Sounds Like Soma is a full-service podcasting and recording studio located just south of Center City, in Philadelphia. They offer a full suite of recording, mixing and mastering services spanning the full range of audio media. In addition to podcasts, they also do recording, mixing, and mastering for musicians, as well as audiobooks. Their standard charge is $55 an hour for live studio time, including mixing and mastering. However, there are a few ways to shave money off this cost.
The $55 rate assumes that you’re renting their Studio A, which is generally not necessary for podcasts. It has better acoustic treatment than their B studio, but the B studio only costs $35 an hour, and is good enough for most spoken word media. It’s also larger than Studio A, so it can accommodate larger groups. Alternatively, you can rent either studio for a rate of $20 an hour, but you’ll have to mix and master everything on your own. This “Bring Your Own Computer” rate is a good idea if you need a recording space, but minimal mixing or mastering.
Both studios come fully equipped with an array of recording supplies. For musicians, there are six different bass and guitar options and five different amps. There are also a variety of drum kits, as well as nine different keyboards. Vocalists will appreciate the 14 different microphone options, including both dynamic and compressor mics. Sounds Like Soma supports Apollo x8p, Focusrite Clarett 8Pro USB, MOTU 8pre-es, Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, Focusrite 2i4, and U-Phoria UMC404HD audio interfaces, so just about every possibility is covered.
In addition to all of this, podcasters can take advantage of several sound-isolated rooms. These come at a flat rate of $50 an hour, and include editing, mixing, and mastering. This is ideal if you’re living in the city and just need a quiet place to record a spoken word podcast. If you have a home studio, you can also hire one of Sounds Like Soma’s engineers to come to your home and mix and master your tracks. This costs the same $50 an hour rate, and you must be within 10 miles of the Philadelphia area.
Sounds Like Soma was founded by Zachary Hanni, who started his musical career in 2007. The name of the studio actually comes from his old DJ personality, where he was known as “Somaaa.” Eventually Zachary’s work became popular enough that he began working as an engineer, first in Tennessee, and later in New Jersey. In 2015, he founded Sounds Like Soma, and it remains to this day.
Studio B is run by Gage Bingham, who went to school to be in the business side of music, but decided to become a sound engineer instead. He’s also in charge of interns and personnel. Zachary and Gage are assisted by two interns, Ian and Kyle, who you’ll also get to know when you record there. The studio cat, Buddy, may or may not pop in on your session. Don’t worry. He’s just supervising.