Hire Bally Recording Studios in the same way you'd hire a Rehearsal Studio.  You get the room, the equipment and the timeslot, and you're left to it!

Perfect for

- A Producer/Sound Engineer that wants to run their own Sessions without spending all the money on soundproofing and equipment
- A band with a Competent Sound Engineer/Producer in them, who is on a budget or who wants a live recording
- Record labels who record a lot of bands
- A Recording Studio who doesn't have access to a dedicated live room
- Valuable pre-production work.

Rates for hiring Bally Recording studio

Weekday Day sessions

These run from 7am – 7pm, Monday to Friday.  (It is also possible to accommodate session between 7pm - 11pm as well, please contact us for details.)  

1 day hire =  £95 (£95 per 12 hours)
3 days hire = £260 (£87 per 12 hours)
10 days hire = £800 (£80 per 12 hours)

Weekend Session

These run from 10am – 11pm, Saturday and Sunday

3 days hire = £300 (£100 for 13 hours)
10 days hire = £850 (£85 for 13 hours)

Night sessions: 
These run from 11pm - 9am (overnight) 

1 day hire =  £50 (£50 for 10 hours)                       
3 days hire = £135 (£45 per 10 hours)
10 days hire = £400 (£40 per 10 hours)

Longer term rentals are negotiable, and days do not need to be consecutive.  You can pay for 10 days worth of studio time, then book 2 days in the studios, and at a later date, book more dates until all of your 10 days are used up.

What you get with your daily hire Bally recording studios

1) The Studios

Access to 2 soundproofed studios:

Studio 2: Used as live room 400 ft.², acoustically treated, totally soundproofed, with air conditioning
Studio 5: Used as tracking/mixing room, 200 ft.² acoustically treated, totally soundproofed with air conditioning

(You can see photos of each of these studios on our Studios Photos section.    Soon, we will be updating this section to show photos of the Recording Studio in action.)

Location: Bally Studios, Unit 16, 17 and 18, Millmead Business Centre, Mill Mead Road, Tottenham Hale, London, N17 9QU

2) The Recording Equipment

Microphones:

Vocal Microphones

Neumann TLM 103 Studio Microphone (Black)
SE Electronics 2200a Condenser microphone
Audio Technica 4033A

Instrument Microphones

Oktavia MK012 Stereo Set Condensers (x2)
Audix D6
SM58 x 7
Shure SM57 x 8
T Bone EM700 Stereo Set Condensers (x2)
T.Bone BD300 Bass Drum Mic
Sennheiser E606 Guitar cabinet Microphones
x4 Realistic PZM Boundry Microphones
Samson Q Kick

Mixing Desk
(Click on link above for more information and photos)

Allen & Heath GL2400, 24 Channel, with 24 Direct Outs

We have chosen this desk as it has good quality, clean pre-amps that will not colour or distort the recordings, leaving ultimate flexability for the mixing stage. English engineering provides great reliability, and also the EQ is switchable and direct out on each channel is available both pre, or post fader so that you can chose to have as short a signal path as possible. We chose this desk after whittling it down from over 40 different choices, due to it's flexability, reliability and clean signal path.

Click here for mixing desk specifications

Hard Disk Recorder
Alesis HD24

Fitted with 2x 1TB hard drive, for about 2 x 69 hours of continuous 24 tracks recording at the highest bit/sample rate.

24-track, 24-bit digital audio recording (12 tracks at 96kHz with EC2 optional upgrade)
24 analog inputs (1/4" TRS)
24 analog outputs (1/4" TRS)
24-channel ADAT Optical I/O

Reference Monitors:

Behringer Truth 2030A

Studio Outboard

Drawmer LX20 Dual Expander Compressor
Drawmer LX20 Dual Expander Compressor
Drawmer MX-30 Gate Compressor Limiter
Drawmer MX-30 Gate Compressor Limiter
Focusrite Platinum Trakmaster Compressor EQ
Focusrite Octopre LE 8 Chcannel Pre-Amp
Lexicon MX200 Reverb Unit
TL Audio 3011
DBX 266XL Compressor / Limiter / Gate
DBX 266XL Compressor / Limiter / Gate
DBX 266XL Compressor / Limiter / Gate
DBX 266XL Compressor / Limiter / Gate
Alesis 3630 Dual Compressor
Aural Exciter Type C
Zoom 1204

Total = 18 Channels of Compression/Gate
8 Channels of Pre-amp
2 Channels Equaliser
2 independent Reverb Units for foldback

Headphones
x6 Superlux HD651

Foldback Headphone Amplifier
Alesis Multimix 6 Cue

Snake Multicore:
32 way snake, 24 sends, 8 returns, 30 metre (90 foot) linking studio 2 and studio 5.

Di Boxes
Art Dual Z Direct Passive 2 channel

Art Dual X Direct Active 2 channel

Cables:
x40 6 metre high grade XLR cables

Vocal Acoustic Treatment
x3 SE Electronic vocal acoustic diffusers
x6 large baffles for partial separation of instruments in live room

3) All Of the Rehearsal Studios Backline

6 full Drumkits, 19 guitar amps, 8 bass amps, microphone stands, a Pianette, an Organ, everything you need is available to use for no extra charge!!  Click here for a full list of everything

Ever wanted to set up your own recording studios, why not use ours?

