Recession-buster special!

We have decided to run a special on our day and half-day rates ($150/$250), we will WAIVE our normal setup fee (unless you are really far away). If you’d like to schedule some recording time for a rehearsal, performance, basic album tracks, etc. etc. then contact us and we’ll get you scheduled.

On-Location Recording

This site has been quiet, but I’ve been doing a lot of recording lately. Much of this is for Freakwitch, where I’ve been recording guitars along with the basic tracks that Jon Wyman recorded at his place several weeks ago.

My approach to recording has been working well. I find interesting rooms (such as a big open room in an old mill, a church, a dance studio, etc) and record. I (of course) bring acoustic panels with me, and generally set up so that I can get nice dry close mics (with panels), as well as huge room mics with lots of reverb. This way I can dial in the exact amount of reverb (which I can of course “carve” with EQ and compression etc.) that I want. This approach sounds better than any reverb plugin, in my opinion.

You can hear a great example of this in a recording I did a few months ago for some friends. They are a hand-drumming duo, so we recorded in a big live room (this one was at the mill). I didn’t mix this, but just did the tracking for them.

It’s a very interesting approach to recording. It makes gearlust somewhat of a moot point; with good mic technique, acoustic panels, good rooms, and good performances, you don’t need hyper-expensive boutique gear. So, send all your expensive mics and preamps to me, since you don’t need them anymore. ;-)

Part time recording, sound samples

Well, Crafted Recordings is now (more or less) up and running, though it is clearly a part-time thing for me. When I began manifesting CR a while back, it was before I had a massive job shift in my family…. I am now working fulltime in acoustics and don’t have as much time for recording as I would like.

This is actually a blessing, as it allows me only to take on projects that I’m really interested in, or feel like I could do a very good job on. So keep contacting me if you are interesting in having me record you. We can work out details, and I am always happy to take on new gigs as time permits.

It’s been fun recording the people I have so far. We “test drove” my new, laptop-based mobile recording rig in making the Freakwitch album Interconnected for the RPM Challenge. For those who don’t know, the RPM challenge is the music equivalent of National Novel Writing Month. We had to complete the album, start-to-finish, in one month. So the final result is OK, they all are rough mixes (no more than 2-3 hours spent mixing each song), and I violated The Golden Rule Of Mastering (never master your own work).

As such, they are great songs, hastily recorded, with crude drum programming, rough mixes and hack mastering job. :-) But hey, it sounds decent, and it was a good warmup for the next round of recordings, in which we wait until they are really finished until we release them. The best recording, sound-wise, was The Rain Song which you can hear on the Freakwitch RPM challenge page.


I have officially retired one of the racks, the mixer rack with the preamps in it. It was a good design in some ways, but it was not even close to portable enough. I now have a laptop for mobile recording. I still have 16 track capability, the same as before. I can provide several custom headphone mixes, and I still have the same mics.  All is quite well.

I’m now working fulltime for RealTraps as well. So I spend a lot of time thinking about how to achieve good sound. :-)

Studio Design/Acoustics, and updates

I have added a Studio Design/Acoustics page to this site. It will talk about my Acoustics consultation services, and it will house educational articles as I write them. The first such article is Three First Steps Toward A Good-Sounding Room.

As of late, I have been learning Google Sketchup, which is a great tool for doing 3D drawings. It’s quite easy to draw studio plans with it, once you get the hang of it.

I know acoustics well enough, but adding this skill will help my Studio Design/Acoustics Consulting. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Additionally, it will help my work with Realtraps. I’m pleased to say that I’ve accepted a fulltime job with them.

I’m also rethinking the rack design, although they are built they are just huge. I will likely keep the computer rack and modify it some (I want to change the angle of the screens). I also decided to go with a laptop for more portability. I can go with some smaller cases and be much more portable than these 2 racks. I won’t even need a trailer. :-D

I didn’t announce it, but I have booked my first client, even though Crafted Recording’s doors aren’t yet “officially” open. He’s a singer/songwriter; I’m looking forward to recording him.

