Euphonic Studio ™

Recording studio and music instruction adventures since 1979

10 Reasons Why You Should Record At Euphonic Studio

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Euphonic Studio
Mount Vernon, Iowa
Serving the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor
Call 319.895.8002 for a tour or recording appointment or write bill@euphonic.us
We record all types of music and your satisfaction is guaranteed!

10 Reasons Why You Should Record At Euphonic Studio

On this page we discuss the critical differences between our studio and some of our competition.  We hope you find this page interesting and helpful.  When you are ready to check us out, please contact us using the phone number or email address below to arrange for a free, no-obligation tour of our facilities.

Call us today at 319.895.8002 or send written inquiries to bill@euphonic.us

The bottom line:

Mid-America Music Hall of Fame

I was inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame in 2010

At Euphonic, we promise that every job is recorded choosing the the best techniques and equipment that we have to deliver you a professional  product.  Our guarantee:  when we finish the mix, it’s not done until you sign off on it. We care deeply about what goes out of the studio because each recording becomes a piece of our reputation, and we are in this for the long haul.  If there are technical problems with a recording I will fix them with no extra charges.  If it’s a performance problem, we might have to redo some tracks or fix the problem with software, which may add some small additional charges.  In any case, you will leave with a recording we both can be proud of.

The 10 reasons:

1. Real, relevant, experience as a performer and engineer.

First Degree-Robotics and Automation

My first degree is in Robotics and Automation.

This business tends to fill up with people who call themselves “music engineers” who are neither musicians nor engineers.  I am both.  I began my piano study at age 5 and also studied violin, brass, and many others including drums.  So, in short, I have studied and played music for 59 years. I worked for 15 years in a major market as a performer, composer, arranger, and studio musician and in 2010 my work was acknowledged by being inducted into the Mid-America Hall of Fame with my bandmates from Double Nickels.

My second degree is in engineering with concentrations in Computer Science and EE

My second degree is in engineering with concentrations in Computer Science and EE

I am also an engineer, graduating summa cum laude  from Texas A&M in 1995 as an electrical engineer with a concentration in computer science.  I spent 20 years working with some of the heavy hitters in the business world…. Del Monte, Siemens, Gillette, PMX, Raytheon, Rockwell.   I have been chief project engineer on projects from a few hundred dollars to 10 million dollars.  I have practical experience with time management, budgeting, staffing, scheduling,  and delivering a competitive product. My electrical engineering background helps you in another way, too.  When I install a new piece of gear or software I read the manuals to understand how it works and how to get the best performance from it.  When I am choosing upgrades to the studio I know where to put money to give my clients the best value they can find in any recording studio.

2.  You will be working in a great space.

"Soft" space

This is the soft space that includes the green screen and the grand piano. The floor under the grand is ceramic tile, and it may be tuned with carpet.

Euphonic Studio is acoustically wonderful, 1200 square feet, large enough to hold a good size ensemble (20-30 singers) or a rock band, yet still comfortable and intimate for singer/songwriters or chamber music groups.  Your privacy is protected; there will be no stream of people milling about or passing through to interrupt your thought process and stifle your creativity.

Acoustically speaking, we have 3 general areas with varying degrees of liveliness.  You could think of the rooms as hard, medium, and soft.  This gives you options which many studios can’t touch.

"Medium" space

This is the “medium” space, which also houses the control room. There is enough reverb from the hard space which is symmetrical to the soft space, and this space is like the bottom of the letter U.

The room is critical for another part of the process that many studios struggle to fix.  During mixdown, you must have an acoustically neutral space or your engineer will never be able to get this mix right.   You can’t fix the room with electronic equalizers; this simply doesn’t work.  Our mixing space is well-suited for the task and offers a large “sweet spot” that makes it perfect for presentation to your entire group.  The long sides of the U-shaped basement eliminate standing waves for lower frequencies and create a very easy room to control.

3.  Our keyboards are second to none.

If you are planning to record with keyboards, you don’t have to settle for fake piano and organ sounds or even worse a beater piano that should actually live in the landfill rather than taking up studio floor space.  We have the real thing.  The piano is a Mason and Hamlin A grand which currently sells for $50,000.  This piano compares favorably with Steinway pianos that cost $80,000.  It is preferred by many artists over Steinway because of its expressive action and rich, orchestral tone.  If you want to make a professional piano recording, you need to have a professional piano, and Euphonic Studio is fortunate to have a choice instrument for you to play.  It is tuned before each session.

Mason & Hamlin Model A professional grand piano

Mason & Hamlin Model A professional grand piano for your use. If you want a professional piano, here it is. If you want a wrecked upright or a synthesizer, maybe you should think about what your final product is going to sound like.

