The single biggest barrier young bands face to making a record is money. Studio time is expensive, period. In Ames, the cheapest you will find is $15/hr. but that is exceptionally low. Rates from $50 to $100/hr. are not unusual. And time in the studio absolutely flies. Unless you are very well prepared you will struggle to get enough takes to produce a satisfying result. And don't forget that tracking is just the first step. The studio will also charge you for editing and mixing. The minimum time needed for an experienced audio engineer to edit and mix a typical four-piece track is ten hours. If you are doing it yourself double or triple that. Unless your record is incredibly successful you won't sell enough copies to cover the studio cost.
The single most important goal in the recording process is to capture good performances. Without good performances, you won't be happy with the track. That's why I encourage young bands to build a simple studio themselves rather than pay for pricey studio time. You will have to compromise on the sound quality and production but being able to keep going until you get it right is priceless.
|AT2020 USB mic|
|Line6 POD 2.0 Amp Modeler|
While the tracking phase was long and painstaking, the editing and mixing stage was the most challenging as I didn't have a lot of audio engineering experience prior to making the record. Despite a number of helpful articles online the learning curve was steep. I made a number of big mistakes that cost me time, but it was worth it in the end. The most important thing is to listen. Listen to each instrument. Listen to groups of instruments. Listen to the whole track. See how the record sounds on a number of different sound systems (headphones, car stereos, etc.) before the release. Be sure to let your collaborators hear the mix in progress. Be prepared to compromise. The record isn't finished until the whole band is happy.