Advice / Info
Within the scope of being a "studio", there's a lot of different services that can be provided here:--Tips and suggestions for maximizing studio time--
* Remote recording-I've got portable analog and digital multitracks that I can bring to where you are, if it's a hassle to bring your band or project over here. For example, If it would cost you $1000 (in plane fare and not being at work) to come record for a weekend, not including the actual cost of being in here, it might cost a lot less for me to come to where you are. The tapes could even be brought back here for mixing. Or maybe your church group wants to record the choir some Sunday and put out an album, whatever it is I can give it a shot. Rates would depend on where exactly I'd be going and what the project would entail, but I enjoy traveling so it might not cost too much.
* Mixing-Aything you've recorded on your own or at another studio that you no longer have access to, could get mixed here. Some folks find it very helpful to have somebody else mix the stuff that's giving them headaches at home. You could bring your machine here, or we could rent one if it's not one I've got. One project that a guy had spent 2 months mixing at his house, he eventually brought it in and we got better mixes of everything in 2 days.
* Mastering-Mastering is the stuff that you do AFTER you've mixed all the songs, in order to make it flow together well as an album. Generally everything gets compressed a little to make it louder, EQ'd to even out any differences in frequency balance between individual songs, and the beginnings and ends of songs get trimmed. "Real" mastering engineers have very fancy equipment, very expensive speakers and acoustically perfect rooms. Usually they charge around $100-$150 an hour. I'm of the opinion that most of the stuff I record doesn't really need the fancy, expensive mastering, because I mix it the way it's supposed to sound. So, I do whatever's needed and it didn't cost some poor band $1000. I also do mastering for bands that didn't record their music here, and can charge either a flat $200 or the regular $20 an hour, whichever you'd prefer. Sometimes it only takes a couple of hours to master a CD, sometimes a couple of days are required.
Studio time costs money, that's a
given. Most folks have a limited budget when going to record. (If
you are one of the lucky ones who are loaded and unconcerned about
how much it costs you to make a record, by all means ignore the
following advice, and you're welcome here any time.) Perhaps this is
even the first time you've gone into some sort of studio. What
follows are answers to questions I get asked a lot by bands
recording here (generally questions that should have been asked much
sooner in the process) and different things you should know
so as to waste less time and make more music. This list will be
updated as needed.
||Well, this is not advice, this is photography. But be aware that you're welcome to use the organ, Fender Rhodes, or whatever you'd like while you're here--perhaps this will save you the trouble of bringing your own organ. Also, remember to ask me if there are any cool amps laying around; often folks like to leave their crap here for weeks on end, and there's kind of a rule that if you leave your stuff, it's liable to get used on somebody's session.
* First and foremost, the costs: I
charge $20 an hour. That's the same whether we're recording, mixing,
mastering, or whatever. Tape also costs money. The 16-track uses
1-inch tape, a reel of which is about 33 minutes long, and costs $80
to purchase. If you give me the money for tape in advance, I will
gladly go pick it up. Or, if you want to record demos or just get
your songs recorded to hear what they sound like, or if you're on a
tight budget, you can "rent" a reel of tape. How that works is you
pay $30, use a reel of tape I already have, and after we get done
the tape gets used for another project. The only real disadvantage
here is that you can't remix songs later down the road, but that's
not a concern for some folks, and you can save some money.
* Also, I generally ask that you give me a deposit when booking large chunks of time or weekends. $100 for a weekend, other than that it depends. Naturally, this amount is deducted from your tab when you get done. This isn't neccessarily a non-refundable deposit, even if you end up having to cancel it'll get applied to whenever you reschedule. It just works out better this way, as it tends to weed out people who aren't actually ready to commit themselves in a serious way, and leaves more time available for those who are.
* Usually the way the process goes here is; to start with, everybody (guitar, bass, drums) lays down the basic tracks live, in the same room, with headphones on. The amps are in another room. Then we do the vocals and whatever else you want to add as separate overdubs. Of course, if you want to do it a different way, it can be done.
I've had bands do everything, including the lead vocals, live, and
I've done bands where everything has been done separately. However
it works best for you is the way to go.
* Yes, we can work
out some sort of package deal, if you have a pretty good idea of
what you want to do and how much time it'll take. But in exchange
for the deal you have to pay in advance.
* Bring in a couple
of CDs that demonstrate the types of sound you hope to achieve for
the various instruments; the drum sounds of Jeff Griggs, the guitar
tones of Steve Vai, the smooth vocals of Je Suis France, whatever is
a good example of how you want your recording to sound. It's also
important to note that putting new heads on your drums will
drastically improve the sound. Even better if you can tune
* Following that train of thought, if you can afford it
get the intonation checked on your guitars/bass before coming in. It
helps. A lot.
* Don't show up really early. If we say we'll
start at 2 p.m., 1:55 is okay, but not 1 or 1:30. This is more for
your benefit than mine; I usually try to get here early but it never
seems to work, and I don't want you to have to wait around wondering
if you're even at the right place. If the drummer wants to get here
an hour early to get set up, tell me and we'll make it 1:00 instead