Due to the reduction in the costs of high quality recording equipment, it is now possible for practically anyone to set up a home recording studio. Spend £1000 at Digital Village, or source equipment on eBay, and you are likely to be able to get an all in one package of PC/Macintosh computer that has the relevant software you need to start recording music straight away. Even without £1,000, a cheap PC with enough RAM is more than able to handle freeware software such as Audacity. Microphones are getting cheaper, and with USB microphones flooding the market, bands can make acoustic albums easily in the comfort of their own home, with no extra overheads of rent of a studio space.

The recording industry is firmly split into two camps. The professional recording studio and the bedroom project studio. They both have their pros and cons. The professional recording studio will usually be well soundproofed, have access to high-quality recording equipment such as preamps, compressors, gates and microphones and provide a great atmosphere to the bands coming in. You do not have to worry about disturbing the neighbours, as well as having the equipment such as drum kits, guitar amps and bass amps to hand. But the cost of renting such premises over long periods of time, as well as the extra pressure of having to factor in this cost into what you charge in order to justify the rental of such a facility, means that many studios remain home project studios due to the barriers of many people being unable to commit to such a long-term project, as well as the difficulty of raising the starting capital to start their own studio. Therefore, more people are recording at home. Acoustic albums can be made when the neighbours are out. But try to set up a full drum kit, with a 300 watt bass amp playing loud enough to capture the electricity and the excitement of a live recording in your home studio and you're likely to run into problems.

The new Bally Recording Studio hopes to enable people to bridge the gap between home studio recording and professional recording studios. For a flat fee, semi-professional sound engineers and producers can have access, by the day, to a 400 square foot live room that has total isolation from an additional 200 square-foot tracking room. Double cavity walls means that you would never have to compromise by turning down the volume, and even the loudest of drummers can pound their kit for hours at a time without disturbing anyone. Included in the daily rate is access to £10,000+ worth of recording equipment, 12 hours access to the studio to enable you to record, mix, overdub or even for the band to just rehearse. £14,000 worth of band backline equipment is also available to hire, for free, including Marshall, Fender, Vox, WEM, Pearl, Mapex, Premier, Epiphone, Peavey, Laney, Gallien-Krueegar brands, with free parking, air conditioning, all the microphone stands, high quality cabling, with teas and coffees, on-site cafe facilities, free Wi-Fi; basically everything you need in a recording session. For the 12 hours you hire the studios for, it is yours!! You both get the peace of mind to play as loud as you want with the convenience of only paying for this facility when you actually use it. If you suddenly hit a time period when you feel that you don't need the recording studio any more, or don't have the time or demand for recording, simply don't make any more day bookings. You only pay for the days that you use the studio for, and as the equipment is all included in the day rates, you can therefore save your money and spend it instead on the equipment that you will use alongside the provided equipment, enabling you to build up the equipment that you will need to one day maybe open a permanent studio. Also, you will be able to run the studio under whatever name you wish, meaning that the sessions that you do at Bally can be run under your own name, or your own studios name, and you can start to build up your studios reputation even before you have a permanent base.

We have also taken inspiration from our days of being club-night promoters. For a set fee, club promoters can hire a venue, including the sound system, sometimes a sound engineer, and they get full use of the clubs facilities for this set fee. They can then charge people to come into the club, and the difference between the cost of the club hire and their extra costs, and the money that they take at the door is creamed off for their profit margin. One day, at the club, a rock promoter may be promoting to an the audience that may be fans of rock music. The next night, a reggae club night may be on, bringing with it, inside the very same venue, a totally different crowd and club experience. Both of them are making use of the infrastructure that is currently in place, and both promoters can concentrate on booking bands/DJ's and promoting their night, as opposed to sorting out alcohol licences for the venue, installing a sound system, recruiting staff to work behind the bar, etc. Some promoters may bring in supplementary equipment, like their own specific turntables, but these are likely to be used alongside the current equipment that is at the venue at the time. The owners of Bally Studios know people, personally, who have run many club nights, learnt what works and what doesn't work and built up their reputation and customer base before setting up their own venue. We feel that Bally Recording Studios is the equivalent of this, but for a recording studio.

The studios will mainly be geared towards producers that are looking to record live bands. Whilst we would of course be open to producers that are mainly sample-based at Bally, we feel that the soundproofing that we have, as well as the great equipment list, would lend itself best to live band recordings. With this in mind, we have taken out a comprehensive study into the main recording studios in London that operates at around the £150-£300 per day (8-10 hours) price points. With the hire of the studio, and all of the equipment being as little as £65 per 12 hour day, you are free to negotiate your fee with the bands on top of this, so even by going in at the low-end of the markets and charging £180 per day, you would still be earning £100+ per day clean profit, up to £500 per week, with all of that money going to your pockets, none of it coming out for rent, rates, electricity, paying back the loan that you took out to pay for all the equipment, or any other fees. It also provides the opportunity of an immediate start. We are not looking to replace the home-studio, but offer the room and the equipment as an accompaniment to the home studios.

Having set up a studio myself, I understand the predicaments. Do you start spending loads of money on the equipment, but then have no money left to market your studio? Do you then spend a lot of money on the marketing instead, but not have much money left over to invest in the soundproofing? Is it worth soundproofing a place that you are only renting? What if you are to soundproof the studio and the recording studio didn't go to plan? How much money would that have wasted? The harsh reality is that companies can operate for years at breaking even point, and that it is not lack of profits that kill studios, it is losing money. The company can operate for many years if it can just about cover its costs, but not many companies are able to handle even three months of making losses. This is what we feel that Bally provides. Have no bookings? Then you have no fees. No need to spend £10,000 on equipment and then watch as it is not used for weeks on end while you are trying to get the marketing for your studio up and going. If you decide that recording is not for you, you are able to exit the industry, or just put your studio on hold, very quickly.

