|Skill, vibe & value
Welcome to Saga Recording, a studio that prides itself on creating a comfortable and inspiring environment for creating music. Whether you're a solo artist or group, we share your passion for music and you can rely on our expertise and attention to detail to help make a fantastic recording.
Instead of just sticking a mic in front of your face and hitting the record button, we're ready and willing to contribute in whatever way possible to the success of your project throughout the whole process. We believe in artist development and take the time to listen to you, treating everyone with the same care and attention whether you're a Juno winner or an up-and-comer. Our goal is to faithfully capture your music, showcasing your songs and unique artistic voice through creative production and engineering.
With a custom-built facility, Saga Recording is able to offer incredible value to maximize your recording budget. We're right in the sweet spot between expensive high-rent studios and smaller project rooms, and you won't find the same level of quality and service at these rates anywhere else. Our rooms were designed by renowned acoustician Russ Berger, whose recording studios have hosted music by Sting, Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, Aretha Franklin, Tom Petty, Taylor Swift and countless others. Berger is a master of acoustical design who has been at the forefront of the industry for the last 30 years, and when he designs a studio you can be sure it sounds phenomenal.
We're sought after for our vocal recording in particular. A large portion of our clientele are singer/songwriters because of our love of songwriting and our emphasis on exceptional vocal production. Vocal production encompasses all the facets that make up an amazing vocal recordingan inspired performance, captured with the best equipment available, edited down to the strongest parts, and skillfully mixed to place the singer in the exact right relation to the music, all done in a way that supports the emotion of the song. Great vocals are a must-have for a successful recording, and that's what we deliver.
Saga Recording is owned and operated by producer Michael Nowak, a multi-talented songwriter, mixer, engineer, arranger, and musician whose award-winning work has been heard by millions of listeners around the globe. Michael has been on both sides of the microphone, and his extensive experience as a musician, both onstage and in the studio, gives him a first-hand understanding of what it takes to bring out your best performance. With an impressive breadth of knowledge gathered from more than 20 years of professional experience, he has worked in a wide range of styles including pop, rock, contemporary christian, R&B, country, jazz, soul, gospel, folk, roots, blues, worldbeat, and classical. In addition to his skills as a producer and engineer, Michael is a talented composer and lyricist affiliated with ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). He sings, plays guitar, keyboards and bass, and is able to arrange strings, brass, rhythm section and orchestral instruments. Michael also serves regularly as a juror for industry review panels.
Fluent in both the artistic and the technical sides of record making, Michael's dedication to craft lets clients make the most of the many different elements involved in music production and helps them walk out of Saga Recording with a record beyond what they envisioned when they walked in. He has been instrumental (no pun intended...) in both launching the careers of new artists and expanding the careers of established artists. "I love making music. I've never lost that hunger to learn and grow at what I do, and I'm blessed with the opportunity to work with so many creative artists and musicians. Making records isn't always easysometimes you have to dig and really put in the effort to get to the best stuffbut it's one of the most enjoyable and satisfying experiences I know of."
A native Detroiter (born across the street from Motown's storied Hitsville USA, no less...), Michael graduated with honours from Oakland University with a bachelor's degree in Jazz & Commercial Music, attending on a scholarship awarded for his guitar playing. He completed Oakland's audio engineering curriculum, arranged big band and orchestral charts, toured the Midwest with the school's professional show group and taught guitar privately. After finishing school he founded a 16-track reel-to-reel studio and spent time at several other Detroit-area studios. In addition to his work in the studio, Michael mixed live sound in the Detroit club scene, won the North American Invitational Championship for classical guitar, and played lead guitar, keyboards, sang and wrote original music with popular alternative rock group The Shy, recording an album with producer/engineer John "Yoshman" Jaszcz (Kirk Franklin, Point of Grace, John Michael Montgomery, Collective Soul).
In 1998 Michael moved to Nashville, where for five years he wrote, produced, performed live (including his own original music at the famous Wildhorse Saloon) and did session work. While there, he had the opportunity to hone his songwriting chops, learning first-hand from the best in the business like Berklee instructor Pat Pattison, songwriter Hugh Prestwood and author Jai Josefs. In 2003, Michael relocated to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, where he currently resides.
Props & Praise
"After more than 40 years in the music business, there are only a few people you meet along the way who have special gifts. For me, one of these folks is Michael Nowak at Saga Recording.
There is an expression in the musician world“he’s got big ears”which is meant as a great compliment for the ability to hear music at a more advanced level, to hear the sound fidelity and texture, not only the notes. Michael is blessed with this gift! Many studios have all the gear and software, but not all “knob twiddlers” have the gift, and it’s the gift that makes the end product so rich and flavorful! What started out as a basic home tracking session evolved into a solid master product worthy of any music outlet or media station.
I look forward to working further with Michael, and would highly recommend Saga Recording to anyone who wishes to have quality product at very affordable rates. Michael goes above and beyond the norm, because he truly cares about his end results. Thanks Michael for the great help in getting the music out of my head and onto disc!"
