THE STUDIO

Reel North is in a century old brick building (which I own) in Fredericton’s historic borough of Marysville, the studio occupies the entire ground floor and I live on the second floor above it. There are no other businesses or occupants so no other schedules to work around.

The main recording space is 23’ x 12’, has a finished wooden floor and highly variable acoustics. There are removable curtains along one wall and along the back of the room, in addition we have throw rugs for the floor. This room is essentially a huge drum booth and we get fantastic drum sounds in this room. I’ve never liked the idea of cramming a drummer in a small room and not allowing the instrument to breathe. Acoustic instruments: Guitars, Violins, Horns, etc. also sound great in this room as it can be very live, dead, or any where in the middle. While this room is not huge, there is plenty of room for a full miked drum kit and up to 3 other musicians. We can provide a band with up to 4 separate head phone mixes and if you’ve ever tried to record with a band sharing one cue mix then you know the benefit of individual mixes.

Studio 2:

The Control room is 14’ x 17’ which is large by some standards. It is acoustically treated with ASC Mix Station damping. Every one that has worked here has commented on how comfortable the space and atmosphere is. There are two couches and room for a full band and production staff to listen comfortably.

There are four isolation booths, the main “vocal booth” is between the recording and control rooms and is typically where the singer performs during bed tracks. If the singer plays guitar, there is a special booth to the right where an amplifier can be isolated but close. I was a musician long before I was a producer and I’ve designed this studio for practical comfort .first. There are two more booths between the studio and the main entry hallway where we put guitar amps during bed tracks, after bed tracks, all performances are recorded from the main room.

Sonic Isolation:

Building a pro studio in an old brick building was a good idea. The outside walls are18” thick so no sounds get out or in. Inside, all floors are floated and the walls are quadrupled so in the Control Room we only hear the monitors, thanks to the builders, Steevo and Wayne.

Rates

Studio time at Reel North is $60/hour. + hst This rate includes an engineer, but not a producer. Our minimum Booking time is 3 hours. You cannot book les than 3 hours of time.

Block Rate (large amount of time) are sometimes given and are negotiated on an individual basis. There are no “All Inclusive package rates”. Except for some mastering jobs.

Reel North is not a “9-5” Monday to Friday business. I realized a long time ago that most people I work with ,have full or part time artists, have families, jobs and lives to schedule around so we are available when necessary. Most audio production happens between 11:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Musicians aren’t usually the kind who like to go at it first thing in the morning, so this 11-11 working window has served us well. Weekend and civic holidays are also book able for the same rate. I’ve worked every Easter weekend I can remember because it was a 4-day block when everyone in an ongoing project was available; needles to say we are flexible about the hours the studio operates.

In keeping with being very up front, we draw a bold line between producer and engineer. IF I’m producing the project then I will probably do a lot of the knob turning as well because I know what I want and from our pre-production discussions know what you want too. In a scenario like this, the 2nd engineer, Lynn Morrison, will act as my assistant engineer, operate RADAR and do most of the miking and cabling setups. This works great because when we are changing setups, I can be talking to the person who is performing next, preparing them and answering their questions while the “setting up” is happening simultaneously and not distracting us. With two engineers working on your project, things can move quickly and save you money. (See “Production” for much more detail.)

If you wish to self-produce or bring in your own producer, you need only book studio time and Lynn, is included in the studio rate. She will function as your recording engineer if that is what you require, and in a few cases, as recently with Grand theft bus, who brought their own engineer, Lynn served as his assistant. Lynn has been working at Reel North for 6 years. For the 4 years she worked as my assistant and in the last 2 years she has engineered a number of projects for clients who acted as their own producers as well as teaching Recording Studio Operations at CATAC, a local multi-media school who rent Reel North for the “practical” portion of their recording arts program. Lynn is an easy- going person who will not bring a strong ego presence into the control room and works very well under someone else’s direction. Lynn had an extensive live sound background before working at the studio.

Acting as your own producer

To be able to communicate clearly with our clients, Lynn and I have drawn up our “Responsibilities of the Producer” Sheet to clearly define what is our responsibility and what is yours. Please read this over to make sure you are comfortable with it. This bold separation between production and engineering may seem a bit paranoid, but I’ve heard too many stories about novice “artists” serving as their own producers who wanted to blame engineers for things like timing problems, vocals and guitars out of tune and songs that run on too long. So this many seem a bit too formal in the way that I present it but it is entirely in the name of the trouble-shooting before the problem occurs.

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