Monday, August 30, 2010

Introducing Recording Session Metatags

We’ve all complained about incorrect credits listed on All Music at one time or another. Pretty soon, you can do something about it. A tool will be available shortly that will aid in capturing credits and other production specific information.

On August 17th, 2010, the P&E Wing of the Recording Academy presented the Content Creator Data (CCD), the new recording metadata standard, and accompanying software application called the CCD Collection Tool at their New York office.

After several years, the folks at BMS/Chace, in conjunction with The Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure & Preservation Program, came up with an open schema (a standardized data structure for informational exchange) that defines recording session specific metatags.

Since the late ‘90s, schemas have been developed for a multitude of industries and uses, including electronic business transactions, retail industry, human resources, financial information, geographic applications, customer information, elections, emergency data, office documents, content syndication (e.g. RSS) and many others. The music industry joined in on the effort in 2006 by forming an organization called DDEX (Digital Data Exchange), which is developing standards for new release notification, digital sales reporting, licensing and other related items. CCD was developed to make sure it is compatible with existing standards by DDEX, SMPTE, AES and other relevant standards organizations.

The CCD Collection Tool is a free, cross platform utility that will soon be available. Through its user-friendly interface, anyone can input album / project and song specific information in the form of metadata that includes names of performers & recording personnel, the type of gear or instrument used, the recording media and settings used, and other details about sessions to help in documentation, master delivery and archiving. The output of the utility is a XML file.

In order for the standard and tool to be truly useful, there are a few conditions that have to be met.

Accuracy
As some philosopher (actually an IBM technician / instructor) famously said, “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” The critical stage in the process is at the point of data entry where the validity and accuracy of the data is determined.

The theory goes that data should be entered where it is generated. Presumably, that is why this tool was developed and why people are being encouraged to use it in the studio. It was suggested at the meeting that assistants in recording sessions could enter this data. This is certainly possible, but assistants are already taking care of a lot of things during the session.

Trying to get names correct and standardized (e.g. Jim, James, Jamie, Jimmy, Jimmie, ...) is a very big challenge. One solution that is being suggested is to have each person register and use a 16-digit ID number called the ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) that will become available in the spring of 2011. It is a universal ID for a public identity.

In practice, sometimes we don’t know the full names (or how to spell them) of some of the musicians who come in for sessions, especially if it is a large session. However, that information would be known to whomever hired them or whomever will have to get them to sign contracts / releases. Another problem is that some song titles have not been finalized at the time of recording,

In the “old” days, there were people attending from the labels or coordinators hired by them to collect this type of information, at least during the session. The reality is that data that needs to be kept is being generated not just in the studio, but throughout the entire production process of the project, which leads to…

Completeness
More and more recording or mix sessions are being conducted in multiple locations by multiple parties – in some cases, concurrently. How data generated in multiple instances is collected and combined will be critical in making sure the data is complete.

From what we have seen in practice, there is already a lack of organization and documentation of session data. Adding metatags to the list will be a challenge, especially in smaller productions where very few people are doing pretty much everything. Only discipline and diligence by those involved will ensure that the data is complete.

Security
Once the data is collected or while it is being collected, there has to be a safeguard to prevent data from being altered or deleted intentionally or inadvertently. Different levels of access and authorizations might have to be implemented at some point. The developers talked about implementing a simple security scheme by allowing people to enter data, but not change it. A better mechanism might be to track any and all changes, much like tracking changes in a document, to be sorted later on.

The other issue is privacy or the need to know. I don’t think it is any business of studio personnel to know what the writer splits are for a particular song.

Data Administration
In the end, all the data will have to be deposited in a centralized location somewhere and reviewed. Who will oversee and ensure that the data was accurately and completely been entered? The logical answer is that it should be the one who owns the “assets”, which is the record label and/or the artist. On a more practical level, it will have to be the person who has the most complete view of the project, whether that person is the producer, the designated project manager or the artist. What do you actually do with the data? That will have to be worked out as this tool get wider use. Ultimately, this metadata file will become a component of the masters to be kept as part of the project archives.

Adoption (Integration with Existing Tools)
A key factor in adopting this standard is whether manufacturers will support it by embedding the metatagging capability into existing tools such as Avid’s Pro tools. This would certainly be more convenient and conducive to compliance. The manufacturers will have to be convinced that this is a good idea.

