Advances in audio hardware and software have made it possible for the novice musician and audio engineer to produce content comparable to some professional recordings. So, why would anyone hire a professional to record, produce, mix, or master their music? When purchasing studio time you are buying time with an experienced engineer, top of the line equipment, and an acoustically balanced space.
An experienced engineer has much to offer including an understanding of audio electronics, a trained ear, a musical understanding, and a unique point of view. When thinking whether or not to hire a professional consider the broader and deeper skill set that a professional brings to the table. These skills can make the difference between a lo-fi, DIY sound and a professional recording.
Audio recording is a subtle art form. Performance aside, the slightest difference in color or character of the sound can have a large impact on the overall feel and quality of a song or album. From the sound source to the recording device the signal will pass through various pieces of processing gear. Each of these pieces is an opportunity to shape and color the sound. This includes everything from the microphones to the software plugins used. A professional studio offers quality quality equipment and software that is hard to afford as a DIY artist. Microphones, outboard gear, converters, and software all influence the sound. When the small differences make big differences it is worth paying a professional.
A professional studio is designed to provide a balanced listening and recording environment. Specific design choices are made to create an environment that allows an engineer to record, mix, and master sounds accurately. The ability to hear accurately is at the crux of good engineering. If the room you are in is distorting your sound, your recording and mix will also be distorted. Tonal accuracy is hard to create in a home studio and is why many home recordings don’t compare with professional recordings. Paying for a professional recording environment is worth the investment in your project.
There are surely other factors to consider when deciding whether or not to hire a professional for your next project, but these three provide a strong starting point. Consider hiring a professional for your next project.