamber to do the live tracking because of the gear available and his expertise in there. Brilliant guy, incredible producer/mixer.

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Aye, he's left to set up on his own, although we went back to Chamber to do the live tracking because of the gear available and his expertise in there. Brilliant guy, incredible producer/mixer.

The most important thing is the guy running the equipment. Rise to Red studios in Inverness folded because it was a case of all the gear no idea. (They put a neuman u47 in a kick drum fir instance!!!) The best kit in the world is useless unless you have someone who knows how to work it.

And remeber, some of the best music ever made was recorded straight to tape with a single microphone.

Don't be blinded by all the pretty lights. Use your ears.

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You just wait til you hear it! I've been recording in various different studios for nearly 13 years now, and I know when something sounds special ;)

[EDIT] Just re-read that and realised you were offering advice in general rather than to me. Oops! [/EDIT]

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(They put a neuman u47 in a kick drum fir instance!!!) And remember, some of the best music ever made was recorded straight to tape with a single microphone.

Don't be blinded by all the pretty lights. Use your ears.

Bet that made the capsule implode, pricey! As for your straight to tape point, agree absolutely, with the caveat that valve mic pre-amps and desks in those days had great tone, but, as you say, not without a dude with a clue. Mind you the tales of trying to get get distortion when those lab-coat engineers were in charge; "This equipment no longer functions correctly" etc

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I don't think the prices would be such an issue if the quality, like Tom says was really good.

Captain Toms (don't get me wrong the place and the staff are great and I always buy my strings, picks etc and practice there) for example you pay 120 for most of a day. Go down to Dundee and you can get the Seagate studio for a similar price. The gulf in quality is enormous. I would say the CT recordings are good enough for free/cheap demos, but Seagate is defintely good enough for an album (for unsigned acts I guess) and with a bit more money even some airplay. Kaddish and Archives both have albums recorded there and are both very listenable. They're by no means perfect (the kick drum sound being the most noticable problem), but definitely value for money.

When Carson recorded with Robin sutherland he was 120 bucks a day too and he's done some really great, high quality stuff like Copy Haho's first seven inch, the most recent Stapleton album and the Avast! album.

Even Tom who used to play in Allergo is better and although I don't know his rates, I'm sure it's little more than fuck all. I would happily use his recordings (based on the most recent uncalm and Grader recordings) for an album.

Aberdeen just has very very little to offer by way of studios with good gear or top quality engineers that really should be doing better things, but aren't there yet and/or actually give a crap.

Nah man, Seagate's kaput. They're all about re-sampling every single drum hit in there, excluding the overheads of course (which are high-passed to such an extent that you only hear the washy cymbals anyway). That might seem harsh, but that's the way I feel about it. I hold a dim view of studios that sample drums for 'consistency' in any genre outside of metal; I like the minor inconsistencies in performance, it brings out the human element. While I think Seagate can be commended for their efficiency, it wouldn't do them any harm to slow the process down a bit and concentrate on getting good drum sounds as opposed to relying on ye olde faithful dry_kick.wav.

As much as I like the Archives album, the drums sound characterless. I think it's a shame because Iain's a great drummer. It'd be nice to hear someone playing the drums, rather than listening to what sounds like a martial arts sound track.

Having recorded with Robin twice, and continuing to turn to him for advice on all things audio, there's no competition in the North of Scotland, more so given the fact that his new studio opens very shortly.

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