- How long does it take to record?
- Why should I go to a professional studio when I can record at home?
- Do you charge for setup time?
- Do you provide songs for me to sing over?
- How long is a day in the studio, and what time will my session start?
- I had a bad experience at another studio – I spent a lot of money and the mix doesn't sound good. How do I know I will have a good experience at More Sound?
- Can you accept ProTools sessions?
- Can we stay and sleep at the studio for free?
- Can we use the studio gear and instruments for free?
- Are there any additional charges or fees?
- Do you accept credit cards?
- How safe is my recording and data at the studio?
- What do I need to bring to my session?
- Can you give me multi-track stems for me to take home/another studio?
- What is mixing? What is mastering?
How long does it take to record?
This is the most commonly asked question we get. There are many factors that need to be looked at to answer this one accurately. Please consider all of these and give us as much information as possible when asking for a estimate.
What style of music do you play?
Some styles of music sound best with a simple, straightforward sound. (blues, classic rock, jazz, classical, punk/hardcore, folk, etc). Other styles only come alive when the production is diverse and complex (pop, modern rock, singer/songwriter, electronic, metal). The more production needed, the more time it will take.
How many songs do you plan on recording, and how long are the songs?
An album is a huge artistic untertaking. Not only do all of the songs have to stand on their own and sound great, but they all have to relate to one another and flow well. Producing just a few songs (for a demo or EP, usually) takes away the pressure to create a unified theme for many diverse songs. Song length matters because we'll be listening to each song dozens of times as we record, edit, and mix.
Which one of these two approaches is the best description of your project?
1) "Live" sound, where the recording sounds similar to your band in a live setting. This sound is much faster to produce, because typically projects following this philosophy begin with the band recording together, just like at rehearsal. Overdubs, if needed, are minimal – sometimes tracking vocals later, or perhaps overdubbing a solo. Mixing is straight forward, because the task for the engineer is only to capture the true sound of the band with the best possible clarity and impact. The downside to this approach is that any lack of tightness from any of the musicians won't be covered up- it will be true to the source.
2) "Produced" sound, where we may create more layers, harmonies, etc than would be possible in a live situation. With this approach, we set out to create a custom, unique sonic universe. It requires more work, because the options are only limited by the imagination. The focus is not about the honest presentation of the source, it is only about the effect on the listener – even if those sounds aren't able to be replicated live. A goal in the extreme implementation of this approach is to have every single note played accounted for and providing some specific artistic purpose. It's not uncommon to spend several days working on one single song to get everything perfect. It's also not uncommon to hire various "session" musicians to write and record new parts for the song.
How many people are in your band?
For each additional musician, you add more setup time and consideration for their specific needs. When we are mixing, more people involved equals more opinions on the volume levels and sound of each instrument (and don't underestimate the time needed to discuss and try various sounds in order to make everyone happy).
How close are you in real life to sounding the way you envision yourself sounding on the recording?
This is one of those questions that's difficult to be objective with. We can help you, through coaching, editing, pitch-correction, and hard work, achieve any sound you desire. If you can't play that guitar solo you want in one take, it won't magically appear on the recording unless we spend time to bring it to life. The same is true with any instrument or voice.
Do you have a lot of post-production ideas?
Special FX, interludes, transitions between songs, and mixing "tricks" tend to take up a bunch of time in the studio, because we are essentially creating these things from scratch, customized specifically to the song.
Why should I go to a professional studio when I can record at home?
There are pros and cons to both home recording and pro studio recording. For recordings that really matter, we believe there are far more advantages to recording in a professional environment.
In a pro studio, the acoustics are designed for great sound. The microphones, preamps, and A/D converters are very high quality and therefore do not cause the thin, harsh sound that happens with "semi-pro" gear. The monitor speakers and comfy headphones allow you to hear easily without strain. The engineers at a professional studio have worked with a great deal of equipment, and can troubleshoot and fix problems quickly. They are well versed in working with many different types of people and are capable of fostering positive, clear communication. Recording in a professional studio means that the artist can truly be the artist and focus on creating something special, while the studio staff smoothly accounts for the hundreds of small details that accompany any project.
