August 26, 2009

FAQ- Our String Recording Process

My projects are always on a tight deadline; can I trust you to work quickly?

Absolutely. We understand that many jobs require same or next day turnaround, and are prepared to accommodate (we have completed projects in less than an hour before!) However, this does not translate to loss in quality. Our players have lots of session experience, both reading and improvising.

Where do you record, and in what format(s)? How do I get the files?

It’s understandable to have questions about remote string recording! We record in rooms that are acoustically treated and very quiet. There are no noise floor issues. We use a combination of small and large diaphragm condenser microphones and work in Pro Tools LE – usually at 24 bit / 48 kHz unless you specify otherwise.

Once all of the string parts have been recorded, we’ll send you a rough mix. If you are happy, we will then send you the individual .wav files. We’ll keep you in the loop and get your input at every stage of the recording process. If you hear a preliminary mix and decide that the second viola part is hideous, we’ll fix it before it goes too far – just like you’re in the studio with us.

I’m not happy with your first draft. Do I have to pay for another version?

We Guarantee Execution. If you find a mistake in intonation, tone, rhythm, or any case in which we fail to follow clear instructions, we will revise promptly for free.

Do you need written parts, or can you create the string arrangements yourself?

If you have written string parts, we will be happy to play them. However, we also love to compose, arrange, and transcribe.

If you have recorded parts but don’t have time to write them out, send them to us and we will orchestrate them. We work fast.

Also, if you want us to compose strings from scratch, great! Tell us to “play something whimsical and melodic” or “single note lines a la 70’s disco.” No problem. Or, just ask us to improvise and we’ll create a string arrangement on the fly.

We will give you a full quote up front including break downs in any costs associated with string tracking and/or string arranging. You’ll have the option to choose, and we always honor the quote.

What if I need a 60 piece string orchestra recorded tomorrow? How do you make that happen efficiently?

First, we create a tempo map in Pro Tools. This is simply a guideline by which to record, i.e. a flexible click track that specifically follows all of the tempo markings/meter changes in the music. We then send this to all of our players with an instruction such as: “Start recording after a 2 bar count off.” Then, each musician layers his/her parts. Once finished, we send the parts to our staff engineer who compiles them (which is automatic given the universal tempo map).

What does it cost?

The rates depend on several variables – Do you need us to arrange or transcribe parts? How many layers of strings will we be tracking? Etc… Talk to us about your project or send us your materials/instructions and we’ll give you a fixed quote up front. You don’t pay until you are happy. We believe the catchphrase is: 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

Questions? If the website doesn’t answer your questions (or if you would like to hire us to help with string recording or string arranging), get us on the phone or via email at:

Christian – chris@christianhowes.com – 614 332 8689