"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 creativity...you heard things I couldn't have ever imagined. You pulled and pushed me, but listened too, and I so value the respect you showed me. You were patient and unflappable, and ultimately, more committed to the project than I ever would have hoped for.
Working with you and recording at Saga was a joy and a privilege. I was made to feel very much at home and am still discovering the joy of making a great relationship with a music-loving and music-making peer, and friend."
"Michael is a producer who thoroughly understands the delicate process of handling an artist's original music. He amazed me with his capacity to quickly and wholly grasp the nature of each one of my songs. With scrupulous ears and an overall musical proficiency, Michael left no attention to detail unnoticed and contributed a great deal in the way of instrumentation and arrangement. He is personable, clearly dedicated to the music, and prepared to make changes in order to achieve the best results. With Michael, the optimal sound is not simply a probability, but a guarantee. Without hesitation, I would entrust future projects of mine in the hands of Saga Recording."
"Recording with Michael was an absolutely wonderful experience. Both the recording sessions and the final products were above and beyond my expectations; he gave great advice during the sessions and pulled the tracks together beautifully at the end. I'll never record anywhere else!"
"Michael has the ability to combine his extensive knowledge of sound, passion for music, and precise ear with his intuitive nature to enable any artist he works with to reach their full potential. His expertise and calm, encouraging manner make for a positive, stress-free recording environment. I thoroughly enjoy working with Michael, have sent many of my students in his direction and will continue to do so!"
"Michael is a whiz behind the board and an accomplished musician who understands the craft of songwriting. He has a gift for bringing out the best performances from the artists he records with, and as a vocalist, that's everything. I'm thrilled with how my songs sound, and I recommend Saga Recording without hesitation to any singer-songwriter seriously pursuing a career in music."
"I really enjoy working with Michael. He's fast and professional but lots of fun at the same time. He brings creative and original ideas to the session and lets the song dictate what needs to be done. He's comfortable with a wide range of musical styles, probably because of his experience in Detroit, Nashville, and now Vancouver.
Saga Recording has great gear, the rates are reasonable, and the sounds I get on my tunes are second-to-none. But more importantly, I trust Michael's earshe knows his stuff. You don't get "Mr. Big Producer" attitude, you get a guy who is honest, low-key, friendly and experienced. And the fact he's a multi-instrumentalist keeps down the session player costs. I've had nothing but good results from Saga. Highly recommended."
"Recording at Saga was an incredible experience great atmosphere, great gear but the thing that sets this studio apart from any studio that I've worked in, large or small, is the man himself. Michael is the guy! The whole package! Great attitude, ears like satellite dishes, and deeply committed to a fabulous sounding result. He has even thrown in some killer guitar work for me when necessary.
I've worked there a few times now and look forward to my next opportunity to work with Michael at Saga Recording."
"I started a recording project in Abbey Road Studios in London back in 2009 and needed to get some extra vocal tracks done in Vancouver in order to complete it. Saga Recording was an excellent choice for my needs. The professional attitude and ability to choose the right microphone for my vocals enabled me to produce the best results."
"I remember the days searching the internet hoping to find a producer, an arranger and a recording studio. And then I found them all wrapped up in one place, Saga Recording. So I checked it out, and I'm glad I did. Because for an independent musician, when it comes to the technical side of the creative process you need a good, patient "partner". Someone who can give a few pointers, shed some light, and bring in ideas every step of the way while making a CD. I'd like to recommend Michael to artists who are looking for such a partner.
One thing I must mention all my songs are written in a foreign language to Michael, and yet he amazed me by how he could comprehend the emotions so well! He's got more than good ears! And to Michael, hey, you sure can teach an old dog a few new tricks! Thank you, and I am looking forward to doing it again soon!
"Working with Michael was always the highlight of my week! He has a deep knowledge of music and a great instinct for what works and doesn't work. What I appreciated the most was his integrity and his ability to get the best possible performance out of me. Michael really is the whole package from engineering to producing to mastering!"
"I really enjoyed working with Michael at Saga Recording. He's a great studio engineer, really knows his stuff, has a good ear, and has great equipment, not to mention an amazing dog. The studio space is classy, very professional, and a great sounding space for drums and live horns. Michael's production feedback and suggestions were very helpful and the finished product sounds better than I thought it would. He did a fantastic job.
I've already started doing another recording project and I didn't even consider going anywhere else to do it."
"Working with Michael was great. He really helped me get the most out of my songs and the album. He has a great ear for detail and is very easy to work with, I couldn't be happier with the final product."
"Demo is spot on. I don't think you could have done any better on the demo. That whole feel is really hard to pull off. Nailed it all the way down."
Songwriter, SongU.com founder
"The CD blew me away the first time Jeff brought it over for me to hear, and it still continues to blow me away each time I listen to it. You did a most awesome job in every way...the recording, the kickin’ bass (rock on!) and guitar parts, the synth parts (love the organ on the first and last songs!)...all the technical/musical aspects!
