Recording Sessions

Recording sessions are the starting place for almost all commercial and privately released CDs and downloads.  In their simplest form they are a collaboration between the performers and the recording crew to produce recorded material that with varying degrees of post-production will form an album.

Recording Session for Clarinet Classics
Recording session for Clarinet Classics

This collaboration is the most important aspect of successful sessions and it begins right at the planning stage when repertoire and venues are discussed – appropriate choice of venue can make all the difference to sessions, not only in acoustic terms but also in how the performers feel in the recording space.

For all sessions we provide both an engineer and producer – two separate people to do two quite distinct jobs.  The role of the engineer is to look after the technical aspects of the recording – microphone selection and location, music balancing or mixing and management of the tapes, CDs or hard-discs.  Our engineers are all musically trained, can read scores and understand the complexities of music of all types and will discuss your particular requirements, likes and dislikes.

The complimentary role of the producer is to ensure the smooth running of the sessions, sort out any problems as quickly as possible and make certain that the required repertoire is recorded to the highest possible standard in the available time.

But above all the producer must quickly win the trust and confidence of the performers, allowing them the freedom to concentrate on the performance.  The producer will guide the artiste through the session doing play-backs, re-takes and patches as required, often out of sequence, but always in the knowledge of what can be achieved in post-production.  With this careful production a performer should be able to achieve a performance well in excess of his or her expectations and with good pre-session planning come away with all the material recorded in the allotted time without resorting to a sense of panic or long over-runs !

Session score & 1st edit CD

Traditionally sessions are run in 3 hour blocks with a short break in the middle, with two such sessions per day – this is the standard format laid down by the Musicians Union in the UK but doesn’t have to be followed rigidly and we will always aim to be as flexible as possible.  However as a rough guide you should allow a minimum of 3 hours session time for each 20 minutes of finished music.  This assumes that the repertoire is well rehearsed and should be reduced to 12 to 15 minutes finished music per session if you expect to rehearse-record or anticipate tuning difficulties as might be found in baroque or difficult contemporary music.  This means that usually a full 74 minute CD will require a minimum of two days recording, but more often three days.  These are usually consecutive days but this is not essential and we have systems for re-creating microphone placements and mixes so that a project can be continued after a break of many months if necessary.

As well as the microphones, mixers and recording machines, for sessions we provide both talk-back, so that both the engineer and producer can speak with the artistes, and a red cue light to ensure that the artiste knows when we are recording (and to help get the adrenaline flowing!)

Rates for session recording start at £650 per day including the producer, engineer and all technical equipment.

We can also provide video recording facilities at sessions to produce short extracts from the session for promotional use on the Internet – please contact us for further details.