General questions

I have never done this before. How do I prepare?

Most people are a little nervous for their first recording session but there is nothing to worry about. Remember that you can always do it again (it's known as a re-take). Even if you are a bit nervous at first you will soon start to relax and maybe even enjoy yourself.

Talk with us on the phone rather than by multiple emails as it's much quicker and easier. We can give you a good idea about how you should prepare for your own particular needs and at the same time we can ask about the purpose of your recording and help to make sure you get the best from it.

Don't plan everything at the last minute. Make sure you have the recording room/venue booked for longer than you think you will need, even if it is an extra expense, most recording sessions take much longer than people imagine. On the day of recording make sure you are fully prepared and well rehearsed, we will guide you through the process as we go, leaving you free to concentrate on your performance.

What does recording involve?

We will arrive on the day in time to set up the microphones and connect them to the mixing desk and other equipment. We will then do some tests while you warm up so that we can get the best sound from the instruments. We may ask you to play certain parts of your performance so that we can get the best recording level and microphone placement. When everybody is ready, we will start recording your music. You can re-take as much as you like until you are happy with your performance.

Why can't I have the recording immediately?

As we record, each track is taken into a computer and is not in a format which can be played outside it. We have to work on the files in order to make the final product playable on whichever medium is required. This has to be done in the studio where we can monitor the sound properly and adjust the mix and add effects if neccessary (see technical questions).
Technical questions

Do I need effects and if so, what should I have?

Any effects you have will depend on the purpose of your recording. If you want to capture the natural sound of your playing you may not need any but if you want to sound as if you are in a hall then the illusion can be created realistically for you.

You have a choice of many effects. The most popular is Reverberation, the sound reflections you get when playing in a hall or auditorium. Reverberation can enhance the listening experience by artificially placing the artist in a hall or church, on stage or in a club. The effect can also be used when immitating the sound of old records for jazz etc. (plate reverb, a kind used in vintage studios).

Many other effects are available but of course they don't have to be used. The more effects you have, the more the sound can become unrealistic. This could be beneficial for artistic purposes. We can discuss the use (or not) of effects for your own particular requirements.

I've heard about compression.
What is it and do I need it?

A compressor is a studio device which squashes the sound to reduce its dynamic range. This effect can be good or bad for your recording depending on what you want to achieve. Leave it to us if you don't know.

Rock music is loud and often benefits from compression during recording as this makes it seem loud even at low volume. Listeners find this beneficial as the compressor imitates the action of the human ear when confronted with high levels of sound. An uncompressed rock recording can sound thin and weak.

Classical music is more likely not to be (so) compressed as the music usually has a much higher dynamic range. Listeners often set a volume control higher so that the loud passages are actually loud but the quiet passages can still be heard in detail. An over compressed classical recording can lack dynamic range.

Most commercial recordings are compressed to some extent although if it's done well you won't notice. It's not even something to worry about unless you have a particular requirement because it will usually be applied if required. A compressed recording will seem louder while an uncompressed recording will usually be low in overall volume but accurate in dynamic range.

Do you need it?.. Don't even worry unless you know you must not have it for reasons such as an exam or competition entry.

What is mastering?

Mastering is a process which adds a final balance and finish to a recording. A well mastered recording will sound much better and be more predictable in behaviour when played on a mutltude of players.

Commercial CDs contain information such as song titles, extra features and ISRC codes for royalties etc, and this is all now part of the process. There are different standards of mastering available from the cheap and automated (usually geared for gaining maximum level at any cost) to high end professional mastering studios where the standards and costs involved are well above the requirements of most people.

I'm happy to discuss your needs and help you to make a decision.

Deep fuschia Ltd. is a company registered in England and Wales, number 06557815
Registered address: Springvale, Police Station Square, Mildenhall, Suffolk IP28 7ER