Download Notes (pdf)

Your CD

  • Determine the purpose of your recording
  • Suitable for radio airplay and marketing to the public
  • Will sound like a commercially available CD

Basic Elements

  • Work out a budget
  • Choose, arrange, demo songs
  • Choose a studio, a producer/engineer, musicians
  • Choose a mix/mastering operation
  • Choose a duplication operation



Creating a Release Qualtity Production

Feb 26, 2014
Led by David Simpkins
3rd Street Coffee House - Roanoke, VA

Before Going into the Studio

  • Create a checklist
  • Be ready to continually update a budget
  • Copyright originals / mechanical licenses for covers
  • Demo everything you might use (you need more than enough), use click track
  • If you will be a performer, then get your own gear studio ready
  • Rules for guests, visitors
  • Arrange the songs you might use (collaborate with producer or not)
  • Write out charts or generate sheet music (or leave that up to the musicians)
  • Keep in mind: The studio is NOT a rehearsal space and it is not a social meeting place
  • Compile reference recordings (what do you want your CD to sound like?)
  • Research studios (costs, travel, rates (hourly, day-rate, project-based), fees, vibe of studio (individual attention or "factory" ethic?), room "tone," space available, equipment available (amps (modeling?), instruments, headphones, playback monitors, effects))
  • Outside producer or produce it yourself?
    • The producer will oversee entire project, function as an objective partner, evaluate performances and sound, hire performers, suggest arrangements, keep track of expenses, "big picture" thinking
    • Producer’s track record
  • Engineer's track record
  • Engineer as producer
  • Determine instrumentation
  • Check availability of performers and explain pay scale
  • Provide each performer a copy of all the demos and charts they may need
    • Let them know whether you want input or not
  • Compile and discuss production ideas
  • Master or not? Studio mastered or outside mastered? (If it's not a demo, make sure the "mastering house" doesn't just run your mix through a "finalizer" or some such shortcut.)
  • Mixed or just "engineered"?
  • Record all at once or individually
  • Determine who will duplicate your recording (determine how many CD (if CDs) you will have made, decide on the type of booklet/packaging, find out the format needed, find out what kind of perks are available)

While in the Studdio

  • Basic tracks first (drums, bass together) with scratch vocals
  • Overdubs
  • Who will mix? Should take as much time as recording does. Test mixes on various media. Mix on different day from recording
  • At end of session, plan next session
  • Limit the number of takes and don't assume you can "fix it in the mix" or "polish a turd." Develop a "first take" mentality.
  • Don't overtax your ears, your voice, or your skills -- take breaks when necessary
  • Stay healthy and aware
  • Make sure your engineer knows the format specs for mastering and duplication purposes

After Finishing at the Studio

  • Let the mastering house know where you're planning to duplicate your CD
  • Re-copyright each song as a finished recording
  • Determine the song order for the finished recording
  • Assemble your graphics package following duplicator's requested format (name the recording!)
  • Arrange to get a UPC (Universal Product Code) barcode
  • Look into media options (CD or not CD?) (Digital download cards)
  • Look into distribution options
  • Look into publishing options
  • Look into publicity options