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A.3. Sound studio accessories

The following accessories are essential to good recording and production in the studio. Since these accessories are not the big-ticket items, they are often overlooked. Do not make the mistake of spending a few thousand dollars on mixers and microphones and then get cheap cables or headphones.

A.3.1. Headphones

Good studio reference headphones let you hear subtle details and noises that are difficult to detect with studio monitors. Several sets of high-quality headphones that completely cover the ears are necessary for voice-over recording sessions and critical sound-editing applications. Headphones also serve as a monitoring system during recording sessions where a live microphone is in the same vicinity as your studio reference monitors. Do not use cheap headphones. For under $100, buy the industry favorite, Sony MDR-7506 or AKG headphones.

Six ways to get the best deals every time


Getting the best deals and service is an art form. Everyone knows that music retailers never sell for list price, but how far they will come down is anyone's guess. All audio equipment manufacturers offer retailers different wholesale percentage discounts. High-end specialty companies such as Mesa-Boogie generally sell their gear to retailers at only 30% off list, while other companies such as Alesis sell their low-end items to retailers at 40% to 50% off list. There is no formula to wholesale pricing in the music retail business. Do not expect to get the same percentage discount for every brand. Generally, retailers are making less of a profit than you think. The average markup on products is 20% to 27%. In many cases, their sale price might be only 5% to 10% above cost. That 10% to 27% margin is what keeps the music store alive.

  1. Research prices before you buy. Do your homework. Before you buy equipment, look at a few mail-order catalogs and make a few phone calls to get an idea what the going rate is for the particular item you are looking to purchase.

  2. Look for overstocked blow-out items.Music retailers give greater discounts on items in stock. Watch for blow-out sales when retailers have too many items in stock and need to move inventory.

  3. Look for old demo models. Music retailers as a rule do not always give discounts on demo models. But on occasion, if you think the model has been on the floor for a long time and it has a few nicks or dings, it is worth asking for a small discount. Also look for last year's models. Most manufacturers update their models periodically. Often retailers are forced to discount previous models if newer versions have arrived.

  4. Shop at the end of the month.If you are shopping at a large retail chain, go at the end of the month when salespeople have to meet their sales quota, or better yet, shop at a store where salespeople don't have quotas.

  5. Mention the competition.Before you discuss specific prices with the salesperson, let him or her know in a tactful manner that you are aware of the competition. In passing conversation, drop a name or two of the other retail stores in town. Where appropriate, be direct. If another store gives you a good price, ask the salesperson to beat or match it.

  6. Buy all your gear at one time. If you are buying several items at once, retailers will give you a few extra percentage points off as a package deal, as well as discounts on accessories such as cables.

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