Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rates, Policies, FAQ, Guidance


The Lantern Sound Recording Rig requires a 50% deposit for booking studio time. Balance of payment owed is due at the end of that day's work. If an artist or client has a balance due, the LSRR reserves the right to deny subsequent bookings for studio time until said balance is paid. For any recording project, no content, session files, or mixes of any kind will be released until all balances are paid, and accounts are made current.

RECORDING RATES (Includes Engineer)

Rates are for tracking, engineering, mixing and musical instrumentation, production & input.

HOURLY RATE: $55 per hour

A session at the Lantern Sound Recording Rig (LSRR) begins billing at the time the client booked it for, whether the client is present or not, and continues until the final load-out. Consecutive studio day rate rentals (not hourly) are mandatory if gear or mixes are to be left set up overnight. Payment is due at the end of the session, in cash. All mixes, CD-Rs, hard drives, etc. shall remain the property of LSRR until all invoices are paid in full.

DAILY RATE: $500 per day

Daily rate (12 hour day) includes an optional "load-in and setup night" previous to the day actually being booked, focused on getting as much setup and checked as possible, with an emphasis upon drum setup and sound.


“Faders up” rough mixes for performance evaluation are always furnished at no additional cost in MP3 format, distributed via Dropbox. We generally do not burn CD’s until we are reviewing actual finished, or near-finished mixes, in AIFF format.


Mixing services are offered to all artists at a fixed rate per track. If the artist wishes to be present for the mix session, hourly rates apply, instead. That will almost always be a more expensive option.

Generally, the per-song mixing rates involve me getting the mix VERY close to finished, after which the artist comes in and we review subjective concerns, visions and focus on the artist's needs and wishes. Since the mix is already close at the point the artist arrives, it makes for quicker, and more inexpensive. This is a highly recommended method.

For remote review and approval of mixes, we send AIFF/16-bit (CD Quality) formatted digital files to the artist, and we can burn CD discs for review. We do NOT employ lossy formats (such as AAC or MP3 format in ANY resolution) for mix evaluation. Final Mixes will be delivered to the artist via highest-resolution file transfer. Alternately, unmixed data files / stems can be supplied for the artist to arrange mixing and mastering at their own discretion.
  • SINGER-SONGWRITER MIX - $55 Per Track For simply arranged pieces, such as vocal, guitar, some additional accompaniment, perhaps percussion.

  • FULL BAND MIX - $150 Per Track For full-band arrangements (either real drums OR drum loops/’samples), typically guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, lead and background vocals. Projects that began as Singer Songwriter mixes that turn into Full-Band arrangements will be mixed and billed as Full-Band Mixes.

    This rate is based on three hours of work per song mix. It always winds up being more than three hours of work, especially since I'm doing a lot of prep work, EQ-ing, processing, routing of effects, editing, organizing, and bouncing/reducing tasks way before the artist arrives.

    If the artist wishes to mix one of these ways, these additional charges apply:
    • I mix, you watch -  $100.00
    • I mix, you help - $200.00
    • You mix, I watch - $300.00
    • You mix, I help - $400.00
    • You mix - $500.00



Can you also master my songs for digital distribution and CD replication?

Sure. I have always used professional mastering houses, I've never mastered records before - but I'll just go ahead and say that I can master your songs using software that every other inexperienced "mastering engineer" has. It will take longer, I can't output DDP files for the pressing plant, there will be re-do's. guaranteed, and I charge $75 per song to do this.

OR... you could go to a REAL mastering house with decades of experience and Grammy Awards on the wall, pay about $30 a song, and for a little more money get a DDP master file done that's ready to send to the pressing plant.

So, the short answer is, no.

(Longer answer: In an emergency, such as when time has completely run out... yes, but we hate doing this, mostly because we are NOT a mastering house. By the way, most recording studios / engineers that say they are mastering enities... are lying to you. They are just trying to make more money off you. And don’t fall for the “mastering online” sales pitch, either.

You want an experienced, established, and reputable mastering entity to ready your labor of love for the pressing plant and digital distribution. We can recommend mastering studios. Here’s why you want an additional set of experienced ears working on your project in a dedicated mastering studio.

