rehearsal hall for performing artists  314.773.3660 info@utopiastl.com      

pa-equipped studios with low hourly and monthly rates * private studios with 24/7 access

designed for musicians, dancers, photographers, videographers, theatre groups and artists.

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RATES

$40/hour recording and mixing sessions.

$30/song mastering.

Studio 0 is also available for rehearsals.

PA: Seismic Audio LE-2000 power amp, Yamaha MG102 mixer, 15" Peavey full range speakers with horns. Vintage electric organ included in room at no extra charge.
$17/hour rehearsal sessions.

BOOKINGS:  Call 314.773.3660 or email info@utopiastl.com to book a session. Please book at least 24hrs in advance.

POLICIES:  50% of session fee due in advance at time of booking, with remainder payable prior to release of data. Cash and all credit cards accepted. Sessions can be rescheduled with 24 hours advance notice. No refunds.

All other policies of the facility apply: please do not bring children (recording/rehearsing minors with parent ok), pets, drugs or weapons. We have a full bar with great prices onsite. No outside alcohol allowed. Cheers!

RECORDING HOURS: Noon-7pm, Mon-Sat. Additional hours on request.

AUDIO SAMPLES: Recorded in Studio 0, 2014: Pat Sajak Assassins; Tennis Lesson Additional samples of Tazu's work: https://soundcloud.com/tazu-marshall

STUDIO 0

Studio 0 is Utopia Studios' recording and mixing suite. This 650 sq ft space features a comfortable live room with isolation booth and well-equipped control room. The live room is 26'x18' with 14' ceiling, hardwood floor, and adjustable acoustics.

The control room (18'x10'x14') is equipped with the latest Pro Tools version and plug-ins, Sonar, and an array of instruments, amps and mics available to make your next album shine.

Our engineer Tazu is dedicated to capturing your desired sound beyond expectation. He has been recording and playing in live bands for over a decade, and welcomes all genres of music.

The atmosphere here is productive and laid-back. Load-in is ground level with plenty of offstreet parking. During evening session breaks, unwind in our lounge with full bar, snacks, wifi, and games--all adjacent to the recording studio.

What to Expect When Making a Record:

There are essentially 5 phases to record making: Setup / Tracking / Editing / Mixing / Mastering.

SETUP - Setup falls under the umbrella of PRE-PRODUCTION. This is the most important part of the record making process. “where the rubber meets the road”. This part can seem tedious, especially to band members who just want to get in there and ROCK. Also, setup can be frustrating to someone who is watching the clock, trying not to spend too much money. The best thing you can do is BE PREPARED!  What does that mean?

Basically, it means not bringing problems into the studio. Problems take time to solve. Eliminate the potential for time wasting by making sure ALL of your gear is functioning optimally. And let me know what gear you are bringing, so I can be prepared as well.
 
TRACKING - DRUMS:  The drum-set is usually the most important instrument in a mix. Even if it’s not the most important part of your band. The drum-set can literally make or break a recording. A good sounding drum-set coupled with a crappy bass, guitar, keys, etc. is passible; the reverse is not. If the drums suck, the record sucks, PERIOD! I rather have nothing suck, but the drums gotta rock. Also, drums require more mics, and more setup time.  What to do: Most importantly - CHANGE YOUR HEADS! Don’t skimp on this, they don’t have to be $$$, but this is the sound of the kit. New heads mean a better recording, plus you get NEW HEADS! Not changing your heads means you spend your money on ME trying to salvage your tracks. Plus - NO NEW HEADS. Frustrating, and cost-inefficient. Buy, rent or borrow good cymbals. Make sure all stands, lugs, pedals are solid, working, oiled, not broken, and not squeaking or rattling. WD-40!

GUITAR and BASS:  Get your instruments professionally set up. I know how to do this, but a professional can do it much better. (Either way the clock is ticking). New strings a few days (or weeks) before tracking. Fix any amp or input jack problems. Get your sound together. Don’t make me guess what sound you want. Buy, rent or borrow a good amp - Doesn’t need to be big or even loud. Also, generally GTR amps don’t need quite as much gain when recording.

KEYS:  Make sure all your gear works! And like the other instruments, let me know what you are bringing, so I know how best to capture your sounds.

