Skill, Vibe & Value
Welcome to Saga Recording, a full-service Vancouver studio with a creative atmosphere that's designed to inspire. Whether you're a Juno winner or an up-and-comer, we share your passion for music.
Our facility sits in the sweet spot between high-rent megastudios and smaller project rooms, and you won't find the same combination of skill, vibe and value anywhere else. The space was 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 over 40 years, so when he designs a studio you can be sure it sounds phenomenal.
We’re especially sought after for our vocal recording and work in a wide range of styles including pop, rock, roots, contemporary christian, R&B, country, jazz, soul, gospel, folk, blues, worldbeat, and classical. Singer/songwriters in particular come to us because we know how to capture great sounding performances of their songs in a way that moves their listeners.
More than just a pretty space
Owner Michael Nowak is an award-winning producer, ASCAP-affiliated songwriter, mixer, engineer, arranger, and musician with over 30 years of professional experience whose work has been heard by millions of listeners around the globe. Fluent in both the artistic and the technical craft of record making, Michael has been instrumental in launching the careers of new artists and expanding the careers of established ones. After being on both sides of the microphone he knows first-hand what it takes to bring out your best.
Michael is a native Detroiter, cutting his teeth in the live and studio scene there after earning a music degree from Oakland University on a guitar scholarship. In 1998 he moved to Nashville, where for five years he wrote, produced, and performed. Now a proud Vancouverite, outside of the studio he serves as a juror for industry review panels and awards including the JUNOs, teaches college classes in songwriting and music business, and rides his bike around the city when it’s not raining too hard. He also needs just one more guitar.
In the Press
The Class of 2012, Mix Magazine's annual roundup of the best-designed studio facilities worldwide.
Props & Praise
“Thank you for the time and care you took with my songs, drawing out the best in them — and in me.
The attention and creativity in the studio...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.”
“After more than 40 years in the music business, there are only a few people you meet 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. He goes above and beyond the norm, because he truly cares about his end results. Thanks for the great help in getting the music out of my head and onto disc!”
“Working with Michael at Saga Recording was a turning point in our careers as recording artists, and as a band.
He is not only a great producer, but a highly skilled audio engineer, an accomplished guitarist, and a dedicated and gifted wordsmith. Michael's guitar experience and gear helped me sculpt the best guitar tones I’ve recorded to date as a player, and his ability to introduce production and songwriting ideas while still helping us hold true to our vision for the album was a winning combination.”
Mad For Joy
“As a vocalist, musician and song-writer, I received clear and gentle guidance from Michael that was refreshingly constructive and supportive.
I absolutely loved the process of working with Michael on my lyrics, and he helped get the most powerful and emotive vocal takes from me. In short, we could not be happier with our new album and for the wonderful experience we had working with Michael every step of the way.”
Mad For Joy
“Saga Recording has been my go-to studio as a singer/songwriter for 11 years and counting!
I leave every single time with a smile on my face. He is genuine, professional, extremely fair, and a pleasure to work with. Michael is also a musician, and has a wonderfully amazing ear.”
Aaron Turner Jr.
“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. 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 ears—he knows his stuff. You don't get "Mr. Big Producer" attitude, you get a guy who is honest, low-key, friendly and experienced. I've had nothing but good results from Saga. Highly recommended.”
“Saga has 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.”
“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 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, Michael left no attention to detail unnoticed and contributed a great deal to instrumentation and arrangement. He is personable, clearly dedicated to the music, and prepared to get the best results. ”
“Michael combines his extensive knowledge of sound, passion for music, and precise ear with his intuitive nature to enable any artist 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!”
“I started a recording project in Abbey Road Studios in London 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 felt at home from the moment I walked through the door until I delivered my performance.
Michael was patient, knowledgeable and provided guidance and advice on my project. He 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. Thank you for the awesome job.”
“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 remember the days searching the internet hoping to find a producer, an arranger and a recording studio.
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 an album. I'd like to recommend Michael to artists who are looking for such a partner. All my songs are written in a foreign language to him, and yet he amazed me by how he could comprehend the emotions so well! He's got more than good ears!”
“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!”
“The studio space is classy, 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.”
“Michael 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.”
“The CD blew me away the first time I listened to it, and it still continues to blow me away.
You did a most awesome job in every way...the recording, the bass (rock on!) and guitar parts, the synth parts...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.”
“Once we began making my album 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.”
“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
“Working at Saga Recording was the first recording experience of my musical career and 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 always felt very relaxed with Michael 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!
“Michael gave it that studio polish where we wanted, but he also captured the rawness of the live experience where we needed that.
He really worked with us to bring out the best in our music. 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
“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.”
“Michael's 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.”
“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.”
“Michael did a masterful job in translating a simple guitar and vocal demo into an arrangement through his intuitive ability to hear what I was wanting to say and much more.
He 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 him.”