The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Tags: , ,

A question to the seasoned recording engineers - Classical Music Dynamic Microphones
Old 5 days ago
  #1
A question to the seasoned recording engineers - Classical Music

Dear all,

My wife wants to record a CD with "obscure" repertoire for viola and piano. While I am an amateur recordist, this project is way above my skills!

I wanted to know from you what information she should have on hand when contacting recording engineers to get a quote on pricing for the project (including recording sessions, editing, release etc).

Thank you so much for any information and your time!

PS: We're in the East coast of the USA, in the Tri-State area. We're trying to decide whether this would be a recording on location situation or going to someone's studio, also depending on costs.
Old 5 days ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 

i' look out for a good/large enough room with a nice piano - mono spot for viola, 2 mics for piano, stereo main pair, maybe an ambient pair.

i'd go for some separation between spot mics in case you should not like the (amount of) room sound in the main mics: you then could still use the spot mics to re-build a mix with additional digital reverbs.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
Thanks for these suggestions, but I'll not take on this project -- I'd rather have a professional do it. That's why I was wondering what information we should have on hand when contacting one to request a quote of how much the project would cost... We've been told by a fellow musician that a 1h/recording time should be budgeted for every 10min/music -- does that sound right? How about the editing, assuming nothing too crazy, but at a professional level (as both players are professionals).

Thanks!
Old 5 days ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

i mentioned those things first 'cause imo they are way more important than all the rest... (forgot to mention the piano tuner!)

find a room, it doesn't have to be a studio, in fact, i've been more successful with remote recordings than working in studios (there are of course some nice large studios but they tend to be very expensive).

time is heavily depending on music/playing/goals/gear: a sandor verres quartett i recently recorded took much more time than we all thought while some musac hardly ever needs much editing/time - with some experience, you could edit things on your own to further reduce costs (and by the end of the project, you will be an expert).

i never ever charge by the hour, always half or full days, same with gear: a room full of mic costs more than just a pc and a pair of speakers for editing.

prices can vary a lot, around here (switzerland/germany/france/italy), competion is stiff so you could find real pros who would do for a fixed rate of anything between €250 to €400 (yes, per day!)

for a cd, i'd consider two days of relaxed recording, maybe another two for editing (could be way less), one for mixing, half a day for mastering - how's that?

(i wouldn't be surprised if other folks would propose a vastly different scenario though...)
Old 4 days ago
  #5
Lives for gear
How much you are prepared to spend could largely depend upon the eventual scale of the project...is it simply a vanity/hobby CD destined to sell a dozen or 20 copies over the next 5-10 years, with some of the sales income being paid to still-living composers as royalty payments...or is it potentially material which could be on sold to larger enterprises like Naxos for wider promotion and distribution ?

It's doubtful whether anyone (apart from already-established esteemed recording artists) will enter the CD recording/production realm today expecting to make money from sales...or even recoup costs, if self-funded and relatively unknown ? So it pays to have some idea of the losses you're prepared to incur for the luxury of having a CD available with your name on it.

It's no longer 1996...we're in a file-sharing, download world now. However, that's a good thing for private CD releases, as it's entirely feasible for you to burn and print discs at home to a saleable, professional look and sound, without the commitment to 500 or more discs as a minimum outlay. Small short runs can be done at low cost, according to sales demand.

You could short-circuit a lot of expense by going directly to the direct download route...if the demographic of your eventual sales target audience are ok with that distribution conduit ?
Old 4 days ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
Thanks for these suggestions, but I'll not take on this project -- I'd rather have a professional do it. That's why I was wondering what information we should have on hand when contacting one to request a quote of how much the project would cost... We've been told by a fellow musician that a 1h/recording time should be budgeted for every 10min/music -- does that sound right? How about the editing, assuming nothing too crazy, but at a professional level (as both players are professionals).

Thanks!
10 minutes per hour of session for a release is flying. I’m generally happy if we get through 6 min/hour of session. There are always exceptions, but getting things right takes time. This is where a producer is gold. They will know how to manage performer expectations versus Recording needs.

Editing process for most of my CDs is between 15-35 hours of work depending on how heavily it is edited and how many rounds of editing happen.

Then another few hours for mixing, mastering and qc of the master that goes to replication.

-Ben
Old 4 days ago
  #7
Gear Nut
 
MBBCFP's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
Dear all,

My wife wants to record a CD with "obscure" repertoire for viola and piano. While I am an amateur recordist, this project is way above my skills!

I wanted to know from you what information she should have on hand when contacting recording engineers to get a quote on pricing for the project (including recording sessions, editing, release etc).

