What to Expect
At the Recording Studio
The great Hunter
Thompson once wrote, “The music business is a cruel
shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and
run free and good men die like dogs. There’s also a
Here are a few things to consider before your arrival at
- Plan your material and rehearse it the way
want to record it,
preferably with a cassette recorder. You can add
strikes your fancy in the studio
(and it will!), but it's always good to start with a plan.
- Talk to us beforehand about how you want
done (the FREE
pre-production meeting!). Tell us exactly
want so we
can make sure you get it. If you have a better
ears! And feel free to be as vague or precise as you
like. Send us
giving us a clue about your plans a day or two before each
helps us to be more prepared.
- Don't forget to get clearances if you're
someone else's material (here's a good place to find them).
a copy for our records, also.
- If you're making a CD with packaging, don't forget
and replication (like Discmakers and Oasis). We will
master CD for the replicator to make thousands of them for
- We'll be ready with as much set
up beforehand as is practical. If you need extra setup
you're welcome come over a little early. "Be
Once you get here:
- If you need extra musicians or actors (the "talent"),
get you in contact with them.
- Even though we can edit the cold out of the talent's
(sonically, not medically), try to be well and
- Bottled water is provided in unlimited
Remember to take breaks!
- De-luxe accomodations and excellent dining are located
- Relax and let the living-room vibe take
back to your own living room. If you make a mistake
need to apologize. Some
greatest recordings are great because of sheer repetition
- We will take care of the details so you only need to
create. If you notice anything wrong, or would like to
anything, let us know; we'll fix it! If it's the
middle of a song
and something goes terribly wrong, might as well stop;
with your quest for serendipity. If there's a minor
can usually be fixed by punching in, a process where a track
recorded only for a moment while the line is re-sung or the
- Please don't blow on microphones; they already live a
life, and some can be damaged by wind. If one needs to
let us know; we'll move it out of your way.
- Leave a little silence before and after each
Some otherwise excellent takes have been spoiled by an
"That was GREAT!" as the last note fades. This makes
only if you want to keep that. Actually, you can just
note again, and we can splice it together.
How the whole process works:
- Speaking of great takes, consider taking one more after
that, "for fun". The pressure to perform is now off,
and sometimes that leads to an even greater take!
- If your song is to fade out, play about twice as long
expect the fade to be, at full force. The fade will be
later. Or not, as some fades can be very effective
- If you're recording a spoken-word piece, like poetry or
voice-over, don't worry about comments during the recording;
editing is a routine part of the process and taking out a
reference is really really quick, and even saves time if it
- First, you decide what you want to
record. During the process, you may change your mind;
isn't turning out how you had imagined, for whatever reason,
have a new one you'd like to add. That's fine; it
happens all the
time. You can't delay creativity.
- Come in and discuss
your plan and tour the studio! Free
tours of a modern recording studio! You can't go
We will set up a flexible schedule.
- Maybe you have decided to include a guest artist or session player.
example, you wrote the Sonata for Kazoo and Piano, but you
play the piano; you'll need an pianist and we have a stable
them. Or maybe you feel your CD will sell better if
Richards is on it; we'll give him a call.
- Then we start
as outlined above. The first few takes you may be a
and while that's true of almost everything one does, here
it's not a
time-waster at all. Sometimes we have to explore the
the material and the sound of the instrument to decide how
to get the
best results, but after that it's smooth and quick.
all, it's not rocket surgery, but it is brain science.
play and sing all the parts yourself or have others play
with you, we
record them onto separate tracks that
simultaneously. We can record up to twenty-four of
simultaneously; only full orchestras actually do that
can be recorded at any time; that's called overdubbing and
everyone does it (typically this is not
done on CDs intended as an audition).
- So now you've recorded all your material. Next we
mix it to get the
sound (or whatever sound you are after) and to get the best
from the tracks we've just recorded. To do this we may
little reverb to place the sound in a natural-sounding space
sing directly into the listener's ear as though it were a
or a little
more treble to make that electric guitar really twang,
adjust the choir
so they are way back in the back and off to the left, make
ring from the mountops and through the canyons, bring that
harmony voice into tune; stuff like that.
This is what they're doing when you see a picture of a
everyone is looking really happy because there are a million
front of them and they can turn them. You probably
want to attend
at least the final part of this, because this is where you
the precision and polish you want from your work.
- Once you have a final mix that sounds like your dream,
time for mastering.
will create a CD that's ready for mass production.
responsibility requires us to suggest using a separate
engineer, because he or she will have a new set of ears, and
adjustments to the tone and volume of each selection to
unified sound over the whole CD. Loud songs may be
that song in which you decided not to use a bass may get a
low-frequency to let the other instruments fill that range
doesn't sound just anemic next to the others.
nothing says you have to go outside; at Foxtail Sound we can
step for you; mastering is one of the services we do
you've heard of the "loudness
wars", we participate in that only if you
want us to. Musical reasons persuade us not to
reasons tempt us to follow along. It's entirely your
- At some point you will probably want to work with a
artist to develop the artwork
that will be on the packaging. This is the time you
that part of the project to be completed. We have a
artist on our staff that can help you with package selection
- Now that you have your finished CD, you will need
be as simple as taking your master home and copying on your
computer. If you like, Foxtail Sound can do this for
you in small
quantities. If you need hundreds or thousands, there
commercial replicators that will do it at reasonable cost
Most of our customers that do this make 1000 at first.
offer many styles of packaging, such as Jewel Case, Thinline
DigiPak™, among others. There are styles that use no
- The "Talent"
the person or persons being
recorded, as opposed to the engineer (the
button-pusher who has talent
also) or the producer
(who frequently has talent). It is not a value
- When the engineer says "Rolling", that means the
talent can start
all the little red lights are on and the tape is
moving. "Listening" is the engineer's
talent that he or she should listen for places that might be
the folks in the control room are auditioning the latest
- A "Take" is
an attempt at recording a selection. The released
the Beatles' "Twist
and Shout" is rumored to have been Take 43 (listen to
John's voice, it sounds beat), so don't worry about trying
times. You know, whatever it takes...
Sometimes several takes are made, with different approaches,
producer can decide later which to use.
- The "Producer"
is the boss; you, for example. If you need help with
executive decisions, or to coax an extra ounce of
performance from the talent, we can co-produce and you still
all the credit! Otherwise we only speak when spoken to
- A "Track"
is a recording of one source. We can record 24
add as many of them as you want, as overdubs. All
can be "mixed"
together to make a complete recording that contains all
the sounds it's supposed to have, at the right time and in
correct spatial locations
(stereo or surround). "Tracking" is the
process of recording these tracks. Of course, your CD
shows "track" numbers, meaning "selection" numbers, so we
hope not to
be too confused.
is the art of adjusting the loudness and tone of your songs
to create a
consistent master CD that sounds just like the ones you hear
radio, from which copies can be made. Although we
an outside facility for mastering (a different set of ears),
quite happy and very capable to do this step for you also.
Instructions to the
by Carl Rakosi, 1971
easy on that bow.
Not too much
weeping. Remember that the soul
and has a terror
It will venture
but only to a
eye. Let the sound out
but from a
like the forest
And do not forget
That is the
and has the
Semi-relevant facts about the Studio.
This is a selection of Satisfied