Cutting my first Demo CD

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Bloozman, Feb 28, 2006.


  1. Bloozman

    Bloozman Member

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    Ive bveen playing for over 40 years, and recently formed a blues band...We would like to cut a demo CD of maybe 6 songs to pass onto potential customers for gigs...can anyone ballpark what it would cost to make such an animal?...Im not looking for details, just a ballpark figure...Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Norcal_GIT_r

    Norcal_GIT_r Member

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    I guess it depends on where you live.
    Here in the sac area there are so many studios that they are all way under cutting each other for business.
    One of the guys from Tesla owns a multi million dollar studio with amazing gear and he has a hard time booking his studio at $50.00/hr.
     
  3. duffyguitarman

    duffyguitarman Member

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    You should be able to find a decent place for demo cutting for $25 an hr. Double that and your getting into much more serious territory in regards to gear, ect. That being said, I have heard plenty of bad sounding stuff come out of higher end studios and vice versa. Chat with the owner/engineer people at a few places and see what kind of vibe you get as to what they might do in the sessions with your band. Listen to some projects they have
    done.

    Good luck and have fun.

    Peace,
    duffy
     
  4. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    The biggest mistake inexperienced studio bands make in this situation seems to be having the material under rehearsed and especially under arranged. Put everything under a microscope before you ever set foot in a place with the meter running. Does the drummer habitually drag the chorus of song X? That kind of stuff. Recording is quick. Re-recording, overdubbing, and massaging in PT gets expensive quick.
     
  5. FlyingVBlues

    FlyingVBlues Gold Supporting Member

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    A few pre-production suggestions that will probably make things go faster and reduce your costs in the studio.....

    Don't rehearse in the studio. Figure out the song forms and the arrangements and get all of the issues worked out before setting foot in the studio. Go into the studio so well rehearsed that you can nail keepers in a few takes.

    Figure out exactly what the instrumentation is going to be before going into the studio. Draft a plan that defines the instrumentation for each song, and have a backup plan in case your first choices end up sounding bad.

    Try to minimize the need for overdubbing as much as possible. When you do have to overdub, stick with one instrument and go through all the songs at one time. Bands often want to finish each song one at a time, but that's tremendously inefficient. Instead, set up for the guitar overdubs and roll each song, and then do all the vocals, and so on.

    Make sure the engineer is familiar with the specific issues of recording the type of music you play. For example, a guy who usually only records Hip Hop tracks probably isn't the best choice for a blues album.

    Consider recording the bass through a high-end DI such as the Avalon Design U5.

    If you are looking for specific types of tones for drums, guitar, etc. bring in some reference CD's. That will help the engineer quickly understand exactly what you're looking for.

    If you determine that the drums are going to need tuning prior to starting your session discuss this with the engineer and have him/her bring in someone to do this. Most drummers don't have the skills to properly tune their drums. Hiring a professional who can do this quickly will end up saving you studio time (and thus money).

    Many drummers vary their timing slightly, and a click track is often used to help alleviate tempo shifting. If you're thinking about using a click track make sure your drummer is capable of, and comfortable with, playing to one before you go into the studio.

    Anticipate and plan for equipment failures. Make sure everything you bring into the studio is working properly, is properly intonated, etc. Make sure you have extra strings, fuses, straps, cords, batteries, tubes ect.

    FVB
     
  6. Bloozman

    Bloozman Member

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    Thanks Guys...Good suggestions!!
     
  7. Bloozman

    Bloozman Member

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    Would I be better off buying a machine like a Zoom MRS 1608?...That has 16 tracks, and will write a cd when the mixing is done...I know a guy who just graduated from some recording engineer school in Florida, and will do the work for cheap...he doesnt have any equipment, and I would buy the machine for about $800.00 and keep it for future use...any thoughts??
     
  8. duffyguitarman

    duffyguitarman Member

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    Do you have a full compliment of decent mics., maybe some pre's, monitors to mix on, a room that sounds good to record in, a snake, good headphones and headphone distribution mix/amp. Isolation for git amps. Isolation for some sort of control room environment so the engineer can really hear what is going to "tape" as it were. Lots of stands, GOOD booms for overheads, ect. Good cabling is essential.

