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Why all unsigned bands should record their music independently, without any outside help. Part 2/2.

by Jimmy Mulvihill. May 20th 2022
This is the second part to our two-part blog about why we feel that it's best for unsigned bands to self record, self produce and self release their music independently, a stance that we've developed over the last 17 years from working with 1000+ different bands, (with #x7 of those bands having #1 albums to show for those sessions) and that was the inspiration behind us launching our new 8 track recording facilities, which allows bands to do exactly that. Here's the link to the first part of the blog, (containing points 1-5), and here's the link to the details of our 8 track recording service.

(Many of these points follow on from points we've made in the past blog post, so if you haven't read the previous one, this one will make more sense once you have done so.)

6) The limitations of this kind of recording technique may one day be the biggest selling point of the recording.

Working with a big name producer can be incredible, and they can really bring new life to the band's music, but in most cases they're not a member of the band. There's an argument to be made that any recordings that you do with them will be a collaborative effort between band and producer, instead of being representative of the band alone. If there's one thing that a debut recording should be, it should be representative of who the band are at that time.

Go through the list of the vast majority of bands, and whilst there are numerous examples where the bands debut album was their best, nearly all of them are also a snapshot in time that can NEVER be recreated at a later date. Writing songs about working a dead end job whilst wanting to leave your hometown and see the world can ONLY be done when you're at the pre-success stage. Doing it by funding the project yourself, and putting those songs down on an 8 track recorder without any outside help has a huge romantic element to it. The limitations of the situation add to the project.

Once the band starts to take off, and once you've played 75 gigs in the last 4 months across Europe, with the fame and the financial rewards that come with that, the band will have changed. The people within the band will have changed. The music you record from now on might be better, but it will never capture the band at the time and place that they've left behind. You might think that you have limitations that will stop you from getting the best out of the recorder, but those limitations are something that you can NEVER recreate once the band takes off, so you bypass them at your peril.

The limitations that you have now are arguably your "unique selling point". Get them down on tape now - you can't do it later on. You only have to look at the success of The Beatles Anthology 1, released in 1995, to see how much interest there was in the biggest band of all time, who had made some of the most beautiful music ever, and yet people were going mad for a crackly, ramshackle recording that the band had made in the late 1950s, which paled by comparison to the masterpieces that they made later. Nobody was sitting at home listening to the band's version of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day" and thinking, "wow, this is better than Side 2 of Abbey Road!" Of course not.

Instead the interest came from the incredible insight into the band at the most primitive point of their career. The recording told a story, and no matter how much money or success the band had later, they would never be able to recreate the band as they were at that stage, and their limitations are what made those songs what they are.

All too often the focus is on the shortfalls that self recording brings with it, the limitations that the band will hit, but those limitations give an honest insight into the stage that the band is currently at, and may even be the thing that makes people connect with the band even more. Every couple of years you'll hear about an act like Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney or Tom Jones making an album that goes "back to their roots," which strips away all of the superfluous baggage that they've picked up along their music career up to that point, where they make a huge amount of effort to recapture the energy that they had in their first recordings, in most cases at the cost of production values. Snare rattles and squeaky piano pedals are left in the recording to give it a mark of authenticity. We once had someone make a booking for the sole purpose of recording the squeaky lid and piano pedals of our Pianette in Studio 4, adding it over the top of their flawless piano recording made at a world class studio in order to give it a bit of "authentic vibe," which usually translates as "warts and all". If you're a band at this stage of your career, this is the perfect opportunity for you to do exactly the same, the difference being that you're not faking it; you're not trying to engineer a sound that strips the band back to their true essence: by default, whatever you record as a band will be as authentic a record of what the band was like at the time as it will ever be possible to make. Don't say to yourself, "I'd love to record the band myself, but I'm worried I won't do us justice." That is a part of what will make the recording such a vital record of where the band was at that time, it will tell a story about the resources that the band had open to them at that time, which in turn will make your later success all the greater. You always have the option to re-record the band later, but you'll never have the opportunity to go back in time and make the same raw, unpolished and vulnerable recordings of the band. Believe me, one day you'll look back on those mistakes with fondness, since they will have been a vital part in the bands overall success.

7) You’ll hit other limits anyway, before you hit the limits that self recording brings with it.

