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A Coffee Machine: The Most Important Equipment In A Recording Studio

I was recently interviewed by a local magazine about what it’s like to run a recording studio. They asked a lot of the common questions you get, but one of them surprised me a bit.

It did not surprise me because it was an uncommon question. It is one I get asked all the time. But it is one I never really knew the answer to exactly, but this time I suddenly did. This time, I answered without thinking and the answer surprised me as much as it did the interviewer.

The question was: “what’s the most important piece of equipment in your recording studio?”

In the past I always answered with some actual piece of recording equipment. The answer actually varied, because I didn’t really know which was the most important one. Most of them are vital. Without them my recording studio would just be an apartment. Really, I didn’t so much care what the answer was. I was kind of hated that question anyway.

This time, I answered: “our coffee machine.” That surprised me.

Espresso machine making coffee

Maybe it was fresh on my mind, because we had actually just gotten a new one, after bunch of research. Seriously, I researched for weeks, mostly on a site called Coffee Sultan, which has a bunch of reviews of various different espresso machines and coffee makers. I want to make sure I got the absolute right one for my needs.

I ended up buying a fairly expensive espresso machine from Cuisinart. I learned later that it wasn’t even that expensive compared to some of the other espresso machines on the market, but I thought it was a lot to pay for something that just makes coffee. But is it really?

Without access to coffee, most albums I’ve recorded would never have been recorded. All of the artists would have never stuck around. They do nothing without coffee.

None of the techs would have stuck around either. They do even less without coffee. Sometimes I think they would stop breathing if they didn’t have a cup of coffee to fuel them.

That is why I was happy to spend so much money on an espresso machine. I knew it would get a lot of use and I knew it would keep my business going. It’s really the number one way to get audio recorded.

And I suppose that is exactly why I gave the answer to that interviewer that I did. Since I’d been thinking about it so much, I realized that you could take away every other piece of equipment and you could still somehow make a record. Some of the equipment is pretty important and not having it would make it very difficult to get a record made, but you could still do it.

But if you take away the access to coffee? I don’t think any records are getting made. Coffee fuels this business.

Cup of coffee

Coffee fuels the world. Any building you go into, any office you go into, any school you go into, anywhere you go during your day, people are drinking coffee. You find very few who don’t. And the ones who don’t, they drink something else, like tea or some other drink with caffeine. Energy drinks are huge these days.

Whatever their drink, the point is people use some kind of drink that stimulates them to get themselves through the day. Or to get them started into the day. Those drinks are what run society.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if all coffee disappeared. With the world cease to function? I think it just might. People are so addicted to their coffee that I don’t think they could do anything without it anymore.

Imagine if coffee and cell phones disappeared on the same day. That would be more disastrous than a nuclear war, I think. The world would end faster anyway.

A Tour Of The World’s Most Famous Recording Studio

Abbey Road Studios in LondonOn a recent trip to somewhere I got the opportunity to tour the world’s most famous recording studio. The reason I said somewhere and not my location is that I wanted to make you guess where that recording studio is and what it is called. Do you have any idea?

Okay fine, my trip was to London and the recording studio was, you guessed it, Abby Road Studios. This, of course, is the studio where the Beatles recorded, but there were plenty of other famous acts that recorded here as well.

Some of the more notable artists to record here are Pink Floyd, Amy Winehouse, Syd Barrett, Tony Bennett, Mary J Blige, James Blunt, Blur, The Black Keys, Kate Bush, Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Carlton, Depeche Mode, Dido, Duran Duran, Placido Domingo, Enya, Ella Fitzgerald, Florence And The Machine, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Jamiroquai, Alicia Keys, Patty Labelle, Lady Gaga, mMeatloaf, Kylie Minogue, Alanis Morrissette, Oasis, Pet Shop Boys, Queen, Radiohead, Red hot Chili Peppers, Roxette, Rush, Sigur Ros, The Spice Girls, Taylor Swift, U2, Kanye West and Robbie Williams. And, of course, many, many more.

But what some people don’t know is that it was almost shut down in 2009. The British government protected it by granting it a heritage status in 2010, which preserved the building from any kind of development or alterations.

The studio actually had different names in the past. Its first well-known name was EMI studios, since EMI owned it. It wasn’t until the 1970s that it was renamed to Abbey Road studios after the famous 1969 album by the Beatles called Abbey Road. Their fame had made the studio famous, so they changed the name to reflect that. It was a brilliant move, because it is now the most famous studio in the world. People like me, who come to London on vacation, visit it as a tourist attraction.

So many famous musicians and so many famous singers have passed through the studio. If I ever learn how to sing well, you better believe it will be my ultimate goal to record at Abbey Road. And yes, I realize that will never happen. Indulge me, it’s a dream. Another dream is to outfit my own studio with some of the same equipment.

