I see myself as a facilitator who walks the artist through the production of his/her recording project step by step. Because I have learned the process of record-making by making hundreds of records, I can help avoid expensive mistakes and keep the project on track and on budget. I work best with artists or bands that have their songs written and well-rehearsed but are in need of support to get their music recorded or mixed professionally. I can also help with song selection and arrangements. I will only work with artists or bands whose music I understand and appreciate. If I can’t make a significant contribution to the project I will not take it on. If I do take on your project, you will have my undivided attention and over twenty years of record-making experience.
I’m highly experienced in both analog and digital recording and can comfortably move between the two in a project.
I have many contacts in the recording business and can arrange for affordable studio time in both large and small studios anywhere in the world.
I have access to hundreds of pieces of recording gear, microphones, and instruments both modern and vintage at modest rental rates.
I prefer to record bands live in the studio for feel but can also work one on one with an artist.
In most cases, I will provide an assistant engineer and/or digital editor for most projects.
Commercial Studio vs Project Studio / The Advantages
The decision to record and/or mix a project in a home-based (project studio) environment or in a more formal commercial setting needs to be explored before a project begins.
It is safe to say that most recordings made today by major label artists are recorded in some kind of combination of both studio environments. Each has its advantages and care should be taken in how time and money is spent on each. For a self-contained band that is well-rehearsed, a commercial studio is the best place to record because:
The size of the room can facilitate a live recording of acoustic drums, electric guitars, and vocals with good isolation.
The studio will have all the necessary equipment to produce a high-quality recording of more than one person at once. This includes microphones, outboard equipment, a recording console, multitrack recorders and a headphone system necessary for recording a group in one pass.
Some studios still offer analog recording.
Most commercial studios also have air conditioning, studio instruments including acoustic pianos and organs, equipment maintenance, more than one bathroom, kitchens, parking, runners to go out and fetch food, and in some cases equipment storage are available. Some studios have arrangements worked out for reasonably priced hotel rooms or onsite facilities.
Once the band’s recording is done (basics) the band can continue to work at the commercial studio or move the project to a smaller private studio for overdubs. Moving to a smaller private studio provides the following:
It’s much cheaper than a commercial studio.
Providing the private studio has a few good microphones, preamps, reasonably good digital converters, and a decent speaker system you can get the same quality recording as a commercial studio.
If the studio is in your home you can record when you are feeling it rather than when it’s your time to do your track. You also have the ability to redo your parts so that you are satisfied with the results.
The few thousand dollars you might spend at a commercial studio could go a long way toward equipping your own studio.
Commercial Studio vs Project Studio / The Disadvantages
Time = Money. If your band is not organized or the engineer is not professional it is a huge waste of money. Even a (B) level studio will cost around $500 per day without an engineer. A commercial studio recording can attract the band’s friends and become a huge distraction if a party ensues. Keeping a band focused is the job of a good engineer and/or producer. A second-rate engineer in a first-rate studio will produce a second-rate recording. I see this happen all the time. A band books a nice studio but doesn’t hire a qualified engineer and relies on the studio’s house (assistant) engineer who may be a nice guy but may only have a few years of experience. It is much better to hire a really good engineer and let him or her find a studio that they can work in and that you can afford.
Home (project) Studios
A home recording project has the ability to suck the life out of a song. Recording one track at a time and then redoing the tracks over and over, hoping for perfection often produces a soulless, self-indulgent product that people don’t respond well to. The absence of a producer and/or engineer in the room who is monitoring the performance can lead even the most seasoned recording artist into oblivion. The artist often deletes great performances because s/he loses all sense of objectivity. This is probably the biggest problem with the “I can record as much as I like as long as I like” studio setting. Also, in most of these cases there is no engineer present so the recording quality can suffer as a result. Before indulging in months of recording at home by yourself, hire an experienced engineer to help you set up your studio. S/he can show you how to best use the gear you have as well as suggest a few pieces that could make a huge difference in the quality of the recording. Look at it like this: would you hire a drummer to play an important gig who has never played a gig before? Of course not. The craft of great record-making is learned through years of experience and problem-solving.
The fee for engineering is based on many factors such as time, location, and what level of co-production is required. As a rule, I work ten-hour days, six days a week until the project is completed. I can typically provide you with a quote on my engineering fee after hearing any previously recorded material and answering some questions.
Every project is different and there is only so much I can write about. If you would like me to explore your project further, please email me your answers to the questions in the “Project Questionnaire” (below). This will give me a good understanding of what is required before we talk in person.
Is this project for a record label or self-financed?
What is the recording budget for the entire project including mastering, but not replication?
By what date does the master need to be delivered for replication?
How many songs will be recorded?
Will someone else be doing the mixing and mastering?
Is the project a self-contained band or a solo artist?
If it’s for a solo artist, do you have musicians in mind you will be working with?
Is there a producer?
Who is the primary songwriter?
What city would you like to do the recording and/or mixing in?
Do you have access to a studio or do you have your own?
How much recording experience does the band or artist have?
Do you need help with finding material to record?
Will you require any studio musicians for any part of the project?
When budgets are tight I can be hired on a per hour basis to consult on the engineering of a project rather than being there the entire time. That is, I can work with your engineer or one I provide to oversee the recording process. This could include some or all of the following:
Finding a suitable studio for the project within your budget;
Selecting microphones to use and positioning them (getting sounds on drums includes re-heading and tuning);
Making recommendations on outboard processing;
Assisting the engineer with problems that may come up;
Overseeing the mixing and mastering process;
Sourcing new equipment, rentals, or studio musicians;
Help solve problems with project studio acoustics and monitoring.