By far and away the biggest argument that is made by bands in refusing to record their music themselves is that "they won't do it justice". In a way that's true, but there are two reasons why this matters less than you think. Firstly, the whole point of recording your band yourself is not to have a finished recording that has incredible production values, and secondly, even if it did have amazing production values it would likely be lost on 95% of your audience anyway. A recording signal chain has numerous parts to it, and the end result is only as good as it’s weakest link: the microphone, the exact positioning of the microphone, the cable connecting it to the recorder, the gain input level, the quality of the pre-amp, the recording bit-rate, the performance of the playing, the acoustics in the room, the sound quality of the instrument being played, the digital processing of the recorded sound, the final mix, the mastering, the speakers that the listener uses, the listeners hearing, the environment that they listen to the music in,...... all of these are factors that will determine how good the final music sounds, amongst many others. If any one of them is off, then the quality of the music won’t be conveyed as accurately as possible to the listener. 95% of the chain could be amazing, but if the strings of the guitar are knackered and rusty then it won't matter how amazing the rest of the chain is, it won't sound good.

Most sound engineers will tell you that all recording projects are about accepting what factor will limit the quality of the recording the most, and recognising that no matter how great the other parts of the process are, the overall quality of the recording will not exceed it's weakest part, and this is the reason that some bands spend months and vast amounts of money on recording their album; to try to eliminate any potential weaknesses within the recording chain.

There are two ways to think of this:
a) Technical limitations: each person listens to music in a different way. Some will be surprised to hear that Spotify has a "normal" playing bitrate of approximately 96 kbps, lower than the rate that Apple were using as its standard back in 2005. Many people listen to their music when on the move, in a vehicle or on the street, meaning that there will be added noise pollution when they listen. They may also be using the free headphones that come with their phone, which aren't great, or they may listen to their music on a radio in an office, which is likely to be set at a volume that doesn't allow the listener to fully hear every detail within the music, and in a room that isn't set up for good acoustics. They may have the music on in the background, or in a situation where they can’t concentrate on the music fully. These are the imperfect conditions that 95%+ of music is listened to. For every person sitting on their leather chair perfectly positioned in-between their Bowers & Wilkins speakers running from their Mcintosh amplifier, listening to a CD, most people have a listening environment that is more limiting to the experience than the limitations that an 8 track recorder will cause. So why delay your recording for a year or more to have control over some factors, when there are other factors that will have a greater effect on the quality of the music that are out of your hands? Now this isn't to say, "well the music isn't going to be listened to under perfect conditions anyway, so we may as well do it on an 8-track.....", or that there's no point in trying to make a great recording if it's not going to be listened to under perfect conditions, not at all. Instead it is to say that too often a lot of focus is given to some aspects of the recording process which are seen as 'make or break', lines that the band would never cross, and not enough thought is given to others that are actually much more important factors.

With this setup there will be limitations, definitely, but there will likely be other factors that will have a greater limit on the band's music elsewhere in the chain anyway, and with this set up you’ll also likely bypass other factors away from the recording quality of the music that would have otherwise limited your recordings even more. If you're going to go to such lengths to eliminate any factors that compromise your music, then you need to follow through with it and eliminate them all, otherwise you've spent a loads of time and money on removing one factor that limits your music, whilst ignoring another, which is kind of pointless. I'm not saying that you shouldn't eliminate weaknesses in the recording process, but instead that most people look for these weaknesses in the wrong place, and that they spend a lot of time, money and effort on overcoming one limitation, only to them find that they're completely missed another.
b) The limitations of the band.

