how much to record a cd

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    hmmm... kick me to the proper forum if this ain't it.

    what do you think is a realistic budget (keeping it reasonable) to record a cd and have it mastered (by the same person/studio doing the recording) if the following is the plan:

    -15 songs - we're pretty tight, 1 or 2 takes per song usually cuts it.
    -2nd guitar and/or other instrumentaion overdubbed on all 15.
    -vocals - which i'd estimate would take up to 15 hrs tops, possibly banged out in a third that time.
    -mastering (we've found places to do that for a few hundred bucks, I know that can be upwards of $1000, but we ain't doin that).

    i ask because I was asked to make a proposal. the guy we're recording with wants to charge by the project, not by the hour. jeeezzz. never did that before. i made the proposal already, waiting to hear back from him. curious what you'd propose.... i'll tell later what I did.
  2. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    To give you an idea of the time it takes to get things correct while recording, we spent around 24 hours total (instruments, vocals) to get the tracks laid on a 7 minute demo cd. Now maybe since your band gigs a lot and you have been playing a while the takes may be less time. Then you have mastering from there (prolly bigtime cash for a whole CD in a studio). I know I didn't answer your question but we had our friend help us out with his in home recording studio and it came out very good. But who would give you an exact answer would be to ask the folks on can't import links) this is an online commuinity just like this but for sound professionals. I love it, it's an awesome sight. But you could post on there and ask actual people who do this for a living what the going rates are and maybe get some more quotes for others in your area.
  3. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I've told my story here before.

    There are some more efficient ways of recording. I'd be worried if the guy were giving me a deal for $2000 to record 6 songs...because at some point it becomes a loss for him, depending how long it goes.

    I would say, as long as the band has played out the songs enough to work out the details before hitting the studio you can knock it out pretty quickly.

    Your exepectations should depend on how lofi you'll let it sound, how perfect you want it to be, and how talented the musicians are.
  4. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I've been told that about 20 hours per song (not including mastering) is about the average time it takes for a good-sounding album, but that can really vary.

    If I might also suggest, 15 songs may be a tad too much. Most albums nowadays rarely have more than 10, but again, I guess it depends on the material.

    The going rate depends on the studio itself and the area you're in. Around here they're about $35 an hour and up, but I'd expect it to be more expensive in NYC.
  5. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    for a flipside to the norm, we did an 11-song album for $600. Then again, it only took us 8 hours in the studio.

    (edit: the 11th song was us farting around with the remainder of the studio time after our 10 regular tracks :D )

    note:The songs were all "done" already, no studio-changes or writing; Drum and synth lines were written and played by me via sequencer ahead of time, and there was just guitar, bass and vox to do actual takes of in the studio. Me (on gtr at the time) and the bassist and singer, we recorded a lot of our tracks simultaneously from separate studios with cans on. Well, me and the bass in one studio and the singer in another.

    Sound quality was dead on in some places and not-great in others but we just wanted to get a cohesive body of music together. Plus, tt sounded more like a live album because we recorded a lot of it together, and that was how we worked best, we were pretty happy with the end product although nowadays I would want to fix a lot of stuff.
  6. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Assuming the recording style you're after is a pretty live-ish, quick'n'dirty sound, and that your band doesn't get "red-light fever" and is still solid as hell in the ill playing environment that is the studio...

    As a producer/engineer, for 15 songs I'd expect to book:
    - around 8 hours for 15 basic tracks
    - maybe another half that for the overdubs you describe, so say 4
    - assume the max for vocals, so 15
    - Mixing, God only knows... call it 10-15 hours, assuming simple mixes
    - then, mastering probably another 3-6 hours
    - plus tape, CD-Rs, sundry materials

    Around 40-50 hours - I'd call that in the neighborhood of $1200-1400 for the whole deal.

    Is this like the Price Is Right? :hyper:
  7. We recorded our CD live at a good blues club (Famous Dave's), the club's talented, honest, cheap (and now, tragically, dead) engineer recorded it, mixed (with us present) and mastered it. We had 1,000 CD's duplicated, packaged (cases, not cardboard sleeves) and we did our own artwork. The whole thing cost ~$3,000. We are distributed nationally and internationally by a TINY local (Mpls, MN) indie label (Cold Wind Records). We will make a few dollars after all is said and done, but we won't get rich.
  8. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    My ex guitar player did 2 CD's in the neighborhood of
    5k each in the last 3 years.

