Can I get someone else to mix the tracks recorded at Incremental? Or vice-versa?
By all means. We’ve recorded quite a few releases that have been mixed elsewhere, as well as mixed records tracked by other engineers (or the artists themselves). We’ll provide ‘stems’ to give to your mix engineer – it’s not necessary for the recording engineer and mix engineer to use the same software (DAW) as each other.
For sessions where we are mixing a session recorded elsewhere, contact us to discuss what format we need the audio in.
Can the studio be hired without an engineer?
Sessions at Incremental include the services of house engineer Cameron Smith. We generally don’t hire the studio out to other engineers unless we already know them pretty well.
Do you offer mastering services?
Mastering is a fairly specialised element of audio engineering, and there are many dedicated mastering engineers who will give great results. We don’t specialise in mastering, however we can do mastering and have done so for many records (including many vinyl releases, including for the Tym Records and Mere Noise Records 7″ singles clubs). A lot of the bands who come to us can’t afford the services of a dedicated mastering engineer, and so we end up mastering many of the releases we record.
Should we record ‘live’ or ‘track by track’?
Firstly: that’s completely up to you.
A moderate majority of sessions at Incremental – ie: about two thirds – are recorded for the most part ‘live’, with the drums and the majority of instruments recorded all playing together in the one room, generally with the vocals and perhaps some of the more intricate instrumental parts (solos, extra instrumentation) overdubbed over the top of the otherwise complete ‘bed track’. If you’re after a quick session, or are fairly new to recording, this is usually the quickest and most comfortable way for most musicians to record.
Often musicians worry about a reduction in sound quality using the live method, especially as Incremental is a single-room studio, but usually that’s not a big issue and is generally outweighed by the improvement in ‘vibe’, ease of recording and reduction in time (and therefore cost) required. Usually any mistakes can still be fixed via punch-ins or editing different takes together, so you needn’t worry about having to get a single, perfect take from the entire band (although if you can get a perfect take then that’s great!). Occasionally the live-in-a-room method can place certain restrictions on changes that can be made to arrangements after that fact, so it’s a good idea to have arrangements well organised before coming in. That said, problems from instruments bleeding into each others’ microphones are fairly rare.
That said, we have no particular preference towards live recording, and many bands prefer the flexibility and attention to detail afforded by building a song up one instrument at a time. There’s a lot more ability to experiment and take songs in a different direction when recording this way. If you have the time and inclination then we can and often do record ‘track-by-track’. Some musicians assume that recording each instrument separately is easier thank recording ‘live’, but that’s not always the case – they’re just different, with their own benefits and challenges.
Of course, there’s something of a spectrum between ‘completely live’ and ‘completely overdubbed’, so we can tailor the approach to each band. And also, you can personalise the approach to each individual song in a session.
Should we use a click track?
Again, this is completely up to the band. If you want to use a click track (metronome) we strongly recommend that you practice playing along with one (definitely if you’re the drummer, but also for other instruments too). A lot of musicians who have never practiced playing to a click find that it’s not as simple as they thought. Additionally, if a drummer is good enough to play to a click track they’re usually good enough to not really need one. However, some drummers feel more comfortable recording to a click and some music styles benefit from a completely steady tempo, so we can certainly provide one if you’d prefer to record that way.
Additionally, if you’re not recording live then it often helps to have a steady tempo to set your song to.
What sort of timeframe would we be looking at to finish our recording?
The best way to determine this is to get in contact with us to discuss your plans. Sometimes a band will have a set amount of time and/or budget to complete a recording, and that will determine the maximum amount of time spent on a record, which may affect the process used to complete a recording. Other times a band will be prepared to find whatever resources are necessary to obtain a particular result (luckily our rates are some of the best around). You’ll need to determine what your limiting factor is, but we can help with that.
Obviously the amount of time needed will depend on the amount of music you want to record (both in terms of the number and length of songs, as well as how layered the music will be), the quality you’re aiming for and your level of preparedness.
A well prepared band wanting to record a fairly simple 3-6 song EP recorded mostly live can usually complete such a recording in 2-5 days. An album of similar quality could potentially be completed in around 4-10 days. Of course, the amount of time spent on recording can vary wildly depending on the desired sound, rehearsed-ness of the musicians, complexity of the material, etc – these are generally fairly good estimates for a fairly standard recording (ie: live bed tracks, overdubbed vocals, a few instrumental overdubs here and there). However, things could potentially take a much longer OR much shorter amount of time, so it’s best to contact us to discuss what your particular needs and expectations are. We’ve had entire albums recorded, mixed and mastered in a single day before, as well as EPs that have taken weeks to complete, often with many sessions spread over an extended period. Every record will be different.
Lastly, a lot of bands like to break up the recording into multiple sessions. For example, a band might come in for 2 or 3 days to record basic tracks, then return later on to record vocals and extra overdubs (perhaps even redo a basic track that wasn’t up to scratch or had been re-written in the interim), then later again to mix. This could be spread over multiple weeks or months. This has the benefit of allowing time to listen back to the recordings and check that the performances etc were of the desired level. On the other hand, some bands come in for one or two days and leave with a finished product. Different methods work for different people, and ultimately the band will be the best judge of that.
My question wasn’t answered here!
Send us a message via our contact page and we’ll be happy to answer any queries you might have.