This is the MUCH more important issue. The technological aspects of the process will somewhat affect the band, but the limitations of the bands actions will have x 100 times effect on their progress. If we took a straw-poll for 1000 bands and asked them what the biggest factor was that stopped them recording an album that showcased every last bit of potential that they had, in most cases the answer would be the time and money needed to make the recording, and with our set up you bypass those factors. An 8/10 recording that you can afford is going to push the band forward more than not doing a 10/10 session that they can't afford.
All too often bands say, "we have to use a Neve mixing desk", or "it has to be 24 channel or more", as if these factors are what will hold them back the most, yet if there’s a studio with amazing microphones, amazing acoustics and a world class producer, but it costs £1000 a day to rent, if you can’t afford that then the price is the factor that holds you back the most, since it means that you can’t do any recording at all. If the band doesn't record their music due to lack of funds, and instead saves up for a year to do a better recording on the basis that they currently only have the budget to do a 8/10 recording which won't show off the band's talents properly, they're focusing more on the downsides then the upsides. They're focusing on pre-amps and bit rates, when they should be focusing on the bands potential, momentum, and their opportunity cost of what will be lost if they waste another year saving up the money for the better recording. Take Nirvana as an example: their first album was knocked out for about $600/£370 in total in 1989 over the space of 6 days. Many people love it, but there's no doubt that it has less commercial appeal compared to their follow up record, Nevermind. Some would claim that this supports the argument as to why they should have invested more time and money into it. "They spent $600 and 6 days on the first album which didn't sell, then they spent $65,000 and two months on their second album which was successful, which is proof that the way they recorded their first album was what held them back." That's one way of looking at it, but it's also just not true. What held them back most was the fact that Kurt Cobain's song writing was much more developed on Nevermind compared to Bleach, and that was because releasing Bleach earned them enough of an audience in 1989 so that they were able to focus on the band full time, playing 140+ concerts in the US and Europe after the album was released and before Nevermind was recorded, which gave Kurt much more time to work on his craft. He wouldn't have had time to focus on the band if they didn't have the fan base that Bleach gave them. The success of Nevermind was built on the foundation that Bleach laid, and that wouldn't have happened without that cheap recording. Dave Grohl was also a massive part of the success of Nevermind, and he was a fan of the band from listening to Bleach, so without them making Bleach they would never have attracted his attention to join the band on drums. Their biggest limitations at the time were their songwriting skills and their lack of an amazing drummer, and recording Bleach allowed them to overcome both of these limitations. By making the first record with it's limitations, they now had the tools to overcome those limitations. If they had sat around and decided to save up $65,000 over a few years to record that first album in a better studio, the band would have failed. 8/10 progress was better than aiming for 10/10 perfection. Don't just think about the limitations of the recording set up in terms of the equipment, try to also consider the limitations that not doing your recording sessions earlier will have on the band overall.

8) You can keep the full control and ownership of your music yourself.

Once you've signed a record contract you can expect to make between 50p - 80p for each album sold once everyone else has taken their slice of the pie, which is also set against the recording costs. If you go to a flashy studio and spend £10,000 on recording the album, and you're getting 50p per album, you won't see any return for the first 20,000 albums sold which will go to pay those costs back. Until that time you'll be living off of your advance, which also needs to be paid back. The fact that the sessions are so expensive means you need to sign contracts to cover the process, which brings with it even more costs, and these need to be paid back too. The costs are starting to pile up.

With our recording equipment you'll stump up for £29-£55 in advance for renting the recording equipment, and you get to keep all of the profits from selling your music. You can start selling the music at £5, (half the price of other records) and even with taking into account the commission that the retailers take from online sales, (Bandcamp take 15% of all sales up to $5,000, or 75p from a £5 CD, ) by the time you sell your 15th-20th CD you've already recouped the recording costs, and are getting 700% the profit margin on every extra record sold than you would on a major label, selling it at a much more attractive price. Even accounting for the 80p-85p cost of manufacturing the CD as well, that's a £1.60 cost to sell a £5 product, with the purchaser paying for the postage and packaging. £3.40 is a pretty great profit margin, sell it for the usual price of £10 and you'll earn much more. VAT does not need to be paid if the band's overall sales for the year are less than £85,000, and getting 1,000 copies of the recording made will require sales of 195 copies at £5 to cover the costs for the entire 1,000 copies to be covered, or about 100 sales at £10 to do the same. You won't sell as many copies as on a major label, but then you won't need to. Most of those sales are needed to pay for the wages of the staff that work for the record label, whereas when you release your music independently it all goes to the band. On a major record label your album is a low margin product that needs to be sold in huge quantities to be "economically viable". Recording, producing and releasing your music yourself means it's now being sold in an incredibly efficient cottage industry that can sustain itself on very low sales levels. "But if we sell it ourselves we'll only sell a fraction of what we would have on a major label." True, and in many cases that will be enough.

Of course, there's going to be a big difference between the quality of the recording for the £29-£55 that you'll pay to record your album yourself, and the £10,000 that it'll cost to record it in a professional studio, but you'll only need to sell 3,000 albums or so at £5, or 1,500 sales at £10, and then you can go into a professional studio yourself and get those songs re-recorded with the £10,000 earned from those sales. For many world class producers it doesn't matter to them if it's a record label or a band that turns up with £10,000, so long as you pay your money you'll get their services, so selling 1,500-3,000 copies of an album gets you the same opportunity as signed bands get, the difference being that by approaching the studio yourself you'll get to record an album in a world class studio, and the band will own that album, as opposed to the record label.

