When it comes to recording, mixing and mastering (and most other parts of the music industry), a lot of questions seem to go unanswered. While a quick google search can find you the answer to pretty much anythingwe’ve decided to put together a section with some questions we’ve been asked frequently over the years. The answers we’ve provided are based on our experience in the industry and are by no means the law!

If you have any questions that you’d like to ask us, please mail us and we will add them to the FAQs!

What is the difference between pre-production and production?

Pre-production is one of the most overlooked parts in the creation of songs, albums and EPs. It’s the part that happens after the band has written the song, but before the band gets into studio. Having a producer (or any outside party) there to guide you through pre-production is essential. It also saves the band and/or label loads of money because valuable time spent in studio is not wasted trying to decide which hook is best, if the lyrics should change, or even if the song is good enough to record!

During pre-production, the band and producer filter through all the band’s song ideas and decide on the best tracks to record. Together you’ll also refine each song so that each member of the band knows what parts to learn and what their role is during recording. The great thing about pre-prod is that it can be done in almost any space – a home studio, rehearsal studio, even over the web (if the artist has the ability to record their demos).

Do we even need a producer?

The short answer is yes. Producers form an integral part of the creative process of recording a song. They can be likened to the director of a movie – they get given the raw materials (the script / the song), and they have the vision (from the studio + producers / from the band/label) and they make sure that the final product is delivered, up-to standard, on time, within budget, and it sounding amazing! Bands entrust a producer to get a sound for them; to help them define their sound! Producers help an artist choose the best songs to record, they help the band refine the melody, the hooks, and the lyrics, and they make sure the band’s vision is met when the songs are finished.

Another key role of the producer is to get the best performance out of each band member in studio. It’s also their job to know when the best take has been recorded and to not waste studio time recording the same part over and over until it’s ‘perfect’.

Another way of looking at it is to ask yourself why all of the top artists almost always use a top producer! Choosing the right producer can make or break an album.

What is the difference between mixing and mastering?

A lot of people get confused by these 2 parts of the process. Mixing is when a mix engineer takes all the separate tracks that have been recorded (drums, guitars, keyboards, vocals, percussion) and mixes them together so they are balanced (level and EQ wise). Mastering happens after mixing, usually by a separate engineer, and is the process of getting all the songs on an EP or album to sound cohesive. The mastering engineer will balance levels, EQ and compression across all the tracks on the album and make sure the tracks sound good on all types of devices (everything from hi-end stereos and car stereos, to iPhone headphones and Bluetooth speakers).

If we only have budget for 3 days in studio (for instance), should we try record and mix as many tracks as possible or do fewer tracks at a slower pace?

We would always suggest recording fewer tracks, no matter what your budget is. With many years experience in the industry, we’ve found out that it’s always better to have 2 or 3 tracks that are awesome, as opposed to 6-8 tracks that are all average because they were rushed. Radio is only looking for one song, and let’s be honest – these day’s it’s all about the single! Rather focus your energy, time and budget on getting a few amazing tracks laid down, and then when you’ve saved a bit more – focus on finishing a full EP or album.