Getting to Abbey Road Studios is pretty easy. It’s only about five or 10 minutes from the tube station at St. John’s Wood. This is on the Jubilee line. I won’t give you exact walking directions, because these days we all have smart phones and we can look them up easily enough. Trust me, it’s easy to find and it’s well worth a visit, if you’re ever in London.

Abbey Road Studios were not only used for recording music, it was also the location where many film scores were recorded. Movies like Star Wars (not all of them) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy had their film scores recorded here. So if you’re a film buff, you might be interested in the studio as well. It looks really cool inside and is something I’ve actually seen before in movies, so it was really nice to actually see that in real life. I was kind of starstruck and there were no actual stars there while I was there. It was just a location.

As I said, if you ever find yourself in London, definitely make it a point to visit Abbey Road Studios. You only need an hour to to see it, so it should be easy to fit in your schedule. They have really good espresso and coffee too, as any recording studio should. If you can make it at all, check it out. You owe it to yourself. It’s a great place.

Washroom Recording Studio For Singers

Most of the requests for studio time that we get come from singers. Vocalists seem to need studio time more than anyone else. For that reason, I decided to write a brief post about some of the equipment we have especially for singers.

Obviously, we have a ton of microphones. That goes without saying, as any singer needs a microphone. We also have some very advanced keyboards and computer equipment that allows you to make your own backing tracks. If you do not have a band with you, we can provide everything you need, so that you only have to sing. Everything else is taken care of.

recording studio for singers

We also have a ton of software to make you sound better. Some people can sing great; they have all the techniques necessary. Others, not so much. We get a lot of singers in our studio that are simply not very good. Luckily, these days there is a ton of software available that can make anyone sound great. We have all of this software. At least all of the good software. Come check out our recording studio and see how much we can improve your singing voice. You will be amazed by the difference.

We also have something that a lot of people don’t in their studios and that is the technology to print your voice to vinyl. Most studios these days only do digital recordings, but we can do analog recordings to cassettes and to vinyl records.

We also have a number of high quality vinyl record players that allow you to play back the vinyl you just pressed, so you can see what you sound like immediately. A lot of people coming into the studio never even considered making a vinyl recording of their sound, but once they realize they have the option, they give it a try. Then when they hear the results, they are blown away. From that moment on, they never use another studio. They come back to Washroom Studios over and over again, simply for the ability to make a vinyl recording of their voice. It truly is a really cool thing.

We have even taken to selling some record players at our studio. Once they’ve made recordings, singers almost always want to buy a vinyl record player for their own home. But they don’t know which turntable is best. We’ve done all the research, so we can help recommend one. That’s what we used to do. Then we realized we could just sell them ourselves. Now we offer a couple of different models in different price ranges, depending on your needs. So if you want a turntable record player, we can help you with that too.

As you can see, we have a great studio that is fully equipped for the singer. Of course, it is perfect for bands or anything else, too. But since we get so many requests from vocalists, we thought it prudent to point out just how well-equipped we are for the singing musician. We hope to see you here soon.

Learn How To Sing Better Before Spending a Fortune On a Home Studio

home recording studio for ingersI’ve seen so many people spend a ton of money, basically their life savings, on a home studio. In some cases, they are right to do so. They use the studio to make wonderful music and they make the money that they spent on it back pretty quickly. In most cases, though, getting your own studio is premature.

A lot of the people who get a studio don’t know anything about music theory. They can’t play any instruments and can’t actually make good music. It’s just a really expensive hobby. One of the most common things I’ve seen, is people getting their own studio and all of the voice recording tools money can buy. They are completely set up to record their own album, with them as the singer. But there’s one problem. They can’t sing.

Before you get yourself a home studio, you need to visit the site like Musicaroo.com. They can teach you to sing better and improve your voice. Go through all of the exercises and practice them daily until you sound more like a professional singer. You can become a good singer, but you need to work on it. And I suggest that you work on improving your singing voice before you go out and spend money on a home studio.

If you’re too lazy to go check out music Musicaroo and go through their exercises to help you improve your voice, I can give you a quick rundown of the voice lessons here.

how to sing better

Learn to sing better before splurging on a full studio.

The first thing you need to work on is your posture. Posture has a huge impact on singing voice. When you slouch, it affects your breathing, which means you cannot sing anywhere near your real abilities. You need to practice standing up straight. Practice this every day. And since you’re also practicing your singing every day, practice them together. Always stand up straight when you sing.

You might be thinking you could sit up straight. You can, but it is not as easy to get the full breath as it is when you’re standing. For that reason, I suggest you always sing standing to begin with. Perfect your posture and your singing while you’re standing, then you can move on to doing it while sitting down.

