What do I bring?
My session is coming up, what should I do to prepare?
I've never recorded to tape before, how is this different from digital?
Do I have to buy tape for the session?
What can I expect from my mixing session?
What forms of payment do you accept and when do I pay you?
This hard to answer and depends on many things.
The length of your session will depend on how many songs you wish to record, but also on your playing ability and standards. It’s not that you need to be a virtuoso on your instrument in order to have things go quickly, but only that you like the way that you sound.
The key here is to not have unrealistic expectations. If you want to sound differently than you are capable of playing, you may end up wasting time trying to get it that way, only to realize in the end that you just can’t do it. This can eat up a lot of time. It is best to get your performances up to the standards that you want them BEFORE you get to the studio. Generally, I can get you set up and ready to record fairly quickly, so the performance aspect is what will dictate how long your session goes. In other words, it’s all on you.
Some people don’t think about the amount of set up time involved. Microphones have to be set up, drums tuned, recording levels optimized, headphone mixes set, etc. You may want to audition different snare drums, or guitars and amps before you begin. You may also want to take breaks, or eat something. Also, if you want to listen back to each take, that takes time too. Don’t forget the whole thing has to be mixed when we’re done tracking, and then you’ll want it dumped to digital afterwards, which happens in real time.
You may bring all the instruments that you normally play your songs with. If you aren’t happy with your own gear, or just plain don’t feel like bringing it, take a look at my gear page and see if I have what you need here. I have enough stuff here so that you could walk in with almost nothing of your own and make a record. I find that most guitarists prefer to use their own gear, and most drummers prefer to use my drums. If you don’t like your drums, don’t bring them. Do, however, bring your own cymbals and sticks, and kick pedal. Some drummers bring their own stands too. If you like your drums, bring them.
Well, first off: practice, practice practice. Get your songs tight and work out any kinks. Stay in shape and don’t go partying the night before. Don’t change any regular habits, for instance, don’t decide to quit coffee (or any habit) the day before your recording session. Also do not decide to START a new habit the day before your session. Just keep doing your thing and feeling normal, whatever that means to you.
For vocalists, especially screamers, I don’t recommend practicing so much that your voice is strained or simply not working. Some people have good luck practicing a lot leading up to their recording date, but then taking a day or two off before their vocal session.
It is a good idea for you to send me links to records you like for a reference. If you like a particular drum sound or guitar sound from a recording, share it with me so I know exactly what you are going for.
In many ways, it is not that different. Tape is a storage medium, just like digital is. The main difference is the editing capabilities and the amount of storage available. The kinds of hard editing I can do are: punch-ins, bouncing tracks, and tape edits. These are all similar to what you would do in a DAW, but the difference is that they are “destructive” edits, meaning that once you commit to it, there is no way to retrieve what was recorded over. This tends to streamline things a bit, as we decide right then and there if a take was acceptable or not.
No, you do not. I have plenty of tape here that can be used and reused at no cost to you. Most bands that come through here do not care about owning and saving their tapes, however, if you want to own the tapes, you may buy them and you’ll have them forever. Some people buy just their 2-track mixdown tapes and send them out to get mastered straight off the tape. I mix down to ¼" and ½" formats and you can choose either one. Current prices are about $68 for a reel of ¼" and $94 for ½". You get either about 16 minutes or 32 minutes per reel, depending on what speed we mix to, so plan accordingly.
I feel it is best not to mix directly after tracking. I suggest that a rough mix be made right after the tracking session is completed so that that the band members may take it home, listen to it on their own time and make notes of anything they want to achieve for the final mix, such as “punchier kick drum in song #2”, or “make the guitars brighter/darker”. You may even find you’d like to re-track a vocal, or add a tambourine or something. This window of time before your mixing session is an opportunity to catch things you might not have noticed on your last day of tracking. Hopefully all is well and all that needs to be done is some blending and polishing.
I charge my usual hourly rate or daily studio rate for mixing and I prefer attended mixing sessions so that the band can be on hand to quickly give input and approve the mixes. This could be the whole band, or one or two members who can act as spokesperson for the band. Some bands are very “hands-on” and give me lots of direction, while others hang out in the other room and wait for me to present them with my work. Either way works fine and I will not print a mix until it is approved by the band.
Cash is always good, but I also accept PayPal. If you have booked multiple days in a row, payment is due at the end of the last day. If your time is scheduled in non-consecutive days, payment is due at the end of each day. Your mixes will not be released until your balance is payed in full.