Once you've got your new polished recordings you can then sell them again, even to the same people who bought that initial pressing, and if the album goes on to be successful then the people who purchased the initial basic version of the album that you knocked out on 8-track now have an incredibly rare, personal and valuable initial pressing of a copy of an album that later became very successful. which by now is a worth lot more as a result. It's win-win for everyone. Self recording gives your band a lot more options, which is not the case if you sign up to a record label at the earliest opportunity. Remember, the ONLY reason that any band would sign to a record label is because the record label can offer something to the band that they couldn't offer themselves. If you were to sign to a record label and they then said, "let's go to Bally Studios and we'll pay £55 to hire the recorder for a month, and you can self produce the album....", then you'd likely be thinking, "what's the point of that, we can do that ourselves without signing away the rights to the bands music!," and you'd be absolutely correct. The ONLY reason you'd work with a record label is because they can help you do things that you can't do yourself.

Yet if the hurdles to a band becoming successful are what causes bands to want to work with record labels then, by default, there is likely to be considerable incentive from many record labels to make sure that it's tough to overcome these obstacles, since they justify the record labels role. If the process is seen to be easy, then it brings into question why the record label is needed at all, so in many cases they have no choice other than to create obstacles that the band cannot overcome, as otherwise they're not offering anything to the band. The record label has no choice other than to spend a much larger amount of money on the bands recording than the band would have spent if they were an independent act, in part to justify their own role in the relationship. In turn, the band will need to sell many more copies of their album to both recoup these costs, and also to compensate for the fact that they're getting a much smaller cut of the profits of these sales. The band turns to the record label to open up the opportunity to sell many times the albums that they would independently, yet they need to sell many times more the albums as they would independently to justify signing with the record label. In many cases the record label helps the band to overcome the obstacles that the record labels places on the band in the first place.

9) By making a much bigger investment into their first recording, and by completely prioritising the artistic merit of their music without any regard for the need for commercial success, a band could be working against their own artistic objectives in the long run. Time and time again I hear the excuse from bands that "there’s no point in us recording a basic or compromised version of our music, we're going to wait until we have the resources to do it properly.” They say, “we’d rather take our time and record our music properly, than rush it and make it a compromise.” Without recording their music people won’t be able to hear them, so they can't build up their fan-base, but they still reason that “it’s more important that we make the music that we want to make to the best quality possible. We don’t want to compromise.” Whilst it's admirable on one level, it’s also putting idealism over practical considerations, potentially sabotaging their long term artistic objectives.
Albums can be measured on separate spectrum that are not mutually exclusive: one of which is "artistically," how well the album is received, and another is "commercially", how many it sells. This is not to say that an album can only be successful in one of these measurements - you don't necessarily have to trade one of them off against the other - it's just to say that there are different ways to measure the success of a band or an album that are independent of each other. One of the biggest limitations that many bands place upon themselves is completely prioritising "artistic expression", over "commercial success," and in hundreds of cases I've seen it completely strangle any hope of progress for the bands that take this path.