There are many factors that contribute to a great studio. Nice big live rooms. Great equipment. Rooms that have been acoustically treated and give a great sound. The great bands that play on the recordings. The steady hands of a good sound engineer. Great microphones to capture accurately the sound the band is making. High quality cabling is a must, as every good sound engineer knows that a signal chain is only as strong as its weakest point. At Bally, we have put a huge amount of effort into making sure that all of these things have been taken into account.

Due to the great infrastructure we have built up, the producer can concentrate on making sure that their attention is on making the band sound as good as he possibly can, and not concentrating on trying to get the overheads reduced on the studio, or sorting out earth hums. We know from the e mails that we received from sound engineers keen to enter the industry that there are many producers/engineers who want to work in the recording industry, but for various reasons, are unable to set up their own studios. We feel that the marriage of our facilities and equipment, coupled with your passion, expertise and knowledge and time can result in Bally becoming a great first step into the professional recording environment.

Creativity and Business

The creative side of being a sound engineer and running your own recording studio are at complete juxtaposition to each other. In order for creativity to breed, it's nice to take the pressure off. Not many people can be creative when they have spent months working hard, putting their nose the grindstone in order to get the money needed to buy all the equipment that they need for their studio. The average soundproofing of a studio will take 4 to 8 weeks, which is 4 to 8 weeks of you not earning any money while you're getting the studio all set up. Countless times I have spoke to producers who have set up their own studio who tell tales of spending a month setting up their studio, only to do the first session and suddenly they realise that all of their months of preparation, whilst being sound in theory, did not suit the way that they worked. Earth hums might be creeping into the signal chain, the neighbour upstairs, who was so tolerant of a piano being played, isn't best pleased by the amplified bass guitar. By hiring the studio by the day, it means that you can book 1 days recording at a time, giving you the opportunity to reassess your approach continuously, without the pressure of having to pay for the studio overheads.

Our hope is that producers/engineers, due to the fact that they are only paying for the sessions that they receive each month, they only need to accept recording sessions that they want to do, and can therefore be a lot more selective in the sessions that they take. If the right opportunities doesn't not present itself, you can wait, safe in the knowledge that you only incur costs when you book sessions, and even then, you always have a guarantee of having your costs covered by the session.

We understand that established producers may already have their own setup, with their own space, mixing desk, outboard, client base and facilities tailored to them personally. Bally recording studio may not be best suited to such a producer. Instead we want to appeal to people who maybe have recording setups that are PC /Mac-based that don't have access to live room, and simply need to hire a live room once every month, or even a couple of days per year.

Splitting the recording process into 2 separate parts, and only spending money on the things you need, not on the things that you don't.

We have put careful consideration into making sure that we invest in the best equipment that we can possibly get within our price range, which is for the sort of equipment that comparative studios in London (that charge between £150-£250 for an eight hour session) would have. We understand, and have tried, to keep the balance between investing in equipment that sound engineers will find invaluable to get the best results, and also not buying too much equipment so that we would then have to raise the rates of the daily hire. If you feel that there is anything that we have omitted, please let us know, and we will give a real thought into buying it and admit to the current inventory.

We have decided to go with the approach of buying quality over quantity. We feel that we have enough microphones and equipment to ensure the smooth recording session, but as opposed to buying more cheap microphones, we have always gone for the approach of buying one quality good microphone from the shop that offers guarantees. We have also set aside a reserve fund to cover in circumstances that equipment is not usable, that extra backup equipment can be bought as cover.

Who would hire Bally Recording Studios?

A Producer/Sound Engineer who doesn't have access to a soundproofed studio, or the equipment.

This is obviously the main market that we are hoping to appeal to. Our purpose is simply to provide Producers/Sound Engineers with a live room with which they can make a racket in, and then take some stem tracks away for further processing and production.  By using Bally Recording Studios, you get an immediate start, without the expense of buying the equipment or of soundproofing the unit.  

Recording Studios that do not have a live room, need a bigger live room, or a 2nd live room.

The biggest market that we have had interest from with regards to hiring the studio are from current recording studios that are set up the do not have access to a dedicated live room, and would like to hire ours for rare projects where they need one, all for projects where they carried live room is not big enough to accommodate. We have even built up a good relationship with 4 local studios, each of them having used to have rented a live room and the mixing room in the past that their current studio, but by complementing our facilities for tracking and their facilities for mixing, it has meant that they can reduce their rent drastically, and thus increase their profit margin.

Bands with the competent sound engineer in them.

Probably about one in three of the bands that currently come to Bally studios, which at the moment include about 50 to 60 bands, has a member in them which is very proficient with sound engineering. We are happy to give the bands the opportunity to save money and to record their own demo. With Bally having staff which have personally been in bands themselves that produced their own music, we feel it is great opportunity for bands to take the destiny of the band into their own hands and correct their own sounds, as opposed to relying on producers to inject their sound into the band. For many bands, the band may simply be a side project for them, so they might not have a big budget to record. They may simply want to get a very good reference recording so that they can chronicle the band for later posterity. With our setup, any band with a skilled sound engineer in their ranks would be able to, for £100, get a good recording of their band.

Record labels

Bally studios have worked with many record labels over the year and we realise that many of them will have one producer that will have the job of producing the albums of many bands on the label. We hope that Bally studios will give these labels the opportunity to cut costs for their recordings and, by the label investing in a semi-professional ProTools/logic setup, they will cut the cost of recording bands considerably, therefore enabling them to sign more bands, or reduce the cost, and therefore the risk, that they are taking with the bands they are currently recording.

