Should you pay for studio time?
Do you need a professional home studio at my current level?
This is a question I get asked literally every day from Smart Rapper subscribers….
“Hey Novi, should I pay for studio time… or… what do you think”
I used to wonder if it was smarter to just go get studio time. But through doing simple math and understanding some basic things you’ll completely understand the best answer.
Let’s say you have 10 songs you want to record for your new rap mixtape or album.
Getting a song done in the studio will take, let’s say 2 hours per song x 10 songs. That is 20 Hours.
General studio time costs = $50 hr. So that is 20 hours x $50 = $1,000 just to record your music.
This is because you are paying for the engineer/producer’s time to run the studio, set it up for you and track your vocals. Then you are also paying for the studio gear use, wear and tear on the gear and time.
Then you have to pay for the engineer to mix your music per song. If it’s hourly than it’s the studio time of $50 per hour or if it’s per song which you should be able to get, it will still be about $50 per song. So that’s 10 songs x $50 per song which is another $500 added onto your new rap mixtape or album cost.
So Recording cost is $1,000+
Mixing/Engineering/Mastering cost is $500+
Budget Required = $1,500
Now that’s for a basic good professional studio and a decent audio engineer. If you are doing higher up people you are talking 2-10 times that price.
Now that we have the math out of the way. Let me point out what you could do with $1,500 if you built yourself your own home studio.
If you went out to start building your home studio with a $1,500 budget you could get all of this stuff
- A Good Microphone
- A Good Preamp
- A Decent Computer
- A Microphone Stand
- A Legal Copy Of Pro Tools
- All Required Cables
- 1 Set Of Decent Studio Monitors To Mix With
- Basic Acoustic Treatment – Check The Article
- Monitor stands for your studio monitors
That is literally an entire home studio set up. Look at the list below for the benefits of a home studio. It’ll change your whole perspective on home recording.
Rap Microphones and Preamps Prices Guide:
*Note: They will open in a new window so you can read them when you are done with this article.
A list of benefits of having your own home studio vs. paying for studio time
Benefits of owning your own home studio as a rap artist
1) You aren’t in a rush to get finished which can affect you being a perfectionist and actually getting the best results you want from a song.
2) You have unlimited takes and tries to record anything you want. You save money from all of the mistakes being done at home and not on the major studios hourly time.
3) You have the ability to practice every single day until you get good enough to go to a major studio if you wanted too.
4) You are alone and will never feel stupid trying new things.
5) You are in an environment you are comfortable in already. Your home! The safest place on the planet to you.
6) No travel costs to and from the studio. It’s in your bedroom.
7) You can record anytime you want for 100% FREE
8) You can charge neighborhood rappers to come record in your studio. Then you can make a deal with a local engineer (if you haven’t learned how to mix yet) to send the people who record with you to them and get some of that money. Team work.
In this manner the studio actually pays for itself over time.
9) You get the feeling of rolling out of bed and having a studio immediately in front of you to work on your ideas.
10) You get the hang and understanding of all of the things that revolve around recording yourself. You get a feel for your vocals and your music style without anyone judging you.
11) You’ll be primed in all of the Digital Audio Workstations like Pro Tools by the time you get big. This way you can understand what’s going on in your mixes. You’ll have the ability to have more say so from a knowledgeable place when you’re at the higher levels when you make it.
12) Honestly this list is getting too long but there are massive amounts of benefits. Last benefit I’ll list is that you don’t have to worry about the guy hitting record at the wrong time and you not being ready, you can hit go when you’re ready. You’ll get recording done MUCH MUCH faster.
Like I mentioned in the Should I Sit Or Stand While Recording Rap Vocals Article, recording at home you can just hit the record button and not have to worry about the engineer saying “Are you ready?” and recording. We’ll talk about that more below.
Benefits of paying for professional studio time to record rap vocals:
1) Honestly the best part is that you feel more professional. You truly do, but this is nothing but an ego thing that is in your head. You’d feel this way even if you had all of the same studio gear at your house. Trust me… I bought all the same gear I’d rent a studio to use.
2) You are definitely going to get cleaner vocal takes. The thing is that with the advancement in technology, the vocal takes won’t be ‘that much better’ than they would at your home studio.
Depending on who engineers the song, no one will ever hear the difference in the vocals ‘professionalism’ unless they have a trained ear. A trained ear that 99.9999999999999999% of people do not have.
3) If you generally work alone, you’ll have an engineer to give you his feed back on your takes. The issue here is that it really depends if the guy gives a fuck about you or not.
As you can see, all of the above benefits are primarily just excuses to use a big studio. Big studios primary advantage is their mixing dynamics. Their rooms are specifically built for mixing. They can hear every single detail and fix every tiny thing with much more ease. But this comes down to mixing, not recording.
The Negatives of paying for professional studio time to record rap vocals:
Just look above at the advantages of a home studio and they point out all of the negatives. But here are a few additional negatives of paying for studio time for a rapper.
1) You aren’t the only person who has access to your vocals.
If you go to a major studio, all of your recordings go into their hard drives. Now they have every thing you ever recorded. :/ I own all of my vocal takes 🙂 Home studio all the way.
I feel nice and safe that no one can sell my vocals. No one has my mistakes and no one knows my methods… Well until now since I just released my Insider Industry Secrets Songwriting Course where I teach everyone how major music artist record their songs.
So then why are major rappers always in the major studio?
- Well for one they can afford it.
- Also they get all of the benefits I mentioned from having a major studio.
- 99.9% of major rappers didn’t have to build from the bottom like me and you so they never had to learn the skills to do this. They were put into the game and given these opportunities
- It saves them time.
- They don’t need a home studio.
- Even though if you know any better, most intelligent big artist have their own HOME studios. Pharrell, T.I., 50 Cent and the list goes on.
I recommend you make your own home studio, honestly. It is going to do so many things for you. Especially if you are within the first 2 years of your music/rapping/songwriting career.
If you only get to practice recording while you are in the major studio then you aren’t going to grow fast enough to be able to compete with everyone else.
Just go buy yourself a home studio set up. Have the work ethic to teach yourself how to use all of it through YouTube tutorials and forums.
You’ll be recording songs daily and be known in your town in no time.
You finished another article, you’re officially a Smarter Rapper.
The more articles you read, the smarter you get!
– Level 3
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