'Balancing quality and cost': 5 challenges facing the growing home studio sector

From a crowded marketplace to marketing the right message across, what are the biggest challenges facing manufacturers targeting the 'bedroom producer'?
By Tara Lepore ,

As the home studio market continues to prosper in the age of the bedroom producer, PSNEurope caught up with some of the sector’s key players to check its pulse and find out where it’s headed as we close in on the end of 2017.

When asked what the biggest challenges were in the home studio market, the responses varied massively, showing that trying to sell pro audio kit to the 'bedroom producer' (i.e at a reduced cost but maintaining the same quality and upholding the brand's reputation) is no mean feat. Here are the top challenges facing this growing part of the market. 

1. Crowded marketplace

Tim Page, marketing manager EMEA professional audio, Audio-Technica, comments: “In a commercial sense, it’s always a challenge to stand out in a crowded marketplace such as this. However, Audio-Technica’s in the fortunate position of having a long history and a track record of producing microphones that have a place in the hearts of many project studio owners.”

2. Lack of music education

Tim Page, marketing manager EMEA professional audio, Audio-Technica

Page continues: "The wider challenges, sadly, may be the lack of music education in schools, which we may see impacting the number of young people starting to play an instrument. Although I’m optimistic that rock’n’roll will never die and there will always be creative youngsters making guitar-based music, hip-hop and dance tracks, simply because they’re driven to do so." 

3. Getting the quality/cost balance right

Rob Jenkins, technical director at Focusrite said: "The age-old problem of getting the balance between quality and cost for new innovations. Half a solution is no solution so making a judgement between where to add new value and trade off against old values can be a tough judgement call, you could argue that Apple either do a good or bad job at this, for example."

4. Using kit in larger studios is key to the learning process

Stuart Down, director, Quested Monitoring Systems

"It's a key part of the process," says Quested Monitoring Systems director Stuart Down. "We still need these larger studios and city based studios, even with residential based production rooms or studios! A large or reasonable size live space to record and inspire will always be a key part of the process, along with the incredible knowledge that has been learnt by the people working in these spaces day to day. On the home or residential side, the biggest challenge is making sure that more users don’t just know your reputation, but they have experience or knowledge of your products in that environment too."

5. Marketing the message across to the right people

Howard Jones, marketing director, Genelec

Genelec marketing director Howard Jones said the biggest problem was marketing the right idea across to the right audience. "For us it’s all about educating the customer – we will never be the cheapest loudspeaker because we are totally committed to designing and manufacturing everything in our native Finland, so our goal is simply to educate the user as to how their studio monitors will influence every single tracking and mix decision that they’ll ever make. The better the monitor, the better their chances of making good decisions. The prize is being successful in communicating that message."