Policies

-Backroom Studios Session Guidelines-

-Booking Time-

When you contact us to book your studio time, a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit is required to hold the session. The reason it’s non-refundable is because we set that day/time aside for your project and have a engineer booked for your session as well. We understand that unexpected things can happen, but this is our insurance policy for such events. If for whatever reason you can’t make your session, we retain the deposit to cover the loss on our end. Deposits are due immediately after the dates are discussed. If we do not receive a deposit for your session, that day is still technically open to the public and may get booked by another party.


 

-Pre-Production-

•Map all the tempos in your songs in BPM (beats per minute). Make sure to notate what bars all the tempo changes occur and if applicable, what time signature each section is in.

• Notate where all the song sections begin. ie. Bar 17 – Verse 1, Bar 34 – Pre Chorus etc.

• If possible, record demo versions of your songs for your own benefit. This allows you to hear the individual elements as part of a collective, ensuring that no out-of-key notes or chords, abrupt changes, rhythmically/harmonically cluttered sections etc. make it through.

• If you are not positive that your songs will translate well to record, invest in some pre-production time to look at the material in detail with your producer and sort out the kinks prior to recording.

• Allows Producer/Engineer to make more educated decisions as far as mic selection, production effects, overall concept/sound of the song/record.

• It is very important to record guide tracks for the drums to be tracked on top of. This is a necessary procedure that should be done with your engineer present. In a worst case scenario, the engineer should at least look over the guide tracks ahead of time.

• Preparation will save you countless headaches down the track. Make sure your pre-production process leaves your songs in an impeccable state, ready to take anything you throw at them down the track.


 

-Tracking-

DRUMS

• Alway account for things taking longer than you think they will when booking studio time. I’ve never had a session that didn’t use up all the time booked by the artist. There’s always something that can be perfected, and adding time to your recording schedule after its over is always harder than booking it ahead of time.

• Re-skin the drum kit – preferably the night before the session. Skins sound best when brandspankin’-new, so avoid playing them in too much. Make sure they are seated well. DO NOT bring in 1 year old heads that have no life left in them. If you’re willing to spend money on your recording, be willing to spend a bit more on heads to make sure your drums sounds good too.

• If you are not confident in tuning the drum kit towards your desired sound, get a reputable drum technician to tune it for you prior to recording, or on the day of the session. Ask your engineer ahead of time as he will have contacts, or tune the drums himself.

• Bring extra sticks, and Moongel for the drums.

• Oil up the pedals so that they do not squeak.

• Separate the cymbals from the drums on the vertical axis as much as is practical for your style

• Space the kit out as much as is practical to your style of play. Cluttered kits don’t record well.

• If a whole blanket is needed to stop the bass drum sounding out of whack, then there’s something wrong with the skin, tuning or the drum itself. This needs to be sorted out ahead of time. The most that should be needed is a feather pillow inside the drum.

• If you’re after a punchy, fat kick sound, make sure a port is cut into the front (resonant) head.

• If playing pop/rock/metal/fusion/energetic music, try to get used to hitting the drums as hard as possible.

• Practice your parts to a metronome, unless you play strictly ‘live’ music like jazz, blues etc. In the latter case you should practice your parts and/or jam with the band as much as possible.

• Know the songs like the back of your hand.

GUITARS/BASS

• Make sure the intonation/sound of the instrument is okay. If possible get it serviced by a reputable technician shortly before recording.

• Buy new strings for the bass and stretch them at least three separate times.

• Bring spare strings, picks, and batteries (for active pickups) etc.

• Ensure your playing sits solidly with the drums. Practice to a metronome. Know the songs well.

• Ensure that you are playing the instrument in-tune. It is common for basses to be played sharp even when the tuners say your open strings are ‘in’. If you consistently play sharp, consider tuning the instrument slightly flat.

• Since guitarists are commonly the only players burdened with the task of recording multiple takes of the same parts on top of each other, we tend to nominate one rhythm player out of each band to record all the rhythm tracks on the CD. This is for the purpose of consistency, clarity and keeping the final mix uncompromised. Each player sounds different through the same gear, so it makes sense to attempt to keep the record as consistent and sonically ideal as possible.

• Make sure the intonation/sound of the instrument is okay. If possible get it serviced by a reputable technician shortly before recording.

• Buy new strings for the guitar. Strings will dull down quickly, so it’s important to only restring the instrument the night before, or the morning of the session. We may switch the strings over again after a few days of tracking.

