I think of a 'song chain's the primary components that go into an excellent recording.
I've found a remarkable consistency in the 'song chain' used in top studios.
Good, fully developed songs come before everything else. I am an expert songwriter, and I can help you solve any problems with your lyrics, harmony, melody or rhythm. I can also help you make your songs excellent, and hit worthy.
Excellent recordings are usually made by confident, comfortable, well-prepared performers. I am also a top-notch guitar and vocal coach, and can help you perform at your best.
Isolation rooms are usually 'dead' sounding rooms treated with professional sound treatments.
I use Sonex acoustical foam and Acoustic First bass traps.
I have a selection of classic mics suitable for any recording situation.
The mic preamp will give a recording its generally sound and character. The preamp most commonly used on hit records in the last 40 years is the Neve 1073 preamp found in the legendary Neve consoles. This is a class 'A', discrete preamp that sounds great for all styles of music.
Outdated Neve consoles were
sometimes parted out, and the components were sold separately as rack-mounted modules. Individually, these preamps sell for around
$3000. Vintage Neve preamps have the disadvantage of being relatively old, and therefore, increasingly unreliable. I use an exact
Neve recreation made by audio guru Brent Averill that has the
advantage of being new, and therefore, more reliable. I also Focusrite ISA110, and Manley tube preamps. These have also been used on countless hit records. If it does not sound good through one of these preamps, then there is a problem at the source.
The two most commonly used compressors on hit records are the Teletronics/Universal Audio LA2a, Urei/Universal Audio 1176. Both sound good on vocals and instruments. I use an 1176 and a Tube Tech CL1a, which is a more upscale version of the LA2A. A mix buss compressor provides the audio glue that sounds like a record. I have an amazing sounding sounding SSL mixbuss compressor that has been used on about every hit record since 1981.
Recorder or digital converter
The industry-standard analog tape recorder is the Studer A80 series. These are still used on many hit records. These are typically not used in 'Pro Tools suites' because
these rooms usually use digital-based recording. One added cost of analog-based recording is the cost of analog tape.
Another is the session time taken up by the tape transport searching for the right place in the recording.
This can take up to 25% of your session time. The industry standard converters and digital clocks are made by Apogee. I use an Apogee AD16x and DA16x.
For signal processing, I prefer hardware devices. They provide a much more professional sound than plugins. I have a selection of classic effects processors by Lexicon, Eventide, Yamaha, and Roland that get the job done in an inspiring and professional way.
For mixing, editing and other effects, I use the industry-standard Avid/Digidesign Pro Tools HD software. I also used the industry-standard Waves plugins when needed. I prefer to use plugins very sparingly because they tend to turn audio to mush.
A mastering compressor and equalizer are typically used to give a record that magical sheen. While I am not specifically a mastering facility, I can master recordings to be very close in quailty to a high end mastering facility. I use Crane Song mastering processors that have defined the sound of popular music since 1998. I love my Crane Song STC and IBIS for this purpose.
I can recommend short order and long order duplication facilities.
I have accurately transcibed thousands of songs for guitar, voice and bass. That is a tremendous ear training exercise that has given me a uniquely sharp ear for music. I hear everything in music. I am confident that my mixes will translate to any playback environment.