If you are not a pianist, ask your pianist whether they would rather record on an electronic simulation of a piano, an “antique” upright (translate “antique” as “junk”) or a professional concert grand.  I think we both know what the answer to that question.

Euphonic also has a gold standard organ, a Hammond A-100 with its matching Leslie 251.  This instrument is found in professional studios worldwide.  It is often imitated (every keyboard synthesizer I own has at least one Hammond patch) but never duplicated.  When I was shopping for organs I saw these priced as high as $10,000 with the Leslie.  It weighs over 400 pounds so it is inconvenient to use on stage.  However, its distinctive sound cannot be synthesized so if you want to use a real Hammond on your recordings, come on over.

I also can offer up a variety of synthesizers from early analog to contemporary digital.  These can play their own sounds, or drive dozens of software synthesizers I have in my recording software.  I also have two different hardware drum synthesizers from Alesis and Yamaha which formed the core or “brain” of electronic drum sets.

Speaking of drums, I have a 5 piece Alesis DM5 with their TriggerIO module and some extra cymbals.  This allows me to record your drum performance in both audio and MIDI.  While working in the world of MIDI, I use Superior Drummer software to tweak your drum sound to the perfect match for the song.

4. We know how to listen and take the time to do it.

Hammond A-100 with 3 speed Leslie 251

Hammond A-100 with 3 speed Leslie 251 waiting for your fingers. This is the real thing, not some poor synthesizer approximation.

We can tell if you are being recorded and mixed properly and we hear you when you express your opinion.

When you have a question or concern about any matters regarding the recording, we will give you an answer you can actually use.  The first part of that communication is your question, and when you ask it we give you attention and make sure we understand the question.  The second part is giving you an appropriate answer.  The topic of audio is fascinating, complicated, and full of jargon.  We will explain in the simplest, 10,000 foot view or in great detail depending on what your needs are.  If we don’t know, we’ll tell you rather than try to BS you.

Another important way we listen is mic selection selection and placement  during tracking and what is actually going on the track.  There might be several “OK” places to put a mic but there is usually one best place to put it.  I will spend the extra 5 minutes to find it.

5. Our recording system consists of award-winning components that simply sound better than what you are likely to find at a non-corporate studio. (Actually, we are incorporated, so maybe what I should have said is “giant corporation”.)  All digital recording equipment is not created equally.  I know this from personal experience having  done three digital upgrades.  None of the recording equipment I have ever used here is substandard; however, technology advances and there are strategic investments you can make to put your studio in a very favorable, competitive position.  Each purchase I’ve made has moved the recording system closer to perfection.

Focusrite ISA 428

Focusrite ISA 428. This is one of the sweetest pieces of gear in the studio. It has an extremely clean sound but also can be altered. An added plus is the insert on each channel. You can add an optional 4 channels of AD/DA converters. Don’t be fooled by the “Mark II”. It’s been downscaled.

Our new RME Fireface UFX converters are clean, clear, jitter-free, and versatile.  Many studios consider this piece of gear to be state-of-the-art, best available at any price.  The FocusRite ISA 428 preamp is top shelf quality that will match almost any mic made with 4 channels of high fidelity analog preamps.  I have 2 ISA 428s providing a total of 8 channels of killer preamps.  I also have a FocusRite OctoPre for 8 more channels of  top quality ADAT preamps.  Our Dell Xeon is loaded with Sonar Platinum along with Sony Vegas Pro 13 video software for the video part of our recording business.  Choices.  Choices reflect the judgement of those who make them, and although I have made a couple of mistakes in almost 30 years I am very proud of my studio and will defend every piece of gear in it against anything else at its price point.

The plain truth is this: if you want average to poor recordings you can record on Porta-Studios and Mac laptops running Garage Band.  A lot of people can’t tell the difference and maybe wouldn’t care even if they could.  However, if you want to make a musical statement, why waste your time?  You have a reasonably priced studio with high quality EVERYTHING right in your back yard.  Come and see us.

6. We have a variety of microphones for any task that arises during the project.

There are hundreds or perhaps thousands of microphones that have been designed for studio use ranging in price from $100 to $10,000 or more.  I have run into people in this business who swear you have to own mic X or mic Y or you just don’t have a complete studio.  I have also run into engineers who honestly can’t hear the difference between mics except in the broadest sense so they go by brand name.