A good thing about this open schema is that for those who like to have fun with data, the schema is extensible since it is XML, which means you could expand the data set to include other items you feel is relevant to what you do and develop applications around those data sets. Unforeseen, supplemental tools may emerge to address other needs that currently exist in tracking production data.

I’ve outlined a few issues that I’m sure will get addressed over time. In the final analysis, the use of metatags is 1) something that was probably long overdue; 2) still in the early stages and is expected to evolve; and 3) is a good idea in principle, is the right thing to do and will need a lot of support from you to really become useful.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lessons from Old School Mixing

Recently, we participated in an experiment with engineer, Roy Hendrickson, who wanted to deliberately mix a song he is producing, the “old-fashioned way” - on an analog console using two Studer A800 24-track tape machines with the Pro Tools rig turned off. Roy wanted to see how the mix would come out given the limitations of a non-DAW mix situation, the way he used to work prior to the year 2000.

The first order of business was to take 103-tracks of music from the DAW and whittle them down to 46-tracks. This meant coming up with a mixing strategy and making many decisions on what to combine at what levels and committing to those choices. This sub-mixing process is crucial step number one.

The multi-track was then transferred to 46 tracks on two synchronized 2-inch tape recorders. This is crucial step number two. As an illustration of how analog tape changes the general sound, Roy took an output of the DAW, recorded it on a 2-inch tape machine, and set it up so that he can A-B the playback of the tape with the direct output of DAW. Running it through tape seem to “widen” the sound with fuller lows and highs.

Two Studer A800 machines were set up to be controlled by an SSL-4000G+ console. Each track was mapped to the console and labeled. At this point, the DAW was “turned off” and Roy started mixing working solely on the console.

What struck me while watching Roy work was how much “better” one listened and how much more he was able to concentrate on the creative or artistic aspects of mixing. Let me explain. Without having to stare at the screen and having to concentrate on visual information, he was focusing his full attention on hearing. I’m sure I can find evidence from studies that visual stimulation will take up a disproportionate amount of processing power of the brain and thus taking a lot away from the other senses including auditory. The physical act of mixing was like a dance using whole body movements covering the span of the console. The tactile nature of making fine adjustments seemed to invite experimentation, which in turn generated more ideas. This was crucial step number three.

The pauses that occurred between tape rewind and playback actually seemed to enhance the experience by allowing the mixer time to contemplate a move or review the last one, and to provide a brief break between listening. The tweaks became more deliberate and one concentrated more on listening to the changes. Of course, this is only an impression and cannot be scientifically proven, but the pacing seemed more natural and in rhythm with the flow.

Needless to say, the final mix sounded great. Whether the same result could have been obtained while working in the box is debatable. However, the time spent in consolidating the tracks and working strictly on the console, definitely shortened overall mix time for the track. I will leave the details of technical and workflow findings to Roy, who will write up his own observations and publish them on his Web site.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Remembering Hank Jones

Yasohachi "88" Itoh, Hank Jones, Kirk Imamura
Photo by John Abbott

Hank Jones passed away on May 16th at the age of 91. The New York Times published an obituary the following day.

In the New York Times obituary, the formation of The Great Jazz Trio (with Ron Carter and Tony Williams) in 1976 is mentioned and states the “uncharacteristically immodest name… was not Mr. Jones’s idea.” The name was actually coined by the late Max Gordon, owner of The Village Vanguard.

In the spring of 1975, the “original” The Great Jazz Trio performed together for the very first time at the Village Vanguard for one week. The band came together at the urging of drummer Tony Williams. The group was billed as “The Great Jazz Trio.” When Max called Hank Jones to ask if he would perform with Ron and Tony, Hank got very excited. Hank just finished a long stint as a studio session musician and liked the idea of playing together in a unique combination of multi-generational musicians (at the time Hank was 58, Ron 39, Tony 31) of different experience & styles (Tony liked rock and led a fusion band called Lifetime).

The three got along so well, they decided to perform together again at The Village Vanguard for a week long engagement in 1977. The live performance was recorded by producer Yasohachi “88” Itoh and engineer David Baker for the Japanese record label East Wind, which resulted in a series of three albums - At The Village Vanguard, At The Village Vanguard Volume 2 and At The Village Vanguard Again.

Mr. Itoh went on to have a long relationship with Hank Jones that lasted until 1980 recording 10 more Great Jazz Trio albums and one leader album under Hank’s name.

