What to expect when you come in to record at Big Time Studio

In most cases bands/ artists come to the studio with a pretty good idea of what they want, but other times they're looking for some direction when it comes to overall sound or even arrangements. I like to take an active roll in the production process and will make suggestions such as changing a kick drum pattern in a particular part or adding a harmony vocal here or there. Some times I'll throw an idea out and it sticks and sometimes it doesn't. I have no ego attached to it. I will defer to the artists and let them make the call. My general philosophy is to always do what best serves the song.

Doing the Session

l like to record a band as "live" as possible. In all my years of producing and engineering I've found that the energy is always better if the whole band or at least most of the band is playing along while recording the tracks. Many times we start with the intention of replacing the lead vocal, but when we get to that stage we find that the intensity is not there. There is indeed an art to achieving that same intensity as when performing with the band, sometimes we get there, sometimes we end up liking the "scratch" vocal better. Sometimes everything is fine except for one or two lines, in which case we can punch in and replace those. You can do amazing things with Pro-tools!

Tips for preparation

Make sure your gear is in good shape. Change drum heads and have them tuned up and such...change strings on guitars too, unless you just really dig the way they sound with old strings. I've found that guitars intonate better with new strings.


After the recording and mixing is complete, your songs need to be mastered to even out the levels from song to song so you're not having to turn one song up to hear it and the next one down etc. also to push the level of all the songs up to where your CD is as loud and punchy as your favorite major label artist. I do this with compression and limiting.
And finally, sequencing the order of the songs and getting the spacing between them right.

How long does it take?

I've had bands come in and record, mix and master their entire CD in one day. I've had people who will spend a week mixing one song. A lot depends on what you want to get out of it …is it a demo, is it a full-fledged CD project? I have a very efficient system and I know it well, so how long it takes depends more on you than on me. It also goes without saying, the more rehearsed you are, the quicker it will go.

What about Artwork and Duplication?

We offer CD art services. Using Photo Shop and Illustrator, we can lay out the CD art and get it ready for print. We'll give you the files on CD, which any duplication facility will be able to open up and work from. We also have a number of duplication businesses that we can refer you to.