Nobody wants to dive into a studio session with someone they don’t know unless they’re confident they can trust that what they’ll receive at the end of it will be worth the investment.
I completely understand! So, before you spend your hard-earned cash and risk wasting your valuable time, I’ve covered the top 5 tough questions most clients want to know the answer to, but are afraid to ask…

Is the quality of your music production really as good as you claim?

If you have any doubts as to the quality of my Recording, Editing, Sequencing, Mixing or Mastering services, I invite you to listen to a few of the tracks I’ve worked on and compare them to those of other studios in the area… Have a browse through my Portfolio and I’ll look forward to working with you soon… 🙂

How can you produce high quality tracks, when you don’t have the ‘right’ microphone, pre-amp or outboard gear, etc.?

My studio has a relatively modest set-up, with minimal hardware, as far as my recording and mixing chain goes. However, I have a good selection of mics and pre-amps, as well as some of the best vintage and modern gear ever made in the form of software emulations and plug-ins.
You may be surprised to learn that many of the top engineers in the world work solely ITB (In The Box) these days, meaning that they are 100% software-based. This modern way of working is possible due to the strides made in physical modelling of analogue equipment, right down to the individual components and circuitry, which has become so accurate that there’s almost no discernible difference between the hardware and the emulations.
I own a significant number of these high-end plug-ins from highly acclaimed manufacturers, such as SSL, Neve, AMEK, Focusrite, Elysia, Lindell, Shadowhills, Vertigo, Maag, Brainworx, Soundtoys, Waves, Purple Audio, Bettermaker, Izotope, Cherry Audio, Harrison Consoles, Softube, Arturia… the list goes on…
It is now possible to have a virtual recreation of almost any classic console, simply by placing your favourite emulated channel strips across each channel in the DAW. You can take this approach even further, by applying various other emulated vintage and modern processors, such as EQs, Compressors, Saturators, Reverbs, Delays, Modulation effects, etc., in order to simulate almost any combination of hardware you might expect to find in the best high-end studios in the world!
Of course, as has always been the case, it’s not all about which mic, pre-amp or compressor you use – the most vital piece of hardware for any producer or engineer is a good pair of ears! Couple this with knowledge, experience and judgement and you’re on your way to a great-sounding record every time.

What happens if I’m unhappy with the final mix?

I don’t settle for a mediocre mix and I never let a client leave with a mix that they’re not completely satisfied with, either. But I’m not being conceited about my audio expertise – I have a system, which helps me to ensure a great result every time.
I work closely with my clients throughout the recording, sequencing and mixing process, making certain they’re pleased with the sound at every stage before moving on to the next. By following this simple rule, you can be confident of producing a great-sounding mix.
I’ve worked hard to build a fool-proof system that ensures my clients are happy throughout the process, so that once we’ve reached the end, there’s no reason for them to be unhappy with the final mix.
Firstly, you’ll be present throughout the recording and editing stages, as well as any sequencing work required for the production of your backing track or accompaniment. We’ll make all the important decisions together, when it comes to the quality of your performance, the best takes to select, and the arrangement and structure of your track.
Once that’s all complete, I’ll send you an Initial Rough Mix for you listen to. This will be a basic balance of the various layers, without any processing applied, so that you can hear everything clearly. If there are any issues with your performance, bad edits or sequenced elements that we didn’t pick up on before, you’ll have an opportunity to point them out and fix them in a ‘Drop-in’ recording session before proceeding to the Mixing phase.
My clients are always welcome to attend the Mixing sessions, if they wish, but I also provide 3 full Mix Proofs, allowing for 3 sets of changes to the mix, if required. You can listen to each Proof at your leisure, scrutinising every aspect as closely as necessary, before requesting any changes you want. I will then apply these changes and send you a new Proof, and so on.
If, after hearing the 3rd full Mix Proof, you still have any changes you’d like me to make, I’ll invite you to come into the studio for a Listening and Mixing session, during which we can address any last alterations to the mix together, hammering it out until you’re completely satisfied with the Final Mix.
This system of quality control has never failed to ensure a great result, with which my clients are 100% happy – even ecstatic!

Why are your prices higher than those of other local studios?

