We (Hexxed) recorded our cd with Eamonn, so I figured I would post this. I have not directly been involved with other studios, so comparisons will be limited.
Operating from a custom built unit in North Belfast, the Doghouse itself was a nice environment for the musos like ourselves. Being relatively small, there is no space for a drumkit and as such the drum recordings are done elsewhere. On our venture we used Best Cellars studios in Ballybeen, but I gather that nowadays Manor Park Studios is the venue of choice for tub thumping. Our drums were recorded through BSC's mixing desk and into EPKs two synchronised portable ADATs. As far as I can remember these gavce 8 track each, so when together 16.
Back to the actual studio. Again I am unsure of technical specifics, but if you email Eamonn he will doubtless enlighten you. Cubase VST was used in conjunction with CoolEdit and a manner of VST instrumentation. I am aware that EPK has recently upgraded his ADAT system, though I wouldnt be sure of how. I think I heard 64 track capacity being mentioned. All recording is to hard disk, as is the norm, and no f*ck ups happened in this respect with us. There is a quality Trace Elliot 100w there which delivers good tone, a range of PODs, some very snazzy keyboard / synths, a selection of acoustic and electric guitars and of course basses.
In terms of actual producing we enjoyed Eamonns work on our behalf thoroughly. Though probably not his choice of everyday listening, he had encountered a fair bit if our style of music before through live sound jobs if not in a studio capacity. I feel that he captured "our sound" which has been frequently called very mid heavy.
The studio is a stressful place for all concerned, but Epk made us feel very much at home. Beer, tea and coffee - small details, but something homely that one would probably not expect to find in many other places. Epk injected many ideas into our music (indeed the re writing of a whole bassline for one song, changing the whole character for the better), and gave us the time, space and patience to re-do parts until we knew we had done the best we were able.
There was no issue with money, and all this was handled in the most amicable way possible - I guess this is an area that can lead to problems sometimes. Again I do not know what his current hourly rate is, but for the work done it is bound to be competitive. Our entire 5 tracks were done over three weekends for £400. It isnt just as straightforward as that though-Eamonn put in a *lot* of time on our stuff long after we had went home, and spent several weeknights fixing and improving bits and bobs of the mix while we werent there. He also burnt us an initial batch of cds purely as a favour helping us get the cd off the ground asap.
The only thing that i would criticise about our recording was the drums. The toms are not really all there, but it could have been down to our kit and the Best Cellars set up. I am told that these days the drum results are much better and I am inclined to believe that.
Maybe one other point: we were fortunate enough to have one of our songs remastered by none other than Stuart Anstis of Cradle of Filth fame - the result was a much sharper and aggressive version of our song taken from exactly the same raw material, and in comparison the original seems a shade lesser. But this is all trivial.
Overall I would thoroughly recommend EPKs work for anyone recording their cd. We were encouraged by good ideas, in terms of what to put in and what to leave out, and much work was done on our behalf for an entirely reasonable cost. We will be going back.