– Open as a non-profit
– Spend as much as you can afford
– Buy mostly second hand
Recommendations of Gear
You probably have a long list of microphones that you want to have available in your studio but not have the funds for all to start with.
A recommended minimal setup would be a dynamic vocal microphone and one or a pair of pencil condensers. A lot can be achieved with this very limited microphone setup such as singer/songwriter recordings of which use just an acoustic guitar or piano and vocals. These recordings may allow your studio to gain a reputation and increase customer base through word of mouth, then the higher paying customers for contemporary band recording may warrant the increased investment in a wider range of microphones.
Shure SM58 used £45-£60
AKG P170 new £75 each
As the SM58 is more durable there is little concern with buying used although testing before final purchase is recommended, whereas the P170 is more susceptible to damage as a small diaphragm condenser microphone therefore buying new is recommended. One step further would to invest in an in factory stereo matched pair however this entails a higher cost.
Be sure not to forget at least one microphone stand otherwise sessions with more than just a vocal microphone become awkward and unprofessional.
Studio Monitors £100-£400
A recommended pair of studio monitors on a small budget would be used KRK Rokit RP5s, if the budget allows a pair of Genelec monitors from the 8000 series are a premium option.
Alongside studio monitors being important, a pair of closed back headphones are recommended in order to communicate effectively with the performing artist and for them to hear what they sound like through the inputs, a good supply of balance to the headphones allows a vocalist to tune effectively. Although at the bottom of their range Sennheiser HD202 II are their most popular model and provide minimal professional quality for minimal investment.
Audio Interface £100-£400
A large range of audio interfaces are available new and used with a minimal recommended input number of 8 being ideal as and when your microphone collection expands there’s no need to reinvest in another audio interface. It is advised that the compatibility between interface, PC and DAW are verified before purchase as this allows for more accessible technical support and a guarantee that they will work well alongside each other.
At minimum the need of cables between audio interface and monitor of which need to be checked whether XLR or TRS cables are needed due to output of audio interface; one XLR per microphone with 3 spares and possibly TS Jack to Jack cables for amplified instruments depending on what you intend to record.
Investment into new cables allows for peace of mind that they will be reliable as long as care is taken when using and storing them. A range of coloured cables is recommended as when tracking cables can get unorganised and cables all of one colour may look more professional, however recording sessions will run more smoothly if there’s a cabling issue and can be identified and solved quickly. A few spare of each type of cables are recommended as there’s often no warning to cabling issues and would not want to be left short in the middle of a recording session.
When it comes to PC and DAW as powerful as the budget allows a best. This is where significant savings can be made buying second hand although an operating system that you’re comfortable with is advised with Apple Macs allowing for the widest range of DAWs to select from now and if you chose to change in the future, however Windows PCs can be found to be less expensive for more processing power with the unavailability of Apple software as the trade off.
Recommendations of spaces
A recommended minimum space within a professional recording studio in order to have enough rooms and storage space is 50 square meters, this much space will allow for 3 individual rooms with half the space used for drum tracking room and monitoring room and other half for relaxing and rest of a four piece band tracking room, assuming 10 foot high walls and the space being square.
Spaces with already three or four relatively small rooms in will be found to be ideal with the minimum for contemporary music production being an isolated drum room, an adaptable room for relaxing and tracking guitars or piano and vocals in and the monitoring room where the producer and gear work. The fourth room would be to have the relaxing and tracking guitars or piano and vocals rooms separate, however is not a necessary cost to enforce.
Recommendations of basic range of Instruments to offer within your studio.
This is courteous however if out of budget not a necessity as the setup time of recording sessions will be reduced dramatically when providing an in house drum kit but those coming to your studio to record will have personal instruments of which they use for rehearsing.
When offering in-house instruments it is crucial to your reputation as a music industry professional that they are kept and used in tune.