Other recording studios with the backlog of recording sessions booked.

Whilst we have based much of the equipment that we have bought on many of the other recording studios that will be providing recording facilities to bands and record labels, we understand that, whilst many would see that we might be in competition with the studios, we will be able to offer them the opportunity to work alongside us to have access to a second studio if they ever have a backlog of recording. The main reason that this recording studio setup was due to the fact that at times Bally recording studio has had up to an eight-month waiting list of bands wishing to record, and the studio was set up in order to complement our current recording studio, and we feel that our setup will also enable other recording studios to use it to complement their current recording setup. They can hire the studio and add their own profit margin to carry out vital preproduction work, or if they only have one live room and two mixing rooms, they can use our live room in order to get the stem tracks down and then take them back to their own studio for mixing and mastering. It is a lot easier to add mixing rooms and extra producers to an already existing setup than it is to add extra live rooms, so studios can do this by using our live room.

Recording studios based outside of London

We have had strong interest from recording studios that have been based in Cornwall, Manchester and Edinburgh who have had links with record labels based in London, but were unable to record the bands signed with these labels because of the geographical differences between the bands and their recording studio. Many of the bands were unable to travel to their studio as they were not able to get enough time off work to justify the expense and the distance. By utilising our tracking facilities, the studios were able to come down to London, record the stem tracks of several bands over several days at the studio, and then go back to their established studio for mixing and postproduction, as it was easier for one engineer to come down to London on the train and use all of the equipment at Bally studios, alongside the equipment that the band will have bought up to this studio, then it was for the bands (in many cases three bands with on average 4 members each) to travel up to the recording studio with all their equipment, and then arrange accommodation once they were up there.

Bands looking to do vital preproduction work

Many bands that will be looking to record may not have any experience in the past of professional recording sessions. Therefore the sessions they can take place at the studios, if they decide to record themselves, can go some way to help the band be prepared for the actual recording session. By recruiting friends who may be proficient in sound engineering, or by hiring a member of staff from Bally studios, which may include an outside producer who sometimes uses the studio, it may be possible that they can get a rough recording of their set, which will cost the bands only £100 for the 10 hours, which is comparable to rehearsing rates at many other studios. For this cost, they can get high-quality demo recordings done, and they can learn what they will need to do in the actual recording session so that they understand what they are preparing for. Recordings can provide vital preproduction, and can be sent to the producer to let him know exactly how the band sounds in a rehearsal situation. Bands can go away and study the recordings to work out parts they need to improve, as well as passing around to friends and associates for an outsiders point of view or feedback.

The Signal Chain

At Bally, we have set up a recording system based around what we feel is the most important aspect of the recording process, the signal chain. That is the reason why we have fewer items then most studios, but the items that we do have are much better quality. Best deal with them each individually.

The Cabling

We will only be using high-quality XLR cables that are fully shielded and have high quality connectors for relaibility and peace of mind. Cabling is certainly not an area that we plan to compromise in, as not only will it be a financial false economy to buy cheaper cables, but we feel that there is no point in us taking the time and effort to buy all the equipment, getting bands to come to the studio to record their session, getting engineers down to the studio that have spent years building up their skills and knowledge, to then compromise on an integral part of the signal chain for the sake of saving money. High quality connectors will be needed to stand up to the rigours of every day use, and we plan to use 6 metre and 10 metre lengths that will mean cables will not have to be at dangerous levels of straining in order to cover longer distances, and so that we do not need to cobble together cables.

The Snake/Multicore

A 32 way, 24 send and 8 return snake multicore would be bought that will link studio 2, the live room, with studio 5, the control room. This snake box will be set up permanently within the rooms and will be maintained on a regular basis with contact switch cleaner and will be cleaned before every use. We have left sufficient budgets to make sure that the snake/multicore is not an afterthought, as much planning will go into purchasing this as any other part of the chain.

Outboard

For outboard, we have only invested in units that would be used at the recording stage, as opposed to the mixing stage. Therefore, we have not bought high-quality reverb, equalisers or mastering units. We realise that most people prefer to record the signal clean, and then apply outboard effects to it later, to leave as many options open as possible, and as Bally will be mainly used as a tracking facility, in order to keep costs low, we have not purchased post editing outboard equipment. We have invested in Compressors, Gates/Expanders for people who would rather record drums with these effects on them, and we will also supply a few Lexicon reverb units, so that we have the option of using them for foldback monitoring while the band is recording, or for a rough mix in case the band wants to take away the tracks at the end of the day for review.

Compressors/gates

We have decided to go with tried and tested Drawmer compressers and gates due to their high quality, rugged build quality and universal reputation. We feel that as this studio might be used by engineers that may not be familiar with the equipment day-to-day, therefore it was important that we used compressors and gates that are easily purchased and are an industry standards, to ensure that familiarity with the units is possible. We have prioritised quality over quantity, and plan to only have six compressors and six gates on the whole outboards, instead of having more equipment of a lesser quality. Remembering that Bally Recording Studios will mainly serve as a tracking facility, and realising that although compressor and gates will be applied to many channels regularly in a mixing session, we feel that these six compressors and six gates would be adequate to dampen down out of control snare drums, kick drums, being useful for the fold back that the bands will be hearing, as well as serving the purpose within a quick preproduction mix should the producer decide that he wants to do a quick mix on-site.

