Music Recording Schools

How I recorded an album without spending a dime!

Music recording schools, and home recording enthusiasts may be your answer - read on .........

A series of Articles on Basic Home Recording

Permission to reprint / edit has been granted. Please note: Some of the articles printed here are an abridged version of the articles Jim presented to the Sharesong songwriters group.

Part 3 - Standalone Recorders
Part 4 - Intro to PC Recording
Part 5a - Audio software - freeware / shareware
Part 6 - Introduction to Multitrack Recording
Part 7 - Audio Recording Software
Part 8 - Sound cards - Input Basics
Part 9 - Microphone Inline Preamps
Part 10 - Microphone Essentials
Part 11 - How To Choose a Microphone

How I Recorded An Album Without Spending a Dime!

This is Brandon S. Hire. I'm a solo artist, the frontman for Rock / Metal band Day 9, and the founder of Hire Media. I've recently wrapped up mixing sessions on my solo debut record, and I didn't spend a dime on any of the record! The record sounds great, and you can preview it right now at my web site (! Below I've listed some ways that you might be able to get your own great recording for free!

Finding The Hobbyist (A.K.A. The Home Producer)

It is likely that there is someone in your community who owns a home studio capable of professional results who is looking to record people and willing to do it for some pizzas or some other form of re-imbursement that doesn't involve cold hard cash! Why would they be willing to put in time and effort into recording your music for practically to nothing? There is a variety of answers to this question. For example, maybe they are trying to build a portfolio of music that they've recorded in their studio to help them get paying clients in the future! Maybe they are just looking for a project to take up some free time. Maybe they've made a pledge to a distant dying relative that they would record the worlds music for free in an effort to fight Corporate America! Whatever the reason, this kind of opportunity can greatly benifit the poorest artist who is looking for a good place to record!

A former line-up of my band Day 9 was able to record our 3rd record for the price of a few pizzas! The results were light years ahead of the 4-track cassete demo's we had made before, and it cost us nothing because my sister was providing the pizzas from the restaurant she worked at!

So where do you find the Hobbyist? There is no definite answer to this question, but they can be found. The best thing you could do is to post fliars in all of the music shops and post in many local message boards advertising your need for studio time but lack of finances. If you're contacted, be sure to listen to prior material recorded in the studio that you'll be using. Sure, if you put the person behind a big elaborate board, they may be able to make magic happen. Put the same person behind their home equipment, they may struggle to get the same results. Being cautious is the best way to make sure you get the best recording you can despite your lack of money.

Become A Musical Guinea Pig (Book Time In A Recording School)

Just a few miles south of Ohio's former state capitol of Chilecothe, nestled into the hills and hidden by the trees, lies a nationally accreddited recording school called The Recording Workshop. Considering the fact that recording schools often need talent for their students to record, it is the perfect opportunity to get a great quality recording made for free!

Other educational institutions such as university's with media departments will also likely have a recording studio. While attending Ohio University in Zanesville, Ohio, I took advantage of the recording studio that they had. This studio was loaded with all the amenities that would make any musician's mouth water. Since I was a student, my access to this plethora of audio equipment was paid for with my tuition. This unlimited studio time was a nice little perk of my persuits of a higher education, and kept me busy during long breaks between classes!

So, how do you get into one of these studios? The best way is either to attend the school or to befriend a student (There's no shame in kissing some ass for the chance to record for free!) Keep in mind that the schools which specialize soley in audio production (such as The Recording Workshop) will usually have a waiting list that you can put yourself on so that when they are ready to record they can just call you up and have you come on down to the studio. If you're looking to get into a college studio (such as the studio at Ohio University - Zanesville), a good bet would be to create a fliar advertising your need for studio time and hang it near the studio on campus. Be sure to state that you would be great for someone's student project. Of course don't forget to contact the head of the media department and inform them of your need for a studio and offer to let their students record you for free for any assignment that may be coming up. Be sure to leave your contact info with them.

Your Own Home Studio!

I wouldn't recommend this route unless you know what you're doing in a studio environment. If you have a fast computer with lots of memory, you could easily create a great sounding recording right at home. But what if you don't have a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) such as Pro-tools or Adobe Audition? Those programs alone can cost a boatload of money, and you're looking for a way to record for next to nothing! PANIC!

Breathe easy. You can get free trials of DAW software on websites like! I would recommend Adobe Audition. In fact, Adobe offers a free 30 day trail version of Adobe Audition right on their web site! This is a full version with full capabilities, but you've only got 30 days to use it. After that, if you want to keep using it, you've got to pay for it. Obviously, this article is geared at those who don't have enough money to just buy a DAW on a whim! You can use the free trial of the DAW software to get your recording and mixing finished, then remove the software from your computer!

"But don't I need to buy a new soundcard to record on my computer?" Well, answer me this. Can you listen to music on your computer? If so, then you likely will not need a new soundcard. Sure, one specifically designed for audio recording would be a nice toy to add to your computer, but I've gotten by just fine using just the soundcard that came installed on my pc.You will however need a preamp. In my case, I have a BOSS BR-532 with build in drum sequencer and amp modeling capabilities. Sure, a BOSS BR-532 is a fully dedicated recording studio in and of itself, but I mainly use it for a preamp to record to my pc. All that you need to do is run a line-out of whatever preamp you use and into the line-in jack on the back of your computer! Turn on your audio recording program, and start recording!

These are just a few of the ways that a musician without a disposable income can get the great quality recording that they deserve. Let me give you a more extreme example. My details on this are a little fuzzy, (and I do NOT endorse these actions), but according to MTV (in the mid-Nineties) No Doubt recorded their mid nineties hit record "Tragic Kingdom" absolutely for free! They would go to a recording studio and lay down one song, then get out of there before anyone realized that they weren't supposed to be there! It was dishonest, but it got the job done! The end result is a great sounding album on which each track has it's own unique sound to it because each track was recorded in it's own unique environment! There are other ways out there, and other opportunities that will come up. Keep looking for other ways to stick it to the man and get a free recording! After all, it's your muic! And in your persuit of a free record, if you find a great idea of how to get great results for minimum cash please share it with me at

Brandon S. Hire
Hire Media