Independent Records
Independent Records
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Independent Records

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Recording? Read This First (Part 2)

If you just want to do a demo, most of the rules from above still apply. Here at Glass House, we can best help you figure out the way to go if you have a rough dollar amount in mind. That way we can decide the way to get the best tape for whatever money you have. Live cutting is still an option, but most times our clients are happier if they do at least a bit of over-dubbing. Also bear in mind that at the studios where the engineer has a reputation to uphold, he may not want to do a super low-budget project that he doesn't think will reflect well on his hard-earned image. Your best bet, again, is to talk to the studio personnel and give them as many details as possible about what you are trying to accomplish with your recording. They do this everyday and probably can help.

A few tips to save you money. Drums........they are the biggest expense when it comes to operating a studio or recording in one. The setup (EQ, mic placement,levels, etc.) can take up a lot of time. To save yourself in this area, make sure the drummer's kit is in top shape before your session. No rings, squeaky pedals, etc., and if possible, put new heads on. Make sure the drummer really does know how to tune, and listen to the engineer's advice on this one. The other instruments are easier to setup, usually. Again, talk to the engineer and tell him the sound you are looking for. If you have a CD or tape that has this sound, by all means, bring it along for him to hear. Be open to suggestion if you are new to the studio, and don't think you have to try a certain complex recording technique just because you read in Guitar Player that Smashing Pumpkins used it. Each song is unique and must be recorded in a fitting way. It's impossible to tell beforehand unless you're an experienced engineer yourself, in which case you don't need to read this article. Other obvious advice is to have your music tight, down like the back of your hand. Each take means more money out of your pocket. And just as a suggestion, we usually have the best results when the recording and mixing are done on different days, or at least with a break in between. Ear fatigue is a taboo subject in the music biz, but it absolutely is a factor for everyone involved. Consider doing a "rough" mix the day of recording, then listen for a week or so, til you know exactly what needs to be done in the final mix. I know it's hard to wait, but you'll be glad you did. Almost always people want to make changes afterward, and you just don't hear it the first day. So save yourself some money by waiting and coming into the mix session fresh and knowing exactly what you want, which you figured out by listening to the rough mix all week.

How much time do you need? Another tough question. Talk to your studio people, make a rough estimate, then double it. Sorry to say so, but it always takes longer than you planned or wished. Remember that you have to live with this for a long time. If you are just looking for a demo for clubs, or you are a songwriter trying to get publishing, you might get away with an 8 track, or even 4 track studio. The bigger jobs really require 16 or 24 tracks. So pick your studio accordingly. Also, notice that there are a ton of good digital 24 track studios these days, using ADAT or other digital recorders, who are very reasonable. The older analog 24 tracks on 2" tape are A LOT more expensive. And the digital stuff sounds great. It doesn't please everyone, though. Digital is right in your face, while analog is smoother. But you can get some awesome stuff at these smaller, less expensive digital studios. Ask to hear the engineer's work and make your decision based on that and cost, NOT on who has recorded there previously.

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