    A friend of mine is working to promote his daughter's
    career as a singer. He had her demo done in NYC, 2 songs,
    plus sidemen. 5 K as well.
  9. well we got about 5,000 bucks worth of studio time for free thanks to a friend/aspiring producer in Nashville who had connections at the Parlor (AWESOME STUDIO)....we have been working since October on our 4 song demo...but we did it right. My youth pastor loaned us one of the houses on his land (hardwood floors,wood paneled walls,very acousticly sound) for free to do our overdubs in...and now we have some guys from gotee records/bluewookie productions mixing and mastering it for us. so right now we're only out gas money traveling to these places (God has blessed us through this thing) and we've made lots of contacts where we now have several big name Christian labels looking at i guess the key to that rambling is find friends with connections....:)
  10. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Joe, get out of that satanic death metal band,
    rocking for god is cheaper!

    Cookeville, great little place, home of the
    'Tennessee Walking Horse' iirc ....
    sorry for the hijack ...
  11. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    I was actually kinda wondering the same thing as Joe. However, my band will probably just be cranking out a 5-6 song demo CD for kicks this summer. We don't need anything too Hi-Fi (Can't really afford it anyway). And we'd probably do all the CD duplicating (via our own computers) and maybe most of the mastering (my best friend's dad has a home studio). How much do you guys think it would cost us to get decent recording in the East Bay and then take the masters to my friend's place?
  12. There's a very professional local place here in KY that charges $40 an hour. The quality he does is as good as anything I've heard. Really cool guy too, when I was in high school he recorded,mixed, and mastered 12 songs for a flat rate of $500. That was four days of him being there all day long. You won't find many people that will do that.

    I don't think this kind of pricing is typical for larger metropolitan areas or professional studios in general but you may want to look around away from home. If you find a really good deal it can be cost effective to travel to record.

    If your guy has a professional place and you're confident in his abilities I would offer $700. It shouldn't take more than 4 or 5 days to knock out 15 songs. This assumes that you aren't going to do any writing in the studio.
  13. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    I don't like the idea of charging for the project and would never do it. Bad choice IMO unless where the dollars are going is completely and thoroughly itemized. That way, if you need additional time and resources for this or that, it's clear what the added charges will be. How much time for mixdown, setup before each session, etc? For instance, setting up and dialing in drums, and convincing the drummer to use a click track can take a great deal of time. You don't want him to rush the project so he makes his desired hourly wage at the expense of your recordings. Careful....

    Oh yeah, $3500--$5000 is a reasonable budget.
  14. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    My old band recorded a cd in about 30 hours (8 songs). Including mastering it cost about $900 total. But, it wasnt stellar quality... good though.
  15. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    I own a small studio. Depending on the band I usually charge $250-$500 a day (sometimes more/less but that's average). If they want an amazing recording (ie: not just a demo) I'll charge $500+ a day. Just to give you an idea.
  16. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    i proposed $2,500. he accepted, contingent on the fact that we bring pizza every time we go. i think that's a pretty good deal. we'll probably wind up throwing him a little more because we're not the easiest guys in the world to work with. :smug:
  17. I think $2,500 for 15 songs is an awesome deal assuming the guy is good of course. We're recording at a quality studio that charges $60/hr., and we're doing five songs. So far we've spent about 17 hours, and we've got all the drum tracks down, bass and guitar tracks for three songs, and pretty much no vocals yet. So it's going a little slow for us, but we want to take our time and make sure we're totally happy with the final recording. I prefer to pay by the hour, that way the band feels some pressure to prepare and play well, but at the same time the engineer doesn't feel rushed...I'd be a little worried that if we did a set fee for the whole thing that the engineer might start getting frustrated with us since we're pretty picky and spend a lot of time per song (since we'd almost def. pass the point where it becomes a losing situation for him.) But I guess that depends on how your band works...
  18. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    is it only necessary to the drummer to play to a click track if you're doing protools?
  19. MascisMan


    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Last time we recorded was at a very very good studio and the engineers there recommended one day per song as a rule of thumb. At the end of each day the song (for that day) was recorded, mixed, and mastered.

    They also charged about $350 a day...
  20. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    I don't completely understand the question. Are you asking if the drummer HAS to play with a click track when using protools? If so, the answer is no. The drummer should only play to a click track (protools or no protools) if he is familiar with playing with a click track. If he's never done it before it's a bad idea. Most drummers get confused (don't they all?) when playing with a click track for the first time.