How long is a standard session?
1 full day is from 9am - 6pm (9 hours), any hours outside of this will be charged at £30 per hour, however start times are flexible up to 12pm (midday). If you do not need a full day, the session will be charged at the hourly rate (£30 per hour).
When getting in touch to book a session please try and be realistic as to what you want to achieve within your budget and time frame, we have examples below to guide you but we will advise you further if we think you'd be better off booking more time or recording less songs.
To discuss your project with us or if you want to come and see the studio in person for a coffee and chat, please use the request a quote form.
Have a specific project in mind?
If it's just you and an acoustic guitar and you want to record an intimate live session in a few hours, or you're in a band and want to make the best rock record of the year, we can not only handle both extremes but we can work with you to arrange a proper time table and at a fair price so get in touch!
How much time do I need to book?
This depends entirely on what you want from a session. At the Boneyard, we are used to doing everything from a single song demo to full production albums. A single song can take hours to record and mix or it can take days, it doesn't take a genius to figure out which one is going to sound better. Here's a rough estimate based on a band with 2 guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and a singer recording one 3-4 minute song at varying qualities...
- Demo Quality - 1 day if recording parts seperately. 3-4 hours if tracking live (not recommended in our modestly sized live room). Bear in mind, recordings that are this rushed and of this quality are only any good for new bands that just want to put a song online for their friends to listen to. Record labels, major or indie would not get past listening to the first few seconds of a recording like this these days. Radio stations would also "kindly decline" playing your song.
- Standard Quality - 2 days. A full day recording and a full day mixing. This is the popular choice with most up and coming acts. Ideal for local radio play and submitting to potential labels. A lot of people think a full day to record one song seems excessive but the amount of time and care put into proper mic placement, tweaking all the dials and using the right guitar / amp combo (plus many other variables) to find "that sound" can make all the difference. Plus if a band is not fully rehearsed (you'd be surprised!) and cannot nail each take near note perfect, then we'd have to edit multiple takes together to get the perfect take before we can even begin mixing. Sure, the odd mistake or peculiar guitar bend can make you sound more "human" but not if there's 25 of them in a 3 minute song... So make sure you're well rehearsed and tight if you don't want to waste time (and money!).
- Release Quality - 3-5 days. This is for the most ambitious and experienced artists out there, usually with aims of an EP or Album release either on their own or with a label. This is where "that sound" can become "THE sound". Much more time and care can be spent recording, doing overdubs, sampling drums, editing, vocal tuning (if needed) and finally mixing. The mixing would usually take 2 days for this sort of job - a day to get the mix sounding great, a night to rest and reflect with fresh ears the next day, which is where it can turn from great, to amazing. Naturally this is our favourite kind of job as it's something everyone can look back on and still be just as proud of years later.
Know what you want? Let us know!
How Do I Prepare For A Recording Session?
As already mentioned, rehearsing is vital. If you've written the song the day before, you not only need to be sure that it's worth recording but you need to be sure that you can deliver the performance. Only the most experienced players (the sort that play and / or tour constantly) can really pull that off.
If you're bringing your own gear as most people prefer to do, make sure it's up to recording standard. Everything mentioned below has happened during sessions, otherwise we wouldn't need to point these things out. We'll briefly go over the more common instruments...
You are welcome to use our Mapex kit, which is always ready to record if you book time with an in-house engineer. However, we do expect you at least bring breakables (snare, cymbals, stool, stands and sticks). If you want to bring your own kit, make sure you read everything below.
Cymbals and hi-hats - cracks, dents or chunks missing are a no-no. There is nothing we can do to fix how bad they will sound on record other than use a drum machine, which nobody wants to resort to if you've brought the real thing. Cheap cymbals also sound cheap so try and borrow some better ones if yours are from a "starter pack". Cymbals with a short decay sound better in faster songs (less washy). If you want your cymbals to sound bright, buy some cymbal cleaner. If you want them darker, leave them "dirty".
Foot-pedals, chains and stands - if anything squeaks while you play, get some WD40 on it - unless you like hearing squeaks.
Kick, Snare & Toms - make sure they are properly tuned. We can tune drum kits here but if we do it for you, it'll end up costing you and your band mates in time as well as money. Old and worn in heads on snares and toms will sound dull and lifeless. If that's the sound you're aiming for and it suits your style of music, fine. Otherwise, swap them for fresh heads (at least top heads). If your budget is tight, make sure you replace one thing - the snare head.
Stick thickness can make a bigger difference than you think. The thicker the stick, the more weight behind your hit. You'll feel and hear the difference when you go thinner or thicker, but don't do it the day before you arrive. if you decide to change, get comfortable with your new thickness and weight first.
Bass & Guitar Players
Intonation is without a doubt, one of the biggest problems we get in the studio which is why it's going first. Followed closely by it's ugly cousin, Fret Buzz. 2 of the more obvious signs that a guitar or bass is not set up properly. Get your guitars properly set up before coming into the studio and when you do, test it there and then before handing over any money.
Check the tuning of your thickest string when played open (with a tuner!) - check the 12th fret (with a tuner!). If it's OK, move on to the next string, check the open and the 12th fret of each string all the way to the thinnest string. If the 12th fret is sharp or flat (in that you can not only see it, but hear it too!) - the job isn't done. If it's OK, check every string and every fret for buzz - you can only get away with buzz if it's in an area your fingers are never going to visit.
We can arrange a set up at a local music shop we have a good relationship with, if you do not know anyone that can do it for you. This is exclusively for Boneyard clients only and will have to be done on day 1 of your session, also costing you extra (£30-40 per instrument). This service is not available at the shop otherwise which is why we are not naming them here.
If you are in a particular tuning - get it set up in that tuning!
Electrics and cables - Scratches, clicks and pops coming out of your amp are going to slow the session down, if not stop it all together. Make sure you are using good quality cables before we blame your guitar. And make sure they are the correct cables, at the right point; instrument / speaker / patch, etc. If they are all good, then we'll blame the guitar. Your options are then to hope you brought a working spare, or to go and get that one fixed.
Strings - Guitarists... new strings sound bright and punchy, old sound dull and wooly. Too old looks rusty and doesn't hold tuning - your choice. Lower tunings require thicker gauge strings to sound tight, heavy and hold tuning properly. Bassists... new strings will usually sound too bright and percussive... think Korn, if that's what you want - cool. The older the strings get, the more rounder they sound but that also leads to dull if they're too old. If they are really old and sound dull, you might want to change them now and play them in a little before the session.
It may be stating the obvious but your voice is a muscle, if you don't warm up into singing and cool down after a session, you risk hurting it and we've had to stop more than one session because the singer has had enough after a couple of takes. Most people push harder in the studio thinking it will sound better, that one is from personal experience as well as seeing clients doing it. Take some time to find some videos on Youtube about warming up, cooling down, breathing and proper technique if you're not a trained singer.
If you don't bring your lyrics, there's a chance you'll not only forget what you're supposed to be singing but you'll completely forget the English language too.
And finally (for everyone)...
Egos are for the stage, not the studio. Any egos entering the studio will either leave by it's own choice or be destroyed on sight once it's weakness has been identified.