WELCOME everyone - and thanks to Mitch, Dendy and Craig for giving me this opportunity. I'm really excited about it and am looking forward to some great discussions.
So, what IS a "project studio" anyway? Or a "home" studio? Or a "pro" or "commercial" studio? It's really difficult to say in an absolute way.... the lines are sometimes pretty grey.
But I think most of you get it pretty well... it's not so much about the gear as it is about the PEOPLE. Traditionally, a commercial studio is a "for hire facility", and while they provide a support staff, rooms and gear, most of the projects being done there come in with their own producer and first engineer... IOW, you're renting the "room" and the "gear" as well as support staff (second engineers, runners to go get your pizza and pornos, maintenance engineers to calibrate your 2 track analog deck how you want it, etc.), but the engineer and producer are usually "outside" cats.
Home studios are typically, well, at home.
Back in the day before "project studio" was a common term, you either had a home studio or a commercial studio - with any setup - no matter how elaborate - located at a home being described as a "home studio". Problem was, as the gear started improving and becoming more readily available at more affordable prices, and as things started getting more sophisticated insofar as some of these "home" setups, calling them a "home studio" gave people the wrong impression. After all, the quality had reached the point where people could - and were - doing TV theme music, movie soundtracks, jingles, and even albums in these "home studios", but calling it that hardly generated a positive image in the mind of some of the "suits". Anyway, I THINK I first read the term in the pages of the early EQ magazines... I can't say who came up with it, but it might have been someone at EQ. In any case, they certainly helped popularize it.
A project studio, as Jeff the marketing weasel mentioned, can be as simple as a old Portastudio (TM) in a corner of a spare bedroom all the way up to SSL and Neve equipped rooms. They might be at home, or in someone's warehouse space or in a commercial building somewhere. The difference is, IMO, the people. Clients who hire a project studio are oftentimes less interested in the room or the gear... they're hiring YOU. Obviously the gear and the room are important, but assuming a certain level of quality that is appropriate for the job at hand, the important element is the people. They're usually not going to be bringing in an outside engineer, and many times not a producer either. That's where you come in. You're almost always involved, in one way or another, with all the projects coming out of your "project studio".
Project studios have been used for doing overdubs on major label records (costs less than renting the big rooms), jingles, TV theme music, soundtracks, the new CD project for the owner's band, etc. etc.
Is a project studio "pro"? You bet! Just because it's not in a big commercial building somewhere doesn't mean you can't get pro results from some of the gear out there these days. That's not to knock the big rooms - there's still a lot of advantages to major studios. But what you CAN do in a project studio nowadays - again, assuming a certain level of gear (and more importantly, skill on the part of the owner / operator) is pretty staggering.
There's a lot we can talk about, and obviously there's going to be some crossover - but that's always been the case around here - sometimes a question or comment could have been equally at home on say, Roger's old forum as it was on GM's. But while that's still going to happen, the idea behind this new forum is for a place specifically targeted towards the folks who are working in a project studio environment.
As far as what we discuss, it's pretty darn broad. If it happens in a "project studio" or if it pertains to that in any way, it's fair game. I've got several ideas I'll be sharing with all of you in the days, weeks and months to come, but to give you an idea of the direction I have in mind, here's a few things I'd like to discuss as we go along:
Gear - what works and what doesn't, with a big emphasis on "bang for the bucks".
People skills - How to interact with clients, musicians, outside producers, other engineers, etc. How to "sell yourself", where to locate clients and how to approach them. What to charge. How to insure you get paid (it's always nice to get paid
). How to increase your exposure, "name recoginition" and demand. Advertising and promotion for yourself, your studio and your services.
Techniques - how do you mic up a orchestral harp? Or a Brazillian Berimbau? How do you get that oh so important kick / bass guitar balance to lock in while mixing? Production techniques. All that good stuff. I'd like to see a lot of practical discussion on these sorts of topics.
Artsy / fartsy stuff - musical considerations. How does it "feel"? Arrangements and the mix - how they're important to each other. Promoting the vibe - getting people comfortable and relaxed and performing at their best. Setting the mood and knowing when to push and when to come back to it later.
Designing a "system" - Making everything "work together". Purchase decisions, connecting everything and troubleshooting problems. Workflow and ergonomics. How to get the best results from what you have. Determining where the weak links are in your setup. Prioritizing gear upgrades.
There - just scratching the surface - like I said, there's a lot we can discuss. And obviously, YOU are a big part of it. So think about the things you want to talk about. Post away, and feel free to ask questions, share opinions and techniques, etc. WHAT WE WILL NOT BE DISCUSSING:
Politics. Religion. Your favorite porn stars (unless they're now recording an album in your studio or you're working on a soundtrack for one of their movies). Sports. There's other places here on Musicplayer, as well as other sites on the Internet that are more appropriate for those sorts of discussions, so please refrain from posting those things here. The Rules:
There are a few basic rules around here.
Most of you who know me would probably say I'm a fairly tolerant and reasonable person. They say that leaders lead by example, and I've always tried to be that type of person in my online adventures. With that in mind, the one thing I will NOT tolerate is personal attacks on anyone. I expect some lively discussions, and differences of opinion are not only welcomed, they're encouraged - we can all learn from each other, and the quickest way to stifle that is to discourage diversity. But again, there is NEVER a reason to resort to personal attacks. You can disagree with someone's viewpoint
without resulting to personal attacks on the person
. If I see them, I'll yank 'em, and send the poster a private message explaining why. But I do not want to have to babysit this any more than required, so please post responsibly.
I do not want to have to stick my boot up your butt, but I will if I have to. Please don't make me have to resort to that.
Spam. Well, we've always been pretty harsh on spamming around here, and the same netiquette rules apply here as in all of the other forums. No spam. Please feel free to good naturedly "let 'em have it" if we get spammed. But what about YOUR studio and your projects? Well, I plan on starting a few threads where I'd like everyone to feel free to post that sort of thing. The "Is Your Music Any Good" thread over on Craig's site has worked out really well insofar as allowing everyone to share their music without having the board "taken over" by those sorts of posts. I plan on doing similar threads on a few topics on this forum, and hopefully we'll be able to eventually "sticky" them so they stay on page one. Stay tuned for more on this...
An example: "For sale" posts will be allowed, but we're going to have a single thread for that, so that people can offer stuff for sale, post about something they're looking for, offer for trade / swap, etc. Please limit those sorts of posts to that one thread.
That's pretty much it (at least for now... ) on "the rules". Oh yeah, one more - Share the wealth. I was fortunate when I was first starting out in this business to have some pretty knowledgeable people who freely shared of their expertise and wisdom, and one particularly wise man once told me, as I was thanking him for sharing his knowledge, to "pass it on" when my turn came. While I would not consider myself to be a big time world class expert on much of anything, I have managed to learn a few things over the past quarter century
I've been messing around with audio recording, and remembering that sage advice, I try to pass that along whenever I can. I encourage all of you to please do likewise - that's what this place is for.
Oh yeah, one last rule: Have fun!