I'm not saying it's more important to sell records than it is to make great music, of course not. Instead I'm pointing out that a basic level of commercial success is what will allow the band to fully achieve its full artistic potential over the long term, and commercial success cannot happen until you record your music. This isn't the 1950's any more, you're not going to play a gig to 100 people who all run out and tell their friends about how great you are, news of your band is not going to spread by word-of-mouth any more. Today people need to hear that music with their own ears, so if it's not recorded, you can't build up your fan-base, which is vital for creating the support system to create great music. If you disregard the need for a basic level of commercial success and only focus on artistic objectives, you'll remove the support system that true artistry needs to flourish. Bands know this, but some pretend not to. There are certain bands who say "we're not really that bothered how this album is received by the music media/the general public", as if this makes them out to be purer musicians, yet if they didn't care then they wouldn't be making the statement in the first place. Otherwise, who are they making the statement to? Saying that you don't care about the opinion of the music media/general public loses any meaning when you're..... making that point to the music media/general public. Some bands pretend to be completely focused on their artistry, "....and if it costs us commercial success then so be it....", pretending to disregard all concerns at all about the level of commercial success that they have. It's as if they think that by them openly saying that commercial success is important to them, then they will be seen to be focusing on the wrong metrics; that they're in the music industry for the wrong reasons. They fear that other people will judge them for it, and this is why so many bands make the statement that "we'd rather take our time and do the recording properly". Their music is their passion, their craft, their form of expression, their social circle, their identity, and now they want it to be their profession too. Their music is everything to them, so for them to openly say "we need to shift a certain amount of units to generate the funds needed for the project...", in their minds such an attitude would cheapen the whole band's existence, that it will be seen as an awful dereliction of their artistic standards, and that they've compromised their artistic vision for the filthy lucre of cold hard cash. Again, they shouldn't care about what people think. If the album can therefore be measured by these two barometers, it stands to reason that the success of the recording therefore depends on what the investment is, and that the more time and money you put into it, the more you need to get out of it for it to be deemed a success. If you spend 5 years making your record and at the end of it you're thinking, "ah, the snare doesn't sound great, I should have changed that...." then it's very different to if you went into the studio for 3 days and came out with an album that you had the same misgivings for. Likewise, if you spend £100,000 on an album and it sells 5,000 copies, it's very different to spending £100 on it and selling the same 5,000 copies. The amount you invest in it changes your expectations and the barometer that you measure its success by. A band that wants to invest much more into these initial recordings is therefore raising the bar for what they need to get out of these projects, at the very time that they lack the resources to reach those levels of success.

That is the key: too many bands allow "perfect" to be the enemy of "good", forgoing the progress they could make from imperfect but still good recordings, in order to keep on working on their music over a prolonged period of time until it’s perfect. If the only factor that defined how successful a band was was the quality of their music then this would make sense, but that’s clearly not the case. Other factors such as momentum and the amount of excitement there is around a band is just as important, if not more.

There's nothing wrong or shameful with recording an album/EP that is good, but that which is also a compromise, so long as you haven't invested too much into the project, and so long as it still allows the band to progress, either in attracting the attention of journalists, radio plungers, etc, or in building up their fan-base. If the band gets more out of the recording than they put into it, then it’s a worthwhile investment for them to make. Imperfect progress is still progress. It’s better that the music is recorded to an imperfect standard and is sent off into the world, rather than being painstakingly improved a little bit each week whilst also sitting on the hard drive of your computer, only to be heard by the band members themselves. If the intention is to make a “perfect” album then by all means, keep on tinkering with it month after month: if the intention is for the band to make progress then at some point you need to say “that’s good enough, that’ll do” and send it out into the big wide world.
Despite this, there’s many bands who refuse to commit to a project that requires a compromise, who don’t see the value in making a recording unless it’s to the exact standard that they want it to be. They are understandably precious with their music, to the point that they refuse to enter a recording project knowing that compromises will be made, but this stance of having so much control over their music with the intention of only releasing it when it’s perfect is itself a contradiction.

If it was easy to create that perfect album then they could do it within weeks. The only reason that the process of releasing their first music takes so long is because it’s so difficult to get it to that exacting standard that they place on themselves. On one hand the band knows that a huge amount of effort needs to be put into making an album that is EXACTLY what they want to produce, which is clear from them saying that they want to save up for a year or so, and take months or sometimes even years to complete the album that they feel shows off the full potential of their band, yet on the other hand they know that that requires a lot of time, and therefore a lot of investment, in which case they need to become a full time musician so that they can invest 40+ hours into their music a week, and get the investment that they need. With that in mind, therefore their main focus should be in becoming a full time musician; either building up their audience to a level that they can live from their music themselves, or attracting the attention of a record label who will make the investment into them that they need; in which case they need not worry about it being perfect – if that’s their objective then the music only needs to hit that “good enough to get signed” or “good enough to get someone to buy the record” standard.

The production standards of your music doesn’t need to be perfect for people to buy it, it only needs to reach that "good enough” standard, so constantly tinkering with music over a prolonged period of time on the basis that your music needs to be perfect before it’s released means that you’re prioritising what’s more important to you, the absolute control that you want over the music, rather than other factors that are more important, such as establishing yourself in the industry.

