When it comes to building out a studio, there are many different ways to handle the purchase of a new package of gear. One of the most reliable ways to upgrade is by taking advantage of financing or a monthly payment plan. This way you can get the tools you need now and make payments as your business continues to increase.
In this blog, Vintage King Audio Consultant Jeffrey Ehrenberg talks about how he helps businesses realize their visions while being financially responsible. Read on to learn more about the process and discover some handy tips for making your next studio upgrade.
Different Studios, Different Ways of Spending
When working with a client, my first instinct is to learn about what the studio owners want to get out of their space. By learning more about the business, the size of the budget and the goals of the new gear, it's easier to devise a plan for moving ahead.
Is this space like a post-production house, a department in a video game company? Is this an upstart studio, are they starting with capital or a loan or a lease and that's all they have to start with? Is it a hobby studio and they have a certain comfort zone for their hobby that they feel good about spending? We have to figure out their needs before we can assess what will work best for them. Getting that lay of the land is the most important thing.
New Studio in Corporate Setting
Many times in a larger corporate structure, people are building a studio because their company got a contract to mix audio for a series of TV shows or they've been doing film post-production work and are moving into video games and VR post. With these types of situations, there is literally a business plan for that expansion and they need to stick within that budget to be a profitable department.
It's easy for us in this industry to get gear lust and be like, "We got this big budget. Let's have some with it." Most times, that just doesn't make business sense. Spending an extra $4000 on a Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor when an Alan Smart Research C2 would do just fine for the same application is more of a vanity use of spending the money than a practical business use of the money.
Maximizing A Set Budget
The key to maximizing the budget in many cases is first making sure that you are getting the most out of what they already own. It's important to find out if there are engineering or acoustic problems to solve to improve mix translation, workflow or any of the other more ergonomic aspects of the studio.
There are cases where we get customers who come to us seeing that we sell $11K - $12K studio monitors and they've been working on a $1K pair of Yamahas. They are like, "My mixes aren't translating. I bet these $12K speakers will give me a better experience." When you zoom out and visit the customer's studio or learn more about it, they don't have any acoustic treatment. If the customer is putting that into a poorly tuned room, it could probably sound even worse. Sometimes spending $1.5K on acoustics and it will solve the original problem.
It's also important to find out what a client likes and wants to incorporate into their new set-up. If you just happened to buy a new computer then there is no use in buying a new one as a part of a package. If they already have a handful of mic pres and microphones that they are happy with than we are adding to that instead of starting from nothing.
Starting A Studio From Scratch
When it comes to building a studio from the ground up, it's truly important to have a budget in mind, whether it's money you've saved up, a lease or a financing plan that you have set up through Vintage King.
It's also important to have a projection of cashflow. How many sessions do you have planned? How many artists do you have that are interested in working with you? It's a mixture of these things. Do you have money saved? Do you have credit? Do you have investors? Are there artists ready to work with you? It's important to truly analyze what kind of budget you have.
Once we know the true budget, we can truly do what we do best at Vintage King and that's helping customers get the most bang for the buck. Whether it's using a high-quality replica of a 1073 instead of a vintage one or a Wunder CM7 v.s. a vintage 47 one. It's all about determining the most important needs for the studio based on the kind of projects that the studio will be working on.
For instance, if it's a hip-hop studio where they are doing musical beds and they really just need one or two vocal chains and a great pair of monitors, that's where we are going to focus our energy. If the studio is going to do orchestral or jazz recordings or big metal bands, they are going to need a lot of microphones, lots of mic pres, stands and cables. It's all based on what you would like to do and the clients that you would like to serve.
Setting Studio Rates For Success
When it comes to how we set studio rates at Infrasonic Mastering, it's really Economics 101. It's supply and demand. Pete Lyman is my business partner and we've been working together for 13 or 14 years. In the early days, we were doing punk records and low budget indie rock. He might master a full-length for $300 or $400, he was just getting into mastering and didn't really have any credits, so we had to have a low price. Now, he's very busy and is almost overbooked. Since the demand is up and Pete only has so much time, we've been slowly able to bring the rates up over the years.
It's important to start at a price point that's comfortable for customers, work on selecting projects that can build your resume and as the business builds, gradually bring up prices. Since operating at a cost for too long is not an option, make sure you're setting yourself up for success. Being known as the "cheap studio," doesn't always work out, especially for bigger studios that are just starting out. So set a price that is affordable, but is worthy of the gear that you've put into your studio.
There is no mold that fits every studio, but at Vintage King, we can help all types of recording and mix facilities achieve their audio dreams. If you're interested in learning more about our current financing deals, please contact one of our Audio Consultants by email or by phone at 888.653.1184.