    So now you see all the extra things that are needed outside of an actual recording device of some sort.
    It can be a pandora's box, trust me on this. I did it! :lol: If you think that is something you want do embark on and may have an aptitude for, then go for it.


    Peace,
    duffy
     
  9. granite

    granite Member

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    Many of the studios in my area have a daily rate (8hr block of time) for $500. This works out to be $62.50/hr. Remember that you will have to track the instruments and mix the songs. For a 5 song demo, 10 -15hrs sounds reasonable depending on how together you and your band are.
     
  10. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    If the point of the CD is only as a demo to get gigs, I wouldn't spend a lot of money on it. I think that a live stereo recording is just as good as an over-dubbed studio recording (and quite a bit cheaper) for these purposes.

    I'd set up a stereo mic in your recording space and play through your five songs a few times. Pick the best version of each song, maybe mess the tracks a little bit in software (normalize volume of tracks, EQ, compress, etc). You'll have a recording that sounds like your band live, since it is your band live, and you'll be done in an afternoon.

    There are lots of cool gadgets that concert tapers use to capture recordings, but I think you can get a mini-disc based one for not too much, especially if you're willing to buy used. They are useful for recording jams, practices, and gigs.

    Bryan
     
  11. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    We do a few of these. Usually about 12-15 hours, split into two sessions.

    Session One:

    Track drums, bass and rhythm instruments live, if possible. Fix any mistakes. Track solos, any other instrumental stuff. Do some vocals, if time allows.

    Session Two:

    Finish tracking vocals, edit/mix and do a quickie mastering job. Dump to CD and out the door...

    You should be able to find a great studio for $30-40/hr. Value vibe and people more than gear, as long as the samples they give you sound OK.

    Caveats and tips:

    It always takes twice as long as you think it will. This is as immutable a law as the speed of light.

    Background vox will kill HOURS of time, unless you do it all the time.

    Be willing to sacrifice on tones. There's not enough time to tweak the guitar sound for each song, unless you have it all worked out in advance and can do it w/one amp. <g> Also, your idea of good tone may not be exactly what you think it is, in the studio. Be flexible.

    It's better to have 3-4 songs done well, as you'll be lucky if most clubowners will even listen to 2, before asking you how many people you draw. <vbg>

    Trust your engineer. He's done a LOT more of this than you have, and if you've picked the right one, he'll deliver the goods, on budget and it'll sound great.

    Good Luck,

    Loudboy
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    It's good that you were clear about the purpose of the CD, because that's the first question I ask any client. In your case, you're selling yourself as a live band, so make a live recording. Forget the studio. You'll sound like every other CD they've gotten over the past three years and believe me, they stopped caring long ago. Today everybody knows that even the worst bands can make a decent CD.

    If there's a club where you have a following that has decent sound, that would be ideal. Don't forget to put a couple of mics out to capture the audience. If the crowd sounds like they're digging the show, having a good time and (ahem) spending money, THAT's music to a club owner's ears.

    First, plan out which songs you want on the CD plus a few more just in case. Rehearse until you're as tight and consistent as you can be. Find the most competent engineer you can who's willing to work cheap, maybe $200 a night. Listen to live recordings he's done in the past to see if there's a fit. If he has no experience with live tracking don't waste time, find someone else. Unless you can use that as a bargaining point to get him to cut his price so he can have it for his reel. Speaking for myself, I'd rather pay a litle more and know I'm going to have it done right the first time.

    Have him come to a show to get an idea of how you sound and how to proceed. If you can afford it, I'd recommend recording over two nights so you have at least a little coverage to choose from. Preferably two consecutive nights so the engineer can mark positions for the next night's show.

    Be well-rested, in good form and don't drink the nights you're recording. Warm up, raise your energy physically with some excercise immediately before going on stage. This is the best bang for your buck on your project because the higher your energy, the better your performance, audience and demo will be. It doesn't cost anything.

    Don't edit out every little clam. Let it sound authentic.

    You might be able to swing the whole thing for $1000 - 1500, not including duplication. It all depends on how good you and whoever you hire are.
     

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