Thank you so much for any information and your time!

PS: We're in the East coast of the USA, in the Tri-State area. We're trying to decide whether this would be a recording on location situation or going to someone's studio, also depending on costs.
What do you define as the Tri-State area?
If you are near NY, call Arts Laureate (NorseHorse on GS).
If you are nearer Hampton Roads VA, call me. MikesMobileMics.com.
I agree that mobile recording in a good church can be cheaper and better than a "studio".
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Near Winchester, VA, give Sonos Luminus (Daniel Shores) a call.

You do know there are about 20 different "tri state areas" on the East coast, including Phineas and Ferb?
Old 4 days ago
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Why don't you want to try to take on this project yourself?

Is your wife a star soloist and looking for a releasedable album?
Old 4 days ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
Why don't you want to try to take on this project yourself?

Is your wife a star soloist and looking for a releasedable album?
Not a star soloist, but quite an accomplished performer with a terminal degree on her instrument (as I am, as well). I think she deserves a professional to work on this project, as much as I'd love to take it as a learning experience for myself - don't get me wrong!

We obviously don't anticipate recouping the costs of the project on sales (CDs, stream or downloads), but these types of "creative productions" are often considered in job applications and for tenure in Universities, as well as a good way to present oneself to concert series that could hire artists for concerts through the year. With that in mind, we have agreed that quality is important and I should probably let this to the pros.
Old 4 days ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
Near Winchester, VA, give Sonos Luminus (Daniel Shores) a call.

You do know there are about 20 different "tri state areas" on the East coast, including Phineas and Ferb?
We are between NYC and Boston -- I wasn't aware of all the different Tri-State in existence! Thanks for the clarification!
Old 4 days ago
  #12
Thank you all for the suggestions on people to call/contact!
Old 4 days ago
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
How much you are prepared to spend could largely depend upon the eventual scale of the project...is it simply a vanity/hobby CD destined to sell a dozen or 20 copies over the next 5-10 years, with some of the sales income being paid to still-living composers as royalty payments...or is it potentially material which could be on sold to larger enterprises like Naxos for wider promotion and distribution ?

It's doubtful whether anyone (apart from already-established esteemed recording artists) will enter the CD recording/production realm today expecting to make money from sales...or even recoup costs, if self-funded and relatively unknown ? So it pays to have some idea of the losses you're prepared to incur for the luxury of having a CD available with your name on it.

It's no longer 1996...we're in a file-sharing, download world now. However, that's a good thing for private CD releases, as it's entirely feasible for you to burn and print discs at home to a saleable, professional look and sound, without the commitment to 500 or more discs as a minimum outlay. Small short runs can be done at low cost, according to sales demand.

You could short-circuit a lot of expense by going directly to the direct download route...if the demographic of your eventual sales target audience are ok with that distribution conduit ?
Thanks for this response. Actually, we now think of a few labels that we an pursue... not sure about NAXOS, but it’s worth trying it, aling with a few others! I’d imagine we still need to take care of the recording, though? Or am I wrong?
Old 4 days ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Wyllys's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
10 minutes per hour of session for a release is flying. I’m generally happy if we get through 6 min/hour of session. There are always exceptions, but getting things right takes time. This is where a producer is gold. They will know how to manage performer expectations versus Recording needs.

Editing process for most of my CDs is between 15-35 hours of work depending on how heavily it is edited and how many rounds of editing happen.

Then another few hours for mixing, mastering and qc of the master that goes to replication.

-Ben
The statement in bold supercedes all other concerns. You need an objective overview from someone with a proven track record. All other considerations and decisions follow.

To the OP:

You have some recording experience but feel you need someone with more. How much experience do you have as a producer???
Old 4 days ago
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
Thanks for this response. Actually, we now think of a few labels that we an pursue... not sure about NAXOS, but it’s worth trying it, aling with a few others! I’d imagine we still need to take care of the recording, though? Or am I wrong?
Yes, post 2000 or so the script goes thus: you spend the money up-front, record, edit and probably master it yourself...then shop it around to labels (from niche to Naxos) and see if they'll take on the distribution (and perhaps the packaging/design also, perhaps not ?)

