FAQ General FAQ
Here are some answers to very commonly asked questions about being in the studio:
Q: What are your studio rates?
The Wave Lab, NYC's rates start as low as $40.00 per hour!! Please click here for more info.
Q: How long does it take to record a something?
This question is like asking, "how long is a piece of rope?", it has no definitive answer.It can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 years. It all depends on how complicated the material is, what you need to do the recording for (a demo, an inde or major release, a radio/tv/film production, etc...), whether or not the material has been written yet and/or how well rehearsed you are with the material to begin with, plus many other random variables.
For quick lo-fi live band 'demos', you should probably allow at least 1 hour for every minute of a songs length, plus 2-3 hours for setting everything up. Basically, for a 4 minute song, allow for at least 6 hours. To fit into that time constraint, you very well may need to cut some corners on production quality but you will still get a great 'live sound' result.
For a modern pop quality 'finished' single, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a month or maybe much longer.
For a whole 'finished' album (from 10-14 songs), anywhere from a few days to a few years, generally depending on how many songs you want to do, how much time you can spend in the studio on a regular basis, how many re-takes, versions, and/or mixes of each song you wind up doing.
If you want a fast demo just to hear what something sounds like or to try to get some gigs, you could cram a few songs into a one day session. We have done 14 songs in three 12 hour days, but that was exhausting, laborious work and, in our opinion, the finished product didn't sound very good. In this we suggest to bands, do not send out too much material just to get gigs. 2 or 3 songs are sufficient.
At the end of the day it is ultimately about what you want, but we always warn people about trying to do too much all at once in order to "save money". We really feel this is a false economy, as many people have spent much more money correcting issues after the fact rather spending the time to get it right the first time.
Q: Which are better, analog tape or digital hardware recordings?
This a very debatable question.
Analog tape offers many positive things, the most important being natural 'saturation and compression' of the recordings and it naturally sounds very 'smooth' and 'warm'. Tape also has many downsides. Tape has a very high noise floor (ya know that 'tape hiss'...), it is difficult to edit, it has a limited number of available tracks, there is a very long 'set-up' time, and it is VERY expensive.
Digital recordings offer much more flexibility. They are 'non-linear' recordings so you can edit very quickly and freely, there is no wait for rewinding or fast-forwarding (which over a long session really saves a lot of time and money), there is no noise floor so the recordings sound much 'cleaner', they have a much wider frequency range, there are an unlimited number of available tracks, they are very convenient to exchange between studios, and the format is very inexpensive. The downsides are there is no natural 'compression' and they don't naturally sound as 'warm'.
The average person cannot fundamentally distinguish between the two nor do they care to (which is one reason mp3's are so popular)... so this argument is really only found in the audiophile, musician and engineering communities and they're not the ones buying 99% of the music out there.
In the long run digital recording offers so many more options, saves so much more time and costs so much less money that we have adopted it as our principal format.
Q: I have a recording that I've completed in another audio program/format which I would like to mix/re-mix. Can you do that?
Yes. We support AIFF, CAF, Wav, Sound Designer II, mp3, AAC, Recycle and Rex audio file formats. We also support Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Digital Performer and Pro Tools audio sequencing applications.
Q: For a recording session, should we bring our own instruments & amplifiers?
Yes, they are what you normally use and are familiar with, but we do have several things here that you are certainly free to use. Please take a look at our instrument & amp list.
Q: Can you play any instruments/do production work for me?
Yes, collectively our staff members include writers/producers, editors, programers, synthesists, and D.J.s. They also collectively play drums, guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, and turn-tables.
Please, don't forget that this can be expensive, as production/performance rates are very different and on top of studio rates.
Q: Can you arrange session musicians or singers to help me out with some parts?
Yes, tell us what you need and we can arrange it for you. We can arrange producers, programers, piano players, bass players, drummers, guitarists, brass/string players, rappers, back-up singers, voice over actors, turn-tableists/D.J.s, etc. Rates vary depending on the specific musician and what your requirements are.
Please, don't forget that this can be expensive, as freelance performance rates are very different and on top of studio rates.
Q: Do you work evenings or on weekends?
Yes, we will rock till we drop(ish). We work days, evenings, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. We try to avoid very late night or overnight sessions as this tends to waste the next day. We generally keep working hours to a 10 hour limit between 10 am & midnight.
Q: Do you have any contacts that we can send our recordings to?
Yes, but ONLY those that were recorded here and we do not / will not / can not guarantee any response from those contacts. We can definitely give you some suggestions as to what avenues to take with your work.
Q: Can we make samples from or record ('cover') another band's song?
Yes, but should you wish to sell this recording later you will need to get licensing permission from the song's publisher.
Q: Do you have backing tapes/recordings of popular songs (kareoke versions)?
Q: What happens to my files after I complete my project?
Audio files are very large and demand a lot of hard drive space. We are not an archive facility. So, your files will have to be backed up and removed from our computers. You will be given options in which to accomplish this depending on the size of your files and the most economic way of storing them. If you only did one song with just an acoustic guitar and solo voice, a simple CD-R back-up may suffice, if your band is as big as P-Funk and you do 39 songs, then you may need to get a 250 gigabyte hard drive (if a situation like this is relevant, you will need to get a drive before the session begins. We will work from that drive from the get go). Either way (or any way in between) this must be accomplished within 30 days of the completion of your project. After that time, if your files are not removed, they will be deleted.