Any Questions?

Here are answers to the most common questions we get about our studio and the recording process, and feel free to contact us about anything not covered below. There are no "dumb" questions! The more you know, the happier you will be with the end result. 

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 commercial release 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 facilities) 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.

What about recording 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 can be plagued by technical issues that will distract the listener from the singer and the song, and if you’re wanting to get the attention of people in the music industry you want to make the best first impression. 

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

Equipment — The shortcomings of a budget mic can’t always be fixed in the mix. Commercial studios like ours have a large selection of professional microphones, preamps, compressors, effects processors, digital converters, and other gear to faithfully capture the source.

Acoustics — Even more critical than the equipment is the acoustic environment. A properly designed recording studio is treated to sound good, while a typical room in a house will have a particular sonic imprint that often interferes with what’s being recorded. Untreated walls, ceilings and floors can cause things like flutter echo; resonant ringing; cancellation of frequencies, which gives the recording a hollow or thin sound; boomy or weak bass frequencies; uneven mid and high frequencies; and distant or imbalanced-sounding ambience. On top of that is the issue of environmental noise—unless it's a song about lawnmowers, you don't want that lawnmower running outside to be on your vocal track. Once those flaws are on the recording it's difficult (and costly) to fix them in the mix, assuming it’s even possible. And a proper acoustic environment is essential for mixing and mastering so the final recording will sound right wherever it's played.

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 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 works on its own 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 of the 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 recording.

Most artists would rather rather spend time and energy on things like writing new songs, practicing their instrument, marketing themselves on social media and playing more live gigs instead of reading manuals trying to figure out why their songs don't sound right. Let us take care of the technical side so you can be free to focus on making great music.

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 accommodate 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, email, and video conference.

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.

What is vocal production?

Vocal production encompasses all the facets that make up an amazing vocal recording—an inspired performance, faithfully captured with the right equipment, 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.

What kind of songwriting 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 through the songs you create, and we can 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. He can help with melodies, chord progressions, lyrics, or write an entire song from just a title or idea.

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 format it will be distributed 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 streaming and for error-free replication if physical copies are being made.

What are your studio rates?

Choosing the right studio for a project isn’t about who’s got the cheapest rate, it’s about getting the best results within your budget. Our rates are flexible depending on the size of the project and competitive with other studios in the area. Phone or message us here and let’s talk about what we can do for you.

Do you have any intern/assistant positions available?

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

Why is the studio called Saga Recording?

The Norse word "saga" means "story.” Like any good story, great music communicates…it conveys emotion…it stays in the listener's heart long after it's heard. This is the kind of music we help people make at Saga Recording.