Try as hard as your time and energies permit to get it noticed and adopted.....all the time realising you probably have better odds of winning the lottery....but if the material and track selection matches a gap in what they currently offer or specialise in, you could just strike it lucky ?
Old 4 days ago
  #16
Gear Addict
 
fred2bern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
prices can vary a lot, around here (switzerland/germany/france/italy), competion is stiff so you could find real pros who would do for a fixed rate of anything between €250 to €400 (yes, per day!)

for a cd, i'd consider two days of relaxed recording, maybe another two for editing (could be way less), one for mixing, half a day for mastering - how's that?
Most of time I do agree with deedeeyeah but:

I work in the same area and it's more around €1000/day for chamber music + room location + piano + piano tuner.
Here in Switzerland, just for an idea, when you book one of the best sounding room for chamber music to record in, wich is the radio studio in Zürich, it is:
CHF 1000 for the room,
CHF 250 for the control room,
CHF 250 for the Steinway rental and
CHF 250 for the tuning.
For a day....

That means, without any staff, quality producer etc. it's already CHF1750 a day.

For a CD, it is a 3 to 4 days production by my side.
To me 2 days can't be "relaxed" recording but, once more, just my point of view.

My experience is you get 15mn of good final takes every 3 hours.
A session day, once more with me, is 2x 3 hours. It means 1/2 hour a day.
A CD is around 70/75mn (if you make a 40mn cd it's hard to sell to the big sailors like JPC etc.)
so:
1 day: setup 3 hours/ sound check 3 hours (no sound for the record)
2 day first 15mn 3 hours / another 15mn 3 hours
3 day another 15mn 3 hours/ another 15mn 3 hours (we have a one hour production)
4 day another 15mn (now we have a nice CD timing) and the 3 hours safety... then unsetup.

Of course this is how I work and it can be really different for other people... but there is a price under you can't go... a piano tuner here is around 150/200 for a short lifting so when you say you work for 250 to 400, no offense but when do you win money?

Once more, just my experience.

Fred.

update: 1CHF is 1USD today (11/2018)

Last edited by fred2bern; 4 days ago at 04:01 PM.. Reason: update
Old 4 days ago
  #17
Lives for gear
Here's a very comprehensive US-based CD project replication costings resource....hours of research fun for you both lies ahead !

CD Duplication | CD Replication | DVD Duplication | Disc Manufacturing
Old 4 days ago
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Here's a very comprehensive US-based CD project replication costings resource....hours of research fun for you both lies ahead !

CD Duplication | CD Replication | DVD Duplication | Disc Manufacturing
Thanks for the link! Having a look at it, already!
Old 4 days ago
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern View Post
Most of time I do agree with deedeeyeah but:

I work in the same area and it's more around €1000/day for chamber music + room location + piano + piano tuner.
Here in Switzerland, just for an idea, when you book one of the best sounding room for chamber music to record in, wich is the radio studio in Zürich, it is:
CHF 1000 for the room,
CHF 250 for the control room,
CHF 250 for the Steinway rental and
CHF 250 for the tuning.
For a day....

That means, without any staff, quality producer etc. it's already CHF1750 a day.

For a CD, it is a 3 to 4 days production by my side.
To me 2 days can't be "relaxed" recording but, once more, just my point of view.

My experience is you get 15mn of good final takes every 3 hours.
A session day, once more with me, is 2x 3 hours. It means 1/2 hour a day.
A CD is around 70/75mn (if you make a 40mn cd it's hard to sell to the big sailors like JPC etc.)
so:
1 day: setup 3 hours/ sound check 3 hours (no sound for the record)
2 day first 15mn 3 hours / another 15mn 3 hours
3 day another 15mn 3 hours/ another 15mn 3 hours (we have a one hour production)
4 day another 15mn (now we have a nice CD timing) and the 3 hours safety... then unsetup.

Of course this is how I work and it can be really different for other people... but there is a price under you can't go... a piano tuner here is around 150/200 for a short lifting so when you say you work for 250 to 400, no offense but when do you win money?

Once more, just my experience.

Fred.
Thanks you -- this is very helpful!
Old 4 days ago
  #20
[QUOTE=To the OP:

You have some recording experience but feel you need someone with more. How much experience do you have as a producer???[/QUOTE]

Unfortunately, even less experience as a producer than recording :-( -- I wouldn't mind sitting in the sessions and learning a bit!
Old 4 days ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Wyllys's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
Unfortunately, even less experience as a producer than recording :-( -- I wouldn't mind sitting in the sessions and learning a bit!
Sounds like you're getting good info from all. Money spent for a producer means the rest of your budget is not wasted. A really good studio sort of includes production if you ask the right questions, but I like to have my own on site to work with the house engineers.