What we do not have at the studio

We've put a lot of thought into how we have set the studios up, and the equipment we have bought.  We are also honest in what we do not have.   Here we've laid it out for you, so you know exactly the sort of equipment you'd need to compliment our equipment

World Class Studio monitors

I have worked with many producers over the years and monitors is one of the areas where there is such a strong divide. We wanted to tread the fine line between making sure that the equipment that we bought was well priced enough that we could reduce the daily rate of the studio in order to make the prospect more economically attractive to bands and producers to use. We have also made sure that producers/sound engineers were able to have monitors that they could use to listen back to the recordings, to make sure that the signal chain was as clean as possible, and to ensure gain settings are appropriate. We are always conscious that Bally Studios will mainly be used as an opportunity for producers to establish their reputation and eventually move on to bigger and better recording facilities in the future, and have worked hard to allow producers to achieve a slightly higher profit margin and to reduce their costs so that in the long run they can put the extra money toward saving up to their own individual monitors. To this end, we decided to go with a pair of Behringer Truths to start with, and plan to have a second pair of Genelec speakers which producers can hire at additional extra costs, which will be a maximum of £20 per day. We understand that so many producers listen to speakers so long that they grow accustomed to them, and even if they were given a slightly better pair of speakers, if they're not used to them, they are unlikely to be able to get as comfortable using them as they normally would with their own speakers. Bearing in mind that good quality studio speakers are essential in the mixing process, but are less so at the tracking stage, we have decided that to invest in the high-quality speakers would therefore be an option which would not be possible at the moment, but we will of course keep looking for alternatives that we can use alongside the current speakers which you plan to get, in order to assist sound engineers and provide a vital A-B comparison within the studio to make sure that the recording is as good as could possibly be

A PC/Mac running recording software

The staff at Bally studios come from a background of using reel to reel recorders. We specialise in getting the best signal down on tape, and in the past, sometimes used to mainly pass multi-track recordings onto other studios for them to mix. At the forefront of our minds is trying to strike the balance between making sure that the quality of all of the equipment that we do invest in is of the best quality possible within realistic price ranges, and making sure that there are as many options as possible to the producers/sound engineers to make their recordings, in as relaxed atmosphere as possible. Therefore we have decided to invest in a 24 track digital recorder with a caddie style hard drive system which will mean that you can slot in your own hard drive, record the bands, and then take the hard drive home and load this into whatever system you wanted to load it into. Out of the 12 people that we've spoken to so far that plan to use the studio, three of them have said that they are to use Sonar, three of them have said that they are Cubase based producers, two of them run garageband, two of them use logic, one of them uses reason and one of them uses audacity. Keeping at the forefront of our mind that Bally studios will only be a tracking facility i.e. to get high-quality sound through high-quality cables onto a high-quality recorder, therefore we feel that by eliminating a PC/Mac means that we can reduce the day-to-day rental price of the studio, money which can be saved by the people who use the studio to invest in their own software choice.

Plug-ins, effects units, multiband compressors

As before, we have decided not to invest in plug-ins, effects units, and multiband compressors as we feel that these are mainly only necessary in the mastering mixing stage (it would be unlikely that anyone will want to add effects in real-time while recording) so therefore by eliminating these from the studio itinerary, we can pass these savings on to the end user.

Mastering facilities

We feel that mastering is a very very specialised service, and one which requires total commitment and no compromise in order to be done successfully. We're wary of spreading ourselves too thin by trying to do the whole process of making a record. This is certainly something which we do not plan to offer: we plan on only offering the services which are out of reach of many producers/sound engineers, eliminating the hardest parts of the recording process so that they can concentrate on the other parts. We have built up good relationships with 2 London based mastering studios, 1 in South London and 1 in North London, that are both happy to offer trade discounts to anyone who uses Bally Recording Studios. Alternatively, with the money you save from the cheaper studio rental, you can put this towards professional mastering equipment that is vital for good mastering. We hope that this goes some way to show how we are realistic in our hopes at the studio, understand the limitations that we operate under, and our commitment to only concentrate on providing the highest of quality of certain stages of the recording process, as opposed to lesser quality and covering the whole recording process.

Dedicated highest-quality Pre-amps

This is the one thing that has caused the most thought when we have been buying all of the equipment. After long consideration we decided that we could not invest in dedicated, high quality preamps. (We consider high quality pre-amps to be the ones we have used in the past on our recordings, like the Presonus ADL 600 ,Universal Audio 4110,  AMS Neve 1073DPA Stereo Mic Preamp,  AMS Neve 33609JD Limiter, etc)   Having spoken to over 20 sound engineers, we understand that preamps are probably the most subjective part of the signal chain. We have even spoken to people that do not like the sound of boutique level preamps that cost over £1,800. By spending extra money on preamps, we would be raising the price of the studio rental. We're also very conscious of where this studio will sit within the market. It is meant to be a studio where people can either build their own name and reputation, with the aim to one day set up their own dedicated recording studio, or somewhere where people can use our equipment alongside theirs in order to capture great results.   Therefore, we have set the price slightly lower than usual, and by offering a slightly cheaper studio rental without the hire of preamps, it means that people can then invest in their own individual preamps as opposed to the extra studio rental costs. Sound engineers will be free to bring their own preamps down to the studio to use them alongside our current equipment.

