1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

10k budget for pro studio

Discussion in 'Recording' started by pow420, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. pow420

    pow420 Guest

    Me and a friend are going to invest 10k to building a pro recording studio for recording bands for money. My question is, if you had 10k in your hand right now to do the same what would you buy. The 10k has to include everything except a computer, we already have a G5. Thanks
  2. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    Don't do it.

    I will be uncharacteristic, and make a long post (hehe):

    Going into business with friends and family is very dangerous. Many people flat out refuse to go into business with friends and family, while others go forward, but with extreme caution.

    Recording studios are folding left and right, and these are people with more equipment, professional experience, and business experience than you and your friend.

    $10K is a lot of money, in a way. But in another way, it's nothing.

    You don't have enough for new construction.

    You don't have enough for conversion of an old structure.

    "You don't ...." x n situations

    Sit on the money, read/research some more, and then reconsider.
  3. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    BWAAAAAHAAAAHAAAAAA!!!! You ARE kidding, right?!?!

    OMG, you got it bad, don'cha?

    I would buy $5000 worth of stock in an oil company and $5000 worth of stock in an insurance company, and forget the recording business like a hooker does a John.

    SERIOUSLY!! You'ld be a LOT better off!

    Save your money... put it ANYWHERE else but in a recording studio, because you are obviously under a serious delusion... NO ONE can honestly think that owning a recording studio is going to MAKE them money.

    How do you make a million bucks with a recording studio?

    If you're doing this to make money, DON'T BOTHER!! You'll end up loosing everything. Especially when you're starting out under-funded by well over $140,000 for an entry level PRO studio.

    Yeah, I'm an asshole, but I'm not a prick. I'm try to give you guys a short wakeup call as to the reality of the professional aspect of this business and the current state of the industry. Unless you're already in it too deep to back out now, you are talking about starting up a venture in what is about the worst period of time to EVER start up a studio. Everyone with a friggin' soundcard and a 57 thinks they can hang a shingle out and call themselves a studio. That's insane! More studios are closing than opening due to the fact that most people that are recording, are doing it at HOME and at their leisure, rather than spending their EXTREMELY hard earned money to go into a studio.

    It takes 10's of thousands of dollars to build a MODEST studio. You have to consider at least the following as the the minimum; the building, sound proofing, acoustical treatment, advertising, marketing, permits, payroll, taxes, and consumables... and that's BEFORE you even consider your first piece of gear!

    You did say PRO studio... OK, here goes, but remember, YOU asked the question...

    You have a computer... So? Most of the studios/owner I know have 5-6... and a server with a tape backup.

    To get into a REAL pro level studio, your $10k won't even buy a SSL9080J Power supply, much less a console... Going that way, you're done before you're started.

    So, maybe you gotta' look at a modest PT rig... figure $40k. You're STILL done... and you haven't bought your first microphone!

    Look, be realistic. If you can't be swayed back into reality, go for QUALITY over quantity. That way, you only have to buy once... or if you do have to sell out, you will get more of your dollars back than if you buy the cheap stuff.

    Start out by trying to put together a small modest project studio. You could start out with an MBox, a couple of decent pre's, a summing box and couple of LDC mic's, maybe a few 57's, a few mic cables, a couple of decent mic stands and maybe a fairly decent pair of monitors, but $10k ain't very much.

    Save up about $15k more over the next year or so while you learn to track and mix. You'll need that cash for acoustical treatment or one good mic, a few more cables, a decent pre and the like.

    After a few years, you can start looking at moving to a new facility that you can invest say, $125-$150/sq ft (in today's dollars) upfit of acoustic treatment and sound proofing.

    And when it's all said and done, you're still only going to have a modest project studio... that's competeing with everyother project studio, that's competing with every musician that has the same equipment, or there abouts, that you do. So, get ready guys... it's probably gonna' be rough. But if you're independantly wealthy, don't mind starvin' or are about as crazy as a bed-bug, you just might make it.

    Still, if I had that $10k, I'd be searching for a much better investment than this crazy industry.

