Frequently Asked Questions

  • I’m a solo artist – do I need to provide musicians?
    • No – I have a select group of pro session musicians that I have handpicked for their specific skills. We will use them on an “as needed” basis for your particular project.
  • Do I need to provide backing vocalists?
    • No – I have experienced session singers who can do the job quickly and efficiently.
  • Can I bring my own musicians?
    • Of course – as long as their playing skills meet the required standards.
  • I’ve written a song – but I don’t know what to do next!
    • Arranging is one of my passions – I’ve arranged countless tracks on literally hundreds of albums! You and I will sit at the piano and work out the arrangement together.   I will take great care to stay true to your original ideas and not force you to change anything (unless you love my suggestions!).  Then you and I will build up the arrangement, one instrument at a time, until we are satisfied with the way the track is sounding.   Finally, we’ll wipe your guide vocal and replace it with your final vocal, again with me guiding and helping you to produce the best vocal that you are capable of doing. Lastly, I will mix and master your track onto the media of your choice (usually CD).
  • How much does it cost to record?
    • Anything from $300 to $3000 per finished track, depending on how complex your production is and how many session players are involved.  We’ll discuss your project and I will give you a detailed quotation, based on your specific requirements.
  • Am I allowed to record other people’s songs?
    • Yes – but you will need to purchase an APRA licence.  This is a legal requirement, and I will put you in touch with the relevant authority (APRA). It’s a simple and relatively inexpensive procedure:
      1. Provide a list of the song titles + composers’ names
      2. State how many CDs you intend to have duplicated
      3. APRA will calculate how much you need to pay, and issue an invoice to you.
      4. On receipt of payment, APRA will issue you with a licence to duplicate your CDs.
      5. When you re-order more CD copies, you pay the fee again.
      6. The current cost for an APRA licence is around $600 for 500 CD copies of a 12-track album.
  • Do you provide a CD duplication service?
    • No – but I have a long-standing relationship with Stebbings Recording Centre – one of the finest duplication facilities in New Zealand – I will put you in touch with the right people – they will take care of all your duplication and artwork printing needs.
  • How much does it cost to make CD copies and print the album covers?
    • Around $2 to $4 per album, including the printed sleeves, depending on the quantity that you order. I tell people to budget around $5 per CD for the duplication, artwork and APRA licence.
  • Do you use ProTools?
    • No – my studio uses a networked system of four PCs running Cubase 5. But I regularly work with clients who bring ProTools projects that were recorded elsewhere – they just have to be converted to Cubase project-files.
  • What sounds & instruments do you use?
    • I have over 2 terabytes of the most sophisticated sample libraries currently available – including Vienna Symphonic Libraries, LA Scoring Strings, Native Instruments, Tonehammer, Cinematique, FX-Pansion’s BFD2, Scarbee Instruments, Modart’s Pianoteq, Sampletekk’s White Grand, and numerous hardware and software synths from Roland, Korg, Hammond and Yamaha. I use a combination of Virtual Instrument technology and real instruments played by live musicians. This allows me to build stunningly realistic orchestral arrangements and achieve “big-budget” production values that would be simply unaffordable to most artists, while still preserving the feel and musicality of a live recording. I don’t use loops (unless for a special effect) or programmed parts for any of my instruments – you will never hear the dreaded “Karaoke sound” in any of my productions! Pop, Rock and Country productions are done using a combination of virtual drums (BFD2 played live), virtual bass (Scarbee’s Fender Precision Blue Bass played live) virtual Steinway and Hammond B3 keyboards (played live) and real acoustic & electric guitars played by session players. Additional instruments like Pedal Steel, Fiddle, Dobro and Sax are overdubbed using live session players, as needed.
  • I don’t live in Auckland – is that a problem?
    • Not at all – my clients are scattered all over the country – some are even overseas!
      I only need you to come up to the studio for your vocal recording sessions (usually 2 to 3 days) – the rest of the project can be done “long-distance” by email and the Internet.
      People often send me a rough recording of their song (or a copy of the original artist if they’re doing a cover-version) – and I arrange and record the backing and email it to them as an mp3 file. This allows them to rehearse at home until they’re ready to travel up to the studio for their vocal sessions.
  • What sort of equipment do you use?
    • My studio is based around a 64bit Cubase system running a network of four highly-spec’d quadcore PCs.  My orchestral template, Virtual Instruments and sample libraries are spread across three slave PCs, all sync’d to the main DAW via MTC. Midi data is distributed across the network via Midi-Over-LAN. Converters are by RME. Mic preamps are by Focusrite.  Microphones are by Neumann and Rode.  All the usual plugins, compressors, reverbs and amp simulators are present (too many to mention). Monitoring is courtesy of Mackie HR824’s in a flat, professionally-designed and acoustically-treated control room, measuring 7m x 6m. The fully sound-proofed and acoustically-treated recording area measures 6m x 4m.
  • Do you record bands?
    • I specialise in solo artists – but would be happy to discuss your band’s requirements. I have colleagues in the industry who specialise in live band sessions – and there are several options that we can explore, such as recording the basic tracks elsewhere and then bring the wav files to me for overdubbing, mixing and mastering.
  • Do you do corporate AV and TV soundtracks?
    • Yes – my enormous orchestral template and sample library collections provide me with the perfect tools to compose and arrange audio-visual soundtracks – from intimate atmospheric soundscapes to “epic Hollywood soundstage” themes.