Best money I ever spent. Good luck!
Old 4 days ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern View Post
Most of time I do agree with deedeeyeah but:

I work in the same area and it's more around €1000/day for chamber music + room location + piano + piano tuner.
Here in Switzerland, just for an idea, when you book one of the best sounding room for chamber music to record in, wich is the radio studio in Zürich, it is:
CHF 1000 for the room,
CHF 250 for the control room,
CHF 250 for the Steinway rental and
CHF 250 for the tuning.
For a day....

That means, without any staff, quality producer etc. it's already CHF1750 a day.

For a CD, it is a 3 to 4 days production by my side.
To me 2 days can't be "relaxed" recording but, once more, just my point of view.

My experience is you get 15mn of good final takes every 3 hours.
A session day, once more with me, is 2x 3 hours. It means 1/2 hour a day.
A CD is around 70/75mn (if you make a 40mn cd it's hard to sell to the big sailors like JPC etc.)
so:
1 day: setup 3 hours/ sound check 3 hours (no sound for the record)
2 day first 15mn 3 hours / another 15mn 3 hours
3 day another 15mn 3 hours/ another 15mn 3 hours (we have a one hour production)
4 day another 15mn (now we have a nice CD timing) and the 3 hours safety... then unsetup.

Of course this is how I work and it can be really different for other people... but there is a price under you can't go... a piano tuner here is around 150/200 for a short lifting so when you say you work for 250 to 400, no offense but when do you win money?

Once more, just my experience.

Fred.

update: 1CHF is 1USD today (11/2018)
funny you mention the radio studio zürich: i did most of the cabling in the upper rooms/studios some years ago.

the quote you mentioned for the large room is exactly the reason why i never rent empty spaces for that amount of money! and although being close, difference between zürich and basel are considerable, especially in the sense that for every job offered here you'll get 10 guys ready to do any job for €9.99 per hour (and travel 300km from france or germany - and they are good, eager to learn even more, work min. 12 hours per day and even bring their favourite mics to a recording session)!

but to answer your question: i'm not making any money recording/mixing chamber music, i do it for my pleasure and entertainment, it's the bigger jobs and live production which pay for my bills (and for chamber music).
taking too much money from smaller projects essential would kill so many of the them; going beyond figures as mentioned in my previous post is simply not an option for the vast majority of them (the piano rental and the piano tuner need to get paid, but that's about it).
yet i'm rather involved in a couple of those 'odd and off' productions (for artistic reasons) than doing another vivaldi recording for some of the better known orchestras...
Old 4 days ago
  #23
Gear Addict
 
fred2bern's Avatar
 

"every job offered here you'll get 10 guys ready to do any job for €9.99 per hour (and travel 300km from france or germany - and they are good, eager to learn even more, work min. 12 hours per day and even bring their favourite mics to a recording session".

9.99 for an hour, it's a joke. And what are their favourite microphones for this price? a SM57 after one year saving money for it?
Come on, they have to pay their own flat, bills, family life etc..., and to come from France or Germany, what's the cost of the travel? where do they sleep? in their own cars?

You wrote:
" for a cd, i'd consider two days of relaxed recording"
(a man who works for 9.99 is not a relaxed man)... but OK.

You'll never find artists recording 12 hours a day on top for every minute so:
we imagine this 9.99 per hour guy coming in Switzerland for a prod. He works for you, 2 days. OK.
We imagine he works 12 hours a day, as you wrote. At the end of 2 days, it is CHF (or whatever)240...
minus the travel, one night in an hotel, Of course no restaurant, just a piece of bread and that's it.

If it's ok for you no problem, but it is the absolut opposite of the way I work, and the way I consider people working with me.
I'm not saying I'm right you're wrong, just saying, because you just have bigger productions, that I hope you won't have one day to work for 9.99.

I can imagine it exists, I'm just sad to read it.
Old 4 days ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 

of course it's a joke! but sad reality...

pls note that i do NOT hire any of those folks for any kind of production i'm responsible for but i get to see enough of them on projects i'm getting hired to do.

nevertheless, having worked/recorded/toured in many places, i find rates around here highly exaggerated, especially when considering 'work' for many projects mostly means sticking a few mics up in the air and let the tape roll...
Old 2 days ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VlaVlnPlayer View Post
Not a star soloist, but quite an accomplished performer with a terminal degree on her instrument (as I am, as well). I think she deserves a professional to work on this project, as much as I'd love to take it as a learning experience for myself - don't get me wrong!

