How long is a day/half-day at New Alliance Audio?
An average day at New Alliance is 8 hours, but in the heat of the moment, when momentum is going our way, we will extend up to 10 hours at no additional charge. A half day is 4-5 hours booked at the first half or the second half of the day. Ex. 11am-4pm and 5pm-10pm, this is so the studio can still book the other half of the day. If sessions go over 10 hours, we charge an additional $40 per hour to pay the engineer for their time.
Does New Alliance Audio do hourly?
Unfortunately No. This is something that we have tried to do over the years, but has never worked at our facility. All of our engineers do sound full time, and if you book an engineer for just an hour, you take away their ability to make a fair living freelancing.
What time does the day start?
Usually 11, but remember, you are the client, so be sure to discuss your schedule with the engineer, and we will try our best to meet your needs.
Is there parking?
YES. We do have a parking lot. The only rule is that you put a note in the window notifying where you are and your cell number. If you don’t do this, the building will tow you. Sometimes after a band has recorded, they think since they know the trick to park in a prime location, they come and park here. It is to their own dismay to find their vehicles towed upon return. The building managers aren’t dumb and are constantly checking on the parking situation, as it is limited, so please be respectful and don’t abuse.
New Alliance is on the second floor, is there an elevator to bring our gear up?
Yes, and it stops directly across from the studios rear door for easy load in.
We are recording to Pro Tools, do we need to back our stuff up?
Yes. By recording to a DAW like Pro Tools or Logic, you have saved hundreds of dollars in reels, expedited the processing of recording through immediate playback, and the editing and automation capabilities are nearly endless. In return we ask that you back your stuff up. New Alliance Audio has a single backup of everything we do, but if a catastrophe were to happen, and we lost those backups, you would need to have a copy. Hard drives are getting cheaper and making backups couldn’t be more convenient. Trust me—do a backup.
Should I get new drumheads before a session?
YES!!! We recommend that you replace and tune the week before, so all we are doing is touching up the tuning, and rolling as quickly as possible. If we change heads at the studio, it drastically increases setup time, but if you are weary, and want the assistance of a seasoned pro, we are here to help—but plan accordingly. Remember to check with your engineer to see what type of heads they prefer for your genre and “sound.” Every one of us has our own bag of tricks and things we tend to lean on, though they are not as finite as you may think—in other words—just ask. A recording is only as good as the foundation you put it on, that is why drum recording is so imperative to get right.
Should I get my guitar “setup” and change strings before a session?
YES, for the sake of Pete, please!!! Guitar intonation is vital to the quality of a recording. Poorly setup guitars can lead to horrible tuning issues and a poor recording experience. New strings do wonders too—cleaning up the tone definition and clarity can be as easy as strings. Please don’t undermine yourself by not changing strings; Bass players should ignore this though. Why you ask?
Should I change my bass strings?
NO!!! Well not always no—but I made you stop and think. Some of my favorite bass players spend years trying to get past the crisp bright tone of new strings. A round tone is sometimes as easy as old strings—I’m serious. This rule does not always apply—some genre’s do use that new string sound and exploit the clackyness. If in doubt, just ask.
Does New Alliance Audio have drums, amps, or other gear we can use?
YES. We have spent years collecting gear. Visit our gear page to see. It is important however to check with the engineer to make sure this will work. Sometimes after weeks of being in constant sessions, some things can get a little worn or beat, and not be up to spec. Just check with us to make sure the specific amp, cab, drums, etc. are working first.
I noticed you have an upright piano at your studio; does it work? Is it in tune?
Yes the piano works, over the past few years we have had a lot of use out of the piano and it is being maintained and tuned regularly. If you want to use the piano during your session, notify the engineer. We always prefer to tune the piano before a session to ensure the best possible results. We do split the cost of tuning with the client 50/50, which is literally $50 each.
We noticed you have a 2-inch 24-track tape machine, and we love the sound of tape, can we record to it?
The answer is yes. We to love the sound of our tape machine and tape in general, but there are considerations. We calibrate our tape machine to run at 30 inches per second, which gives you about 16 minutes for one reel. If you want to keep multiple takes of a song you will need to buy more reels. We are also setup for a very specific type of reel. One of the two remaining manufacturers is RMG and we use the 900 series 2-inch reels. The average cost is $280 per reel, so please plan accordingly.
Reels are expensive, is there a way to capture the sound of tape without spending a fortune on it.
YES—well, mostly yes. Tape has a very certain sonic characteristic. One time I gave a seminar to a room full of people comparing recording straight to tape, straight to digital and then tape transferred into digital. The entire room was surprised to find out that even the untrained ear could here the difference. The solution: there is a trick we do in the audio industry where we record to tape then transfer the files into the computer, all in order to capture the sonic characteristics of tape. The benefits are you only have to buy one reel and use that several times. You also get the great editing features provided in the digital domain, but like anything, there are cons. Once transferred into the computer, some of the fidelity is lost. But the benefits are still there, and may be worth doing, it is also a bit more time consuming on the front end. Be sure to discuss this with the engineer before deciding.
Do you stock reels at the studio
NO. Please notify the engineer if you need to buy any reels of tape. These can take several weeks to order so knowing in advance is vital.