We do full mastering pre-flight routine (level / artifacts / format double-checks, proper song order & titles, gap-between-songs specs, and final “dry run” through Waveburner software for a final TRIPLE check of files), and that is included as a final phase of the mixing process, but... the LSRR is not, repeat, NOT a mastering house.

Can we all play live in the studio?

Yes. That is often one of our main goals; it is to be encouraged. Live tracks with acoustic guitars is possible; remember that if you are singing a foot away from your guitar that the mic on the guitar will pick up your voice as well, and that recording acoustic guitar in the same room as a loud drum set is difficult. Acoustic guitar basic tracks often have to be replaced by overdubbing them later. But not necessarily.
Playing live in the studio will yield the best results when it’s done by a band that has gigged, performed, and rehearsed itself nearly to death. If a band is being thrown together just before the recording session, don’t expect things to go quickly unless each and every one of the players are seasoned professionals. Even then, it takes TIME, more than you think, to learn, arrange, and then perform/record songs in the studio, as opposed to beforehand.

How long will it take to record my music?

The answer to that question varies from artist to artist. It depends largely on YOUR degree of preparation. A well-rehearsed band can print most of the BASIC tracks (meaning, everyone performing, first-pass takes) for a full-length album in three days. The more prepared the artist is, the less time things will take. Overdubs can take anywhere from one to seven days or more, depending on the amount of work and pickiness.

For mixing, three to four hours per song at least is the general rule. A guitarist-singer who has their tunes down can track hours of live stuff in one day, mix it all the same day and have a decent live demo. Depends what you are looking for. Some projects go faster, some slower. Always add time to your estimates. One important component in this whole equation: Pre-Production.


The biggest mistake musicians make when entering the recording studio is failing to bring songs that have been carefully written, arranged, improved, and performed over time.

Play songs at shows; get feedback from anyone who will listen. If you record the song on any stereo device you can, whether it be a laptop computer, an iPhone, or even a cassette recorder, you will be able to listen, step back a bit and gain a different perspective. Then make changes based on that demo. Repeat the process. Yes, again.

As is written in this overview at Ultimate Guitar Dot Com, you often need to “Hone It Till You Hate It”. This process is also known as pre-production. The four most important points of pre-production are Song Selection, Keys, Tempos, Arrangements.

If you wait until you’re in the studio to think of these things, you are at a disadvantage; your recording will take longer, and cost more money, than you have planned.

Here’s a great overview on Pre-Production from DiscMakers Pressing.



Heavily involved in your project, a producer will possibly attend shows and rehearsals, work on arrangements, check your equipment, recommend outside musicians, decide what songs to record, and schedule sessions. They will see your project through completion, and help you get the best takes. A producer doesn't have to be an engineer, and you may see sessions where a producer and engineer work together. A producer will be calling the shots and raising the quality of the album project. If you have never produced a record before, and you’re not bringing in a producer yourself, then I should at least be co-producing it. Trust me, this will save you time, money, and frustration.


A co-producer will engineer an album and make suggestions / subjective comments in order for you to make the best recording possible. They’ll be active in assessing takes and suggesting sounds, arrangements, etc. Often times, they will jump into the session cold on the first day. Generally they will be the sole engineer as well.


An engineer knows how to operate the recording equipment in the studio, get sounds and accommodate the requests of the artist or producer.


This information is intended to educate LSRR clients about the nature of digital media and also to establish legal boundaries regarding their digital data. 
Make multiple backups of your data. Unless there are at least two copies of the data somewhere it is not safe. Three copies is preferred. This is YOUR responsibility! Backup copies of sessions in the digital realm should be made daily during the course of a session and taken home with the artist or producer at night. Post-session backups can be made onto external Firewire or USB hard drives, stored in an online data storage bank or burned to DVD-R or CD-R. There is no certainty that a CD-R or DVD-R will hold data for the long term or that a stored hard drive will play back after sitting for any amount of time so back up your data to newer media as time goes on. We highly recommend purchasing quality, name brand hard drives.

"Cowboy" Jack Clement rules for band members.


The LSRR is not responsible for:

  1. storing your data or audio tapes during the course of a recording project.
  2. storing your data or audio tapes once the project is completed.
  3. data left on premises, either the dissemination of said data or loss thereof.
  4. educating or instructing any client on the care and safety of digital data.
  5. unrecoverable data, whether it be on flashdrive, hard drive, CD-R or DVD-R