Tag Archives: budget recording

80 unfinished songs.

I just talked to an artist who was thinking about working with me, but decided to go the home recording route about two years ago. I don’t blame him for this decision, in that he got an advance from his label to create a record. He now has the freedom to record anything and everything in his awesome home studio, but does he? Since then, he has partially recorded around 80 songs. None of them are finished, and there is no record out.

My question to you is, where do you draw the line? Is the creative process just about the action of creating, or does it also involve the resolution of finishing.

This is one of the dangers of embarking on a home recording project without a dedicated engineer or producer. There may be no specific end point. Sometimes the limitless possibilities of home recording can be the most crippling thing for your record.

What if you prepared for your record in pre-production, but you could only afford a certain amount of time to do so?

and what if you cut your record live, making sure to get all the songs done in 3 days?

Maybe every note won’t be perfect, but it will create a record, and in my experience, it will create an exciting record this way. Usually, this can all be done for cheaper than the expensive vocal mic and preamp that you have been eyeing at Guitar Center (trust me, it doesn’t sound as nice as they are claiming)

After a recording like this is done, it has to be done. There is no going back. You can only move forward to new music, which is more creative than sitting in your bedroom trying to figure out how to autotune your home recorded vocal takes…..

If you are currently in a never ending home recording production, shoot me an email Shaneoconnorrecording@gmail.com

I can help your project to move along.

Getting a deal on studio time.

Getting a deal on studio time.


The saying “you get what you pay for” is often very true when shopping for the right studio to record in. A deal that is far below the average hourly rate of competitive studios is often a marketing gimmick to lure in new clients, or a plea to save a poorly staffed or soon to be closing studio. Although the rock bottom prices are often less than desirable in their outcome, there are ways to work with a studio owner so your record can be done in a nice facility, within your budget. 


Trust Your engineer, he probably knows whats up!

The first thing to understand, is that your engineer or producer probably has better leverage with studio owners in your town than you do. Begin talking with your engineer about how much studio time you really need to make your record happen the way you want it to. This is part of what I talked about in my Pre-Production video which I also posted today. 


Make a commitment and stick to it. 

If you decide with your producer/ engineer that your record should take around 14 days to complete, this puts you in a beneficial position in a couple of ways. First, if you set yourself a time limit (within reason) to cut a record, then your pre-production can act as a buffer to make sure you are organized and rehearsed to meet your deadline. Secondly, locking out 14 days of studio time can often yield a better day rate than booking two days, then waiting to book your next couple of sessions. A large lockout ensures the studio owner that their quota has been met for studio bookings. 


Head For the hills. 

Another great method to cut studio costs is looking outside of your city. There are many studios in rural areas  that will be much cheaper than studios in the city. They often provide very cheap (or free) accommodations for artists who book longer sessions. A huge benefit of working in the woods is the element of focus. If all you have to think about it making your record, the process becomes much more immediate, and things surprisingly get done faster when your bass player doesn’t have to meet his girlfriend for drinks. 



In the end, the cost of studio time is almost always proportional to what that studio has to offer. This is something that you really need to discuss with your engineer (a great reason to use a freelance engineer like myself… I don’t give a shit where we make the record, as long as we make the record). A studio that charges $70 an hour will probably have better maintenance of the gear, more instruments to choose from (look to my previous blogs about that one) and a nicer facility. For example, if you are looking to track your band in a live setting, a room with large iso rooms will sound much better than a room with one very big live room. If you are a solo artist and mainly work on overdubs, using a smaller studio for a longer time is probably a better choice.y

For more information on how you can make your next record better, shoot me an email ShaneOConnorRecording@gmail.com

Home Recordist Tips #1

Home Recordist Tip:

For the month of January, I am going to blog once a week about a tip for the home recordist. I find that although the tracks that I receive to mix from home studio setups are far better than even 3 years ago, there are still misconceptions and mistakes that I see in home brew recordings.

1. If you are recording in a digital format, the recording level does not need to come even close to peaking. It is totally fine to keep levels about half way through the dynamic range. In certain scenarios, this can actually help plugins to function better.

2. If in doubt of compressing, just don’t compress. Even if you just bought some fancy all-in-one soundgreaterizer box, if the source sounds better uncompressed leave it that way. I am fine with tracking a dry and a compressed track, but that leaves one more track to sift through in mix. It is usually more efficient to stick with the dry signal.

3. Label tracks for what they are, not who played them. I really don’t want to solo through 12 tracks all labeled “Tony”. Guitar Solo 1- 12 makes a lot more sense.

4. If something is supposed to have a specific sound, and it wasn’t captured to tape (crazy distorted delays going left and right like batman farting..) put a note in the session about it. Never assume that a mix engineer will know your grand master batman farting vision.

5. FOCUS ON THE PERFORMANCE! Unless you fancy yourself as an engineer first, and a musician second, take your time to focus on the performance and the vibe of the song. Don’t worry about tuning vocals, playing with drum replacement, and your latest guitar pedal. Get solid, inspired performances down and your record will come out well.