In my experience, low-end and mid-range studios tend to focus on quantity, rather than quality. They rely on volume and speed, getting as many bands and artists in and out as quickly as possible. On the whole, their recordings are perfectly acceptable, but they often fail to put in the effort when it comes to the mixing stage, defaulting to unimaginative approaches that result in a rather lacklustre mix.
My approach is quite the opposite – I concentrate on quality above all! Mixing is not just a technical exercise; it’s also an artform! When I work on a mix, I do my best to make the track as engaging as possible, creating special moments that keep the listener interested, using delay throws, reverb swells, volume lifts and drops, allowing certain instruments to take the forefront, while others settle back into the mix, where appropriate.
I utilise all the tools at my disposal in order to make your mix sound amazing! I may apply parallel processing to the drums to give the quieter aspects a subtle lift so they stand out in the mix, or blend some saturation with the bass, so it doesn’t get lost on smaller speakers. I’ll sweeten the lead vocals with a chain of effects designed to enhance the high-mids and I’ll use automation on individual channels throughout the track in a variety of ways that lead to increased movement and definition.
There are so many methods and techniques I’ll employ in the mix of any given track that I can’t possibly list them all here, and the creative choices I make for one track will differ hugely from the next. For instance, a slow mono build, coupled with a filter sweep can work wonders on a high-energy EDM track, but simply won’t work on an acoustic ballad, which will benefit far more from refining the richness and character of its individual elements, rather than any flashy effects tricks.
In regard to my prices, these have been set according to the level of quality I provide to my clients, which is a significant step up from that of most low-end and mid-range studios, who regularly churn out sub-standard or middle-of-the-road mixes.
I could easily charge at least twice my standard rates for my audio services, but I don’t need to, because I don’t have the overheads that come with running a larger studio. However, as I refuse to skimp on the time and effort required to produce a great-sounding mix, I think it’s only fair that my rates reflect the greater level of quality I provide.
At the same time, I don’t want to charge the exorbitant rates of high-end studios, because I prefer to deliver an affordable route for talented singers, rappers, solo artists, duos and bands, who are trying to make their way in the music industry, and simply don’t have the budget they would normally need for that kind of outlay.
My aim, therefore, is to help my clients to achieve high quality recordings and great-sounding mixes, that will enable their music to compete with that of the best, well-known artists and musicians in the world… but at a price point they can actually afford!
So, if you’re serious about your music and you want it to truly shine, then I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s worth investing in yourself by spending a little more than the lowest quote you can find elsewhere.

I don’t think your services will work for me because I’m in a multi-piece band…

When it comes to the facilities I offer, my own cosy little studio, which is based at my home, at the end of the garden, clearly can’t compete with larger studios when recording instruments such as full-size acoustic drum kits. It’s actually rather smaller on the inside than it is on the outside; the reverse of a Tardis, in fact, hence the name: Sidrat.
I do, of course, have a portable recording system available, which I have used for capturing live performances, particularly drums, at different locations, such as large practice rooms, churches, halls, theatres, etc., but even though my set-up is portable, there’s still a lot of equipment to transport to and from the venue, set up and pack down. This can quickly add to the costs involved, such as room hire, travel expenses, etc., potentially making it more expensive than using another local studio for your large-scale recording purposes.
So, when I’m working with a full band, I may recommend that you record your drums (and any big, powerful amp stacks for electric guitars and bass, for example) at a larger studio, where they have suitable facilities, equipment and recording engineers that are already in-place for just that scenario. Then, you can simply provide me with the multi-track recordings (of the raw, unedited audio) for mixing. Following on from that initial recording session, I can then provide additional recording of vocals and any other instrument layers you may wish to include.
The Sidrat studio has excellent acoustic treatment, specifically designed to be a great mixing environment, and it’s perfect for the recording of vocals and smaller solo instruments, such as acoustic guitar (as well as electric guitar and bass, when using small- to medium-size amps), plus any other acoustic instruments, like violin, cello, sitar, accordion, flute, clarinet, oboe, trumpet, trombone, French horn, hand drums, percussion, etc.
The layout of my studio is designed to be adaptable for different purposes, simply by moving the acoustic panels into various configurations, in order to create an effective vocal booth or to deaden any reflections, so as to provide an environment without any unwanted acoustic echoes or reverberation. Desirable delay and reverb can then be added in during the mixing process, using high-end plug-in emulations, once the room has been returned to its mixing configuration.
So, even if you’re part of a larger group of musicians, such as a rock/metal/indie band, a jazz ensemble – or even an 18-piece folk group – you can still take advantage of my high-quality recording, sequencing and mixing services.

If you think I’ve missed something off or you have any other questions you’d like to ask – tricky or otherwise – please feel free to get in touch; I’ll be happy to help!

Just call: 07967 879 289

Or email: audio@sidratstudios.com