A Sound Investment

Here's a step-by-step guide to building your own home studio and tips on turning a profit

his skills, home in on the type of music he wanted to produce and determine the kinds of services he wanted to offer. Come the year 2000, Borneo plans to market his business to churches and schools. "It’s worth the investment for me," he proclaims. "And there’s definitely a market out there. It’s just up to you to find your niche."

ADAT An eight-track digital recorder developed and manufactured by the Alesis Corp. It uses standard VHS videocassettes for information storage.

ANALOG A close but imprecise method of copying sound. Analog recordings require complicated editing, which can be a drawback, and produce "tape hiss," but many professionals consider certain instruments or mixes recorded with analog technology to have a "warmer" sound than music projects recorded only digitally.

DIGITAL An electronic format that is designed to duplicate sound while affording extremely accurate control over any changes you might wish to make in the copy. Digital recordings do not have the tape hiss present in analog copies. experts recommend the digital technology for pro-quality sound.

MIDI Musical Instrument Digital Interface. MIDI is digital communication that allows you to transmit sound information produced on one MIDI instrument to another unit, and to manipulate information digitally.

PROJECT STUDIO A relatively small-scale studio designed for an individual’s work, from demo to commercial quality.

SEQUENCER A digital unit that allows you to program beats, lines of music or entire songs and record them in its memory. Although it may be a separate unit, many MIDI keyboards and drum machines come with a sequencer.

WORKSTATION Nearly self-contained digital recording units that allow you to record and mix. Later models include special effects.

Kenneth Johnston, Grammy Award-winning engineer for Lauryn Hill’s album, "Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," owns Perfect Pair Recording in East Orange, New Jersey. Since 1994, he and his wife and business partner, Sabrina, have recorded top hip-hop and R&B groups in a studio they redesigned themselves. Here are some guidelines Kenneth Johnston suggests you follow to ensure your in-house recording studio becomes a profit-making business.

  • Develop a business plan. A comprehensive plan can assist you in securing additional investors, bank loans and even clients. It will also keep you organized and help you maintain a clear understanding of your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It should include pictures of your equipment, floor plans, short biographies of selected customers, a prospective clientele list and letters from artists expressing an interest in using your studio for projects. For additional details on writing a business plan, consult the be Entrepreneurial Workbook series (Enterprise, September 1997 through April 1998).
  • Network with industry professionals. Members of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (www.spars.com) and the Audio Engineering Society (www.aes.org) can provide you with information on upcoming seminars or programs as well as the latest equipment. ProAudio.net (wwww.proaudio.net) hosts an online forum for users of professional audio equipment and allows members to buy
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