    Here's some pricing to give you some ideas as to what you're competition on the PRO level has:
    Genelec 1035's - $15,000
    Drawmer 1969ME - $3000 ea
    1176's - $1600 ea
    Grace 101 - $570 ea
    LA2A's - $2600 ea
    Digi002 - $1200
    Dangerous 2-Bus - $3000
    UM75 - $5000
    4038 - $1500

    And this list goes on and on and dollars go up and up and up.

    Good luck... yer's gonna' need it.

  4. pow420

    pow420 Guest

    ok well first of all the friend im referring to is my best friend which i have known for about 10 years now. I am 17 and he is 21 and the studio will be going into his old room in his parents house, therefore we dont have to pay for anything to keep it there. I also live in a place where there is about 2 recording studio's with a population of about 2 million. Im also a drummer and my drum teachers other student has done the same and spend 15k and has made alot of money. I also understand stocks and property's and this is where all my money will be going after it is made from the recording studio. We have a mysapce where about 10 people have already messaged me to use the recording studio even though it is not up yet. I have to say that my shot of accually making money are greater then you have made them out to be.

    Ok maybe i was out of line saying a pro studio, i ment to say the best i can do with 10k and still have people pay me money to use it. Im also not going to be building any structures the money is all for accoustic foam and electronics only.
  5. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Ummmm, I think you guys are being a little too negative.

    I would buy my set up. yup.

    Although, I dont think id buy the beyerdynamic m160 again. The output is just to low. Id get an shure sm7 instead. And I need a better computer, now.
  6. pow420

    pow420 Guest

    stickers do you use your setup just for yourself or for others also? And how much did your set up cost? What mixer to you use?

    Also since 10k is alittle short for good stuff im think since most of the music where i live is rap rap rap, im going to buy one mic and after i make more money i will buy more mics for bands. Is this a good idea?
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Here is all you need to do for a fine little startup studio.

    You need to purchase the Alesis HD 24XR 24 track, 24-bit hard disk recorder, with FireWire adapter. $2000

    You need to purchase 3 DigiMax or equivalent, 8 Channel quality microphone preamplifiers. Under $2400 for all three.

    You need to purchase a 24 Channel line level monitor mixer. $500

    You need to purchase a bag full of SM57/58's microphones, stands, cables, headphones, amplifiers, speakers, etc.. $4000

    You'll need to purchase a gift certificate for mental health care workers for your parents. $2000

    I believe all of the rock-and-roll stars in the country will be quickly lining up to record their next mega-platinum hit with you soon?

    Dreaming about your next gold record??

    Ms. Remy Ann David

    For everything else there's MasterCard.
  8. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    OK, now you're being a bit more realistic... but only a bit. You say there's only 2 studios in a city of 2 million. But yet, you mention that there's plenty of guys that are doing the same thing... which is it? In truth, there's probably at least 2% of the population with recording gear/nice little bedroom set-ups. That equates to 40,000 bedroom set-ups. Even if it's one half of 1%, that's 10,000!

    You should be realistic at to what you're competition is out there... otherwise you are spending someone's $10,000 foolishly. Heck, if you've got $10,000 to throw away, throw it my way. I could use the money for a new pair of DPA's and a lunchbox of API's.

    Look at Ms. Remy's list... ESPECIALLY the health care cost for your parents! (Just kidding... kinda')

    With part of that $10k, there's one expense you had better include at least $500-$1500 for... maybe more. Get a lawyer! Set up a corporation where you have outlined EVERYTHING. This includeds the ownership of the kitchen sink.

    MadTiger's absolutely dead-on about partnerships. They can work, but only when properly executed.

    Look, you're talking about having all kinds of people come into your friend/partner's PARENTS house. What if a fight breaks out and the PARENT'S stuff get's broken? What if someone breaks-in and steals their stuff? Who's accepting responsibility for cleaning the carpet when someone hurls on the livingroom carpet? - or destroys the neighbor's yard with their car when the leave pissed off after a band fight, or break-up with their girlfriend/boyfriend and punches a hole in the wall? What about parking? What about client's who bring pets? Are you guys going to have defined hours of operation? What about adding a phone? Can you get commercial lines/rates in that location? What about the website - who's going to own the domain? What about internot access? ftp? The list can get pretty long and detailed... and you had better think it through.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, but just want you guys to be aware that there's a WHOLE lot more to setting up a studio than the gear.