VOCALS:  In most cases the vocals will be a scratch recording meant only to keep the band from losing its place. Scratch vocals will be replaced anyway, so don’t stop the band if the singer doesn’t nail the part during tracking. Have your lyrics ready.

GUIDE TRACKS:    A guide track is a Pro Tools (or other DAW) file with pre-determined sections and key/tempo changes already programmed into it, that the band can play along with while recoding (usually one at a time). These are useful if you’re looking for that “perfect sound” with quantized parts, and very radio friendly steadiness. I personally prefer a tight band with a natural ebb and flow, but it depends a lot on the band. Usually a click track is good enough.

Other General Preparedness:  Have all songs prepared to the best of your ability. Lyrics printed, beats per minutes or BPM’s (if applicable, i.e. click track). Make sure the parts work together (i.e. no note clashing, unless it’s intentional). And of course, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Focus on keeping the tempo steady, and the rhythm section tight. I can edit your performance to be tighter, but you know, the clock is ticking.  Do whatever you have to do to get yourselves in the right state of mind to make music. Clear your schedule, take a nap, eat a pizza, alcohol, drugs, whatever - I don’t care - just don’t bring anything illegal into the studio, and keep it under control. If you are trashed, your recording will suck. Trust me, I have experience with this.

EDITING - The dirty little secret that everyone knows (not a secret).
* If your band is very tight you’ll still have a few spots where not everyone hits at the same time. I can fix this pretty easily.
* If your band is sloppy or drunk, I can still fix it, but it’s much harder to do - the clock is ticking.
* If you play to a guide track, I can have the computer do most of the work. (I’m willing to work with guide tracks, but as of this date I don’t have much experience with them)
* Also there’s pitch correction.

MIXING - Mixing is meant to achieve balance, primarily. There’s also sweetening, which is secondary. Sweetening can mean many things, like adding pads, or other instruments, delays, etc.. Many of these techniques like phone EQ, Hook echo, backwards reverb, and mellodyne are grossly overused and can really cheese up a recording. They can also be used sparingly and sometimes even tastefully. Mixes tend to be quieter and less exciting than what’s on the radio. That’s because it hasn’t gone through the final phase…

MASTERING - Originally mastering meant making sure the recording worked on vinyl - draining the low end out so the needle wouldn’t bounce out of the groove; and sequencing (space between songs).  Now it means (among other things) squishing the holy hell out of it so it can compete in the “volume wars”. People tend to perceive older as better, but there is a sacrifice - Dynamics, and punch.  The general rule is - you don’t master your own mixes! This rule gets broken a lot, which is bad. We take care of your mastering by passing it along to our mastering partners, then return it inhouse for an additional quality control measure, before presenting for your satisfaction. Both mastering and mixing can go through several revisions, and must be tested on multiple speaker sets.

FOR BEST RESULTS:
* Be prepared throughout
* Be patient during setup
* Be focused and relaxed during tracking and overdubs
* Be clear on likes/dislikes during mixing

Making records takes time. Time=Money. Don’t be penny wise and dollar stupid. Savings will come from you being on top of your game, not from pressuring your engineer to hurry up.

GOOD / FAST / CHEAP - you may choose two.

-TAZU MARSHALL 05/18/2014

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GEAR

DAW -- Pro Tools 11, Sonar X1. Interface: MOTU 896mk3 hybrid expanded with two MOTU 8-PRE's to 24 inputs of 24bit 48khz simultaneously.

Tascam 1/4" reel-to-reel recording available on request.

Misc vintage/diy preamps.

AMPS-- Samson s2 X2, Shure BG6.1 X2 Crate Cm330L X1MONITORS Yamaha HS80M's

MICS-- Audio Technica AT2020 X2,
Audio Technica AT2050 X1,
Oktava MC 012-01  X2,
MXL V67 Mogami X1,
Shure SM 57 X2,
Shure SM 58 X1,
Shure Beta 65 X1,
Sennheiser e604 X3,
Sennheiser e906 X1,
AKG D112 X2,
Audix i5 X1,
Home made sub-kick X1

Drums and Amps pictured may be available for an additional fee.

 

 

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