In the fall of 2013, I was presented with an opportunity to rent out a space for my first endeavor into studio ownership. It wasn’t until the middle of 2014 that I was finally able to pull the trigger and take on the lease of a small house on a piece of commercial property close to Winter Park in Orlando, FL. In the months leading up to opening the studio, I would spend late nights making gear lists of what I thought were the necessities of having a studio. I started out with a list of gear totaling about $25,000. This was just my gear list—this didn’t even include money for the lease, utilities, insurance, and about 10 other monthly expenses it takes to operate a studio. In the morning I told my wife, “I think if I just had $25,000 I could make the studio happen.” She looked at me with a blank stare, curled lip and just silently nodded. The next night I stayed up and got my “essentials list” down to $10,000. The next morning, same thing from my wife. Finally, it hit me that I had a way to start the studio without that much gear. In fact, I didn’t need any of that gear on my list. I already had a Pro Tools rig that allowed me to record 6 channels of audio, I had enough mics to fill those 6 channels and I had a set of headphones for the musicians to listen on. I had to get a few things to tie everything together, but I was able to find it all on Craigslist for about $100. It took about a week to get setup. I sound treated some walls, booked a couple bands, and Parafonic Recording Studio was born and off to legendary status to the likes of Abbey Road and Blackbird Studios! Actually, the first month I only made enough money to pay the next month’s rent and buy lunch for a couple days. It took a few months, but I finally saved up enough money to expand my recording inputs to 14, I bought more mic cables and mic stands, and added another set of headphones. My friend and producer partner, Mark Nicks, moved in a great drum kit, some keyboards and suddenly we were officially in the sound making business! Over the past 2 years, we’ve worked on about 12-15 different projects each year and are booking more for the new year. Over the past couple years, I’ve been able to update some gear. I updated to a newer computer, I now have 16 channels of recording audio, and I’ve added a few microphones. Compared to most studios we’re pretty short on gear, but we’re making great sounding recordings and love the people we get to work with which is a lot more fun to me than collecting gear! Next week I’ll talk a little more about my gearlessness and share a few things that I like way more than gear.
The Minimalist Recordist