Some of the East Wind titles, including all of The Great Jazz Trio titles, were later licensed by Test of Time Records, operating out of Avatar Studios, to be released for the first time in the U.S. as CDs – remastered using the Direct Stream Digital process.

In May 2002, Mr. Itoh was back again to do another incarnation of The Great Jazz Trio recording albums Autumn Leaves and Someday My Prince Will Come originally for Eighty-Eight’s label at Avatar Studios. This time, the trio consisted of Hank Jones, Elvin Jones and Richard Davis. It was one of the rare times Hank and Elvin played on an album together. Elvin passed away two years later. The session was memorably photographed and documented by John Abbott. The photos he took appear in both albums and a third album, Collaborations, which have tracks from both albums.

After that project, Mr. Itoh came back several more times and recorded a few more Great Jazz Trio albums. It was during one of these sessions that we were lucky enough to land a podcast interview with Hank. You can hear it here.

One album related to Hank Jones I’d like to mention is Geoffrey Keezer’s Sublime: Honoring the Music of Hank Jones from Telarc. Pianist Geoffrey Keezer pays homage to Hank Jones by covering original Hank’s compositions except for Claus Ogerman’s "Favors," which was a longtime Hank Jones staple. It is a rare collection that shows what a wonderful composer Hank was. The album was recorded at Avatar.

The last time I saw Hank perform was at Birdland in July 2007. He played with John Patitucci and Omar Hakim and the live performances were recorded once again by producer Mr. Itoh. The resulting albums July 5th and July 6th were released in Japan, but have not been released here.

During the last 10 years, I feel fortunate that Avatar was somehow connected to Hank Jones through the various recoding sessions, Mr. Itoh and those wonderful albums from the late ‘70s to ones recently recorded.

Hank’s playfulness on the piano was an ageless expression of how much joy he felt whenever he performed. He was also very modest, gracious, a true gentleman and a great human being. We will miss him very much.

The Great Jazz Trio Discography

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Fun With Stats:

According to 2009 data from Nielsen Soundscan (data presented at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers Conference), there were 98,000 albums released in 2009 (vs. 38,000 in 2003; 80,000 in 2007). That is over a 20% increase in the number of albums in two years. There is no doubt more & more music is being created. The other stats of concern are that 2% of new releases made up 91% of sales and only 2.1% of new releases managed to sell more than 5,000 units. You have to keep in mind that these figures only apply to trackable product (i.e. CDs with SKU bar codes) and trackable sales, e.g. if you sell albums out of your car trunk or at gigs, those numbers are probably not included here.


From the Hip Predictions:

In a world where anybody can record, a new class of data manipulation technicians will emerge who do nothing but tune, re-time and denoise tracks that were recorded or performed badly.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mixing Culturally, Australian Style

We are often caught up in the American music scene so much that we are sometimes unaware of what is happening musically in the rest of the world. Like any business, the music business is increasingly global and any kind of music you want to hear, it is usually available at your fingertips. If you haven’t noticed, we seem to be in a midst of an Oz invasion of sorts these past few years as many bands from Australia are popping up in our music scene. One of them, Tamarama, has spent quite a bit of time at our studio recently.

In the past, Avatar has hosted all kinds of foreign acts from a Taiwanese pop idol to a Middle Eastern superstar and just recently a French artist singing in the traditional Berber style. Just coming into contact with these artists open your eyes to an entirely different and rich world of music you did not know about.

In February, we hosted sessions by two artists, Joseph Tawadros and Gurrumul Yunupingu, both from Australia but from very different cultural backgrounds.

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Joseph Tawadros was born in Cairo, Egypt and immigrated to Australia at an early age. He was heavily influenced by his family with a rich musical tradition. Joseph Tawadros studied with Mohamed Youssef, a renowned oud player, jazz pianist and family friend. Youssef encouraged Joseph to explore the musical parameters of the oud and the traditional Egyptian taqasim, a performing style akin to improvisation. In December 2001 Tawadros returned to Egypt and began studying the Egyptian violin with the celebrated Egyptian violinist, Esawi Daghir. Since then, Joseph has toured all over Australia and Europe to accolades.

From L to R: John Abercrombie (guitar), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Joseph Tawadros/Artist (Oud), John Pattitucci (Bass), James Tawadros (Riq)

Joined by his brother James, Joseph Tawadros spent a couple days in Studio B with John Abercrombie, Jack DeJohnette and John Patitucci.

