How Much Is Studio Time?

How Much Is Studio Time?

The number one question I’m asked is “How much is studio time?” There isn’t one simple answer, because studio time varies based on several factors. Yes, there is a standard hourly rate, a half-day rate, and a full-day rate. When we have all the details for your project, we will build a custom package for you. Since there are so many different variables when it comes to recording, it helps to know what we’re looking for.

What Type of Project Do You Have in Mind?

Are you looking for full production (hiring session musicians, etc.)? Are you a band, or supplying your own musicians? Are you bringing in prerecorded tracks and looking for help recording vocals? Are you looking for help with mixing and mastering? How many songs are you planning to record?

When we have the session musicians play, or hire vocalists, there are additional costs involved based on the songs. If you have a simple demo of the songs you can send in, that helps tremendously. It can be as simple as you singing/playing right into your phone, and sending us the file. From there we’ll be able to get an idea of the song or songs and determine the best plan to accomplish your goals. At this point we can create a custom package.

If you’re a band or supplying your own musicians, just a simple pre-production meeting is needed to go over instrumentation. You will decide if you want to record with a “live” feel or record rhythm tracks first, then go back and get any additional overdubs, and record lead vocals and backing vocals. From there we can start on mixing, and once mixes are approved move on to mastering if desired. We certainly recommend mastering.

When you bring in your own tracks, this can simply be singing to performance tracks, or if you have a beat or custom track you’ve made, we can help record your vocals and fully mix the track out. Again, a simple demo will help us determine how much time is needed.

When singing with performance tracks, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

If it is a commercial track you’ve purchased or downloaded, you cannot sell your performance without having a license and/or permission from the intellectual property owner of the track and song; the recording will be for personal use only, and could not be added to an album you plan on selling. If you want to re-record a cover song and have it on your next album, you can do this if you have a mechanical license for the song. That’s how the writer — or intellectual property owner — receives their royalty for the song. You would, however, need to reproduce the music and vocal tracks and make it your own performance.

When it comes to mixing and mastering, our mixing rates are based off several factors. Mixing can be simply working with the tracks just as they are presented, but can also include cleaning up the tracks for obvious things such as drum fills, noises, pops and/or clicks. Tuning vocals and going through each track and pocketing everything in the song to the grid tightens up the song.  What your mix requires depends on several things, including your budget, your overall direction for the songs (do you want them to remain loose and raw), and whether you have already taken care of tuning, editing, and pocketing before we get the tracks. If you have taken care of all the prep work, we base our rates on how many tracks are in the song.

For mastering, we will put your songs in the order you specify, match EQ and levels, clean up any noticeable audio problems, compress and limit your mixes, and create a final master ready for duplication. We can accept just about any format you would like to send your mixed files in, though preferred types are .aiff, .aif, or .wav at 44.1kHz or above, 16-bit or above. The only prep necessary is to give us very complete instructions for specific ideas; the order of songs, fades, or detailed notes such as “this mix is too bassy,” etc. Make your mixes sound as “finished” as you can, with all EFX, levels, and tones set as you like them, and we will add “polish” to it all, so to speak. It’s best to leave a minimum of -6dB of head room. Our mastering prices are set per song, and if you are mastering an album we will create a custom package based on how many songs and the total length of songs.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us.


Julie Doust

Julie Doust

Julie Doust has been keeping the studio running smoothly for over 20 years. When it comes to scheduling, invoicing, and the studio’s day-to-day operations, Julie is the one working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure our clients are happy and projects are progressing as they should. She’s a multitasking maven and great at figuring out solutions to just about any snag we’ve ever come across.

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5501 US HIGHWAY 30 WEST, FORT WAYNE, IN 46818
800.386.6434   //   STUDIO@SWEETWATER.COM

© Sweetwater Studios – All Rights Reserved. Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Press Releases.
Sweetwater Studios

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5501 US HIGHWAY 30 WEST, FORT WAYNE, IN 46818
800.386.6434   //   STUDIO@SWEETWATER.COM

© Sweetwater Studios
All Rights Reserved.
Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Press Releases.