The Studio Session
For a band with drums the first couple of hours will be setting up and getting things to sound right at source. We wouldn’t be attempting to record anything until the drums, guitars, amps were all in tune and sounding great. The biggest challenge is alwayss the drums. In a live situation you never notice the odd rattle and the fact that when you hit one of the toms the snare rattles like a can of marbles. As soon as you put mics on a drum kit they will pick up things that you didn’t even know existed. Now we can to some extent sort this out in the mixing by using things called “gates”, but the best option is always to fix the problem at source. So, and this goes to all of you not just the drummer, the day before your studio sessions check all your gear out. New strings on guitars (which might be better fitted a few days before the session) drums tuned and checked for rattles, leads and straps in good order (we do have a few spares) and most of all, make sure you know your parts. I don’t mind you paying me to hang around drinking tea whilst you learn your parts, but it’s an expensive way to do things. There will be some things that you want to try out that are different but come well prepared knowing all the basics.
As for the vocalists, don’t give in to the urge to eat a dozen packets of throat lozenges the day before thinking it will do you good. If it isn’t broke don’t try and fix it. Just don’t have a red hot curry the night before, and if you have a favourite type of bottled water bring some with you. Not that our tap water is bad or anything but I know how temperamental you wanna be pop stars can be!!
If you are just a vocalist wanting to lay some tacks down to some pre-recorded backing tracks then we are normally up and running within a few minutes of you walking through the door. Let us know a couple of days before what backing tracks you need so we can get them ready, all we do then is a few quick checks on different mics, pre amps and compressors to see which is best for your voice and away we go.
Voice Overs and Narrators for Audio Books
You probably think that recording spoken word would be much simpler than anything mentioned above, just plug in a microphone and hit the record button and away we go. Many of our clients have tried this themselves with a laptop, a usb microphone and some free recording software. Its surprising how sometimes the simple things in life turn out to be far from it.
Recording in an acoustically treated soundproof environment with good quality microphones, pre-amplifiers and editing software is required to achieve the standards for uploading audio books and for ensuring that the finished book is easy to listen to.
Once the actual recording is completed (on average it takes around two hours to record what will be one hour of finished audio) the hard work really starts. Typically one hour of finished recording time takes around four to five hours of editing time. The recorded audio is edited to remove any unwanted mouth noises, lip sounds, breaths, coughs, sneezes etc and the length of the gaps between sentences and paragraphs are adjusted for consistency. The audio is then processed to ensure a consistent level throughout, that the overall tone isn’t too boomy or toppy, that it is easy to listen to, is clear and that it meets the stringent requirements of the audio book publishing companies. The finished audio will be clear and consistent with no distracting sounds or background noises.
During the recording process we also monitor the narration by having a copy of the text so that we can pick up on any words missed out, incorrectly pronounced, muffled, lines missed out and so on. Although you will only record your book once, the hope is that many thousands of people will listen to it so it has to be of good quality. And by ensuring it is of the highest quality listeners will not hesitate when purchasing your next audio book.
Having said all the above, relax and enjoy it. Let us have all the worries and pressures. A studio is a place where you can play your music, be artistic, narrate your book and take as long as is needed.