    PLEASE learn one thing here and now... There is a HUGE difference between sound proofing and acoustical treatment! THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING!

    Soundproofing is just that... keeping sound isolated... e.g. keeping sound in an enclosure or keeping sound out of an enclosure. About the only way to do this is with MASS. It takes a LOT of mass to stop sound... ESPECIALLY low frequencies! Ever have a car go by a house or building and you hear the low frequencies?

    When you're producing those low frequencies, you have to either stop or at least greatly attenuate most those frequencies from leaving your studio. If they can get out, they can come in. Invariably, they will come in at exactly the worst possible moment... like in the middle of a great vocal take.

    Acoustic treatment on the other hand has very little to do with soundproofing. Treatment is where you add absorbtion or difussion to change the characteristics of the room's sound.

    You put absorbtion and/or difussion on the walls, floors and ceilings to break up reflections and to cancel phasing issues. Acoustic "foam" is one type of absorbtive treatment among MANY types. You don't want to just slap some foam up and call it done. You need to look into this a bit more... A LOT more.

    I would strongly encourage you to head down to the acoustics forum and check out the FAQ's and go through the search engine to learn as much as you can BEFORE you start. Nothing will eat up money faster than a poor decision made in haste.

    Again, you are attempting to do this on a commercial basis. That opens you up to a whole different level of liability. If a fire were to occurr, and you failed to use fire rated or fire retardent materials you are going to be sued like no one's been sued in a long time.

    Which brings up insurance. Look long and hard at your business insurance. Get partnership insurance. If something happens to either one of you, how will you make payments on the bills of the company? How will you be able to even write checks or in the case of some states, can you even make the deposits to the accounts? A good lawyer and insurance agent are must have's.

    Another thing you want to do is find a good independant accountant.

    Of course, since you are under-age, your parents will have to sign everything for you. So, hopefully they'll keep you from sinking yourself into too much of a money-pit that might kill-off an otherwise productive member of society.

  9. felixcat

    felixcat Guest


    2 mics I'm not ashamed of and a dual pre I'm not ashamed of.....

    That's about it.
  10. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I also think you need to temper your "If you build it, they will come" expectations.

    I don't have a lot more than $10K invested in my setup, and I have some respect around town. I'm not recording rock bands, but that has more to do with the crowd I hang out with than anything else.

    It's taken me YEARS to get to where I am. I did a lot of work for no charge. I spent 6 months and MANY MANY hours mixing my first multitrack recording just getting a feel for how to work with the stuff. It takes more than gear to make decent recordings.

    I know your goal is to make money, and while "a lot of money" to a 17 year old is not the same as "a lot of money" to a 40+ parent of two homeowner, I'd never tell ANYONE that I've made money at this.

    Assuming you have the talent and the ears for recording, it's still going to take you a while to get your arms wrapped around this recording thing. There's a lot more to it than you realize, and you're not going to know what I mean until two years down the road when you look back at what you were doing when you first started ... trust me.

    Not only that, but once you get into this recording thing you'll start learning about different goodies - sofware, hadware, microphones, etc - that you'll decide you just GOTTA' have. Kiss your profits goodbye.

    $10k is a lot of money - especially for a couple of young people. What if the parents decide a studio in the house is not what they expected and shut you down? Do you have another place to record? What if one of you decides it's no fun - do you have a plan (contract?) on who gets what stuff, or what it will take to buy out your buddy?

    I'm not trying to discourage you - I love recording and I got started on a pretty small budget - but I've talked to MANY musicians who've been impressed with my work - every time I see them they say they're going to be in touch soon about recording, and the years go by. I think they're sincere - they're just busy. Recording an album is a big committment for everyone involved, and many musicians don't have a lot of disposable income.

