Services

Introduction

Getting involved in a project right upfront and seeing it through to completion is great. If you have a bunch of songs that you want to record I can put together a quote for the whole shebang and all you have to do is apply inspiration and talent. I'll take care of the technical bits all the way to a shiny CD ready for Duplication!

On the other hand you might just need help mixing a recording you have already done or want someone to record something so that you can mix it on your own system etc. I've listed below some of the individual parts of the processs. Feel free to discuss your needs with me and I am sure that I can put together a package that's right for you.

Remember I am very keen on doing the right thing for the job. Knowing what you want from a project is essential for deciding on the right approach i.e. making a demo for a pub covers band to get gigs on the local circuit would probably be approached in a different way to a solo acoustic artiste recording to sell to the public.

If there is something not listed it is still worth making an enquiry - I am always up for a new challenge;)

At the end of the day I want you to enjoy the experience of creation as much as my previous clients and I aim to delight you with the results. If I don't think that I can meet your needs or will be out of my depth with a particular request then I would be happy to help you find someone that can!
 

live and location Recording

My recording rig is fully portable and can be put to use almost anywhere. So far I have recorded in a guitar shop basement,  village halls, rehearsal studio's, a church hall and a combination of a living room and dining room!  So if you have a space or know of a suitable room that sounds good and is isolated enough from others not to cause a nuisance I can record there.

Armed with a  bunch of good quality isolated mic splitters I can now interface with the feed to a  Live PA for the recording of  gigs and festivals. For smaller venues I can provide microphones to pick up instruments that are not being reinforced by the PA.

I have up to Sixteen simultaneous inputs available and enough mics DI's etc to record a full band lineup. I use Cakewalk's Sonar Producer edition which does not limit the total track count so overdubs can be made as necessary to get he job done.

New to the recording armory is a professional quality palm sized digital recorder that can record two channels of high resolution audio and is capable of powering studio quality condenser mics. With this little beauty I can record live shows, classical concerts, plays, rehearsals etc discretely and with the minimum of fuss.

Editing and comping

Sonar has some very powerful editing tools so after the recording it is possible to tidy all sorts of things including clicks, pops, timing irregularities etc

Comping (or compositing to give it's full name) is normally carried out on the vocal line (or guitar solo). After a recording session the vocal line will probably consist of several takes and overdubs, comping refers to the process of taking the best bits of each take to make the full and polished vocal line. 

Mixing

The process of taking the raw recorded tracks, controlling the dynamic range and bandwidth of each instrument and balancing levels so that all the sounds have their place in the mix. Other creative effects and fader / pan moves can add  interest and impact to a tune.

The initial part of this process can be extremely dull and frustrating to most innocent bystanders and it doesn't really get interesting until the last few steps of adding the fader moves and psychedelic effects:) For this reason I prefer to work alone until I start getting the mix working (I know when I am there as I start to tap my feet, nod my head and start humming the tune whilst making tea!!) Then I will invite the rest of the band / band representatives to come along to make some artistic suggestions and decisions to push the track home.

As well as mixing tracks that I have recorded I am also able to take sessions that you have had recorded else where. The latest version of Sonar is more than capable of importing most audio formats. I will of course be happy to work with you to get your recorded tracks exported in the best way possible depending on the system that you are using.

To turn this scenario round I can also prepare and export tracks that I have recorded for you to mix down on the system of your choice.

Mastering

The last stage before your latest creation is turned into shiny discs! This is where the individual songs are put together and made to sound like they belong on the same album. Compromises are made to enable your CD to sound right on a vast array of systems and environments , the songs are 'topped' and 'tailed' with fades and a liberal amount of fairy dust is sprinkled to shine and polish your work.

Mastering is my favourite stage of the whole game though I would not ever dare to claim to be a full on Jedi Master at it and neither do I possess any esoteric gear costing more than my entire studio. Having said that I have managed to achieve some great results. I am more than happy to work on tracks that have been mixed elsewhere or indeed mixed by me (though see note below)

Note(read - my philosophy on mastering)
  • I do not subscribe to the loudness war when it comes to mastering. There is a finite amount of dynamic range(read life) available on a CD (though large compared to vinyl) and most producers these days seem to demand that mastering engineers squish the life and soul out of a recording in order to achieve the maximum average volume. All this so that the track will appear louder than all the rest of recorded history;( To me this has a detrimental effect and makes the CD fatiguing to the ear. I do believe in boosting the track to a  commercial level but there are limits and I prefer to let the track breathe rather than squeezing the last drop of life out of it. An interesting track will always be turned up by a listener and a harsh overly compressed track will always be turned down!
  • In principle I do  agree with the thought that it is better to have your work mastered by someone other than the person that mixed it and ideally in a different environment specifically set up for the mastering process. This is primarily to get a second set of (very experienced) ears on the project and a safety net to catch otherwise undetected anomalies. Back in the real world of project based audio and cash strapped budgets working with a professional mastering engineer can be prohibitively expensive.  At the end of the day who is best placed to understand your needs - the person that has been with you on the project from the word go or someone who has come in for a couple of hours to do the mastering? 

other

Jingles
voice overs
solo voice over backing tracks