Types of Recording Studios

November 23, 2006

I was talking to a friend of mine last night about recording studios and rate cards. He was trying to figure out what a reasonable rate card would look like for someone’s home studio.

Recording studios can be divided into 4 categories:

  • Top-tier
  • Mid-tier
  • Project
  • Home

Top-tier studios are easy to identify. The rate card is typically $100/hr and higher. You are generally paying for world-class acoustics, design, personnel, equipment and related services. Cherry Beach Sound in Toronto is an example of a top-tier studio.

Studio Z

Mid-tier studios can offer similar capabilities to a top-tier studio. However, some elements of the studio, usually the equipment, are not as expensive as the top-tier studios and the rate card goes down accordingly. Rates might be in the $60/hr and higher range. Lydian Sound in Richmond Hill is an example of a mid-tier studio.

Studio Z

Project studios are usually independently owned and may or may not operate as a commercial facility. Producers, engineers, and some artists may establish such project studios. Generally they can compete well in terms of capabilities with the mid-tier studios. They are often located in a home. The rate card, if applied, may be similar to a mid-tier or even a top-tier studio. They are significantly different from a home studio in terms of construction, acoustics and equipment. Some of them look and perform very similar to a top-tier studio. Tim Mosley’s personal studio is an example:

Studio Z

Home studios are odd beasts. Some are very rough. With very limited budgets, there is little if any consideration given to acoustics. Equipment is very low-cost and the range of equipment is usually quite limited. Recording experience is random. A home studio is set up as a hobby but some people try to make money with their low-cost home studio. Here is an example of a home studio:

Some home studio

What is a fair rate card for a home studio? Personally, I would buy a computer, some recording software and hardware, and a dynamic mic rather than pay someone to work out of their home studio. I would wind up spending about the same amount of money and probably achieve a similar quality of recording.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: