First: THE GOOD...
Because basic recording equipment is now as cheap as the price of a computer, it is easier then ever for musicians to begin making their own demo's and experimenting with recording, mixing, effects, etc... Often this a great way for artists to learn the basics of recording, and to begin getting their ideas down in a format that allows changes and growth as a particular song develops. Sometimes these demo's can even save the artist time in a more expensive studio as they have a chance to write parts, and experiment at home.
Second: THE BAD...
It is now easier then ever for ANYONE to call themselves a producer or recording engineer. This can often confuse and complicate each artists choice of where to record. There is now WAY more amateur "studios" then there are professional facilities. For struggling artists it's hard to justify spending way more money to record in a professional studio when there are plenty of cheaper home studio options.
The main answer to this that I have found is to always encourage artists/bands/song writers that the quality of the recordings you release absolutely reflects on your dedication to your art. Working a bit harder to afford a professional studio can be the difference between listeners writing you off, or taking notice. You can't take back a poor sounding release. Often, you only get one chance for a listener to buy into your music/songs, and if the recording sounds bad its hard for anyone to pay attention to the songs (no matter how good they are). One way to help reconcile the cost difference is to record LESS songs at a HIGHER quality. I know you want everyone to hear every great thing you've written, but even more importantly, you want them to listen to your songs more than once or twice. On top of that, you need them to like your music enough to tell others about it!
The absolute best way to choose which studio you should record in is to listen to their work! Don't just choose based on money, schedule, looks, gear, etc... Take a few minutes and LISTEN to the other records coming out of that studio. Even if it's not all your style, you can tell a ton by the quality of the recorded sounds and the mixes.
Do the vocals sound good? Do the drums sound big and hit just right? Does the mix make sense for the genre of the songs? Is there clarity between the instruments? Are the recorded performances professional?
Also, talk with the producer/engineer to make sure it's a good fit and you like their style/vibe. You're gonna spend a good bit of time with this person/s so it's worth a phone call or meeting to make sure it'll be a good fit.
As always feel free to email me with any questions. email@example.com