The World of Recording - Part 1
My first time in a professional recording studio was a purely passive experience, but it was so great to just be a sponge in that space. It took place at Rocking Horse Studio in Pittsfield, NH. Pulling into the driveway, I didn’t really have any idea what to expect. All I knew is that this time would miraculously be credited towards my high school senior project of making an album (Click here to check out my band’s debut single). I called the studio to ask them if it would be alright to come by and shadow a recording or mixing session at the studio and they agreed. When the date arrived, I made out to a part of the state I had never been to before. When I got there and opened the doors, I stepped into a world I’d never even dreamed of.
Seemingly any and every instrument, amplifier, and microphone you could ever want were all living in this one, beautiful, acoustically-rich room. Up to that point in time, I really only tried to focus on being a good guitar player. I was just beginning to sing and play bass but I never even thought of being able to play piano, drums, organ, or synth. Yet here were all these instruments in the same room. It was pretty mind boggling to be shown Fender instruments in great shape from the 60’s and 70’s, a gorgeous grand piano, and gleaming drum set with seemingly a dozen microphones set up all around it.
Being only four or so years into playing guitar, I didn’t understand the music industry, how records were made, and I’m not too sure if I even knew that mixing and mastering was a thing. Being pretty very naive about the recording process, I kind of thought you would just go into a studio, get a good take, then get the music out there. Apparently there's a lot more to it than that! Getting a great take is a desired result, but even with one there is still a lot of work to be done to make that particular instrument sound the best it can. The wise men running the boards told me that sound sits on a frequency spectrum and it's measured in Hertz (HZ). Bass sits much lower frequency on the spectrum than an electric guitar. Accordingly, when some of the higher frequencies/HZ are shaved off from the bass and more emphasis is placed on the lower frequencies it naturally produces, the result is a rich, full tone.
It was like someone had pulled back the curtain to what my eyes couldn’t process. I was seeing sound for the first time in my life. That day at Rocking Horse I was mainly involved in the mixing portion of an a cappella project. In a more peaceful, quiet, and woodsy area of the country with a modern-cabin like feel to the studio itself, I could see why musicians would want to go there to best capture and release their sound. It was interesting to hear strictly vocals with no instruments, yet with every single voice on record, there was a little to take away here and a little more to add there. After a couple hours of soaking up as much as I could, I thanked those that let me sit in on the session and left. As I made my way home, I continued savoring the thought of all of those beautiful instruments, learning about the art of a good mix, and seeing sound for the first time.
The debut single from my band Alpha Pegasi was just released on 6/20/20! Listen to it by Clicking Here