Acoustics consulting with Realtraps

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve entered into a part-time consulting relationship with Realtraps. Realtraps is run by Ethan Winer (and his partner Doug Ferrara, as well has a half-dozen-ish employees). Ethan wrote the single best introduction to listening room acoustics that I know of; this article was my point of departure in developing an understanding of how to make rooms sound good. In addition to this (and other) articles, Ethan is more than generous with his expertise on various forums online that I hang out on. We started communicating a while ago via these forums, and we became friends. As of now we haven’t met in person, but it is likely that this unfortunate situation will be remedied soon. :-)

I’ll mostly be working in a “tech support” and public-educational role for them to begin, and it could eventually grow into more hours and duties. Time will tell. Anyway, this is a good relationship for both of us; it results in some income and a good “foot in the door” with a growing company/industry opportunity for me, and for them it’s another knowledgeable person on board to help them with their workload.

So if you’ve seen my forum posts about acoustics on various forums online, you will likely be seeing more of these. And I’ve recommended Realtraps (along with GIK acoustics) products without hesitation in the past, this end of things will also step up ;-) although I will still be helping DIYers with their projects as well. One of the things I admire most about Ethan is his aforementioned intellectual generosity as opposed to forcing his company’s products down peoples’ throats; he above all wants to help people understand room acoustics and get their rooms sounding good. And luckily, one of the simplest and least-expensive ways to do this is to invest in Realtraps products, so of course he doesn’t mind getting his excellent products into more listening rooms and recording studios along the way.

my creation…. LIIIIIIVESSSSS!

Both racks are up and running; the rig is fully operational. I’ve begun using it a bit for Freakwitch production, and everything is playing nicely together now.

The computer rack is great. I have a fantastic computer case, and 2 LCD widescreen monitors (20″). This is by far more screen real estate than I’ve ever had. It’s a treat doing audio work with this much space! I also have quite a bit of hard drive space, including space for backups.

Presently I am using WindowsXP and Sonar for my DAW, Sonar is great software that runs on a horrid operating system. I do plan to investigate audio production tools for Linux, most likely I’ll install Ubuntu-Studio (a version of Linux that is customized for multimedia production, which runs the Ardour DAW among many other things) on a spare partition and give it a try.

Anyway, I have 16 ins and outs, 16 mic pres, and a whole bunch of microphones. I just traced down the last wiring problem tonight (one of the channels wasn’t working…. turns out it wasn’t wired up correctly. All fixed).

Also, I got a chance to fire up my new Weller soldering iron. In testing the mic preamps, I discovered that one of my dynamic microphones wasn’t working correctly. No output at all. So I took it apart, poked around a bit, and discovered it was intermittent. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Did a little more investigation and found a cold solder joint on one of the wires connected to the XLR output jack. All fixed.

So the rig is fully operational now, but it is not yet portable as I still have to finish building the lids. Given that this is a holiday week, that it is supposed to precipitate for the remainder of the week, and that I don’t presently have enough carpeting, I doubt I’ll get the lids finished this week.

But in the meantime, the rig is in my living room, up and running so that I can work on music production. I’m rediscovering the joys of drum programming and audio editing, it’s been a few months since I’ve done much of this. I’m very happy to have this rig available to me at a moments notice.

I’ll post some photos soon….

ze gear, she is comink….

Having secured financing for the mobile rig, I have now ordered the parts I need to build it. Everything should be here within a week or two, and then another week or so to build the racks.

This means Crafted Recordings should be open for business by the end of October. Watch this space.

one step closer….

Just wanted to update, things are still rolling along. I just made arrangements for the financing I need to finish the mobile rig and launch the business. I should be acquiring the rest of the gear/materials I need and getting the mobile racks built within the next 2 weeks.

More details will be forthcoming, but the exciting news is Crafted Recordings is one step closer to launch….

Site coming together

The site is coming together. This business is not ready to roll just yet; things are in preparation. I have a sweet mobile recording rig in mind; I already have much of the hardware for it, but I definitely need to acquire some more to get it ready. So while the geek in me works on that, the rest of me has to begin thinking about the business end of this endeavor.

Ultimately, I’ve loved recording music for more than 20 years now. I think I want to make it a bigger part of my life than it already is. Keep watching this space to see how things evolve.