Frequency Asked Questions
What styles of music do you work with?
Any style you want to record. In other words, we work with all styles! (hear some of the variety of styles on our "Music" page) We've worked with every style from folk and pop to hip-hop and choirs and everything in-between!
Are you a record label?
No. We are a recording facility only.
Do I need to schedule an appointment?
Yes! The studio is booked by appointment only!
How far in advance do I need to book?
Usually at least a month or more ahead, but we do have occasional cancellations on sessions. Normally we are fully booked 2-3 months out at a time.
What are your hours?
We try to keep session times between 10AM and 10PM. If you need times outside of these, just ask us and we'll do our best to accommodate your needs!
I have a home studio and just need to mix - or I just want to record, and then mix myself in my home studio. Is that cool?
YES! Many of our clients work between our studio and their own. Just let us know what your end vision is and we'll help you figure it out!
Is it alright if I bring in work from my home studio?
Sure thing! Sometimes it helps to have another set of ears to figure out why that one part just doesn't sound quite right or the way you want it. Or maybe you just need to record vocals on a microphone and signal chain that is smooth as silk!
Do you make beats? (Hip-Hop/R&B/Rap)
Nope. We are strictly a recording and mixing facility - and making beats isn't what we do. We do however know several very talented local producers who make beats and can recommend them to you for those services.
Should I ask my beat producer for individual tracks of the beat? (Hip-Hop/R&B/Rap)
YES, YES, YES!!!!! You will end up with a much better mix. Your producer has created those great beats - we can mix them and make them even better. However, if your track is off a CD (2-tracks because there is only a left and right track of audio), we can still pull it in and use it, but if there are any instruments or parts that are too loud, or the beat is distorted due to clipping, or anything is unbalanced in the track you will just have to make do. We will have no control of those individual tracks. Also, if you want to customize or edit that track to your lyrics, you can only work within the sound layers and mix that already exists.
What does that mean? Get your beats tracked out by your beat master! It will make a world of difference in your finished product.
How does the recording process work? (Bands)
Recording a band is like building a house. You have to lay a foundation first. In a band the rhythm section is that foundation. Usually this means recording drums and bass while grabbing "scratch tracks" (place holder tracks) of the other important parts (i.e. guitars, vocals, etc.). Once you have the groove laid down, you can add in guitars, keyboards, etc. Lastly, you would record the vocals (since most vocalists like to hear all the elements of the song together). However all that can change depending on the project.
What will the mix sound like?
The mix will get you a more polished, level sounding version of the original recordings. We are not fans of the "we'll just fix it in the mix" mentality. The fact is, if it sounds great during recording, it will sound even better after mixing. If you spend your time quantizing every downbeat, or your instruments are out of tune (auto tune is not a fix-all solution) you will lose the emotion and feeling of your music.
Should I bring blank CDs or a hard drive to store my session?
We highly recommend you bring an external hard drive for a big project or at the very least a jump drive if you wish to store your session. We also can bounce the finished mix to a master CD that you may then replicate.
I have my own engineer, can my engineer run the session?
Unfortunately, no. Due to insurance policies only resident engineers are allowed to run a session, however you are welcome to bring your engineer to the session to observe or advise if you wish.
What are your rates?
Our recording rates start at $60 an hour...Engineer is included in the price. **2 hour minimum / 48 hour advance notice for appointments** and $50 deposit to book session. But we prefer to quote per project flat rates so we can avoid the "clock watching" that can sap a performer's momentum or energy in the session. On per project flat rates it is 50% down and remainder due at end of session.
When is payment due?
Payment is due at the end of every session.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. No Checks.
Do I need a deposit?
Yes. In order to keep our rates low, we require a $50 deposit (non-refundable inside 48 hrs. of session start) when you book your session. This deposit counts towards your session and is only lost if you miss your appointment or cancel inside of 48 hours. We can process your deposit online or over the phone and you'll get a receipt in your email almost instantly. On per project flat rates it is 50% down and remainder due at end of session.
What if I only need an hour of studio time?
We have a minimum 2 hour session policy. So 1 hour would still be charged as 2 hours.
There are fantastic tools available today to help you sound as good as possible, but nothing beats taking the time to master your craft and have your tunes well-rehearsed. At Smiley Face Records we strive to capture a performance, not manufacture one.