We've grown again
While our sound room gave us some great recordings, it was beginning to feel a little cramped. At the beginning of 2008, we moved to a larger space. It's about five times larger than our old room and can accomodate a band and drum kit.
Instead of doing live recording of a complete band, much of our work consists of creating songs a few tracks at a time. Many additional instruments can be added from the many samples available in our library..
We Saved Money and So Should You
We saved a lot of money building the studio into our home. The overhead is included in our house payment. With the money saved, we carefully chose the equipment for our studio. The philosophy was, "What will give us the biggest bang for our buck without skimping on quality?"
As an example, we could have put money into outboard gear such as compressors. If you want to compress multiple tracks, you need multiple compressors. However, if you buy a software compressor, you can run it on any number of tracks. You also save money because you don't need the big mixing boards needed to tie everything together. It's all done inside the computer.
Of course, 64-track mixers and tons of outboard gear are really impressive. But when you are the ugliest studio in Utah, it fails to impress clients like a fancy studio would. We don't have to charge big bucks to pay for it, either. Our clients are more interested in the sound than the looks.
I really hate equipment lists. It reminds me of an engineer with the huge mixing board and tons of outboard gear. It helped book the clients. But after they would leave the studio, he would mix the tracks on a PC because it was a faster.
For those of you who just have to ask what I use:
|The wood-burning stove isn't really part of the recording equipment but it sure makes the studio cozy on a cold, winter day.
- Sonar 8 Producer edition — It streamlines the work flow and does so many amazing things it's hard to learn them all. It will even make the vocalist hit the right note and have the drummer stay on beat. It also edits surround sound.
- Sound Forge 9 — The perfect tool for cleaning up and modifying individual tracks. It can be used from inside Sonar. I also use it for recording narration. It simplifies removing lip smacks, tongue pops and other strange noises.
- Project 5 v.2 — If you need a song put together fast, this one can do it. It has so many rhythms and loops it's hard to decide on what to use.
- Acid Pro 4 — Great for using loops but I don't use it like I used to. Sonar does the same thing as well as recording live tracks.
- Garritan Personal Orchestra and Jazz and Big Band — Enough samples to create an orchestra, big band, or jazz emsemble. I usually run it through Sonar.
- GigaStuio — Many additional samples. Runs on a separate computer so many more samples can run at the same time. Usually controlled through Sonar's midi tracks.
- CD Architect 5 — Used to prepare CD masters for replication.
- Minnetonka SurCode — used to encode surround sound into stereo tracks. That's the process used to send surround over television. No, special CD/DVDs are not necessary. If your player can't decode surround sound, it plays in plain old stereo.
- Delta 1010 soundcards — 2 of these allow for a total of 16 analog tracks to be recorded at the same time in addition to 4 digital.
- Mackie 1402 XDR — Allows for mixing 14 channels. It was purchased for the 6 pristine preamps it contains. Occasionally, it is used to mix in external sources.
- Joe Meek VC3 Preamps — 2 of these with built-in optical compressors and enhance functions that emulates the classic sounds of the pre-digital age.
- Microphones — AT4050 large condensor, one of my favorites, very accurate sound. 2 Oktava MC012 small condensor, fantastic on accoustic guitar, also great on wind instruments. Shure Beta 52A for kick drums. And a bunch of the ubiquitous SM57s used for drums, rock vocals, etc.
- Behringer Headphone Distribution Amp — Lets the vocalist hear their own voice and as well as the mix. Runs 4 mixes to 8 headphones.
- Behringer Ultra DI box — Direct in for guitars, other mics and instruments for impedence matching. Allows guitars to use plugins to match many classic guitar amps and sounds.
- Studiologic SL-880 keyboard — It's an 88 key keyboard that plays like a piano. Our Roland EM-10 keyboard feels like an organ so we had to have something a pianist felt comfortable playing.
- Church organ — We acquired a church organ when a congregation remodeled their chapel.
- And there are a lot of other things I don't use very often so it hardly seems worth mentioning them.
No, I don't use Pro Tools. It has too many proprietary limitations. I also feel like they've rested on their laurels for so long that they are no longer aggressively developing their software like Cakewalk is doing with Sonar.
I've still worked with songs recorded by Pro Tools and other software. If the tracks are output to wave files, they are compatible with any other program.
You are welcome to audition with us if you would like to see what we can do. Spend an hour in the studio "on the house" and see for yourself what the quality of sound is like.