Philosophy

At HGRS I work with an eye (or rather an ear) toward the final product.  What are you trying to accomplish?  What means do you take to get there?  I'm not hung up on the latest/greatest/most expensive gear/software (although often there are reasons those ARE the greatest).  No, if the sound you want is produced by a $3 mic with waxed paper, then by all means, use the $3 mic and waxed paper!  But we do insist on doing it right.

I also adjust my approach for the type of recording or the style of music, etc.  This business is infinitely variable in what works and what people want, what people hear.  While I respect the tried-and-true methods for certain sounds, I love to experiment and make room for "happy accidents" that so often "make" the recording that much more special and unique.

My goal is to produce and capture the sound in your head, and maybe introduce you to other possibilities when you're not quite sure what that sound in your head IS.  It's always nice to know exactly what you want, but that's not always the case with creative people!  Sometimes you just have to experiment and discover something new.  I'll help you with that process and capture it.

 

How Do You Like To Record?

I'm a musician as well as an engineer and producer.  I have a preferred way to record based on years of experience and personal style.  I'm not saying this works for all bands/artists or musical styles, and I certainly don't mean to impose this on anyone, but let me explain my choices.

I enjoy recording a band as a unit.  I feel that if you are trying to capture the feeling of a live performance, or a cohesive unit that IS a band, then recording while playing together is one of the best ways to accomplish that.  To that end, I've set the studio up to allow the rhythm section of the band to perform while recording all parts/instruments at once.  Some say this is the "old fashioned" way of recording, using 10, 16, or more tracks at once. 

As an example, let's say you are a 5-piece rock band - drums, 2 guitars, bass guitar and lead singer.  This is roughly 12 tracks.  In the studio we can mic or line-in everything and get pretty good separation and get a great rhythm section recorded, using a scratch vocal track that will be removed later after full vocal tracks are added.  Think of the scratch vocal track as just a way to keep everyone on cue when recording the guitars, bass and drums.  Then we go back and add leads, backgrounds, and other overdubs/tracks as needed for the song arrangement.

This approach provides a very musical and "tight" feel to the recording (assuming the band is tight).  This works well for bands that play out often and work well together, or those who have really done their homework and practiced before coming into the studio.

Of course, that's not for everyone.  Sometimes scheduling, band attitudes, or just nerves make for tense situations and we can get better results by recording parts separately and combining them.  Some very big songs were done this way.  However, this kind of thing can take more (sometimes a LOT more) mixing time to make things work together. 

I guess what I'm really saying is, you have to remain flexible to get the best sound, and we are very flexible here at HGRS.  We'll work with you, and even provide producers, musicians, instruments and gear, etc. to help you get the sound you want.  So talk to us about your next project and we'll come up with a solution together.

 

Hiring HGRS for Mixing and Producing

HGRS also does mixing and producing for those of you who like to do your own tracking.  I welcome your tracks and am set up to import and export from almost any DAW.  However, there are things you can do to make it much easier for us (and overall less time-consuming, and remember, TIME=MONEY).  Rather than go down through the list, take a look at this video by Glenn Fricker at Spectre Sound Studios.  Yeah, he's funny as well as abrasive, but the info he imparts is right on:

(Check out his other videos, too!)

What's more, most of this can be done via file transfers over the Internet, so you don't ever have to show your face here in the studio!  ;-)  Contact me if you'd like to work this way. 

 

How To Prepare For Your Recording Session

I see it all the time.  An artist or band comes in and wants to record their new song, but they haven't figured out all the parts or who is going to sing what harmony, etc.  Well, guys, the clock is ticking and I get paid by the hour.  Do you really want to waste my time and your money figuring out the harmonies on the chorus in the studio?  That's not a prudent decision.  Do us both a favor and prepare, prepare, prepare!

So to prepare for your studio session, have the song's arrangement worked out and practiced well in advance.  You should have refined your arrangement at home or at your practice venue and already know all the parts, what they require musically, and who will be performing them.  Understand what instruments and gear you need to bring and what will be available at the studio, if you need those.   

  • Do plan to take time to familiarize yourself with the studio gear a little - for example most guitarists can't easily go from playing a Strat to a Les Paul for the recording sessions and still play with their same style - so be prepared for this. 
  • Do write things down - reading lead sheets, chords, or lyrics while recording is not a weakness - it's a strength and often bolsters your confidence so you can get your best performance captured forever. 
  • Do try to book time when you are at your best - if you always wake up with a froggy voice and you sing best at night, book your recording time at night.  We're flexible!  If you are sick, reschedule!

I'm not saying you can't experiment in the studio.  Just be prepared to get your arranged sound down and then experiment with whatever budget you have left.

 

C2logo long