Q: How can I get my album to sound the way I hear it in my head?

A: It helps a lot to have points of reference that we can both relate to. Accordingly, if there’s a LP that really hits the mark in terms of what you’re hoping to capture, bring it along. If there are several, bring them all along. We can listen together and then work to get sounds that work for your project.

Q: How can I work quickly in the studio to save money?

A: Pre-production!

“Huh?” you may ask…

This means your experience in the studio will likely be more productive and successful if you take the time to do thoughtful planning beforehand. Accordingly, you should know the songs well and have rehearsed all of the parts with any musicians who may play on the record and have experimented with and chosen the tempo that best suits the song.  There’s a lot to be said for spontaneity in the recording process, but this is not mutually exclusive from well-rehearsed.

Also, as much as I enjoy and value “sonic experimentation” and looking for cool new sounds – there’s a point at which it can become expensive for a client.

Q: What instruments are around that we can use?

A: The studio has tons of cool instruments!  All of our gear has been serviced, so it’s ready to go when you decide you’d like to use it.  Please see our equipment list to see a full list.

If you have special needs beyond what’s available, bring along your own instruments or let us know and we can investigate hiring something out for your use during your session.

Q: My record was tracked using Pro Tools and I see that’s not what you use to record. Is it still possible to work at your space with our pre-recorded songs?

A: Yes! The process to get your songs over into Logic is fairly straightforward and documentation can be provided to your previous session’s engineer or directly to the artist to assist in getting the tracks exported into files that will gracefully work within Logic Pro. The same is also true in reverse – if we track basics here and you wish to work elsewhere with these tracks, we can export your tracks into a format that will load up gracefully into any other system. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Q: My band wants to record a lot of our basics ourselves and the use your space for critical overdubs. Any advice for getting good sounding recordings before we get to you?

A: There are some good guidelines to adhere to:

  • The standard format for most sessions these days is 24-bit/44.1Khz. Recording at 24-bit is a BIG step up from 16-bit, so be sure that’s what you’re recording at before you begin your project.  (Note: it’s not uncommon to also see projects recorded at 24-bit/48Khz and even 96Khz.  We can work at any of these alternate sample rates).
  • Levels should not “peak” at all.  A sadly enduring myth of early digital audio is that you should record hotter to “use up” all of the bits, supposedly offering you better sound. However, the opposite is true with 24-bit recording. You want to leave  plenty of space (called “headroom”) for transients, such as the attack of a snare hit. This extra headroom offers space for processing after the fact, such as EQ and compression and the like.
  • Here’s an older, but very useful thread at TapeOp.com that offers a lot of info on this subject. It may take a few reads to “get it” but it’ll likely be the best free improvement you can make to the qualities of your home recordings and will offer significantly better quality for us to work with as we refine and mix your songs: http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopic.php?t=38430&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=gain+structure&&start=0

Q: How long will it take to mix my record?

A: There’s no simple way to answer this question.  How long it takes to mix any song is dependent on a number of factors such as:

  • Budget:  If you’ve got a small budget and lots of songs, we’ll only have so long to spend on each.  This can be a positive in that it has a way of helping everyone to focus and prioritize.
  • Number of tracks in each song:  In these days of digital recording, we’re both blessed and cursed.  Because of the seemingly endless numbers of takes one can record these days, artists often do just that: record everything.  When it then comes time to mix, it becomes my job to make sense of all of those tracks and that is inevitably a very time-consuming process.  You can do yourself, your wallet and your music a big favor by making some of these decisions beforehand and deciding what really belongs in the song.
  • Care taken during tracking and the exporting of tracks:  The less time I have to spend cleaning up audible edits and getting things ready to mix, the more time I can focus on the mixing.
  • Amount of people involved in the process:  This refers simply to the idea that there can, at times, be too many cooks in the kitchen.  This can create an expensive dish.