Recording & Engineering FAQ

Q: What exactly do you do?

A: As a producer, I help to organize the resources required to create a recording. It is my job to ask and answer questions such as Who? What? When? Where? How Much? How Long? How? and to find answers to them based on my experience and expertise. Then, during the recording process, I make sure that the project stays on budget, on time, on point. For example, how many takes of that 4-bar bassoon overdub can we afford? Which take(s) worked? Is the part already written? Can the bassoonist read music...?

Also, many productions don't actually involve recording music, per se. Think podcasts, radio documentaries, etc.

Quite a few of the questions above -- especially Where and How -- overlap with what I do as an Audio Engineer. Where a recording is made has a direct effect on How it is made. As a general rule, I specialize in non-studio recordings, and my methods and equipment reflect this. This is more common for classical, jazz, and folk musics than it is for rock. However, not a few great records of any genre have been made in living rooms, churches, swimming pools, castles, cabins -- you get the idea!

Q: So you could record my child's bassoon recital?

A: But of course!

Q: Why would I want to record anywhere but in a professional studio?

Great question! And like all great questions there are many answers. Keep reading...

A: First of all, studio recordings and location recordings have never been mutually exclusive. But now it's easier than ever to mix the two thanks to advances in technology. A common example is for a band to track basics (percussion and bass, e.g.) at a traditional studio, and then to record overdubs at a more relaxed pace on their own somewhere else. A lot of the equipment remains the same, but the environment changes, as does the sound and that deliciously vague notion, "vibe". All of these things are palpable in the final product.

A: Many recording studios are designed to address the expectations of a certain tradition of making and recording music. The choice to record any part or all of your project outside of a studio will likewise reflect a different set of expectations about your music and how it should sound as a recording. Ideally, a producer can help you make these kinds of decisions.

A: Because it's fun!