    If you're sure you're going through with this, setup your studio and plan to record a couple of bands for free - or for very little - and use that opportunity to learn how to record and how to mix. Take your time and learn to do it right. I think the fact that you're a drummer is an advantage - recording drums is a challenge - you can learn that on your own kit on your own time.

    IMHO - if you want to record because you think you'll make money, stop now. If you want to record, and will record regardless of profits, then you've got a chance. You might get your investment back after a few years.
  11. pow420

    pow420 Guest

    ok well, first of all my friends parents are gone from 6am-8pm every day except sunday so them being home is not a problem, my dad is an CPA so ive got that down. Me and my friend have built plenty of websites in our day so thats no problem either. Me and him are also going to be taking sound recording at the local university in a few weeks for 2 semesters and we have a friend who graduated on a sound engineering major and is willing to teach us everything for a mear 6 dollars an hour. Hes leeving in a year so we only have him for that long. Im going to buy a few books on sound proofing a accoustics to do it all properly. I never said that 10k and buying the gear and telling people i have a studio was going to attract them. I just wanted to know what gear i should get with the 10k nothing more. Im think since my city is all rap then im going to use the 10k and only buy one mic at first so i can buy better other stuff and then after i make some money i will buy more mics. Another thing is, i dont really have to pay for much for another 5 years except food... Im going to be in a paid for dorm and everything else paid for. The 10k is just for me the get off the ground and i want you to give me a list that i can upgrade as i go along.
  12. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    The problem is this. You can't make pro recordings with anything less than pros use, including experience. Ask yourself this: What reason do people have to come to us? It is the question that any business owner has to ask. Who needs you? Why? How much can they afford to pay? After they are gone, who else will come, and how will they know where to find us? Then you have to be legal. You have to get yourself an attorney, bank acount, insurance, make sure that your house is zoned for business in your community, look at the traffic pattern limitations, etc. It is not as easy as buying what everyone else with 10k or good credit could get at guitar center. The cat is out of the bag. You have to have the chops and industry contacts that will cause people to seek you out, no matter where you are. You will not draw business to a bedroom. Not REAL business that won't come rip you off when you aren't home.
  13. pow420

    pow420 Guest

    like i said we have a friend who is going to help us in the begining and he has a major in sound engineering. My dad is a CPA and an atorney so im fine there. There is always someone in the house because they have a maid so no one is going to jack us and even if they do these people are extremely rich and wouldnt care at all. Why? It has happened and they didnt care. I think you all think im a crazy idiot kid with some money and not smart enough to do it right but i never said i wasnt going to do all of that i just ask for some assistence on picking equitment out but i thank you for the other assistence also.
  14. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    The point remains. Who needs YOU? I wish someone had asked me this stuff when I invested my first $100k. In my market $100k is not enough. Not times 5! I have a crap load of gear, great facilities, but I am like every other studio in the world...I am not doing this for money. It is because I like the work. There is more money in the property, which is why many are getting out of business.

    What music are you planning to do? What is your clientele? What are their expectations? How much will they pay? WILL they pay? This determines your gear list.

    If your clientele are rappers wanting "beats", then you may not need to spend anything more than a laptop, a sampler, a large CD library of vintage R&B. Since these people that will come to you will have little money, then they can expect to get less.

    You have to tell us more. You have to know more yourself.

    Your friend may be the hottest thing since audio schools, but a degree doesn't mean anything. I know many, many people from Full Sail and other schools that do not know how to use a compressor after spending 4 years and 60k! Some of them can't get a job anywhere, because they don't know HOW TO MAKE A RECORD. That is the big thing. Not how to operate or own gear. That is only part of the equation.

    Forgive us man, but bedroom studio does not = money. If anything, people are going to assume that because you are there, and not in a commercial space, that you don't have your chops.

    Bedrooms = poor acoustics (usually), unless you have a palace with 18' ceilings and lots-o-space. I would say $4.5k on room acoustics, $5k on gear, $.5k on AC and UPS.

