Record at a Home Studio or Record at a Professional Studio?


A debate that has crossed the mind of any up and coming musician is
“should I pay to record at a pro studio or should I build a home
studio and handle the recording myself?”.
While this concern is crossing your mind, follow it with “Why am I not
working on my music right now?”.  Whether you record in a wet basement
with a handheld tape recorder underneath a pillow – or you head to
Abbey Road Studios (… you need *quality
music* first and foremost.  You can run a dog barking through 10
million in equipment, but its still just a dog barking.

Why do I want to record at all?  What is your goal?  Why do you need
your music able to be reproduced on cd/mp3?

This is truly an endless debate – there are numerous ups and downs to
either path, and frankly all that matters is that what you wish to
create gets created.  Your goals must be met, thats rule number one.

Want to throw some vids up on youtube?  Well, there are plenty of
simple solutions to achieve this goal – a USB Large Diaphragm
Condenser microphone is going to be your easiest method to get your
voice/instrument out there.  The Audio Technica AT2020 USB
is a great low cost USB LDC that comes highly reviewed   Another
option is the Blue Snowflake
Going to a pro studio in this situation is very inconvenient and
largely unnecessary – but if your going for the highest quality video
possible a pro studio should definitely come into consideration.

Maybe your wanting to create a demo to pass around to hopefully get a
gig/contract.  There are many opportunities on sites such as
Reverbnation ( to submit demo’s to big name
recording studios and events/festivals needing talent.  There are also
contests to enter – many where recording quality is important.  Here
is where a pro studio may be worth it.  If your goals are larger
venues where there is great competition for a few spots on stage -
your gonna need to stand out.  A pro recording will yield a higher
quality demo than the equivalent money put into home recording
equipment.  $2000 can get you enough time to get your set
recorded/mixed at a great quality in a studio (pending you are well
rehearsed), but $2000 in home recording equipment is just the tip of
the iceberg – not to mention you have to learn how to use said
equipment.  Nothing makes up for poor performance, but all else equal
a quality studio recording is going to put you ahead of someone who
used a zoom h1 dangling from the ceiling of their garage (though the zoom is certainly a useful device!

A savvy person can certainly find deals and build a good quality home
studio on the cheap – but the the balance must be maintained between
furthering the musicianship and gaining the ability to transfer that
musicianship into recording.  If you are heading into the home
recording realm, and are
great communities to help you.  Places like and your local music store can have amazing deals
on used equipment.  Sometimes guitar center (
will have some bargains as well.

Do your research and spend wisely but be forewarned, the home studio
can turn into an endless money pit which yields little to no profits.
A focus on gear over quality of music will get you $10,000+ in
equipment without a dime of revenue.  Likewise, investing in
substandard equpiment is a waste of time and money, and will only cost
more in the end.  Gear Slutz (, Harmony Central
(, and Amazon ( are great places
to look for reviews of equipment you may happen upon – sometimes there
are fatal flaws in products which make them useless for your
situation, but these flaws may not be readily apparent.  Typically in
searching for a specific piece of equipment similar items will be
discovered – which opens doors unseen.

Ultimately the best music will by nature end up being recorded in a
professional studio.  The time and money spent on getting the best
equipment and the best room acoustics just won’t happen in a bedroom
or a basement.  It is the folly of many a musician to focus more upon
recording than creation/performance.  Put your soul into it, and great
things will come of it.

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