If an album with incredible artist merit needs countless hours of recording time, a sense of perspective, a level of focus, and an full immersion in the process - which they often do - then that's unlikely to happen while you're still at the stage of working a full time job to support yourself, and where you have 2-5 hours a week to dedicate to your music, whilst you're also dealing with everything else that life throws at you. Unless you've got rich parents and money is no object, if you want to be able to meet the level of commitment needed to make an album that is as close to your vision as possible, becoming a full time musician needs to be your only focus. Your main target should be reaching a stage of sustainability where you can delegate all of the other responsibilities of "life" to someone else, and where you would be justified in disappearing into a cabin in the woods for 15 months to make your album, should you so wish. Once you reach that level of success, you've got a much better chance of hitting that further level of success due to having these extra resources available to you: the time, the luxury of being able to focus on the project and leave all other concerns to the label/hiring someone to take care of these problems, and the added help and perspective of the people around you. The success of such a project would be built not only on your musical ability, but also on the resources available to you that are invested into the project . And how do you get those resources? One of two ways: either by building up such a level of of success on your own that you have a buffer of cash needed to focus on this project to the level that you need to, or, more likely, by getting a record label to make that investment into you so that you can make those same levels of commitment. If you go the independent route than then you need to start to release your music yourself, even if it's not perfect, and if you go the route of working with a record label, nothing is going to scare them off from investing in you more than the news that it took you 5 years to hard work to make the recordings that made them take notice of you, since it suggests that your an act that needs a HUGE amount of resources invested into you to get any finished music.

Factory Records were one of the most iconic record labels in music, with acts like New Order, Joy Division and The Happy Mondays, yet they were nearly bankrupted by The Happy Mondays inability to keep to schedule. Likewise Creation Records was the label of Oasis, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine among others, and the £250,000 that it cost MBV to record their classic album ‘Loveless’ almost bankrupted the record label.

There’s no point signing to a record label that doesn’t have a certain level of financial discipline when it comes to meeting targets and reaching a certain level of commercial success, as if they didn’t have that discipline then they wouldn’t have the structure and money needed to support your band, but that means that they need to work with bands that are able to deliver those same standards. For that they need to factor in not only how much artistic potential a band has, but also whether they ave the ability to compromise on occasions to keep the coffers full, and to pay the bills. Whether it be alternating between one record that allows the band to indulge themselves to their creative hearts desire, and another record that brings in the revenue, or whether it is by accepting that spending 1 month on a record that gets you to that 95% standard is better than spending 2 years making a perfect record, in either case the ability for a band to compromise will allow them to maximise their potential. Paradoxically, they have the best chance of reaching their creative and artistic potential by factoring in the need to reach their commercial obligations.

If a record label has 2 incredible albums on their coffee table, one of which took thousands of hours over many years to create, and the other that was knocked off in a simple format, quickly, nothing will endear them to you more than the news that the fantastic music that you've made was bashed out with the minimum of financial effort and time. A record label is not going to give you money and expect a return on investment half a decade later. There's no way that they can expect a return so late, since there's no way to even know what the music industry will look like by then. If you want them to invest in you now, you need to show them the returns now as well, and that means making the odd concession here and there in order to reach a basic level of commercial success that allows you to best realise your full potential.

10) 'Music recorded to a compromise' is infinitely more productive for a band than 'amazing music that hasn't been recorded yet'.

This is a HUGE benefit that cannot be underplayed. No matter how good your music is, until it’s recorded the only people who will hear it are the people who come to see you live, and if COVID-19 has shown the music industry anything, it’s that we can’t be relying on this method to connect with your audience. Even then, recording your music and putting it on streaming services is the best way to get people along to your gig in the first place.

Even if the recording hits that 8/10 standard, so long as the songwriting is good enough, that's enough to pique the interest of music fans. If they listen to your music and think it's a great song with amazing production, then they'll come to your gig. On the other hand, if they listen to your music and think it's a great song with very basic production, they'll still come to your gig. They're not going to say, "well, I would have gone to the gig, but I was put off a bit by the fact that the hi-hats were competing with the rhythm guitar in that 6khz range......" Your recording may not win awards, but that's not what it's objective is. If you're an unsigned band who has to work a day job to support your music then you're not at the stage of recording your Magnum Opus yet, instead you should be trying to build up as much momentum and attention for the band as possible, and that won't be done based on the production levels, it will be done based on the quality of the music. Solve today's problems today, and leave tomorrow's problems until tomorrow. Once you've built up your fan base a bit, these recordings can then be re-recorded at a later date if needs be.


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