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My first time in a recording studio

Discussion in 'Recording' started by chris, Sep 6, 2000.

  1. chris

    chris Resource Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2000
    Location:
    Seattle
    My first time in a studio, perfect title.

    So how do I know if the studio is going to do a good job? Never been in one but I'm going to do my first CD.


    sue
     
  2. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Sue, an important part of making sure the studio is going to do a good job is to take the time to do a bit of research.

    Ask the studio for some client references and follow up on those. You'll learn a lot talking to other musicians who've worked there. Find out what they liked and didn't like about their experience there.

    Also, ask the studio to provide you with samples of work they've done, preferably including some material that is similar in style to your music. Take it and listen to it with other musicians who's opinions you trust and respect. Get their objective feedback.

    Remember, it's an interview. You're the one in control. Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions when they come up.

    If you do even that much you should have a good sense of whether this studio is a place you'd like to work. A reputable studio is going to be proud to show you their work and let you talk to previous clients. That's what their reputation is built on. Their response to your requests will tell you a lot. If you're not satisfied with how things go during this part of the process, chances are you won't be happy spending your money there either.

    Good luck! And have fun.




    ------------------
    Jeffrey Neal Majeau
    Audio Designer/Recording Engineer
    Wave, Inc.
    11 California Avenue
    Framingham, MA 01701
    Phone: (508) 626-9900
    FAX: (508) 628-3698
    Email: jeff@wave-inc.com
    http://www.wave-inc.com
     
  3. chris

    chris Resource Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2000
    Location:
    Seattle
    thanks Jeffrey, I've heard good things about this studio, I know they use Pro Tools. Why is Pro Tools a good tool? Does it sound better than most things?

    sue
     
  4. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Sue,

    That's quite a can of worms you just asked to open up. Quality of sound is the topic of many heated debates in the audio community since the advent of digital recording. To understand the whole issue, a lengthy background in recording is neccesary.

    But don't fear, there is an easy way to navigate thru this quagmire... just concentrate on listening to the work of engineers and studios. The people doing the job are much more important to your sound than knowing whether you're recorded on system xyz. Once you pick out an engineer you prefer, let them tell you what their favourite studios and recording systems are, so they can get the best results they are capable of.

    If you'd rather do things the hard way, I'll look up a few recording FAQ's, newsgroups, and books for you, so you can educate yourself about the history of recording.

    BTW, I use ProTools over analog because there are things you just can't do in analog. And I use PT over other DAW's because it's popularity has established it as a de-facto industry standard. Some systems may or may not sound better, but I can always call a rental company at 3 am and get a PT rig delivered.


    Cheers,


    ------------------
    --------------
    Angelo Quaglia
    AQ Productions
     
  5. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2000
    Sue,
    I also use ProTools, and love it. It's a great tool, and I believe an industry standard. But, as AQ pointed out, get samples of their work, and see if you and your music associates like his results.
    The recording system is just a tool. Just because a guy has the best hammer doesn't automatically mean that he's the best carpenter...dig it? Find out if your prospective producers are building mansions or just nailing sheds together.
    Your hard earned bucks, and possibly your musical future, could be wasted if you choose a lousy producer.
     
  6. [Benjamin]

    [Benjamin] Guest

    The most important question (once you are satisfied they know their job well enough to realize your recordings) is:

    -Will you trust them? -If you're hoping for a good production, you are going to have to trust them with your music. As a performer in the studio, you need to direct your attention to Your job at hand, not theirs. You need to be able to come and go, so that you will be fresh enough to do your very best, both physically and mentally.
     
  7. I would like to say that all the suggestions you are getting are right on the mark, but are you ready!? A lot of the time what I see in my studio from the "first timers"... they are not prepared. I have a "Studio Tips" page on my web site that covers some very basic ideas about what to do and what not to do. This will add to the ka-zillion other things you need to know. Also check out the "It's Your Money" on the rates page. It's all about studio recordings and sound quality. These are the things that I think you should know about chosing a studio.
    http://www.oldhousestudio.com

    Hope it helps and good luck,
    David
     
  8. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Dave,

    That's a cool thing you put together. Nice site

    Unfortunately, for most bands advice is in-one-ear-out-the-other. The only way for them to realize what they need to do to prepare for going into a studio is to just do it. They'll waste a lot of time, spend a lot of money, learn how to not make a record very fast, and either put that knowledge in the chamber for the next round or get discouraged and quit.

    Happens all the time. I haven't found a way round it yet. I've been doing this for a while, and I've never met a band who were ready the first time they stepped foot in a studio, no matter how much pre-explaining you do. I try to help most of the newbies I work with be ready by the second time.

    Here's a cure for the "It's our first time in the studio dance party":

    1. Check the time and write it down.
    2. Whip out a calculator, and find the cost of studio time per SECOND.
    3. Show the client. Explain any questions the client has.
    4. Write down the time, subtract from the first time, and multiply that by the per second rate.
    5. Show that to the client, and explain how that's how much it just cost them for you to show them how much the studio is costing them.

    This usually stops them from giggling like school girls, and they are ready to really listen to any advice you have on how to prepare for the next time.



    ------------------
    --------------
    Angelo Quaglia
    AQ Productions
     
  9. Thanks Angelo for bringing me back to reality! I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with these brainstorms, get on my soap box and write this kinda stuff.

    David
     
  10. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2000
    Hey there Sue,

    As others have already pointed out, ProTools is simply that, a tool. It is capable of sounding as good or as bad as most anything out there, and it really depends on the skill of the engineer and the talent of the artist. The quality of the studio's recording space, microphones, mic preamps, console, and your instruments are perhaps more significant factors in determining the quality of the recording.

    That being said, ProTools is a very capable recording environment and you can certainly make a professional quality recording with it. I chose ProTools as the system to build our audio room around, and use it every day to mix television, film and video projects. I can tell you that I'm very happy with the sound quality and the performance of the system.

    Why is it a good tool? Well, being hard-disk based, it allows you to readily edit your tracks once you've finished recording them. You can cut and paste musical elements just as you would words in a word processing program. This makes it easy, for example, to audition various vocal takes and quickly assemble a final vocal track from the best pieces of each. Or take that guitar part you nailed on the second verse and copy it to each of the other verses.

    When it's time to mix, ProTools allows you to automate all of your volume fader moves, pan settings, EQ, etc. The automation gets saved with the session. This makes it easy to try several different mixes of the same song and then decide which one you like best. It also means that, when you come back to the studio two days later to continue mixing, the computer will recall all of your settings to exactly where they were the last time. A huge time saver.

    All of this means that it's quicker and easier to experiment and be creative while still staying on time and on budget. But David's advice is probably the most valuable in terms of keeping you on budget...go in prepared. Have the material and your performance down cold. Know what the arrangements are, know what the instrumentation is going to be. Try to have a vision of the final product in your head before you step foot in the studio. There isn't any recording technology out there that will make up for lack of preparation. Don't spend your money rehearsing.

    ------------------
    Jeffrey Neal Majeau
    Audio Designer/Recording Engineer
    Wave, Inc.
    11 California Avenue
    Framingham, MA 01701
    Phone: (508) 626-9900
    FAX: (508) 628-3698
    Email: jeff@wave-inc.com
    http://www.wave-inc.com
     
  11. chris

    chris Resource Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2000
    Location:
    Seattle
    Thank you everybody!! I never expected such a responce. I would like to ask more things when I think of them.


    ------------------
    regards,
    sueform
     

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