We asked Joseph a few questions.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the project you worked on here at Avatar? From the line up, it looks like you worked with a lot of great musicians. Did you record your original compositions?

A: Well, it is actually my seventh CD of my original works. I like original collaborations where musicians work together to bring something special without using musical cliches or "corniness" to create a dysfunctional fusion. And this usually has to do with choice of musicians. The musicians on board I would consider part of international jazz royalty and are all unique in their field. They also have amazing ability and drive to learn, listen and adapt to the compositions without losing their character and that is why I chose them, because they have that amazing talent to blend. It is about creating a new language or building on an old one, finding a medium which everyone understands (including listeners). That is where I think the key to great collaborations lie. I would not call the music jazz but more of a cross-cultural musical understanding. Hopefully, we created a new and unique sound, which people enjoy.

Q: Can you briefly explain to us what is unique about the oud and how it blends with other jazz instruments?

A: Well, the oud is a very special instrument. It has been around for quite a while and is a real symbol of the Middle East. The oud that I play is 7 courses, arranged in 2 single bass strings and 5 double strings. How it blends with other instruments again comes down to the musicians and their abilities. Timbral blend has much to do with it as personalities blend and when you work with great guys where you all get along, you create great things and blend very well, creating one voice. They all have great ears, but in the range of the ensemble it is quite big. The double bass has got the low registers covered, while the oud fills the next (more like a cello register) and the electric guitar has the upper, add riq (Egyptian Tambourine) and drums and you have a whole range of sonic possibilities. So I think it is a combination of timbral blend of the instruments and personality blends of the musicians.

Q: What are some of the things you need to be concerned about when recording the oud?

A: You have to pick up the roundness of its sound without losing its harmonic sustain. Due to the make of the instrument, certain notes ring out more than others, so there has to be balance of capturing those as well as not letting the plectrum sound get in the way. Jon Rosenberg who recorded the sessions did an amazing job.

Q: Same question in regards to recording the riq.

A: The riq has an amazing array of possibilities for such a small instrument, so just like a drum kit, you have to pick up the nuances and certain parts of the frame. It is quite a flexible instrument and James is one of its finest ambassadors, so picking up his percussive subtleties are important especially in terms of dynamics.

Here is a clip of James filmed at Avatar:

Q: How was your recording experience?

A: Really great. Great bunch of people, awesome players and a lot of laughs.

Q: When is this release coming out?

A: The release is called The Hour of Separation and will be out in June in Australia and September worldwide under the German Jazz label ENJA.

Joseph Tawadros’ Web site

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Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu is an Indigenous Australian musician, who sings in his native Yolngu language. He spent some time in Studio G with his producer and musical partner Michael Hohnen. Being used to warmer climate, Gurrumul had a hard time getting used to the snowfall we got in early February.

He was born on an island off the coast of Northern Australia about 350 miles from Darwin. He was born blind and speaks only a few words of English. He learned how to play a right hand-strung guitar left-handed because that is what was available. He also plays drums and keyboards.

What is most striking about his performance is his singing voice. He sings stories of his land and there are many videos of his performance online. In 2008, Gurrumul was nominated for four ARIA awards, the Australian equivalent to our Grammys, winning the awards for Best World Music Album and Best Independent Release. Last November, Gurrumul performed with Sting in Paris to sing "Every Breath You Take" for French television.

ARIA 2008 Video Clip

Video with Sting in Paris

This summer, Gurrumul will be making concert appearances in the U.S. starting at Joe’s Pub in New York on June 15. Gurrumul will perform material from his self-titled debut, which is set for release on Dramatico in the US through Universal Motown on June 15.

Gurrumul’s Web site

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There is a vast, world of music videos to explore out there. You just need to know the right search term.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Working with Non-Profit Organizations

Even though rock and pop acts that we record get the most amount of publicity, we record a tremendous amount of jazz at Avatar Studios. The great acoustics and large rooms lend themselves to recording jazz acts - from solo piano, piano trios to large big bands. There is nothing like the full sound of a big band hitting you whether it is Christian McBride’s Big Band, Chie Imaizumi’s Big Band or the latest Dave Holland / Chris Potter projects. We love recording jazz. We admire and respect the musicianship jazz artists aspire to and attain, and it is a joy, a challenge and a privilege for us to record them. Our rooms were created to make acoustic recordings like these.