We have heard so many people complain that their budget home recording setup isn't delivering on it's promises for "professional" sound. They feel ripped off once they outgrow their gear and discover the quality problems. They end up buying way more gear than they need in an effort to try and achieve the quality they want. After spending lots of time and money, they end spending money on a professional studio anyhow. If the project is something special that you'll be listening to for years to come, you want to make sure it's done right the first time.
Do you charge for setup time?
It's not an extra charge (it happens within the regular day rate) but, yes, we do, because setup is part of the art of recording. Every setup that we do is customized, which is a very special and valuable part of More Sound. We take into account the conversations with the artist and choose microphones and placement that will get them the sound they want. Spending some time making sure the headphone mixes sound inspiring and working with the instruments to make sure they are all in tune is important for a quality recording, and shouldn't be rushed.
Do you provide songs for me to sing over?
No, we don't. Our gear and philosophy is focused on helping artists create original music.
How long is a day in the studio, and what time will my session start
It ends up being 8-10 hours depending on breaks taken. Typically, sessions begin in the early afternoon, but each engineer has their own preference. Once you decide on an engineer for your session, talk to them about it and decide what will work best for everyone.
I had a bad experience at another studio – I spent a lot of money and the mix doesn't sound good. How do I know I will have a good experience at More Sound?
Please click on the "Staff" page and look at our client list. Listen to some of the work we've done. Then, ask around – More Sound is well known for taking care of our clients. You will receive personal attention and will not bepushed through a "machine" where one-size-fits-all. It is the policy of all engineers at the studio that we offer one free pass of mix revisions (once a mix is finished) to make sure that the client has the last word on their mix.
Can you accept ProTools sessions?
Yes, but we do not use ProTools at this studio. (We use a much more flexible program called Samplitude). It can be time-consuming to import ProTools sessions into our system, so it may be in your best interest to have the tracking studio convert the session to multi-track WAV files. Every WAV file should start at "zero" on the timeline so that we can pop all of the tracks in and they will line up perfectly. This is the standard procedure for translating between the various audio software programs available today. If this is confusing, just shoot us an email and we'll walk you through it.
Can we stay and sleep at the studio for free?
Yes! This is such a great value for out of town bands. It would be our pleasure to host you. It's a comfy spot.
Can we use the studio gear and instruments for free?
Sure! Take a look at our gear list to see what we have available. The only consideration is that you may want to get the piano tuned, a cost we are willing to split with you. We know some great piano tuners who charge $100.
Are there any additional charges or fees?
No – we don't believe in "nickel and diming". There is no charge for CDs or DVDs. You may want to consider that hiring musicians to come in and perform on your recording may cost you something, but that's between you and them. If you prefer to keep a copy of your own data, you'll have to provide an external hard drive.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, but we use PayPal, and they charge a 2.9% fee, which will be added to your invoice.
How safe is my recording and data at the studio?
Every night after the session we back up the data to an external hard drive. Your project lives in two physically separated hard drives up until it's 100% completed, and then gets moved onto an external hard drive. At that point, it only exists in one place, so you may bring an external hard drive to the studio and we will make a copy for you.
What do I need to bring to my session?
Each session is different, so you should ask your engineer what they recommend in your circumstance. We have a bunch of great instruments you may use, but we strongly recommend that our clients bring in their own instruments so that we have the most flexibility.
Can you give me multi-track stems for me to take home/another studio?
Yes- no problem! It's helpful to know ahead of time that we'll be doing this because it will make the process a bit more efficient. Try to find out what software we'll need to translate to. Keep in mind that creating the stems will take a bit of time which you'll need to book.
What is mixing? What is mastering?
Mixing is where we take all of the audio tracks (instruments) and mold them together. We will change the equalization of each instrument, add effects (like reverb or delay), and make the song "gel" together in a pleasing way. A good mix is one where it's easy to hear all of the important instruments, there is good balance between lows, mids, and highs, and the song's emotion is effortlessly communicated.
Mastering occurs after the mix is done. In the mastering process, our goal is to make the mix sound clear, smooth, punchy, and loud on a variety of playback systems, from laptop speakers to a big concert PA. Mastering is a more subtle process than mixing and is much faster to accomplish. Despite this, a good mastering job can dramatically bring out what is good about a mix while simultaneously downplaying its faults.