Q: Why is Waveform Music better than my DIY setup?

A: Experience, Environment & Equipment

Successful engineers combine the use of technical audio software with the critical listening experience of a producer. Bob’s been doing both for over 25 years.

The studio provides a reliably quiet environment, free from background noise like a furnace, traffic, neighbors and excess echo. Our live room is isolated from the control room, plus three more booths.

We’ve got more than one nice mic – we can try a variety of studio-grade equipment to find out what sounds best for you!

While it never hurts to try your own setup, we’ve got all those bases covered – allowing you to settle into performing.


Q: How much per hour?

A: A better question is, “How much should I budget to finish my song/project?” The fee is an hourly rate, so the more prepared you are, the quicker we’ll get to that sound you’re after! It helps to describe your project by style (like rap, country, classical, etc) and complexity (like solo vocal/instrument, trio, band, etc). For example, recording vocals and harmonies to an accompaniment track typically takes 2-3 hours, including mixing/mastering with basic production. Larger projects like albums benefit from some economies of scale. Folks who have tried this in Nashville are pleased with how affordable Waveform Music is!


Q: May I come this afternoon?

A: Please email to schedule a tour or a session. Walk-ins are discouraged because studio time is typically booked-up one to two weeks out. Tours and sessions are generally available on weekdays between 9am and 6pm, by appointment. Sessions on certain evenings and weekends can be arranged as necessary. Weekend sessions require a $100 deposit in order to hard-book.


Q: How do I get there?

A: We’re located inside the colorful Mainframe Studios building at 900 Keosauqua Way, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. You can park in what feels like you’re “under” the building – all spots are first come first served. Additional parking is available in the surface lot off the southeast corner. Take the elevator to 4th floor. Head down the ramp and keep walking all the way down the hallways to suite 417.


Q: Does it get stuffy during recording?

A: Nope! Airflow remains constant even during recording, as the system was designed for whisper-quiet operation. The studio’s air supply comes directly from the building’s ionization purifiers. Our multi-room layout accommodates non-contact sessions if desired.


Q: Do you make beats from scratch?

A: Not usually. When you find one you like on the internet, we can often modify the loops to make sections shorter, longer, etc.


Q: I’m interested in audio production. May I watch?

A: That’s tricky, because most artists really appreciate a solitary space to create – not perform for strangers. Ask about scheduling a tour and at least grow your network of friends making a living at this! The unvarnished truth and KitKats are always free.


Q: I’m a student. Do you have an internship?

A: You’re smart to ask, but internships have kind of gone the way of the tape machine. Consider asking your teacher or counselor/dean to contact Bob about a job shadow interview.


Q: I’m a nonprofit. May I have a discount?

A: It’s best to describe your recording project, including your charitable purpose, and ask for a quote first. You’ll often find our rates affordable for this level of quality and professionalism.

Your nonprofit status enables you to apply for grants, which can be used to “do it right” at Waveform Music! Annual grant cycles vary, but applications are often due sometime during the winter, and then grants are awarded in late spring. Funding organization examples include Iowa Arts Council, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Americans for the Arts, corporate sponsorships, and others at the county, state and national level. We’re happy to help you outline the costs and even review your proposal. Some applications are lengthy, so get started early!


Q: Who have you worked with that I’ve heard of?

A: Well that’s awkward – we don’t know who you’ve heard of! We’ve helped a wide variety of people with their dreams, from the closet musician around the corner, to podcasters from New York, including artists who have been on national TV. But if you must know, Bob sang backup once for Barry Manilow. For real! 

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