Location Recording    

Record your music where it sounds best and where you're most comfortable – in your rehearsal space, living room, favorite club, performance space, an empty swimming pool (yours or ours!)....

I bring a full complement of professional microphones, preamps, AD converters, etc., as well as years of recording experience in a variety of musical genres and a flexible, creative attitude. All you do is show up with your genius artistry.

My core rig runs Pro Tools or Digital Performer (your choice) on a Mac, via firewire. At sample rates up to 48 kHz, I can run up to 20 simultaneous mic or line inputs. At 96 kHz, we can do up to 10 tracks at once. If you have your own gear that you'd like to integrate in the setup, we can do 26 or more tracks.

When we're done, you'll have 24-bit audio files in whatever format you like (e.g., SDII, WAV, AIFF). Take them to your home studio for overdubs, mix them yourself, or hand them off to another mixer. Or you might choose to have me do the mixing (if we like each others' musical taste).

This is both a professional service and a collaborative art – which means that we'll be working together to make sure that the technical and aesthetic details are to your liking. It also means that you either get to help set up microphones and schlep gear to and from the car, or you get to pay a little extra for me to bring an assistant.


For you, it's an opportunity to capture your group (or just the drums or rhythm section) with an organic vibe and groove that simply cannot be simulated through overdubs alone. The spontaneity of people actually playing together can't be faked, no matter how good you are with Pro Tools – human interaction is kind of funny that way. And by recording in a real space, you'll obtain a sense of presence and excitement that no studio can duplicate (not even with convolution reverb).

For me, it's all of the above, plus it's an opportunity to work with creative musicians in their "native habitat." I mean, why just go to the zoo, when you can go on safari?


My recording rig is designed to be modular, so that I can bring the right gear for the situation (see my gear page for a list of available mics, preamps, etc.). My pricing is also flexible, based on a variety of factors. (See my studio rates page for more on my pricing philosophy.)

For bigger sessions, allow more time for technical setup. You'll also want to provide (or pay for) an external hard drive to hold all of your fresh tracks. Since bigger setups can involve multiple sessions over a long weekend or three, it may be convenient for us to set a single discounted price for the project as a whole. (Note that for the bigger setups, we have to be within a few hundred feet of AC power.)

The following "menu" presents a few examples of possible gear packages (from small to large) and prices (engineering included).

TRACKS – $25/hr. Min. 3 hours.

This setup yields a high-quality stereo image of your performance. I bring a nice preamp (e.g., Aphex 207 or TC Gold Channel), two matched condenser mics, cables and stands. I run signal via a Digigram VX Pocket 24-bit AD converter (or an Mbox 2 Mini) into a Powerbook. Sound check can be minimal. If you prefer, I can take a stereo split from the house PA.

3–8 TRACKS – $30/hr; with assistant, $40/hr. Min. 5 hours.
Great for small acoustic groups or for tracking drums. I bring a rack that includes a Presonus Firestudio (8 preamps, 96kHz), headphone amp (6 channels), Lexicon reverb for "sweet" monitoring (e.g., vocals), power conditioner, plus mics, stands, headphones, etc. Tracking is via firewire to a Mac G4 dual GB (Quicksilver). Figure on a few hours of setup time to get everything sounding great.

9–12 TRACKS – $35/hr; with assistant, $45/hr. Min. 6 hours.
Excellent for the electric band on a budget. Same as the 8-track session, plus outboard preamps (TC Gold Channel, Aphex 207, and/or D&R Holland), for up to 12 simultaneous tracks at 96kHz. All monitoring via headphones.

13–16 TRACKS – $40/hr; with assistant, $50/hr. Min. 6 hours.
Building on the 12-track package, add a Mackie Onyx mixer for more preamps, as well as small JBL monitors and a Symetrix amp for checking playback without headphones. Involves somewhat more setup time.

17–26 TRACKS – $45/hr; with assistant, $55/hr. Min. 8 hours.
Building on the 16-track package, add more instrument inputs through the Onyx mixer, or add your own preamps – up to 26 simultaneous inputs.

Inadvertently tracking the silliest thing you said all day – priceless.

Prior to the recording date(s), we'll want to address a variety of technical and aesthetic details, along the following lines....

Setup — For more elaborate sessions, we should walk through the space in advance, to map things out sonically and make sure we'll have everything we need on the big day(s). If we'll be in a club, you should have a decent rapport with the staff, as we'll want to control the environment enough to secure mic stands (and other gear) without disrupting patron traffic (and vice versa).

Isolation vs. bleed — How much mic bleed between tracks you want (or not) is an aesthetic judgment. For a "live in the room" sound, some bleed may be desirable. Of course, bleed can make later editing and mixing more difficult. Getting isolation is easy if we're tracking just the rhythm section: we run the bass direct to cleanly capture the live sound of the drums. We can run scratch guitar and keyboard parts direct, for possible later replacement or re-amping. If you want live amplifiers in the room, I have a few large isolation baffles (more schlepping). We can also put amps in adjoining rooms, and hang foam sheets or furniture blankets as an impromptu booth around the vocal mic(s).

Monitoring — I can provide headphones for seven musicians (if we need more, we can scrounge them up). I can set up several different monitor mixes so that, for instance, a vocalist can have more scratch reverb, or the drummer can hear more bass. In some cases, headphones may not be necessary or desirable. If you want to use monitor speakers live in the room, I have a special technique that will eliminate most of the bleed. (Don't ask, it's magic!)



write, record, mix, master tools in the right hands Hoagie Hill, Subluminous, others your name here soon this would be Mr. Hill tips, tricks, treats seamonstersounds(at)verizon(dot)net fly back to the sea