Thank you for the time and care you took with my songs, drawing out the best in them — and in me. And in the studio, the attention and heard things I couldn't have ever imagined.

Andrea Tisher, Singer/Songwriter

Any questions?

If you haven't spent much time in the recording studio it's natural to have questions about the process and the many technical terms involved. We've provided answers below to the most common questions asked about our studio and the recording process, and we are more than happy to answer any other questions or concerns you might have (info@sagarecording or phone 604.831.5043).

There are no "dumb" questions! The more you know, the happier you will be with the end result. Remember, we are here to make recording your music a fun and satisfying experience.

How long does it take to record a song/album?

Project time depends on many variables including style, complexity of instrumentation, and the recording's final use—a guitar and vocal song demo will take a fraction of the time that a densely arranged & textured song destined for radio airplay will need. Our pre-production phase is where musical direction and identity is initially discussed. You tell us what you're hearing in your head, and that becomes the launching point for selecting a sonic palette that best complements your songs.

The main factors that determine how long a project will take are:
    • Song length
    • Musical style
    • Number of instrumental parts
    • Amount of editing required
    • Mix complexity
    • Mastering requirements

Every project is unique and we can guide you through the entire process. Once we're able to discuss the scope of your project with you we can provide an estimate of the time involved to complete it.

Can I play my own instrumental parts? What if I don't play an instrument?

Whatever you're comfortable with. Of course, any of Saga Recording's instruments (see equipment) are at your disposal during recording, and we are able to play any additional instruments needed for your project. If you're primarily a singer, that's fine, too...we can build the entire musical track around you.

Why can't I record myself at home with my own gear?

Home recording is great for songwriting, working out parts and rehearsing, and it's highly recommended as preparation for recording the final version in the studio. But home demos contain technical issues that will distract the listener from the singer and the song and aren't really suitable for commercial use or presentation to people in the music industry.

Here are the biggest advantages to recording in a professional studio:

Equipment — A pro studio will have a large selection of expensive, high-quality equipment for recording and mixing. The best microphones, preamps, compressors, effects processors, digital converters, instruments and more are available for use, the exact same ones that are heard every day on commercial CDs, radio and TV.

Acoustics — More important than the equipment, the spaces in recording studios are specially designed and treated to sound good for recording music, while a typical room in a house will have a particular sonic imprint that will interfere with the instruments or voice being recorded—sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes in obvious ones. Untreated walls, ceilings and floors will cause: flutter echo and ringing; phase cancellation, which gives things a hollow or unreal sound; boomy or weak bass frequencies; uneven mid and high frequencies; and distant or imbalanced-sounding ambience, among other potential problems like environmental noise. Once those flaws are on the recording it's difficult (and costly) to fix them in the mix, assuming they're even possible to fix. And a proper acoustic environment is even more critical for mixing and mastering so the final recording will sound good wherever it's played. If a song is mixed in a room with uneven bass response, it might sound good in that one room but will sound muddy or thin when played somewhere else.

Experience — Most importantly, there are thousands of decisions that go into making a great sounding recording, and you not only have to know how to choose, you need to know the choices are there to be made in the first place. Selecting the right microphone that fits the singer's voice, instead of using the same mic on everybody; where to place a mic to capture a sound that not only sounds good by itself, but will fit into the context of the entire mix; when to punch in on a take, or when to do an entire new take, or when to just take a break for a few minutes; how much to compress, or not compress, when recording; recognizing when a part isn't working, and how to fix it; when to correct the tuning on a vocal, and when not to; mixing all the tracks together in a way that not only sounds good, but supports the emotional message of the song so the listener can really feel it. Those are just a few examples of the little details that an experienced engineer or producer will help decide on, and together they make the difference between a bedroom demo and a commercial-sounding professional recording.

You'll hear stories occasionally about someone recording an album in their bedroom and getting a record deal from it. That happens every once in a while...just like someone out there eventually wins the lottery. But even if they spent a ton of money on good gear, and are lucky to have a decent sounding space to record in, maybe what would have taken a hundred hours to do in a recording studio ended up taking literally thousands of hours to do at home. As an artist, are you better off spending all that time and energy writing new songs, practicing your instrument, marketing yourself on social media, playing more live gigs...or reading manuals, trying to figure out why your songs don't sound like you want them to? Let us take care of the technical side so you can be free to focus on making great music.

What kind of songwriting and co-writing services do you offer?

Saga Recording's emphasis on working with other singer/songwriters comes from our love of great songs. As an artist you want to share your thoughts and feelings with others through the songs you create, and if needed, we are willing to work with you to explore the best way to communicate those ideas and emotions so they will be understood and felt by the listener.

Owner Michael Nowak is an accomplished ASCAP-affiliated songwriter who learned first-hand from the best while living in Nashville—lyricist and Berklee College professor Pat Pattison, Jon Ims ("She's In Love With The Boy"), and Hugh Prestwood ("The Song Remains the Same"), among others. If you have any songs that you're having trouble finishing, either musically or lyrically, Michael is available to help you complete them before recording.

What if I don't live near Vancouver?

Our reputation and expertise have brought artists from around the world to record at our studio. We can accomodate out-of-town artists in ways that will minimize your need for travel, many times only requiring a single trip to Vancouver. We will go through all the same pre-production planning and preparational steps with you that we take with local artists, except it will be by phone and email.

Once initial production decisions are made, basic rhythm tracks can be provided for you to practice with if desired. When you are rehearsed and ready for recording, we will schedule a studio lockout for your time in Vancouver. It can be done in a single visit over the course of two or three days, depending on how much needs to be recorded, or can be spread out over a few separate trips. After your parts are finished all remaining work is sent to you in the form of regular project updates, right up to final mix approval. Each project will have its own unique requirements, but we will do whatever it takes to make it all go as smoothly as possible for you.

Do you offer mastering services? What is mastering?

Yes, Saga Recording can master your recordings. Mastering is the final process after music is mixed down to prepare it for whatever media it will be reproduced on. Typically, fine EQ and compression/limiting is applied to ensure the music plays back correctly at a commercial level on all kinds of systems, from small computer and car speakers to large home stereo systems. Mastering also makes sure the digital files are in the correct format for error-free replication at the manufacturing plant.

Do you have any intern/assistant positions available?

We currently do not have any internships or assistant positions available at the studio.

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