We have however, bought some industry-standard preamps that many studios at this price range will use that are tried and tested, which sound engineers are free to use. The pre-amps are comparable to the pre-amps that studios within the same price bracket in London would use. Bearing in mind that the main purpose of the studio is to lay down the instruments that are impossible to lay down at home, such as the drum kit, and then later on do the parts of the recording process that they are able to do at home, we feel that sound engineers would probably benefit from having their own preamps anyway, (for example for laying down vocals at home over pre-recorded band tracks), hence why we have decided not to buy dedicated preamps that are high-end quality standard. Most of the sound engineers that we have spoken to have also said that they prefer to record all of the signals clean, and then later add pre amps in the mixing stage.

The ability to mix music to the highest standard

We are always keen to stress the 2 individual parts of the recording process. Number one, getting the signal down on tape as well as it can be recorded, and number two, shaping and mixing these sounds to create the finished products. We are only aiming to cover the first part of this process, and therefore have decided to go for a mixing desk which has the cleanest signal chain possible, with the cleanest preamps and the highest headroom, a mixing desk that is more suited to get great sounds down on tape as opposed to moulding the sounds into a great finished product. For 90% of the people using the recording studio, we trust that they will be simply getting stem tracks down, taking the stem tracks away and loading them into computer-based recording programs and mixing from here. Therefore, we believe that our decision to not invest in a mixing desk more geared towards mixing is one that is both economically and logistically validated

PatchBay

We have not fitted attached a patchbay into the studio equipment for several reasons. Firstly, it would restrict the flexibility of the use of the equipment. We may have different engineers who like to use the equipment in different ways,and by permanently installing a patchbay it would mean that engineers would all have to use the equipment in the same way, and the studio setup would therefore be less adaptable to individual sound engineers. The main reason though that we decided to not use the patchbay is that by adding one, would be lengthening the signal chain which would degrade the sound. Even if it made the sound only slightly worse, as we are conscious that the main purpose of the studio is to get as great sounds down on tape as possible, even if it means a little bit of extra plugging in and out, we feel that this would be preferable if it means that the signal chain is better preserved. We plan on using balanced the trick connectors that will be permanently plugged into the back of the outboard equipment and will be accessible at the side of the rack units through organised colour-coded and clearly labelled signs, so that engineers can easily plug them into the insert points of the mixing desk.

Different types of sessions you can do at Bally Studios

Totally live recording

With 24 track simultaneous recording, it means that we will have the ability to mic up the whole drum kit, with two overheads, kick, snare, 2 rack toms, floor tom, close and ambient microphones on two guitar amps, mixed DI signal and microphone for the bass guitar, stereo inputs for keyboards, up to 4 inputs for vocals and still have five tracks left for overdubbing percussion or adding ambient microphones/microphones on bottom of snare/a second kick drum microphone. Whilst you will always get a small amount of spill from recording everything at once, we feel it is a very realistic option to record the band live with this setup, using the baffles that are provided by Bally, with the bands monitoring the vocals through headphones, leaving them with the option of having it totally live or afterwards using the vocal takes as scratch vocals that they can later be wiped and overdubbed, either at the studios, or later in the comfort of their own home, where they're not being charged by the hour. Promoters and record labels can be given a true representation of what the band sounds like live, capturing the energy and the excitement of a full band playing all at once, and bands can also use these recordings for important preproduction or analysing their playing to make sure that any mistakes are found out before expensive recording sessions are booked. We also feel that there may be a market for bands that have polished studio recordings and wish to issue recordings of songs to give away, put on their Facebook account or to have as a B-side to any single. So we can record the band totally live, or simply create a backing track to add the vocals onto later

Drum tracks

We realise that a massive part of a market that would be open to us is for people to simply come in and lay down drum parts, which they can then go home with and lay down guitar, bass and vocals by using guitar effects with built-in amplifier simulators in them, which means that they can record straight in to their home recording setup.

Recording samples

Many of the studios that we work alongside with that are based in the same building record music that is mainly sample-based, but we realise that many people may want to record their own samples, to set them apart from other producers who are totally using library samples. We feel that the studio would be a real viable option for producers who want to hire it for one day just to record the samples that they can later go away with and chop up and change at a later date


Immediate access to see which days are available at Bally Recording studios

We will be using Google spreadsheets which all sound engineers/producers will have access to. If anyone would like to book in a recording session at Bally, they will have instant access to see if the day they require is available to them, and record will be kept of every single person who accesses and edits the spreadsheet for security. It takes the logistical nightmare out of coordinating anything up to 30 sound engineers wanting to book the same room on any one day. Studios will be booked out on a first come first served basis.

Bands being booked in in the evening and taking over the recording session

Currently, our studio two will mainly be offered in the daytime, overnight and on the weekends The main plan is to use the studio in the current downtime, which is any time between midnight and 7pm, as these are the times when the studios are used less, and therefore we can offer the best rates for these times. It may be possible though that we will offer a 24 hour service to clients that wish to keep all microphones set up overnight and do longer recording sessions, although mainly we realise that the main draw to the studio will be the fact that cost can be kept low, while not compromising on the quality of the recordings. We are more than open though to the possibility of 24-hour recordings, but by currently not offering the studio to be used for recording between the hours of 6pm and midnight, it means we can keep the current bookings that we currently have in the evening, and can thus offer the down time for cheaper, keeping costs low.

This also opens up the possibility though that any sound engineer using Bally Studios during the weekday daytime will also be able to offer their services to bands that are using the same room in the evening. By ending their recording session at 6pm, the band that has been recording the session can take away their guitars, guitar effects units and cymbals, and the room will effectively be still miked up for another band to come in and take over their recording session. So when the next band comes into the room, everything will still be miked up for them, and they can plug their guitars into the amplifiers and without any miking up whatsoever, can start another recording session. Clients will therefore be able to negotiate with bands that use the studios for rehearsals to record their sessions. The band who is rehearsing can cover the cost of the studio rental, as they would usually, and then negotiate a fee with the client for recording their session, with Bally Studios taking a small fee for the additional hire of all of the recording equipment.

