Frequently Asked Questions
How long will my recording project take?
Not too long, but maybe longer than you think. It depends a bit on the size of your ensemble, and how prepared everyone is. But in our experience very fast recordings have totaled six to eight hours, and more careful and meticulous ones have taken fifteen to twenty. It ultimately depends on you, on your repertoire, on the recording venue, and on your circumstances. It can also depend on your budget. But if you really want to do it right, consider booking one hour of session time for every five minutes of program you want to record. This gives you enough time to play everything you need to play, and also tune up, take breaks, have a snack, make mistakes, come up with new ideas, and experiment. If you are a soloist or small ensemble and you work very efficiently then things can go a little quicker. But if you have to move an entire orchestra on and off stage, and take union-mandated breaks, things will go a little slower. Other things that can speed the process along include coming to the session well prepared, well rehearsed, well rested and well nourished. (Some would also suggest well caffeinated.)
How much will my recording project cost?
It depends on what you want to record. Do you have a concert coming up that needs to be cleanly, clearly, safely recorded? That’s $550. We do a lot of live concert archival recording. Do you have a rehearsal you’d also like to record, just in case? We can do that too. Are you looking to make a recording for commercial release? No problem. We can handle all your recording jobs, big or small. Our rate for recording and post-production is $150 per hour. But our favorite thing to do is work with artists to make their recordings sound great within their budget. So call us.
How do I plan my recording session?
You pick the repertoire. You talk to your colleagues, managers and agents. You listen to other recordings of similar material, to get a sense of what you do and don’t like. And you talk to us. We’ve done a lot of recording, and we might have some good suggestions.
How do I prepare for my recording session?
The same way you get to Carnegie Hall – practice. Ideally, you schedule a few performances of the material close to the recording date. Trying out new material on a live audience is a great way to work out any issues before the session. Of course, there us still room for exploration and experimentation in a recording session, but in general it is to your advantage to come in as prepared as possible.
How do we choose a recording location?
We think the best recordings are made in large, acoustically superior venues. They should not be too hard to get to, hopefully near a place to get decent coffee, and they should be just the right size (and budget!) for your project. Not too big and airy; not too intimate and tight; just right for you.
Why can’t I record in my living room?
You can, if your living room sounds as good as a concert hall and is acoustically isolated from outside noises.
What recording equipment do you use?
We use high quality components throughout our signal chain. We like to capture your sound as cleanly and directly as possible. We carefully consider and constantly re-evaluate every piece of our audio arsenal to be certain that we always achieve maximum sonic clarity. A complete list of our equipment can be found HERE (link to and from GEAR pg)
What services do you offer?
We make sound recordings. We’ll record whatever you want, whenever you ask us, and wherever you want us. Have mics, will travel. A complete list of the services we offer can be found HERE (link to and from SERVICES pg)
Why are you called Digital Island Studios?
In the early 90s, Bill was teaching alongside a brilliant elderly engineer from China, who predicted that one day soundwaves would be converted to digital information right at the microphone, and would exist only in digital form until listeners heard it coming out of their speakers. Rather common today, but a revolutionary concept at the time. He referred to this system as a Digital Island. Bill was born and raised on the island of O’ahu, Hawai’i, moved to Manhattan and now lives in Brooklyn. Islands have always been a big part of his life, whether they’re tropical, bustling or digital.
Do you still have questions?
If you still have questions, just give us a call at 212 243-9753 or use our contact form. We know that every project is unique and we want to give you our special consideration. We're happy to answer all your questions about any recording project you're considering. Call us - we'd love to hear from you!