Stone Wall's Helpful Hints for Recording

Excerpt from “How to Make & Sell Your Own Records - A Guide for the Nineties” by Diane Sward Rapaport, Prentice Hall © 1992, page 148 - 150:

TIME AND MONEY Throughout your project you will be dealing with your dreams and your finances.  Your finances will determine how you realize your dreams.  You must set limits on the time and money to be spent on recording and stick to them, so you will have money left for promotion and distribution.

The cost of recording depends on the method and the time it takes.  As a rule, the more complex the method, the longer you will spend recording, unless you are recording a concert.  When you estimate the time you will need, take into account the recording experience of the musicians, the  organization of the sessions, whether you have a producer, whether the music and recording method have been rehearsed, and how much deviation from the planned arrangement might occur during the sessions.  No matter how carefully you estimate your time, add fifty percent for the unexpected.  Recording always takes longer than you think it will.

Below are guidelines to help you estimate the time you will need, based on actual experiences of groups making recordings for the first time.  The guidelines include time for set up and testing, listening to playback, retakes, and final sequencing of the songs.  For purposes of standardization, when the word “song” is used, it means a musical composition (vocal or instrumental) lasting three to four minutes.
For direct to two-track, estimate ninety minutes per song.  No session should last more than six hours.
For two-track with mixer, estimate three hours per song.  The more instruments and voices on microphones, and the more inputs used increase the time needed for set up and recording.
If you plan to use multi track/ensemble to record a single performance in the studio with no overdubbing, estimate five hours per song.  If you plan to use one or more tracks for overdubbing and an additional vocal or instrument, add an extra hour per song.
If you are planning on multi track with extensive overdubbing and are a relatively inexperienced band, estimate no less than fifteen hours per song.  The breakdown goes like this: four hours for basic tracks, five hours for lead instrumental and vocal overdubs, two hours for vocal harmonies and other instrumental overdubs, and four hours for mixing.
Why does overdubbing consume so much time?  Mainly because each track is worked on with great care.  The goal is technical and aesthetic perfection, and that means perfection on each track individually, as well as in the final mix.
If you plan to economize by using Ping-Ponging or premixing, you should still figure on fifteen hours per song.  You’ll save money on the lower rates for two-, four-, or eight-track studio.
If you are using hard disk editing, you will be charged for real-time-down-loading and uploading of musical information, as well as its manipulation.
Finally, you will save setup time by grouping songs that use similar instrumentation and recording them at one session.  If you will be using additional musicians on several cuts, try to book their time for the same sessions.
For more information on recording, I suggest you purchase the following books:  “How to Make & Sell Your Own Records - A Guide for the Nineties,” by Diane Sward Rapaport, Prentice Hall ©1992; and “The Musician’s Business & Legal Guide,” Edited and compiled by Mark Halloran, Esq., Prentice Hall, ©1991, or the latest editions.  TK