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Production and Pre-Production Recording Services

Music production means different things to many different people. A producer is responsible for the final sound of a record. A producer provides advice about the choice of material, the arrangements of the material, the  type of musical genre  for the tunes, choice of session players, and where the finished project is mastered.

One of our strong points at Sound Heaven is that we offer a full range of production recording services, ranging from pre-production right through to the recording , mixing  and mastering stage of the project.

A producer can also be someone who programs  tracks with a computer  for a rapper to rap over later, with very little interaction between the two. Sometimes, producers write arrangements for thei clients, other producers employ people to do those tasks.

Our main engineer John Stuart has years of experience as a composer and arranger, and also as a professional musician.When he works with clients, he offers assistance that's way beyond what most studio engineers can offer.

In practice, our clients take advantage of our music production services in different ways. Some people seek more assistance with the pre-production stage; others bring songs that are ready to record, but need assistance with getting musicians to play.

John is also a multi-instrumentalist. Guitars and percussion are his main instruments, but he'll often assist by laying down simple bass or keyboard tracks for somebody's song.

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Pre-production Services and Song-Doctoring

The pre-production process begins with  meetings  between the artist and the producer  to pick out the songs  or tunes to be recorded. If the artist has original material, work is done to perfect the songs (often known as song doctoring) to ensure that the best possible versions of the songs are recorded. Sometimes it is just a matter of  writing out the songs as they stand. The artist and producer will discuss the vision for the tunes  and various strategies for realising  their ideas. Budget is a major consideration in these  discussions.

If the client is a group or band, our producer will most likely attend rehearsals, with a view to achieving the best possible result once the band arrives in the studio.Special attention will be given to the arrangements, beginnings and endings to make sure the band is tight and relaxed with the material.  The better rehearsed a band is the more likely they are to produce that magic take.

For more about singer-songwriter production, song-doctoring and songwriting, visit our Songwriting page.
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Music Production Recording Services

Once the arrangements have been finalised, it's time to put them down. At Sound Heaven Studios we try to get as many people playing together as possible.  The first objective is to get great takes for the rhythm section (bass and drums). Once that has been achieved, the overdubbing process an begin.

Some types of music do not require  drums and bass to be recorded live. However even if they are electronic, drums and bass are usually recorded first. Some groups, such as string quartets, folk and jazz groups, need to play live together to achieve a collective take that truly represents their music.

How long this takes is one of those impossible questions to answer. If a group of people are well rehearsed, the process can be extremely quick. Even so, if the budget is flexible enough, many artists record their song on a couple of different days, then choose the best takes.

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Overdubbing and Production Development

Once the basic rhythm section takes have been achieved, the various other instruments will be re recorded with more attention given to the sounds.  The guitar amps maybe  mic'ed up with more than one mic. Strings or horns may be added to the track, the arrangements being written to go with what has already been recorded. Specialist musicians may be called in to add to the music. Most important of all is the time spent on the lead and backing vocal parts: These are almost always the most  prominent and important parts of the final track.

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Production and Editing

Once the recording process has been completed, editing begins.  On the simplest level editing means removing parts that, on reflection, no longer suit the music. It can also mean tightening the tracks so that the performances are more exciting to listen to. Parts may be moved from one part of the song to another, bad notes repaired, or vocals tuned.

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Mixing

When the tracks are ready to go, the process of Mixing begins. Mixing involves perfecting the audio, equalising and compressing each individual track (or not) so they together create an irresistable audio blend. Mixing also involves balancing the levels of each track so that  the potential of the music can be fully realised.

The time mixing takes is usually controlled by the budget available. Generally, simple tracks can be quick, but more complex tracks take longer. It's good to allow a full day for a complex track, plus another hour or so at some point the next day or a couple of days later to make sure that everything is fine. Having said this, we've mixed entire albums in a day or so. It just depends....

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Mastering

The final job in music production is mastering. Mastering invovles evening out the levels between tracks, and applying the final equalisation and compression to the whole recording. For more about mastering and what's involved in this process, visit our mastering page.

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Demo Production

As you can see from  the above, producing an album or single can be a complex and time consuming task.

At Sound Heaven we have a couple of multi-instrumentalists who can produce a simple demo for a song  in short time. It is important to understand , that these " instant " demos are not going to compare with fully fledged productions.   Without  preparation you will be limited to what the individual can come up with at that moment . It will be one version, it may not be the perfect verson.


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