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Smokey Garage Studios

FAQ's

1. How much will it cost me to record 'X' number of songs?
The top of everyone's list.  The final cost of your project is determined by so many variables that its just impossible to guess ahead of time. Often I can give a pretty good estimate based on a few factors.  The most important ones are 1. how many instruments in the arrangement & 2.how well rehearsed are they?  Nothing will increase the cost of your recording session more than not knowing your tunes very well. Having to practice while you're here to remember the parts, or make arrangement changes is very time consuming. Making mistakes is of course normal and expected. Digital editing makes re-takes very quick and painless, but I cant help you make good use of your time if you dont know the songs.
TIP: Practice, practice, practice before you record!  Remember, every song may have several takes of several instruments. So just a 4 minute song can take one to several hours or even days to track depending on your circumstances and expectations.
2. Do you have Pro-Tools?
No, I dont. Protools although a great program is not the only digital recording and mixing medium that gives great results. There are several great programs on the market.  My current recording device, the iZ Technologies RADAR has very powerful editing tools and compares very favorably to ProTools. Punch-ins and outs are seemless. The converters are gorgeous and musical and many (including me) believe them to be the best sounding on todays recording playingfield. Splices / dices / moves / cuts / pastes / loops / volume curves / and time shifts (varispeed) are all available with simple keystrokes.
3. Can you create files compatible to download to ProTools for another engineer to work on?
Yes, the RADAR can download files in a ProTools format. We are capable of sharing the standard AIFF files via FTP. Both inports and exports. This makes remote recordings and editing available to anyone capable and interested.
4. Do you have any plug-ins?
No. Currently my entire set-up is outboard  : ) and proud of it.
5. Can you master the CD? 
Well, yes and no. I prefer to let the mastering guys do it. But, I can give you a CD that will play in your CD players and will sound great right from here. A true mastering by a mastering professional however can add extra sound quality.  I can order the songs anyway you'd like. I can scrub the beginnings and ends of the songs from stray noise, do fade in and fade outs, and give an overall volume that is quite acceptable and comparable to most mastering jobs.
6. What is tracking?
Tracking is the process of recording your sounds and putting them on "tape" (or hard disc).
7. What is mixing?
Mixing is the process of taking the individual tracks and putting them together to make the CD. It involves all the editing processes, adding effects such as reverbs, panning, EQ'ing, compressing, setting levels, etc.  All the tracks are mixed together to a 2-track "pre-master". This 2 track is your CD.
8. What is mastering?
Mastering is the process of taking the 2 track CD and in most basic of terms, making it louder while taking that headroom and fine tuning the EQ, the 3-D image and compression settings of the whole mix.  A trained mastering engineer will also make order of songs suggestions and work on making sure the levels of the songs , esp the vocals are fairly equal in comparison to each other.  There are lots of other things the mastering guys do, but thats the quick answer.
9. Can you record more than one instrument at a time?
Yes, I can currently track up to 24 seperate inputs at once. If your band is tight and wants to record while all playing live together, I can do that.
10. Can I put on other tracks, or do overdubs?
Of course. Overdub until your hearts content, or until the song sounds great. I have 24 track capabilities, and this is almost always sufficient for most people's needs.
11. Do you have an analog reel to reel tape recorder?  
No, not anymore. Sorry.   
12. I have 5 songs, and want to record them. They are 4 minutes each. Why wont it take just 20 minutes for you to record me?
Fair question. First, to get great sounding records, a lot of time can go into setting up the recording process. For example, trying out different microphones, different preamps, different microphone postitions can take some time and is a real important step in making sure the recording sounds like you want it.  Also, Its very rare that a person just plays straight through without extra takes.  There are always several starts and stops along the way.  How much time you're willing and able to spend on the recording process directly affects how its going to sound. Just putting up a mic and playing and being done in minutes will not likely give you the results you're after.  Based on your budget, I can certainly maximize the value-results you want.
13. Why Smokey Garage Studios and not another studio?
I can offer several advantages. First is cost. My prices are far below the average professional studios. Second is gear and experience. I have been playing music and recording for a long time. I can spend quality pesonal time with the musicians and work with you to optimize your recording and experience. I can offer arrangement ideas if you wish. I believe I have an excellent ear for timing and pitch and I am growing an ever more aged knowledge and experience regarding song structure and arrangements. ie, knowing what works and what takes should stay on tape.  Without stepping on toes, if you want or need me to, I'm confident in my skills to make the right suggestions in the right parts to take your project and turn it from 'hey thats a neat song', to 'wow that sounds pretty fantastic'. 
 The setting although rural, is built for an inspired musical experience. I am dedicated to quality, fun and results.
 
Please feel free to email if I havent answered your questions.
 
 

Smokey Garage Studios