Once all of the planning, preparation, and preproduction are done, it’s time to start the recording.
- Tracking: Working most often with MIDI tracks as guides, the singers all record their parts. We can record fixes for any mistakes at this point, or improvements on any lines that are to be redone so we can get all of the parts as close to the finished performances they want as possible.
- Editing: This can include correcting pitch wavers, tightening up beginnings and ends of notes, flying phrases around, and generally giving the performances whatever degree of polished perfection the group desires.
- Mixing: Whereas editing polishes the performance, mixing polishes the sound. We take all of the separate tracks and fine tune the sound through the use of various types of audio processing. We then combine them, adjusting the sounds so they work well together, and set levels of the different parts. Lastly we dynamically automate levels so that each part can be heard, blending is smooth, and the listener’s focus is drawn to the right places.
- Mastering: This is the final step of audio processing, and also the first step of getting ready for manufacture and distribution. It involves compression and limiting to bring the volume of the mixes up to release level, some subtle overall EQ to give the final polish, and sometimes stereo image processing. Also it is at this stage that we adjust song spacing, song order, clean up beginnings and ends of songs as needed, enter metadata, and prepare the final DDP file that goes to the manufacturing plant.