Reality check

reality-check31
As much as I’d love to suggest that you can all buy relatively inexpensive gear, read a really great, well-written blog, and produce professional recordings yourself at home, you cannot. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘professional’ when talking about home recording – don’t check now, just take my word for it. So, I’d like to take a moment to deliver a crushing reality check – ‘professional’ is a million miles away from your home recordings.
After that suicidal start to a blog post, I’m not sure anyone will be reading this subsequent paragraph, but if you are, my goal is not to take the wind out of your sails. I am merely pointing out why recording studios are still in business and why you should still lay out your hard earned cash for their services if you’re dead set on making something happen with your music.

You see, your favourite singer will have sung their heart out down a line of equipment costing somewhere in the range of $20-40k – that’s from the singers lips to the mixer. The mixing console will add anything from $100k to the sky. They will also have a seasoned engineer, a celebrated mix engineer, a top rank producer, the wallet of a major record label, and all the time in the world. Did I mention high-priced mastering? I think I did. So, if your vocals sound a little thin or a little unfinished, don’t slit your wrists – you’ve done extremely well.

I personally run a commercial studio. We have maybe $25-30k worth of equipment excluding the instruments, acoustic treatment, and humorous coffee mugs. Add to that an engineer with 10 years experience at various commercial studios, a degree in music production, and a reputation to uphold (however meagre). Still, an EMI recording would smash my best efforts to pieces. But then, I don’t charge what EMI charge. The point is, the skills to produce what could be called a professional recording take years to cultivate, and you’re not going to get away with using inexpensive equipment. I’d like very much for my own music to sound exactly like Pearl Jam’s Ten album, but it’s not going to happen at home – I can’t afford the gear I’d need and I’m just not that good an engineer.

So, what was all that about wind being taken out of sails? Well, all I’m saying is don’t pull your hair out if your recording isn’t sounding like your Sting album. That little silver ‘R‘ on the back of your car doesn’t make it a racing car. Be happy with your recordings by not putting too much pressure on them to sound like a commercial release. If you want a professional recording, go to a professional. Here’s my number…

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