Because of the emphasis in math and science in schools over the years, music education has been grossly neglected if they exist at all. Factors such as the increasing reliance on test scores and budget cuts due to the recession probably will not improve the situation in the near future. It is only through the efforts of passionate teachers who take it upon themselves to inject their curricula with arts, do children get exposed to music other than what they hear in the media. There is very little opportunity to listen to classical music or jazz much less any other type of music from around the world. It is a tragedy that children are unfamiliar with the uniquely American art form called jazz, which is part of our cultural heritage.

I am sure there are many organizations working to bring music education to schools and quite a few of them trying to raise the level of jazz awareness. I was introduced to two such non-profit organizations by an engineer and an educator himself, Jim Anderson at NYU. They are JazzReach led by founder, executive/artistic director Hans Schuman and The Jazz Drama Program led by founder & jazz pianist Eli Yamin. Both organizations needed to make a recording and when we found out what they were trying to do, we decided to donate studio time to aid in their efforts.

JazzReach, established in 1994, presents multi-media educational programs for young audiences, main-stage concerts for general audiences and informative clinics and master-classes for student musicians and ensembles. JazzReach has a few components to what they do. First, they put together a concert centered on a theme and commissions original jazz compositions around that theme. In the past, there were works inspired by the short stories of celebrated American author, James Baldwin, and works inspired by the social dynamism of the New York City subway experience. The latest effort, called “Big Drum Small World”, works were commissioned from prominent, internationally recognized jazz composers hailing from countries as diverse as West Africa, Israel, Cuba, Puerto Rico, India, and the United States.

The second component is the resident ensemble called The Metta Quintet, which performs all the works. Each one of their projects has been recorded to CD and released by record labels.

The third component is the multi-media concerts that they put on, which involves a large screen that displays pre-recorded video footage that complements the live performance by The Metta Quintet. For programs for young audiences, there is a narrator that facilitates interaction between the video, the band and the audience. The narrator encourages audience participation by guiding them to sing along a specific melody or harmony or as part of the rhythm section. The band would go on the road and perform these concerts at 20 different cities.

Last December, I attended one of three JazzReach performances held at Baruch College Performing Arts Center and watched as busloads of children were led in by teachers. The show was for children in grades 3 - 6. During the three days, over 1,000 New York City Public School students were given the opportunity to see the performance for free.

After a brief introduction, short videos were shown before each song was performed. The video was a Q&A between a child and the composer of the piece. Each composer was asked how they got into jazz, what they liked about jazz and what made music in their country or culture unique. The goal of the show was to promote the value of creative collaboration and the unique way that jazz provides a forum to explore our differences, share ideas and discover common ground.

Perhaps, some of the musical ideas were complex, but I liked the fact that they did not “perform down” to the children and allowed them to soak it in. You could see in their faces that they were having a great time and enjoyed participating. Adding a percussionist might have featured more of the richness of some cultures, but I understand the expenses involved with adding another musician. You still have a chance to attend one of their performances. According to their itinerary they have a few shows in April and then they return to perform in Brooklyn in early May. I urge you to take your kids and check them out. “Big Drum Small World” will be recorded at Avatar some time in the spring.

The Jazz Drama Program, established in 1998, was started when jazz pianist Eli Yamin and teacher/writer Clifford Carlson decided to write and develop an original jazz musical written for Louis Armstrong Middle School students after seeing that students’ interest level in jazz or music in general was not what they hoped for after performing standard plays like “Guys and Dolls” or watching jazz musicians perform. The students did not really identify with adult roles they played and the idea of swing or the blues did not really sink in even after a lecture and a live performance immediately after.

Eli and Clifford wrote a story that students could identify with and interwove the blues, bebop and swing around plotlines and situations where they fit. The first play was enthusiastically embraced by students, teachers, parents and jazz musicians who took part in the production as mentors. The highly immersive nature of the play changed students’ perception of what jazz meant to them. There is a saying in Japanese that literally means, “remember with your body”, which might be better translated as “learn by doing.” Your head is quick to grasp an idea, but sometimes, you have to live it to truly understand the full meaning and implications of the idea. That is what immersion does. Another intended goal of producing the musicals was to involve local jazz musicians to participate in the school effort, making it a community event.