    There are many articles in back issues of EQ on how to equip a small home studio. Again, it will be a hobbiest studio, not a pro studio. You are talking 10k, not hundreds of thousands or millions.
  15. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Holy sheet Batman! I agree.
  16. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Uhhh... Remy... you've been sniffin' that fast forwarding 2" tape again, ain't cha' girl? :-?

    I think the kid's just got it in his head that he's got it all figured out...

    I was gonna' comment on the false expectations, the lack of grasp on reality, etc.

    Then I thought about it...

    I'm wasting my breath... as are most of us I'm afraid.

    Let em' go ahead and jump in the pool... they'll jump in the deep end without looking... hehehe, the sharks are smelling the chum...

    In 6 months... I'll be looking over their auctions on eBay. Hopefully they'll have a piece or two I can snag at .10 on the dollar.

    If they survive... good for them. If they don't... I, along with a lot of the other treacherous ol' geezer's will be here to skarf up the good stuff at a real nice savings...

    Go for it kids
  17. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Yep - there's not much a bunch of grown-ups can say that an entusiastic young'un will choose to listen to - and if he's got the chops we might be listening to his work on the Radio in a few years. :cool:
  18. pow420

    pow420 Guest

    thank you for saving me from a bad investment i now see how dumb it really is since it is not my passion but instead drums are. Im now going to use this 10k and put it in stocks like i originally wanted to do. The only reason i was going to make a studio was because i wanted to be able to record my bands records and make money at the same time but i feel the need to wait till i have more money and build a studio for just my band. Thank you all for the info it was worth it. :)
  19. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member


    There's no reason you CAN't build a nice little bedroom project studio to record your own music... none at all. $10k is a GREAT budget for that level of a project studio!

    It just unreasonable to think that you could build any kind of facility that will satisfy the needs of other PAYING customers with so little money... at least based upon the experience of those of us who are already working at running studios at, or just below, the level that you think you want to operate. It just takes so much more money and time than you can imagine.

    If you have the real desire to start recording, do it. It's never been more affordable... and you can get very good results with the gear that's available. Go back and read Remy's post. A good list.

    If you want to test the waters, contact one of the commercial facilities in town. Talk to the owner and book a 3-5 song EP for your band. Explain to the owner that you're interested in watching the engineer track and mix to see if it's something you have a real interest in.

    Start small. Learn the basics of the craft. If the bug bites... you'll be a gear slut for life... like the rest of us old' codgers (that EXCLUDES Remy!)... then eventually, your GAS will yield the $50k-$200k worth of gear it takes to open a real commercial facility.

    Then, as zemlin says... we're liable to be listening to your mixes on the rasdio someday.
  20. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Honestly, I don't think one needs to spend more 20k to have the gear to make pro recordings or just even excellent demo recordings. Although, more importantly, you do need a good space. In most cases a large rectangular room with high ceilings will work (like the main room of a small chruch if that makes sense) Anyways, a lot of bands just want to cut "good" sounding demos. Can someone record an excellent or just a very good demo on 10k + a good computer(2k),roughly 12k of gear and decent room? Yes of course. Pow420 has a space (good or not) and overhead will be minimum so he wont have to charge a lot of dough.

    My rates are low since I dont have that much overhead. To promote, I do live sound on the weekends and do 2 track live recordings from the board to a CDr to give to the band and I give "good" bands my business card along with the live CD. This gets me business because I have done some killer two track live recordings from the board.

    So as long as Pow210 keeps his rates fair, does a good job and finds a realistic way marketing himself, I dont see a problem of him making some extra cash.

    Sheet does make a good point about people graduating from recording schools. Typically, that doesn't mean crap. Expereince is far more important. I spent most of my time earning my bachelors in "Sound Recording Technologies" at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in the back of the room reading various recording mags cuz I already knew what a damn compressor does and how to use it or what EQ does, or delay or verb. My point is learning the in and outs of the recording process cant fully be taught in a class room along couple of school projects. It's just a starting point.

Share This Page