Cheapest is NOT best, and when it comes to rehearsal studios you really will get what you pay for. Choose carefully, study a studio’s website, try and match your requirements to the studio’s facilities.
For a 4-5 piece band to rehearse comfortably you will need a space of 30m2, minimum.
In order to hear a vocal clearly and avoid damaging your singer’s voice you need to use a PA system rated 1000w or more.
You should expect to find industry standard microphones, as used by the pro’s. Models like the Shure SM58 or the Sennheisser “Evolution” series. Cheaper mics just sound terrible, which can knock a singer’s confidence and can also contribute to damaged vocal chords in the long term.
This should be available at reasonable rates & can help solve transport issues.
• Guitar Amps – 50 – 100w should be sufficiently loud for a heavy rock band
• Bass Amps – 100w is really the minimum output you should look for.
• Drum Kits – Look for a well maintained 5 piece kit, hardware should be included, however, a snare & cymbals will cost extra
On a hot summers day or during the winter months, this will be well worth having, studios with A/C can be a little more expensive, but having it will certainly help your productivity and enthusiasm.
A rehearsal room should have soft walls to reduce sound reflection and flutters. Look for carpeted walls and acoustic foam tiles on the walls and/or ceiling.
The minimum here should be a toilet and running water, although you’ll be surprised at how many rehearsal studios do not have these. Tea & Coffee is a nice touch, especially in the winter. A good studio will not charge for this, but may charge for other refreshments.
Ideally, your room will not double up as a live room in a recording studio. Often less reputable studios will cancel your rehearsal booking if somebody wants to record, as they will make more money. A good rehearsal studio should provide you with the exclusive use of their practice room and it’s facilities. It is you that is paying for the space and the less distraction there is, the greater your productivity.
This is very handy to have, music equipment can be very heavy and bulky. Some studios will offer hire of a private storage cupboard to house your entirely bands gear, this will save loads of time loading in and out at rehearsals.
Although a very simple thing, it’s one of those things many bands forget to ask when booking a studio. You do not want to be lugging your gear up three flights of stairs before you’ve even started. Look for a ground floor studio or a studio with a lift.
Not all studios will offer full production and sometimes (as I’ve previously mentioned) it can be better if they don’t. However, some basic recording facilities in a rehearsal room for referencing purposes can really help a band/artists development. Nearly all studios will charge extra for this facility.
Networking & Promotion
This is a very important aspect in the industry today. Try and find a studio that encourages inter-band networking through it’ social media sites, some places even organise a few outside social events or meet and greets throughout the year. A good studio will go the extra mile and help you promote your bands gigs and releases.
It is helpful when there are facilities in place to help you should things go wrong. This is not always possible, however, breaking a string, stick or forgetting a jack lead, should not ruin your rehearsal. These should be available to buy or even borrow.
Attention to detail
Those little touches can go a long way towards making your rehearsal more pleasurable. Many good studios will pride themselves on this and sometimes the even simplest things can make a world of difference.