MJE-K47 modded by Michael Joly

This is a MJE-K47 modded by award-winning sound designer Michael Joly

What I have done is find mics that lie within my budget that get the job done… and there are different jobs to do!  For example,  you  probably shouldn’t record a snare drum with the same mic you’d use for a violin (although I have a pair of mics that is so versatile that you could do that if you wanted to).  Somewhere there’s probably a list of the 10 best mics for recording a snare drum.  Probably there’s another list for violins, too.  So how do you decide?

I decide by doing a LOT of research, analysis, and listening.  I read books by recording professionals, hang out at music recording forums including the ones for the products I own, and listen.  I listen to commercial recordings spanning 60 years of recording technology and I listen to my own recordings.  I try to make mine sound as good or better than the ones I bought at the record store on vinyl or CD.  I listen to recordings on different playback equipment to test them for transferability.

That’s how I ended up with my “mic locker”.  I have mics ranging from boutique mics by award-winning designer Michael Joly through less exotic gear like Shure, Audio-Technica, Rode, and Oktava, to more obscure things from the “old days” like Sony.

Between my mics and preamps we have something here that is not just appropriate but perfect for capturing your recording.

7.  We are always seeking and developing innovation

Euphonic Studio is not standing still.  We are a dynamic organization that is on a quest to bring you new ideas and methods as we discover and implement them.  Recording is a very dynamic field and new products from hundreds of hardware and software designers are released every day.  When your studio gets to the state that ours is, namely well-matched high quality equipment, technological advances must be considered very carefully in order to determine their impact on the entire process.  As an example, we would have to spend several thousands of dollars more to improve our analog to digital converters; so this is not a high priority.

SS Melodyne

Melodyne allows me to change any note in your performance with Direct Note Access, saving you many hours of frustrating retakes.

Software processing extras such as VSTs and virtual instruments have been intelligently chosen to give you the best sounding mix available. With Melodyne pitch correction we can literally create harmony parts out of your first vocal track.  We have a collection of software that allows us to mix, match, and combine signal processing to enhance and preserve tone, provide proper gain staging, master a track with enough signal to be punchy and lively without making it sound smashed.

We continuously upgrade hardware and software provide the best recordings possible.   Industry experts will tell you that the complexity of many digital signals creates a bottleneck when mixing down to the final stereo tracks in the computer.  To fix this requires converters of high quality which allows you to send the individual tracks out to an external analog mixer to “sum” the mix down to stereo and record to another device.   I have integrated an analog mixing desk, a 1989 Allen & Heath CMC24  for this purpose and the results are profoundly better.   At first I was just recording back into the computer, which was great,  but now I’ve taken this a step further by acquiring an Otari half track mastering deck with another classic piece of gear, a Dolby 363 processor. Our analog mixing services may just be the sound you are looking for.

8.  Video services are available

Video shoot

Euphonic can shoot and edit 2 camera video of your musical performance.

Euphonic Studio can shoot 2 camera video and edit with Sony Vegas Pro software, the choice of many professional video studios worldwide.  We have a green screen and lighting equipment to support creative and professional end products to support your musical endeavors on YouTube and other internet outlets.  If your end product is a demo, a video to accompany the audio will sell you better by an order of magnitude over a plain audio CD.  Our video services are inexpensive, sharing the same rates as audio recording plus a small charge for media and storage.

9.  Euphonic can do your entire project from the first recorded track to an ultra-clean pre-master.

To make a successful recording there are a number of roles that must be filled; producer, tracking engineer, mixer, mastering engineer, and general technician to name a few.  It is our job to provide you the services you need to get from point A to point B and do that in such a way that it enhances your creative process rather than invades it.

Sony CD Architect

Sony CD Architect is a great tool for assembling your final project and burning the final pre-master.

By the time I am ready to present the mix, and also while we are tracking,  I will have listened to each track critically many times.  I can offer a critique of the performance and will do so (gently) if I feel there is something that can be done better.  This is really the job of each musician and the producer, but having worked in a wide variety of musical settings (for example, concertmaster of a college symphony and guitarist in a power trio at the same time) I may be able to offer a perspective you have not considered.  I always remember that this is your project and I respect the boundaries you set.

 

10.  You will be satisfied… guaranteed!  If there is any problem with the final product that is related to engineering it will be adjusted at no additional fee.  I will not be happy with your recording until you are.  If there is a performance problem that got by us during tracking that affects the final mix, you will have to pay for re-tracking the part and remix.

So, there you have it….

10 great reasons to record your project at Euphonic Studio.

Euphonic Studio
Mount Vernon, Iowa
Serving the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor
Call 319.895.8002 for a tour or recording appointment or write bill@euphonic.us
We record all types of music and your satisfaction is guaranteed!

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Written by Mr. Bill

November 26th, 2011 at 7:30 am

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