Plus it was a pleasure working with you. I felt at ease with you immediately and found that all the input you offered was valuable and well thought-out. Thanks for all you did I’m so happy with the results."
"What grabbed my attention first was the name of your studio and the fact that you're a songwriter yourself. But more important was how, once we began making my CD, it was a real creative partnership. You really understand that songs are stories we've lived. Thanks for your skill in bringing the stories to life, for your vision and musical ideas, and for your gentle reminders that less can be more. The whole project happened with ease and fun and I learned a tremendous amount from you. I'm thrilled with the result, and I can't wait to get started on the next project."
"Working with Michael at Saga Recording was the first recording experience of my musical career and also a beginning step towards getting noticed as a new artist. With his knowledge and incredible musical talent, Michael was able to fine tune my songs and sound with sometimes the slightest of suggestions. He has the ability to hear what needs to be added or taken away in order to make the artist sound true. I plan to work with Michael again in the near future since this last project has brought me many opportunities and great surprises. Thank you."
"As a solo songwriter, I came to Saga Recording with all of the basic needs. I had an idea for a song, nothing else. With Michael's help, my idea was transformed into a brilliant production. Using his expertise and the vocals of Lindsay Kipp, my simple song was developed into a musical trinity of vocals with haunting harmonies, guitar accompaniment, and quality production. It was a perfect "marriage" of song, singer, and recording. My heartfelt thanks to Michael and Lindsay for making my recording experience one that I will never forget. Because of my experience with Saga Recording, I am now even more motivated to continue writing. Thanks for everything Michael!"
"I recorded a bunch of acoustic guitar and a couple of vocal tracks at Saga while I was working on a cruise ship that docked in Vancouver every other week. My schedule was extremely limited but Michael managed to work me in and was very accommodating. I always felt very relaxed with him in the studio, and I particularly appreciated his attention to detail as well as his frank, yet tactful, suggestions he was often complimentary without being patronizing. And the tracks came out sounding great! Super clean and cozy warm. I live in Texas but someday I hope to travel back to Vancouver just to record with him again. Thanks, Michael!"
"I was pleased to have the opportunity to work with Michael at Saga Recording. His hospitality really makes you feel relaxed, like a jam session at home but with pro results. He really took the time to cater to my needs, and his recording skills are impressive. His passion for music really shines in his work. I'm totally confident and trust Michael when he says he will deliver a quality product. Thanks for the great experience and I can't wait to get back there in the studio."
"Just thought I'd let you know that I applied to Berklee's Los Angeles songwriting program and just got a call that I've been accepted. The recording was a success and it's completely due to the demo that I was even considered. Thanks tons.
"As a songwriter with little experience in the studio, I knew I needed a patient, experienced professional to guide me through the recording process. I am so glad I found Michael Nowak at Saga Recording he confidently and masterfully led me through each step of my first professional demo. I walked in with a vocal-only song on tape and walked away with a demo that I am proud to shop around. Michael is a great person to work with because he is easy-going, intuitive and a great listener. Thanks, Michael!"
"Recording with Michael at Saga Recording was great. He really worked with us to bring out the best in our music. Michael gave it that studio polish where we wanted, but he also captured the rawness of the live experience where we needed that. We were very pleased with the way it came out, and we'll be back for sure."
Sister J's Soul Summit
Vancouver soul/funk band
"I really appreciate Michael's help with my projects. As a seasoned songwriter, he gives constructive feedback on my songs. He is skilled musically on many instruments and has good instincts about how to capture the feel of my songs. Lastly, Michael is great to co-produce with...I am able to tell him what I want and he helps make it happen!"
Jazz Musician/Certified Vocal Instructor/Producer
"I've had the privilege of working with Michael at Saga Recording on a couple of projects. With my song "Summer's Day", Michael did a masterful job in translating a simple guitar and vocal demo into an arrangement that indicated his intuitive ability to hear what I was wanting to say and much more.
Michael is easy to work with and a very gifted musician, producer and arranger who also is able to encourage me as a developing artist so I can achieve my goals in my recording projects. I wholeheartedly recommend working with Michael Nowak!"
"Michael's excellent instincts, talent and dedication to craft helped shape our record into a first-class project."
"Michael was patient, knowledgeable and provided guidance and advice on my project. He made me feel at home from the moment I walked through the door until I delivered my performance. Michael is the type of person who will spend the extra time and energy on the little details to make sure that it gets done right. It is my pleasure to recommend Michael Nowak and Saga Recording to everyone who wants to create great music. Thank you for the awesome job you did."
"Working with Michael at Saga Recording was a comfortable and challenging experience. He's great at encouragement and also gently yet firmly pushed me to extend my skill, making an excellent overall album.
Michael fluidly moves between musical genres providing superb style and production support. The final CD has received a plethora of positive feedback in its first month."
"Working with Michael on my first "long distance" recording project was a totally stress-free and rewarding experience, from start to finish. The end result exceeded my expectations in every way. I look forward to working with Michael at Saga Recording again on additional recording projects in the future."
Clients Just a few of the many people we've had the pleasure of working with in our studio: