Studio Tips and Tricks for Recording Musicians + much, much more
Hiring a String Quartet
So, you want to hire a String Quartet for recording. You have two ways to do this. The first way is you can find a local string quartet and record them. The second way is you can go online and have them record your piece and send you a link where to download the wav files.
I’ll talk about the first way another day. Today, I’ll talk about my experience with a company we worked with called Studio Pros.
To be clear, Studio Pros isn’t the only company that will record Strings for you online and let you download them when complete. But they’re one that my band, Astral Eyes worked with in the past for recording Strings.
They make hiring a String Quartet easy
One advantage of hiring someone online is you know exactly what you’re getting. As of May 2014, when they did the recording, their prices were very reasonable. At first, we wanted a straight up String Quartet. Our label gave us $2000 cash to work with for the piece. I went online and looked for local String Quartets and found several. They ranged in price from $900-$1500, and varied in skill levels. I didn’t even bother checking out the websites that didn’t have samples.
With Studio Pros, you know what you’re getting. Their resume is huge. When you see who they have worked for, it’s quite impressive.
Once again, Studio Pros isn’t the only online service who does this. They just happen to be the one we used.
Going back to the String Quartet we’d have to hire, on top of the $900-$1500 we’d spend on the String Quartet, we’d still have to record them in the studio, which means paying our Producer another day (and he pays his Assistant Sound Engineer). We’d still have to pay for mixing and mastering after they’re done.
With Studio Pros, we paid $150 per instrument and $25 for each extra track that musician will do. So at those prices, we decided instead of a String Quartet, we’d hire 4 Violins (2 Violins I, 2 Violins II), 2 Violas, 2 Cellos, and 2 Double Bass tracks. That came to $750 – $600 for the four musicians and $25 for each extra track. AND, we didn’t have to pay our Producer for recording (we’d still have to pay the Sound Engineer for mixing, but we’d have to do that anyways with the String Quartet as well).
How is their Performance?
So we did the math for you and showed you that they’re cheaper. But how is their performance? Well, first off, we didn’t hire them for a Concerto so it wasn’t the hardest music to play. But they weren’t playing whole notes either like they do for pop music. The difficulty level was moderate. Think in terms of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in terms of difficulty.
They pulled it off and we had no complaints about any of the tracks. If you ask them to do a track over, it’s $25 per track. We didn’t have to. Believe me, we would have. We just didn’t have to.
How is their communication?
We communicated with Robb and found him very easy to work with. He’s very professional and very polite. We had no problems, no complaints.
Oh, I should mention, they were quite fast, except the Double Bass player was on tour with someone and we had to wait two weeks for him to get back, then record. Robb told us that in advance so we didn’t freak out. That’s fine, as this album won’t be released until early 2016.
So the turnaround was less than a month. The other tracks were less than a week. All we did was send them the notes in PDF format and they delivered us very well recorded and very precise wav files. We’ll be responsible for mixing them ourselves (well, not us. Our Sound Engineer does that).
In summary, Studio Pros made hiring a string quartet easy, and affordable. They did the hard work – performance + recording, and sent us the tracks. Granted, my band records on analog and mixes digitally so that’s one downside about hiring someone online versus in person.
So we have our Strings recorded digitally and everything else recorded on analog tape. It’s a bummer, but not something we’re going to cry about too much.
It is important for us to stay under budget. As a professional band, we have a budget and a quota of albums we have to sell. If we stay under budget, that means less albums we have to sell to stay on the label. That’s reality, unless you are completely independent. Anything we do to save money without compromising too much in the sound, we do.
Their sound is great. The guy who does the mixing will probably add reverb to each String track as they record them dry. But other than that, no changes.
I’d highly recommend Studio Pros as they’re professional, courteous, solid musicians, and affordable. If I’m not mistaken, they’re based out of Los Angeles, California.
Original link: recordingformusicians.com/hiring-a-string-quartet/