Analog or digital and why?
We use a mixture of both analog & digital gear to obtain the best sound possible. Using this combination of analog and digital gear also creates diversity for the needs of the song. We can get any sound from warm Americana to crisp Hip-Hop.
What do you bring to a song?
At The Record Shop, clients have the chance to work with experienced, local songwriters, producers, and musicians. We look at every possible option to ensure your record sounds the best it can be, and more.
What's your typical work process?
Pre-production: We begin every project with a series of pre-production sessions. The first part of pre-production consists of a casual meeting to discuss the overall direction of your project. Before we can understand the type of record that you want to make, we need to learn your musical journey. What inspired you to become an artist? What impact do you want to make with your music? Most importantly, what do you want this record to say to its listeners? Once we know you as an artist, we can understand the record that you want to make.
Next, we go through the song selection process. You may already have a list of songs that are ready to record. You might have a catalog of ideas to build from. Either way, we want to hear all of your material so we can understand your depth as an artist, and help choose the best songs to create a well rounded album. Are you are an artist looking for songs to record? Do you need assistance in developing your ideas? We have a diverse catalog of material, and an eclectic songwriting team that can help you find what you are looking for.
Once we have the songs selected, we begin developing the blueprint for the production process. In this stage of pre-production we review the basic arrangement of the song, instrumentation, tempo, groove, melody, lyrics, etc. Some artists have many of these elements worked out ahead of time. Others ask for our guidance with these aspects. Our approach is entirely dependent upon what the songs call for and what the artist desires. Either way, this process is an essential aspect of ensuring that we take the proper approach in the production process. At the end of these sessions we want to be able to hear what the record should sound like before we step into the tracking room.
The final stage of pre-production is selecting the right recording facility and musicians (if required) for the project. Every record requires it’s own sonic identity. Therefore, one studio isn’t always right for every record. Because we work in a wide variety of genres, The Record Shop offers a diverse selection of state of the art recording equipment, microphones, and instruments to achieve the sound that you’re looking for. However, if we feel that your record would be captured more effectively in a different studio space, we may choose to utilize one of the many Nashville recording studios that we work with. Some of these studios include Sony Tree, Blackbird, and Ocean Way.
If you are hiring session players for your project, the most important part of this process is choosing the musicians that best fit your style. Nashville recording studios are lucky to have access to some of the best musicians in the world. Just like recording facilities, every great player isn’t necessarily great for every project. Therefore, we hand select the players for each session based on their ability to capture the vibe of the record. We go through this process together, to ensure that the musicians that you hire will provide exactly what you want to hear. Once we select the band, we send each player a detailed outline of our pre-production process and demos of the songs. The musicians will then have some time to get familiar with the material, and have a detailed discussion with the producer in preparation for the tracking session. When necessary, we may also schedule a rehearsal to run through the material before the tracking day.
We take these extra steps in the pre-production process to ensure that when it comes time to press record, every one in the room has the same vision. Then our focus becomes capturing the right performance that will bring your record to life.
Tracking Sessions: The next stage of the production process is the tracking sessions. This is where our preparation during pre-production really pays off. Every great recording has one thing in common. It captures a moment in time where inspiration, creativity, and musicianship find a perfect balance of emotional expression and precision.
During the tracking sessions, we take the time to get it right. From the placement of each microphone, to the performance of each part; every aspect is meticulously crafted to follow the blueprint that we laid out during pre-production. Sometimes that magic take happens on the first couple passes. Other times, it takes hours of patient repetition to capture the right feel. Either way, we will keep rolling until we have captured the moment where everything comes together just right. Our goal is to get every aspect perfect during tracking. We never rely on “fixing it in the mix.”
Vocal Sessions: The final stage of the recording process is usually the final vocal sessions. In preparation for the vocal sessions, we complete extensive editing, arrangement, and balancing to make sure that the track is inspiring to perform with. Next, we test the artists voice on a variety of microphones to find the one that best suits their tone. Once we have selected the best mic, we then compare which pre-amp and compressor combination responds best to the performance. Every part of the chain, from the artist’s voice to Pro Tools, provides its own unique color. Therefore, we take the time to find the proper combination that will provide the best sonic response.