We obviously don't anticipate recouping the costs of the project on sales (CDs, stream or downloads), but these types of "creative productions" are often considered in job applications and for tenure in Universities, as well as a good way to present oneself to concert series that could hire artists for concerts through the year. With that in mind, we have agreed that quality is important and I should probably let this to the pros.
I understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. (You could call it a career investment if needed.) I support the venture wholeheartedly! If the recording is of obscure viola and piano repertoire, chances are your wife, you, and the pianist knows more about the music than anyone else. You are the experts. Educate us. You can not control what people like, but you can control what people know by providing information about the music.
Good Luck
Old 2 days ago
  #26
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Given To Fly View Post
I understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. (You could call it a career investment if needed.) I support the venture wholeheartedly! If the recording is of obscure viola and piano repertoire, chances are your wife, you, and the pianist knows more about the music than anyone else. You are the experts. Educate us. You can not control what people like, but you can control what people know by providing information about the music.
Good Luck
Yes, this was the spirit of my notion that you might later 'on-sell' it to a small or niche (or Naxos) type of distribution outfit.

In that vein, it could also be worth video recording (to good standard) some of your final (pre-recording) rehearsal sessions...in the same way that others here are doing....as an additional sales pitch vehicle ?

I wouldn't make the video integral to the whole audio production process, but a few dedicated video sessions scattered throughout would harvest enough footage for you to use later...
Old 1 day ago
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
What you describe is awful. Pity the fools.

OP should record in a church or hall of at least 500 seats. 3days minimum, more success with four days. Session length is 3 hours. Don’t use anyone who is an amateur, ever.

It costs $5000 to release the project on Centaur Records or on MSR Classics records. They do not pay for recording.

I recommend MSR Classics because of their excellent distribution world wide.


QUOTE=deedeeyeah;13624440]funny you mention the radio studio zürich: i did most of the cabling in the upper rooms/studios some years ago.

the quote you mentioned for the large room is exactly the reason why i never rent empty spaces for that amount of money! and although being close, difference between zürich and basel are considerable, especially in the sense that for every job offered here you'll get 10 guys ready to do any job for €9.99 per hour (and travel 300km from france or germany - and they are good, eager to learn even more, work min. 12 hours per day and even bring their favourite mics to a recording session)!

but to answer your question: i'm not making any money recording/mixing chamber music, i do it for my pleasure and entertainment, it's the bigger jobs and live production which pay for my bills (and for chamber music).
taking too much money from smaller projects essential would kill so many of the them; going beyond figures as mentioned in my previous post is simply not an option for the vast majority of them (the piano rental and the piano tuner need to get paid, but that's about it).
yet i'm rather involved in a couple of those 'odd and off' productions (for artistic reasons) than doing another vivaldi recording for some of the better known orchestras...[/QUOTE]
Old 1 day ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
What you describe is awful. Pity the fools.

OP should record in a church or hall of at least 500 seats. 3days minimum, more success with four days. Session length is 3 hours. Don’t use anyone who is an amateur, ever.

It costs $5000 to release the project on Centaur Records or on MSR Classics records. They do not pay for recording.

I recommend MSR Classics because of their excellent distribution world wide.
imo the rather awful situation is a sign of a bigger problem: since teaching/education has become a business (maybe common in the anglo-saxon world but up until recently not that much elsewhere), there are so many people with 'some' education (barely above any quick wiki-'reasearch' though) desperately trying to get a job in our (shrinking) industry that they are literally prepared to do everything it takes to beef up their cv's!

unfortunately, this affects expectations of some musicians too: why should they spend big bucks on an experienced professional with pro gear if some young folks claim to offer the very same thing for almost no money? - i turn down way more projects than ever due to a huge mismatch in expectations regarding costs.

however, i sometimes choose to compete with the amateurs, offering services way above their heads for free or not much money on initial/smaller projects, but with a clear path to professionalism in any regard after start-up funding...
Old 1 day ago
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
What you describe is awful. Pity the fools.

OP should record in a church or hall of at least 500 seats. 3days minimum, more success with four days. Session length is 3 hours. Don’t use anyone who is an amateur, ever.

It costs $5000 to release the project on Centaur Records or on MSR Classics records. They do not pay for recording.

I recommend MSR Classics because of their excellent distribution world wide.
Thanks, Plush! This is very good information to us... we had started looking at Centaur and Albany Records, but were not aware of MSR Classics, which is almost in our backyard here in CT, according to their website! We'll definitely check this possibility, too!

Please excuse my ignorance, but when you say "It costs $5000 to release the project", would the $5k figure include the recording costs we'd pay, or this is just the standard agreement with the label? We'll be contacting them once we have some demos recorded from her recitals and a project written, after she's finished with the dissertation she's writing. In the meantime, all the info I've gathered from this forum is very helpful!

Thanks,
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump