Demos are useful and worthwhile for a few different reasons. They allow you to judge whether you need to do more work on your song or if it’s ready to spend the time and money to record properly. You can use them to asses which parts of the song need work and which parts are already perfect. You can play your demos to others to get their opinions on which of your songs are best and most worthwhile to record, or to give them a sample of your music.
This depends how you plan to use it. If you are just trying to get a feel for the song and want to check that everyone in the band is playing the correct parts (difficult to hear live!) then a simple live demo should be fine.
If you are using the demo to apply to a funding agency or record company for financial assistance then the demo needs to be more polished and represent the finished product as closely as possible.
Pre-production follows on from early demos. Once you have heard your song clearly, you can make changes and record another demo. It is often very useful to have a producer involved at this point to give objective advice. It can be difficult to objectively assess music if you are the composer and performer. If you plan to use the recording for funding applications, you should consider this step before the final demo.
A demo is a simplified version of the song. Either a live recording or a basic multi-tracked recording with minimal overdubs or editing. Demos are often used to help with pre-production so might not be the final version of the song arrangement.
A broadcast quality recording takes longer than a demo because you will need to make sure every element of the recording is working together to make the song sound great. This can involve overdubbing every instrument separately, editing and tuning instruments and vocals, playing certain parts of the song over and over until they are perfect, adding effects, and spending more time getting the mix just right. Broadcast quality recordings should also be mastered.
A quick live demo of an acoustic guitar and vocal may only take half an hour while a live demo of a full band could take a few hours. If you decide to add over dubs and backing vocals you might add another few hours. Mixing a demo should be fairly quick, anywhere from half an hour to a few hours if the recording has been multi-tracked.
If you decide to record each instrument individually then this could take a day or two to record plus another half a day or so to mix. It all depends on how well rehearsed you and your band are.
It can take an hour or more just to set up, tune and mic a drum kit, so recording more than one song in a session can save you time and money. The same applies to other instruments too, although drums always take the longest to get sounding right.
Mixing is the process of refining all the individual elements of the recording and balancing the levels of each instrument to create the final mix. During mixing we often use EQ, compression, reverb, delay and other effects to help instruments fit well together and sound as good and interesting as possible.
If you use Pro Tools, we can open your session and start working straight away. If you use any other recording software, the best option is to consolidate and export all your tracks as .wav files. You should export the .wav files at the same sample rate and bit depth as the recording.
Click here for information on consolidating and exporting .wav files from your digital audio workstation (DAW).
If you have any more questions Dave is more than happy to chat about your project.