Will My House Work OK For Recording?

I have recorded in a lot of different places, and have always been able to make it work. If your house is ok for rehearsals, it’s probably ok for recording. Of course, there are some problems that need to be dealt with: Do you have a dog that barks? A baby in the house that cries? Loud traffic outside? These issues can make some tracking difficult, particularly vocals. But if you have a closet, bedroom, or bathroom, we can work it out. It’s best to setup in the largest room available in most cases, but when I arrive, we can discuss the best setup.

What Kind Of Gear Do You Have?

All of my gear is portable, and modern. I personally think that gear lists are a bit silly, you’re not hiring the gear so much as you’re hiring my skills.

Do You Track The Band All At Once, or Individually?

We can work however you are most comfortable. For expediency, and to get the most “live” feel, we can track live, with no headphones. The instruments will be routed to individual tracks to allow for punch-ins and mix flexibility, of course. On the other hand, if you prefer to track one instrument at a time, that is always an option. Sometimes, better separation can be achieved this way. Ideally, though, I would record the drums, bass and guitars simultaneously, then go back and add vocals, and any other overdubs.

Will We Wear Headphones?

This is totally up to you. If we’re running the bass direct, headphones will probably be required (I have a headphone amp, and plenty of extension cables, splitters, headphones, etc.) On the other hand, if your bass player is using an amp, and everyone is comfortable tracking in one room, headphones may not be necessary. Skipping phones can make the session go a lot faster, and I think it helps preserve the natural feel of the performance (you don’t wear phones on stage, or at rehearsal, do you?)

How Much Is This Going To Cost?

How much you spend will depend largely on the scope of your project, and your readiness to record. Doing two songs, which are well-rehearsed and ready to go may take only an afternoon. Recording an entire album with lots of overdubs and effects may take several days. Other considerations include whether you’ll be taking the project to a mastering engineer, and how many copies you plan to manufacture. You can see my current pricing and request a recording quote here.

Do You Do Mastering?

I don’t offer mastering services, as I define “mastering”. I recommend that you go to Sweet Spot Productions, or another mastering facility. Some guy with Pro Tools and some Waves Plug-ins is not a mastering facility. Having said that, I can make the recordings suitably loud on CD, so that they don’t stand out as overly quiet when played next to your other commercial CDs. And if budget is a big concern, I can do a quickie eq and leveling, to make your CD more “finished.” However, I don’t claim to compete with a facility like SAE, with their high-end gear, well-tuned room, and years of experience.

How and When Should I Pay?

I accept payment via Paypal (Visa, Mastercard, etc), check, or cash. You can pay me at the end of each day of recording, or at the end of a project, if the recording and mixing happen on sequential days. I don’t keep accounts open, and I don’t send out bills, so please be prepared to pay for your services on the day of your session.

Will You Keep Our Master Tracks on File?

I keep every project on the Hard Drive it was recorded to, and also backup the files to DVD. This DVD will be kept off-site, to insure that it will survive even if some catastrophe should befall the hard drive. Of course, recording programs evolve, as do storage mediums. I will always do my best to keep your project backwards compatible. If you need to move to another platform (Pro Tools, for example), we can flatten the tracks to a universal format like .WAV files. It’s important to keep this information safe, one day your daughter may want to sing a duet with you, (ala Natalie Cole)!

How Long Did It Take To Learn All This Stuff?

I am always learning new things, of course, but I’ve been doing recording in one form or another since I was about 14 (1985). Of course, those first recordings were on a reel to reel TEAC machine! I studied recording a bit in college, and have engineered or assisted on many sessions over the years. Nothing teaches like experience, and the more I do this, the more I learn. So, I suppose the answer to that question is “My whole life.” My advice to anyone wanting to get into recording is simple: Buy yourself some gear and get started. Study, read, observe, listen. I don’t have a position on recording schools like The Conservatory, but I never attended one. I tend to think that you’re better off spending that tuition money on gear and sessions, but everyone makes their own choices in that regard.