What is it like at SMALLTIME?
Can you spot the "studio" in here?
Well, it's like a musical B&B sometimes. Other times it's like a
cozy little salon where you have direct contact with the engineer right
next to you. It's very relaxed, you'll be the only focus on the day or
days you are here. If you are staying overnight there is a quaint, attractive
guest room with your own TV. If you would like to have a partner or friend
stay with you while you're here that's OK, too. There are no tight schedules
and no stress.
While you're here you can follow your own schedule, taking breaks and working at your own pace. We live in one of the most beautiful areas in North America so if you are here for a few days or more and want to relax and enjoy the area while you're recording that's good, too. That's the way we like to live.
You'll have complete musical support as well as all the usual technical
support, as your engineer, Joe, is also a composer, arranger, drummer
and percussionist. If there are parts to be added (i.e., bass, keyboard,
strings, percussion, etc.) we can do that, too. As a matter of fact, that
is a specialty of Joe's. We're small, so we always record in small groups
If you like, we can handle art work, design, and ordering CDs. The four CDs in our portfolio were designed by us.
We can show you how to register your work and obtain mechanical rights if you need that.
Joe is also a cook of some notoriety, after all he's retired from the Calgary gourmet food scene, so, if you prefer, we'll cook for you too!
To give you an idea of what we can do, here is an breakdown of the approach
that was taken on one of the songs included as examples in our portfolio:
Everytime was recorded on Cubase5 and created by two people; the guitar was recorded in two parts for the two distinct sections of the song. In this case the guitar was played through a Fender Princeston Chorus miked with a Sennheiser 421. The middle guitar section was enhanced with a unison ghost track created in Propellerhead Reason to accentuate attack and higher frequencies. The drums were recorded with only two mics on two separate tracks. The toms were recorded alone to avoid leakage, enabling complete tone control while at the same time allowing tweaking of the arrangement later. The kit was recorded with a Sennheiser 421 on the snare and a Rode NT1-A condenser mic as an overhead for the cymbals and high-hat. The bass drum was replaced with a sampled bass drum from Reason. The Rode NT1-A was used again for the vocals which were very slightly compressed. It was also recorded in short sections, because Joe is not a real singer (although no pitch correction was used :) The muted trumpet, organ, and amplified acoustic bass were all composed by Joe and added via samples and sequencing in Reason. The song was then mastered in Cubase5.
What this breakdown shows is that quite a high quality result can be had with a small amount of good equipment. In this case, an iMac with a lot of RAM, a high quality digital audio work station like Cubase (we now use Cubase6), a good digital interface, some good mics, a high quality sequencer program like Reason (or Cubase), a MIDI keyboard, various monitor headphones, and last but definitely not least, a good set of monitor speakers.
The importance of this is that it demonstrates what is really important:
Musicality — Craft — Creativity.
These things are the difference at a first class studio. They are what define an excellent producer. So, why shouldn't you be able to get them without paying for all the bells and whistles, compressors, enhancers, manipulators and manglers, and the machine that goes “bing”? That is what we hope to do. Listen again to our samples. You can get lots of budget recording studios, but you won't get this quality of musicality, craft, and creativity.
Here's our Fee Schedule
The “salon” you may stay in while you're here.