What I bring to the table.
It is reasonable to ask what skills I would bring to the table when producing your audio project.
First you need to know that audio recording and production has been my fulltime job for over 37 years now. I've seen just about every kind of project pass through my hands - from the low end budget recordings to the super high end 'no limits to the budget' recordings.
The range of musical styles and instruments plus the knowledge of how to both use them and record them comes second nature to me because of the length of time I've been doing this and the high level of production expertise I've been doing for the past 30+ years.
This experience not only covers recording and production, but also song arrangements, chord choices, melody line tweaks, and lyric suggestions.
Knowing which vocal take works best for the song, or knowing which parts of which takes can be used to build a final vocal part that brings the song to it's highest level comes with me when I take on a project such as yours.
Many songwriters are so wrapped up into their song that they cannot 'see the forest for the trees'. What I bring to the table also includes a fresh set of ears that have the experience necessary to steer you in the proper direction for your song.
The thing that all project share in common is a desire by both the artist and myself to create the best sounding, highest quality recording of the best possible performances from each and every person who contributes to the project.
Not only is it my job to ensure that I get the best out of you and your music, it is also my responsibility to maintain the excitement level of the sessions to a high enough standard where your excitement for the music comes through the recordings that I do for you.
Excitement and performance are key elements in producing a great sounding CD. There are plenty of 'perfect' sounding projects that lack any 'feeling' or 'soul'. This is not what I mean by a high standard.
High standards include great sounding recordings, but also performances from the musicians that inspire the listener to act - either to act by buying your product and/or by being excited enough to tell all of their friends about the new 'find' they have found in your music.
If you and your musicians are not up to the task of national quality studio quality recordings, then you have a several options.
One option is to have me contract studio quality musicians for you. I have an entire address book of top notch studio musicians who I use regularly to produce projects for people such as yourself.
Another option is to have me play some of the parts for you on your project. My expertise is performance spans over 50 years and multiple genres. Many of the demo projects you can listen to on this website have me playing most (if not all) of the instruments that you hear.
My least favorite option would be to record you doing the best that you can and have me 'fix it the edit room' or use similar tools to get it as good as it can get. This option hardly ever works, but some artists insist on 'doing it themselves'. I always try to talk the artist out of doing this whenever possible.
When it comes time to mix, the things that are commonly swept under the table get a clean fresh look and polished into shape while they are combined with the song tracks to create an exciting aural experience. Usually the artist is not involved with the mix (I actually charge more for an artist to sit in on the mix). But in almost all cases, an artist will listen to my final mixes and say things like 'wow', or 'incredible' or 'I had no idea it could sound that good'.
After each song has been mixed to it's proper level of perfection, I master the project. This process is not very well understood by most people, but a simple explanation is that it makes each song sound better and brings the entire CD project to the point where it can exist as a 'complete and homogenous' whole - each song sounding like it belongs on the project.
Fortunately, the analog and digital gear that I have here in my studio is of such high quality that not much needs to be done in mastering except minor tweaks - which is a good thing!
One final word on mastering.
If you are looking for a CD that is as 'loud' as current CD's are, then we cannot dance. Current CD's mastering practices are WAY over compressed and lack sufficient dynamic range.
There is an entire list of reasons why this is the case, but believe it or not, one of the biggest reasons is YOU!
Artists are the ones to blame for making CD's too loud.
How is this possible?
Because when you leave a mastering facility with your freshly mastered CD and stick it in your car/truck/whatever you will listen and then compare it to other commercially available CD's.
You will notice that some other CD's (particularly RAP genre and even some ROCK) are severly over compressed in order to make them louder AT THE EXPENSE of how good they sound!
I will not do this.
If you are looking for loud above all costs, then go somewhere else. I do not want to work with you.
But if you are looking for the best sounding audio project possible without regards to playing the 'loudness war games', then I'm your man!
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26 Mar 2015
27 Mar 2015