• Bring spare strings, picks, and batteries (for active pickups) etc.

• Avoid using a floating tremolo loaded guitar for rhythm parts. The springs will make noise and the guitar won’t hold tune and intonation as well as a fixed bridge loaded one.

• If using a tube amp, ensure it has been re-tubed recently and sounds good.

• Practice rigorously to a metronome. You may be the only player tasked with playing at least two identical performances, possibly even 4 or beyond. You need to play consistently and sit well with yourself. If you have a recording rig at home, practice quad-tracking the same rhythm parts.

• If you are playing heavier material, make sure to DIG IN to the strings. Bring out that aggression with as little amp gain/distortion as possible. There is a middle ground to be had here between aggression and knocking the string out of tune, but with practice (and the right string gauge)

VOCALS

• Practice good microphone technique. Stand up close to the pop shield when singing & back away for the bigger punctuations. Try to control yourself dynamically, rather than relying on a compressor for it.

• Don’t have a big night out before coming to the studio. Make sure your voice is fresh & ready to

• Bring bottles of spring water and keep them at room temperature. This is the best ingestible vocal aid you can have.

• You may be asked to repeat certain phrases a multitude of times in search of that ‘perfect’ take, so make sure your voice is up to the task.

• If your voice is on the fringe, then don’t push it. The last thing anyone wants is for the vocalist to start croaking midway through a recording session!

• Have a good idea of any harmonies you may want to add before entering the studio. If needed, we will suggest additional harmonies for you to try out.

EDITING/MIXING/MASTERING

• Allow some time for the editing of drums prior to recording the instruments on top. Unless the drummer is superhuman, you will find the odd mistake you want fixed. This can be done in natural-sounding ways like combining parts of one performance with another. The beat doesn’t have to be rigid and machine-like, but it *does* need to keep solid time.

• Pitch correction, comping, cutting, pasting & correcting timing errors are all editing, *not* mixing processes. Ideally, all this should be done before a track is presented for mixing.

• Ensure that the session or tracks you are providing are in a comprehensible state.

• Make sure that all editing has been done ahead of time & unused takes & files have all been

• Name the tracks consistently across all your songs/sessions. For instance ‘Kick’ in song 1 should be ‘Kick’ across the entire project, rather than ‘BD’ in song 3.

• One song per folder please.

• Please note that mixing can be a rather long process and doesn’t happen overnight. At Backroom Studios, we will always try and meet your estimated deadlines, but it isn’t a good idea to book duplication dates or release shows until you have a final mastered product in your hands.

• People commonly think that mixing and mastering are the same process when they are actually two very different and separate processes, each with their own purpose. If you have any questions regarding the details of each, please let us know.

• If your record was mixed by us, we prefer that mastering be done at a dedicated, 3rd-party Mastering only house. If the budget doesn’t permit it we will master material here free of charge.

• Make sure to provide stereo bounces of the tracks at whichever bit depth and sample rate they were mixed at. We will take stems, but they may incur an extra charge.

• Always provide lossless audio files in an uncompressed format, not MP3’s.

DIGITAL FILE BACKUP / STORAGE

• It is recommended for every client to provide digital audio file storage. Digital usage and storage have become major issues for studios and clients. Due to the unreliable nature of this digital world, we cannot fully guarantee the safe use or storage of digital audio files. We strive to do our best with audio file manipulation and storage, but there are many things out of our control. Although such losses are infrequent, Backroom Studios accepts no liability for the usage or storage of any data or audio files.

• Files delivered via Google Drive are only temporary links to your files and should be downloaded/saved as soon as possible.

• Audio and session file transfer time is billable at normal studio rates

 


 

-Other Suggestions-
Booking out a studio to get a CD recorded and released might seem like an exciting and leisurely process, but it’s important to note that there is a lot of hard work that goes into releasing a professional, commercially-ready product. It’s worth avoiding coming into the session hung over, or overly fatigued. Recording for days straight can at times feel like running a marathon, and it’s advisable to come into the session fresh and aware. It’s important to note that bringing friends/girlfriends/family etc. to the session ultimately affects productivity negatively. It is possible to maintain greater perspective and work flow when cutting out distractions from the outside world as much as possible. When you’re in the studio working, as far as as you’re concerned, you are doing the most important thing in the world. Those close to you will have plenty of time to enjoy the product when it’s finished.

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