After standing straight and having a good posture, you need to work on your head, mouth and tongue position. Your head needs to be level. A lot of beginning singers tend to look up, especially when they are singing high notes. Make sure not to do this.

Your mouth needs to be open wider than feels natural, especially for vowels. This is the only way to get the proper airflow. Your tongue must be pointing forward in your mouth. Many people keep their tongue toward the back of the mouth, but in that position, it impacts the airflow and you need proper airflow to be able to sing.

That brings us to the next point. You need to learn how to breathe correctly if you’re going to be a better singer. You have to breathe from your lower abdomen. Many call this diaphragm breathing although the term is a bit incorrect. If you only breathe into your chest, you will not get enough air. You need to practice breathing from your diaphragm or your lower abdomen.

You can practice by lying down on the ground with a book on your lower abdomen. As you breathe in, you should be raising the book and as you breathe out, you should be lowering it. If you are not, keep practicing. Once you have the breathing down without singing, make sure to breathe correctly while you are singing. This will be very difficult at first, but keep practicing until you get used to it. Nothing will improve your singing more than learning how to breathe correctly.

Once you have these basics down, then you can move on to more advanced exercises. Exercises that will improve your vocal range and that will have you really hitting those high notes that you couldn’t sing before. This opens up a whole new world of songs to you. Suddenly songs that weren’t in your range before are in your range now. And you should never sing songs out of your range, since doing so can damage your voice.

So head on over to Musicaroo and practice your singing until you are a much better singer than you are now. You can learn how to sing better, no matter how bad you are today. You just need to do it. Now get to work.

Should You Have Turntables In Your Home Studio?

If you ask 100 people what equipment belongs in a home recording studio, you’ll get 100 different answers. Some pieces of equipment everyone can agree on.

You definitely need a sound mixer in your studio. You also want speakers and at least one microphone. A good keyboard is also essential, so you can use it to mimic various instruments and also to lay down beats. Speaking of instruments, it could never hurt to have a couple of those too.

And, of course, a good coffee machine. Even better, a really good espresso machine. Because caffeinated artists are happy artists. And if that caffeine came from a really good cup of coffee or espresso made with a high quality coffee maker, so much the better.

But what about turntables? Does a record player bring anything to the table? Yes, it does. Obviously, you can use it to play samples from vinyl records. Of course you can also play digital samples or, as mentioned above, use a keyboard or various instruments. But sometimes you want to have a record player for that.

turntable record player in a studio

But what a turntable really gives you is the ability to scratch. You might want to have some scratch examples in your music and a turntable allows you to do that. There are also a lot of records that you might not find digitally or on another medium. Having a way to play those vinyl records can always be useful.

Beyond that, you can just use your record player to play music. Often when you’re recording in the studio, there are a lot of breaks where you are not actually doing any recording. You’re talking and discussing or maybe just eating lunch. It is nice during those times to have some music.

Of course you could just play the music any other way. I mean, come on, your in an actual recording studio. But there is just something special about music played on a vinyl record player. It just feels more like real music for some reason. If you don’t have a record player you can’t enjoy that. But if you do have one, it will add a lot of atmosphere to your studio and, I believe, it will do a lot to foster creativity in anyone working there.

 

The Best Record Players

So now that you’ve decided you want a record player, what is the best kind? These days there are so many different ones that it can be hard to choose. Just look at the samples on this site: http://toprecordplayers.com.

The biggest difference between them is in quality and in the features. There are a lot of record players that have tons of features. They play CDs, they play radio, they can record to or from the digital format and many of them have internal speakers.

While these models are very multi-functional, even the more expensive ones are generally not that great in terms of sound quality. There are simply too many features that the developers focused on. If they had focused on only one thing, they would generally do that one thing better. It is for this reason that one of these all-in-one units is not preferable. Plus, you’re in a recording studio, so do you really need speakers on a record player? No, you don’t. You could just plug it into your already existing system it will sound much better.

For that reason, I suggest getting a turntable with very close to no features whatsoever. Get one that simply plays records and perhaps one that allows you to scratch. Beyond that it doesn’t need to do much.

Now you do want to get a pretty high-quality one, but you don’t have to spend a ton of money for this. Obviously there are some very expensive ones that are incredible, but a simple one from Audio Technica will suffice for your purposes here. The cheapest one cost less than $100 and the next step up cost under 300. I would get the one under 300. It will give you an incredible sound quality and has a ton of features that you might find useful. It is probably the best value record player money can get you.

If you really want to go expensive, then you could spend several thousand dollars. You will get a much better sound quality, but these record players are not really meant to scratch. For that you would be better off with the cheaper Audio Technica turntable. That would be my choice for a home recording studio, if I ever have enough money to open up my dream studio.

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