Obviously, small adjustments will need to be made for different guitars with different pickups, different drummers that have different drum and styles that need to be gain adjusted, and singers may have different microphone techniques that require adjusting, but essentially it is possible that by booking a session during the day, you can also offer your services to the band that comes in immediately afterwards who will be paying £46 for their 4 hour session, and you would be able to negotiate with them if they wanted to record their session also.

Even by adding £70 to this room rate for the fee for recording the band, (£50 to the engineer for 4 hours, £20 to Bally for the extra hire of equipment) it will mean £50 extra income to the producer with no extra costs, and a band can get anything up to seven or eight songs worth of stem tracks to take away with them for £116. We are happy to keep the extra equipment hire cost low due to the fact that we would have benefited from the day session. This can be done for anything up to a six-hour session, (6pm – 12am) and by producers working together, co-operative schemes can be worked out where one producer allows another producer to take over his session, for a return favour at a later date. It simply goes to show that by generating a big pool of independent producers that are proactive enough to start their own studio, that we can benefit from sharing our resources with each other.

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In October 2011, through Bally Studios working with the Princes Trust, we asked the opinion of a CitiBank executive, and their opinion on the concept of the studios was:


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“Most start up companies fail due to 2 reasons. Not having enough cashflow, and underestimating day to day factors of the running of the business. In our opinion, the concept of hiring a recording studio by the day helps to overcome both of these pitfalls. The vast majority of costs that a company encounters when it is being set up will take a lot of money to cover. The costs are immediate, the turnover may not be. By renting studios by the day, you eliminating the chances of a company running at a loss. In one fail swoop, all the problems that 99% of companies run into, and 100% of start up companies encounter, are eradicated. Also, negative cashflow can limit the amount of investment a start-up company can receive. Investors are notoriously cagey about investing in a company that is losing money, and banks are reluctant to invest in a company that has high costs. With this arrangement, a bank can be assured that costs to do spiral out of control. Also, it means a bank can say to a customer, “do 10-20 days of sessions at Bally Recording Studios, get feedback from your customers, and then come back with evidence that your business plan works in practice. We are always more likely to give funding when the business has already started.

The second point is that businesses have a much better chance of survival by road testing their business concept on a “soft-launch” first, where the business basically does a dummy run, and tests the market first, before taking on their own permanent base. By using your studios, it gives people the perfect chance to do that, and for these reasons, we believe that your recording studios gives people the perfect opportunity to give their own recording studios a great chance for future success.

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The Logistics of How the Studios would operate

Immediate access to see which days are available at Bally recording studios

We will be using Google spreadsheets which all sound engineers/producers will have access to. If anyone would like to book in a recording session at Bally, they will have instant access to see if the day they require is available to them, and record will be kept of every single person who accesses and edits the spreadsheet for security. It takes the logistical nightmare out of coordinating anything up to 30 sound engineers wanting to book the same room on any one day. Studios will be booked out on a first come first served basis.

Bands being booked in in the evening and taking over the recording session

Currently, our studio two will mainly be offered in the daytime, overnight and on the weekends The main plan is to use the studio in the current downtime, which is any time between midnight and 7pm, as these are the times when the studios are used less, and therefore we can offer the best rates for these times. It may be possible though that we will offer a 24 hour service to clients that wish to keep all microphones set up overnight and do longer recording sessions, although mainly we realise that the main draw to the studio will be the fact that cost can be kept low, while not compromising on the quality of the recordings. We are more than open though to the possibility of 24-hour recordings, but by currently not offering the studio to be used for recording between the hours of 6pm and midnight, it means we can keep the current bookings that we currently have in the evening, and can thus offer the down time for cheaper, keeping costs low.

This also opens up the possibility though that any sound engineer using Bally Studios during the weekday daytime will also be able to offer their services to bands that are using the same room in the evening. By ending their recording session at 6pm, the band that has been recording the session can take away their guitars, guitar effects units and cymbals, and the room will effectively be still miked up for another band to come in and take over their recording session. So when the next band comes into the room, everything will still be miked up for them, and they can plug their guitars into the amplifiers and without any miking up whatsoever, can start another recording session. Clients will therefore be able to negotiate with bands that use the studios for rehearsals to record their sessions. The band who is rehearsing can cover the cost of the studio rental, as they would usually, and then negotiate a fee with the client for recording their session, with Bally Studios taking a small fee for the additional hire of all of the recording equipment.

Obviously, small adjustments will need to be made for different guitars with different pickups, different drummers that have different drum and styles that need to be gain adjusted, and singers may have different microphone techniques that require adjusting, but essentially it is possible that by booking a session during the day, you can also offer your services to the band that comes in immediately afterwards who will be paying £46 for their 4 hour session, and you would be able to negotiate with them if they wanted to record their session also.

Even by adding £70 to this room rate for the fee for recording the band, (£50 to the engineer for 4 hours, £20 to Bally for the extra hire of equipment) it will mean £50 extra income to the producer with no extra costs, and a band can get anything up to four or five songs worth of stem tracks to take away with them for £116. We are happy to keep the extra equipment hire cost low due to the fact that we would have benefited from the day session. This can be done for anything up to a six-hour session, (6pm – 12am) and by producers working together, co-operative schemes can be worked out where one producer allows another producer to take over his session, for a return favour at a later date. It simply goes to show that by generating a big pool of independent producers that are proactive enough to start their own studio, that we can benefit from sharing our resources with each other.