They were so successful and the demand so great, they wrote five musicals in five years. They received national attention when NPR aired a story about their efforts. Eli ran workshops around the country using elements from one of the plays called “Nora’s Ark.” Soon, there was interest from schools in Connecticut, Mississippi and New Mexico to put on this play and a reference recording became necessary. This is where Avatar came in. The recording sessions took place on March 6th and 7th. The music was recorded with a jazz quintet and members of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus performed the vocal parts. They were very energetic sessions. You can read more about the rehearsals and the sessions here.

According to the last survey by The National Endowment of the Arts, the audience for jazz in America is both aging and shrinking at an alarming rate. In 2002, 10.8% of adult Americans attended at least one jazz performance. In 2008, that figure fell to 7.8%. It would be quite a shame if the jazz audience continued to shrink. Similar to classical music, what is happening here is the devaluing of musicianship, which takes years to achieve. In the case of jazz, the ability of musicians to freely express themselves while playing in sync with a group of other able musicians is a lesson we need to learn for our own lives. If you like music, especially jazz, seek out organizations like JazzReach and The Jazz Drama Program and help support their activities. Unless they discover jazz through you, the parent, or on their own later in life, efforts by these organizations may be one of the few chances your child will ever have getting exposed to this art form in a lasting and meaningful way.

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Tip: How to find out more about a particular Non-Profit Organization

If you want to find more details about a non-profit organization you are thinking of working with, check out their annual form 990 tax filings. It will list where revenues came from and what expenses were incurred. You can find these documents at Web sites such as the Foundation Center and Guidestar.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Three Budgets

Ever since we hosted the Pre-CMJ09 event, “Ask the Producers”, we have had numerous discussions internally on how artists budget for sessions and trying to see from the clients’ perspective the difficulties they face. In one of these conversations, Roy Hendrickson (who was one of the panelists for the CMJ event) told us about how he advises his clients to make up three different budgets - low, medium and high and write down the pros and cons of each option. This seemed like a very sensible suggestion. Roy is particularly sensitive to these types of decisions because he has to mix what has been recorded, often after poor choices have been exercised. If one thinks through all the choices and implications of choosing one over the other with both eyes open, at least there won’t be too big a surprise, i.e. budget overruns.

Because of financial limitations, there are tradeoffs and it is important to understand what the consequences are. Assuming that you had plenty of rehearsals and the songs are fully fleshed out, the first big branch in the decision tree is how large the room should be and how many booths you need. The key decision is isolation. Do you want to play together or will you record one instrument at a time? If the former, can you get enough isolation between each member? If you can’t get enough, it will be very difficult to “fix” things later. If you use a one-instrument-at-a-time “overdub strategy”, you will obviously be spending more time recording. Time, in this case, adds up to more money even though you've opted for a lower room rate.

Can your band members play well enough? Do you plan to do a lot of “fixing” later? Will you be using session players? Will they be “first call” musicians or someone further down the list?

If you are playing together, does the studio have enough (of the right) microphones, mic stands, outboard gear...etc., all the items you need? Even if there is enough gear, do they work?

Add up all the time in the studio. How do the figures compare? We haven’t even begun to discuss the sound of the room.

Now, let’s look at post-tracking activities. Was the singing / playing in tune and in time? Does each track sound good and clean? You will begin to see the effects of the tradeoff you made in the room sound and quality of recording at this point. Will the tracks require a lot of “fixing”? Who will do it? Unfortunately, much of the “fix” time is hidden in the mixing process, especially if the mixer wants the end result to sound halfway decent and is not willing to deliver a sub par mix. Many artists do not realize how quickly the mix can happen if you have well recorded tracks.

Now add up all the time. I hope you are not under a deadline.

When money is tight, usually time and someone else’s effort substitutes for actual out of pocket expenses. Maybe the end result is good enough for your fans as a MP3 download.

At the end of the day, it is all about efficiency in the studio and the ease in which mixing is done. There are hidden costs, whether it is quality or the amount of time spent. A chart comparing dollars, time, effort with pros and cons is a very useful tool to plan out your sessions and be aware up front of what the tradeoffs are.

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Update on History of Recording Studios

As I was researching recording studios, I found a site that had a pretty comprehensive history of recording studios in the Pacific Northwest. I thought I’d share the link with you.

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From the Hip Predictions

In less than a couple of years, the average number of tracks per song will reach 200 and it will take at least a week for a mixer to sort out all the tracks. If tuning / fixing is required, add an additional 3 - 5 days. This is all before the actual mixing takes place. Artists who are organized will be able to finish a mix in third of the time.