Now that we have all of the technical details in place, it’s time to cut the vocal! Our main focus during these sessions is to capture the raw emotion that inspired the song. Every artist has their own approach. Some songs call for different methods, but once the vocal is complete we want it to embody an experience that the will capture the listener. Sometimes we run the song down top to bottom until we have the desired performance. In other cases, we will focus on the song in sections, recording multiple takes of the same part and then “comping” the best pieces into one final vocal. Regardless of the method, we work to make sure that every note, word, and breathe fall naturally and precisely in place. If that takes 30 minutes or all day, we will work it out together until we have a performance that authentically represents the track.
Mixing and Mastering: Once the recording is complete and approved by the artist, we begin the mixing and mastering process. In these stages, we reference our initial pre-production discussions to develop the overall sonic approach. In the mixing process, we utilize a variety of classic analog equipment and the latest in digital audio technology to achieve the desired balance. We prefer for the artist to be involved in each stage of the mixing process to ensure that we are achieving the sonic direction that they envision.
We begin with an initial mix to balance out the elements and enhance the track. Once we have the mix to a point where we feel it is sitting right, we have the artist review the mix and provide feedback. We then go back to make additional adjustments until we feel the mix is complete. At that point, we have the artist review the mix again, and continue to make adjustments until everyone is satisfied with track.
Upon approval of the mixes, we begin the mastering process. In this stage we rely on the trusted ears of some of the top mastering engineers in Nashville and abroad. As in every stage of production, we carefully select the mastering engineer based on what the record calls for.
Tell us about your studio setup.
At The Record Shop, we have two control rooms, Studio A & Studio B, two live rooms, and an Iso booth.
Studio A's control room is equipped with two ADAM S3X-H active midfield monitors, Pro Tools 12 HDX, Logic Studio, Burl Mothership 24x16, & a Vancouver 32x2 Mix Bus. Studio A's control room is also equipped with the following outboard gear:
-API 512 C (6)
-A Design PL1 (2)
-Chandler Germanium Pre-amp (2)
-Brent Avril 1073 (2)
-Vintech Audio 273
-Avalon 737 SP
-Daking Mic Pre IV
-Empirical Labs Distressor w/ Brit Mod (4)
-Purple Audio MC77 (2)
-Tube Tech CL1 B
-Chandler Zener Limiter
-Chandler Abbey Road Curve Bender
-Chandler Germanium Tone Control (2)
Studio B's control room is equipped with two Rokit V8's, Pro Tools 12 HDX, Logic Studio, AVID I/O 16x16, & an APOGEE AD16. Studio B's control room is also equipped with the following outboard gear:
-AVEDIS AUDIO MA5
-EMPIRICAL LABS DISTRESSOR W/BRIT MOD
At The Record Shop, we also use software & plug-ins made by the following companies:
-Native Instruments Komplete 10 Ultimate
-& much more…
When trying to get the best possible sound in a recording, microphone choice is key. Here at The Record Shop, we have a top of the line microphone selection including the following:
-Neumann U87 (3)
-Korby KAT 5 System
-Neumann KM 184 (matched pair)
-Coles 4038 (pair)
-Royer SF 12
-Telefunken 421 “vintage” (4)
-Electro Voice RE-20
-Shure SM 7B
-Shure SM 57 (5)
-Shure SM 58 (2)
The difference between a good sound, and a great sound, is the instrument you're playing. Here at The Record Shop, our clients have access to the following instruments:
-Gibson Les Paul ’58 Reissue
-Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass w/ EMG pick-up mod
-Marshall Silver Jubilee ’84 Stack
-Orange Rockerverb 50
-Marshall 4×12 Handwired England
-Hartke 4×10 bass cab
-Avid Eleven Rack (virtual processor)
-Looking for a specific amp for your record? Give us a call we can probably find it for you!
-Yamaha Motif MO6
Drums & Percussion:
-DW Classic Maple 5-piece Drum Set
-Excellent snare collection
-We have access to wide variety of classic and modern drum sets
-Nearly any instrument you ask for, we can find for your session
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
At The Record Shop, we offer a variety of services for our clients. These services include pre-procuction, tracking sessions, vocal sessions, live sound, mixing, mastering, and video production.