Nighttime recordings

The Business Centre that we are based in is operated on a 24-hour basis with 24-hour security, parking and toilet facilities. There are no restrictions on opening and closing times, and we understand that some people may wish to record during graveyard shifts. We will therefore be offering this option at a discounted rate. We hope to continue the tradition of great producer/engineers who began on graveyard shifts.

Letting the bands get on with it while they are in the room alone

Currently, the setup at the studios is such that there is no direct line of vision from the recording room/live room to the mixing /tracking room. We decided to do this as we felt that while recording, it is imperative that the producer could only hear the sound that was coming through the microphones, and not through the actual amps, so therefore we kept the live room and the tracking room as far apart as possible. The number-one objective is getting a great signal down on tape for later mixing, and 100% isolation means this is easier to do, hence why we have chosen this option.

Video intercom between the rooms

Many sound engineers and producers prefer to not be in the room with the band while the band is recording, and due to logistical limitations, this is the setup that we would have at the studio. The plus side of this is that sound isolation is enhanced, but of course we realise that communication is vital between the producer and the bands, so therefore, alongside the foldback communication microphones that we will have that would allow the producer to talk with bands, we also plan to have video intercom, so that the producer can see the band, and the band can see the producer.

The creative breeding grounds at Bally Studios

Bally Studios is not the only recording studio in the MillMead business centre. At any one time there are up to 10 different recording studios in the building. We are, however, the only studios that are able to offer live recording, as by the terms of their lease, the other studios are restricted from generating excessive noise. Due to the tuck shop that we operate at the studio, we are in constant contact with many, if not all, of the other recording studios in the building and we feel that producers the come to the studio to use our facilities can benefit from these contacts that we have on a daily basis. This also offers the opportunity for extra collaboration between studios, something which we are not adverse to and have actively looked to promote in the last two years. This, along with the 30 or so bands that regular use the studios every single week, the 60 or so bands that use the studio at least every month, as well as numerous other people who do one-off rehearsals here, means that there is a great community based around the studio. We feel that extra people coming to hire the studio can benefit from this pool of creative talent.

The ability to record six/seven band demos over a long weekend, or even more

When a sound engineer to have their own recording space, there are of course benefits.  But we feel that there are also benefits to sharing the recording space with other sound engineers. On long bank holiday weekends, it is possible to, on the Thursday, set up the room with all of the microphones, up to 24 of them, and then over Friday, Saturday and Sunday accomidate 2 7-hour sessions per day, from 9:30am to 4:30pm and 5:00pm -12:00am.  A band can come in and, for 7 hours, crack through their set, and get a very rough and ready, great quality, live recording of their set.  All of the time will be spent recording, as we will have everything set up the day before. It is even an option that the band that is booked in on Thursday evening could use their session to make sure that all the levels are correct and get a cheap recording. 7 hours is more than enough for a band to get their 45 min set down  on tape, and the bands can either take their music away and have it  mixed themselves, or if you are looking at doing any mixing or production you could then take it home and finish it there.  In the past we have charged £180 for the 7 hours, including sound engineer, and sound engineers that use the studios can share these sessions with other sound engineers.  If there are any producing/sound engineering teams that want to use the studios, this shows a way of generating £180 x 6 over the 3 days of the longer bank holiday weekend, so £1080, leaving £780 worth of profit after taking into account the £300 studio rental fee, whilst the bands can get a full band recording of their set for £180, including studio hire, engineer, everything!!  Not bad, considering many central London Studios charge £90 for 7 hours hire for just a rehearsal.  

Bally Studios company profile


Bally studios was founded in 2005 and since then has worked hard to create a great reputation for itself. Bally Stuidos bought up Sync City, a recording and rehearsal studios which operated from 1989 – 2005, and due to the fact that the Sync City name is encompassed under the Bally umbrella, we have 22 years of recording at this location under our belts. Bands that have used us in the recent past include Lemar, Rod Temperton, Bombay Bicycle Club, Snow patrol and Caribou. In the past, at these facilities we have had such distinguished bands such as The Kinks, Coldplay, Keane, Steve Marriott, The Bay City Rollers and numerous record labels. But of course, what we feel most pride about is the fact that many bands have used our studios continuously over the last six years, week in week out. We feel that it is testament to the quality of the sound proofing, the sound of the rooms, equipment that we have, and the service we provide to these bands has provided such a loyal service to us. We feel that we have created a great base for outside clients to bring bands to record at our studios. We are an ethically minded company, and each year make a donation to charities such as Guide Dogs For The Blind without even using this as a selling point to the bands that use the studios. We deliberately keep under the VAT threshold in order to make sure that the bands and producers that use us are not burdened with the extra costs. There has been a recording/rehearsal studios on this site since 1989, so anyone using our studios can be assured that there will be no problems with loud bands being asked turn down the volume. All of our studios are checked yearly by a qualified electrician and we have no problems with earth wires, earth hums and all of the electrics have a "clean earth". We have structured the power distribution so that many of the rooms, and the rooms that will be used for the recording have dual power supplies in order to spread the distribution of power evenly. All of the rooms come equipped with PA systems so that they can be used as rehearsal rooms in addition to recording rooms, and they'll have easy access in case extra equipment is bought into the studio's