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Length of time to record one metal song

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Ericlingus, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Ericlingus

    Ericlingus Prettiest Hair Around

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    I guess what annoys me is if a band isn't prepared and just wants me to edit the shit out of everything which is very time consuming and really just isn't any fun at all. I didn't get into audio recording to spend most of my time editing. Have any of you guys have to construct drum tracks out of parts the drummer played. For instance say he played a part right except for the kicks. Say he added in extra kick hits and left some out and did wrong fills and stuff. Have you ever had to edit it to make the drum parts sound played correct or is that asking for too much? That's what I'm doing right now (for free btw) and it seems kinda of ridiculous to me. They should have learned how to play the damn song correctly to begin with! I didn't know the songs well enough to know exactly how a part goes especially when he doesn't even play it exactly the same every time anyways.
     
  2. mva801

    mva801 Member

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    Usually I'd just have them play it right. I can edit timing, etc, but I'm not fucking playing the drums for you via editing. If they need that kind of help, program them!

    I've NEVER worked on a per song basis. Every project is different. Some guys can come in and smash out an awesome song quickly. Others cannot. To fully complete, from setting up drums, editing, tracking bass, guitars, whatever else, mixing and mastering, usually takes between 16-30 hours for one song. Totally dependent on the musicians and their material.

    FWIW I charge $25 an hour + any outside studio fees for tracking/ editing. Then depending on the amount of work I'll need to mix it, and how many songs, I'll charge $50-$100 per song to mix. Usually if I've tracked everything and know where I want to go, I can mix something in 4-6 hours, and will give the band a bit of a break from the hourly charge. But tracking and editing is difficult work. GET WHAT YOU'RE WORTH!!!!!
     
  3. visceral

    visceral Member

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    When I said it usually takes me 4-7 hours per song, I meant tracking, mixing, & mastering. I didnt even consider setup time, drum tuning (if Im not using samples), mic placement etc. All of this could add 3-5 hours or so no problem (for me at least). So in my case, one song from setup to teardown is probably around 10 hours. Sometimes it is faster and sometimes it is slower. Also keep in mind, I mentioned that I usually sample replace the drums. If I use the raw drums, then that would add a few more hours. I can edit & mix samples quite quickly. I always make sure the drummer doesn't mind though...cause drummers can be picky sometimes lol. If the band is willing to leave their gear setup for a few days, it helps cut down on time.

    And I notice you asking if people would spend the time editing a band that is not super skilled. IMHO, if you start a project with a band, you should finish it and do the best job that you can. Especially if you want more bands to record with you. I treat every band as if I were producing my own music.

    There are a ton of things you can do to get more bands to record with you. One thing that I do is give bands recording time for referrals. For example, lets say Band A records with me. They (hopefully) like the results, and tell Band B where they recorded. Band B then comes to record with me. Since Band A referred Band B, they get to record one free song with me. Then the cycle repeats, only now there are 2 bands (A and B) that are spreading the word. It is an incentive that has worked quite well for me.
     
  4. FrontlineGuitar

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    This is genius.

    However, I can imagine it building up over time to the point where you're doing way too many free songs for your time, but then ideally by that time I would imagine that as you're getting so many referrals you could just stop telling bands about the referral scheme, and let it dwindle until you're just doing paid work.

    That is really great, it's like you're making them your business affiliates..
     
  5. Backe

    Backe Space Cowboy

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    Just one song?

    My rate is around $100 a day because I work with lots of different genres. Makes it easier for clients to see how much time actually goes into recording/mixing, rather than just a price tag on their shitty song. Extreme neo-tech-classical-death-prog would require something like a day for drum editing alone, and a singer-songwriter may need two plugins and some automation.

    If someone from a "Template A"-metal band asked me how much it'd be to record a song, I'd explain to them that tuning and miking a full drum kit would be a complete waste of time since it'd take longer than the recording itself (same goes for amps etc) and base the quote off that. About a day for pre-prods, writing and editing drums. About a day for guitars, and then another day for bass and overdubs. Vocals should take a day if the vocalist's got his shit together. And finally, one full undisturbed day of mixing (editing is done while recording, otherwise clients can't see how much you're actually putting in). I'll normally spend two days since re-recording all their instruments sometimes takes longer than expected. Then there's mastering, which everyone just assumes comes for free. I refer them to a mastering service that charges about as much for mastering a song as I do for mixing it. Suddenly they're willing to pay that little extra.

    I always include a couple of revisions on the mix etc (I'm a nice guy), but if they just won't trust me when I say that nobody's going to care that the vocalist breathed in 0.0002 milliseconds too early on bar 28 they have to pay extra for the time it takes to edit it to infinity and beyond. But if everything goes smoothly, the total would be around $500 if I'm not mistaking. For just one song. Without mastering. It may seem like a lot of money to them if it's their first time around, but if the guys are serious with their music they'll make it back with a single gigs pay.

    It should be noted that I do this "off the books", don't pay taxes etc. Reason being I'm employed full time as a web designer, I just record bands in my spare time to help finance my G.A.S. lol

    A funny story I feel is appropriate here: One time I was mixing a band (friends of mine). They'd done the recording themselves in their rehearsal space. Super shitty recording with lots of clipping over a EZDrummer track with about 5 hits at once on every bar. The editing took me forever since I was doing it in my spare time, and I really gave it a try since I want my reputation intact. When I was finally done, about a month later (!) I sent the final mix to them. I think we settled on revision 5 (super picky dudes), and two months had passed. We started arguing about the price, which I felt was a blow beneath the belt, since I was already charging them next to nothing because of the aforementioned friendship. "But come on! The mix took like an INSANELY long time to complete, we've waited FOREVER, we can't pay full price when we've waited this long". When I explained the obvious to them, other arguments against my super low price tag started to emerge. "Come on, man. We can't pay that much. We just put down like a $1000 deposit in a real studio, AND we've printed t-shirts and stuff". I'm no longer too sure about the aforementioned friendship.
     
  6. visceral

    visceral Member

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    Backe brings up a good point about working with different genres. So far, I have only worked with metal bands. I have a feeling that once I branch out, I will have a lot to learn. If this were my main source of income, I would probably charge by the day (one day being 8-10 hours). Since this is my hobby, I charge practically nothing, but I always try to do my best. So far the bands I have worked with have been pleased....some have been ecstatic. It is a great feeling when others like your work. I have a full time job & 2 young children, so I dont always get things done as promptly as some studios, but I make sure to communicate with the bands every step of the way.

    I would say the most important thing is to have fun. Someone once said, (and I may be paraphrasing a bit), if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life. I love playing/producing music, and it never feels like work. Sometimes hours can pass by and feel like only minutes.
     

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