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Recording Studio For Emerging Artists in Hamburg.

Aural guidance for innovative artists.

I create bold and innovative records.

With sonic clarity, atmosphere and punch.

Hey, I’m Nick.

I’m a musician and audio engineer from Tasmania, Australia, based in Hamburg, Germany.

I record, mix and produce innovative, left-field rock music in my recording studio in Hamburg.

I love artists like Chelsea Wolfe, Russian Circles and The Drones. Caspian, We Lost The Sea and PG.Lost. Her Name is Calla, Yndi Halda, Anais Mitchell.

I also love their production!

I am here to guide you through the recording process and help produce the sounds you envision for your next release. So you can join the ranks of those above.

I will capture your performances and sculpt them into a coherent mix, with each element and nuance given space to unfurl. I want those bone shuddering toms, I want that snare to snap, I want those guitars to howl.

I want you to take your new record and go on tour, get a label deal, sell all your merch. Blow them away.

Hit me up and let’s talk. I can’t wait to hear your tracks.

LISTEN.

Post Rock / Post Metal / Guitars | Nora Inu – Am Fear Liath Mór
Progressive Rock / Guitars / Wall of Sound | Vandemonian – Excommunication
Progressive / Stoner Rock / Guitars | Kaimar – Ahab
Post Metal / Guitars / Drums | LAZAR – Einkreisung
Drums / Guitars / Rock | Vandemonian – Razumikhin

BEFORE AND AFTER MIXING

In order to give you an idea of what I can do with your raw tracks, I have put together some before and after clips of tracks I have worked on.

Ahab – Kaimar

Raw Tracks
Mixed and Mastered

Excommunication – Vandemonian

Raw Tracks
Mixed and Mastered

Einkreisung – Lazar

Raw Tracks
Mixed and Mastered

STUDIO.

UPAYA SOUND is a basement recording studio space on the edge of the city of Hamburg, Germany. The area is surrounded by forests and fields, and is a place to quieten the mind to perform creative duties with focus and intent.

The intimate studio atmosphere was designed with lowkey lighting for a creative vibe. It is a space to create. A space to invoke the muse.

Recording Music in a Sound Studio

The process of creating an album is often a long and winding journey. From the initial inspiration, composition, practice and fine-tuning of musical ideas, months, if not years, often pass. But at some point, it’s time to capture the music. Recording studios are needed to capture the hard work on CD, vinyl or digitally.

The time spent in a recording studio can be very intense. All band members have to know their parts inside out. The instruments must be well setup and the equipment must work well. The band must harmonise well with each other so that recording studio time is used optimally.

First, the instruments are set up in the recording studio. Usually the drums are recorded first so that all the other instruments record their parts in the right timing. Drums are recorded to click more and more these days, so that the tempo is set by the DAW and it is easier to edit the tracks later.

Tracking Drums in a Recording Studio

When the drum kit has been set up, microphones are set up to capture the sound in the music studio. It often takes several hours before the miking of the drum kit is complete and the drum sound is satisfactory. The many drums, microphones and components of a drum kit makes recording drums very time-consuming. But it is necessary because a song often stands and falls with the quality of the drum recording.

Recording Bass, Guitar and Keyboards

When the drum tracks are finished, recordings of other instruments are added. Bass is often recorded second, but often also at the same time as the drums. A band may also prefer to record guitars with or immediately after the drum recording if the song requires it.

Bass is often recorded with a DI that feeds the signal directly from the instrument “clean” into the mixing console. Additionally, the bass amplifier is recorded with one or more microphones. Later, the signals are mixed together and the mixing engineer has the possibility to create reamping tracks with the DI signal to create other sounds.

Electric guitars are also recorded by placing microphones in front of an amplifier. Similar to recording electric bass, sound engineers can record additional DI tracks for later reamping. Guitar effects on the pedalboard are often recorded in the studio, but can also be added later with plug-ins or reamping.

Keyboards are recorded with a DI, usually directly into the mixer without effects.

Recording Vocals in a Music Studio

After all instruments have been recorded, it is the singer’s turn. With headphones to listen to the music with, the singer stands in a vocal booth or in front of a soundproof wall or curtain. The vocals are sung into a microphone, often with reverb or reverb effects in the headphone mix, so that the vocals don’t sound too dry and unnatural.

Vocals are often not recorded in one take, but in several attempts. As the main instrument in the foreground, vocals get all the attention of a listener and therefore need to be recorded very precisely.

The vocals can be recorded in fragments of verse, chorus, verse, bridge etc. or, depending on the quality of the singer, in individual phrases. Afterwards, all takes are cut together into a master take.

Mixing: Turning Raw Tracks Into A Coherent Mix

When all tracks are recorded, an album is far from finished. The raw tracks sound quite good individually, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Together they are a jumble of sounds and frequencies that overlap and mask each other. The close-miked instruments don’t sound very natural, because no one listens to music with their ear directly next to the instrument.

The instruments must harmonise with each other in the mix. Mixing music is the stage in which a recording is transformed from raw tracks into a coherent piece of music.

Compression, equalisation and effects are applied by the mixing engineer in a process that takes several hours. It is creative work that is performed in consultation with the artists, according to his and their musical ideas and inspiration.

When the mix of a song is finished and all involved are satisfied with the result, the time comes for the last phase of the music production process: mastering.

Mastering: fine-tuning a recording

Mastering is the last phase in the long process of music production. However, it is a necessary step, because it polishes the recording once again and prepares it for release on CD, vinyl or digitally.

Mastering also involves compression and equalisation, but unlike mixing, it is relatively subtle. The recording is made to sound similar on all playback devices. Particularly dominant frequencies are filtered out if they jeopardise compatibility on different devices.

A mix is compressed slightly to make it sound louder or punchier, and limiting raises the volume of the song without causing digital clipping.

When the mastering is finished, the album can finally be produced in physical form.

RECORDING MUSIC IN HAMBURG

Tracking Setting the foundation of a record.

Choosing the right recording studio in Hamburg for recording music can be tough. There are a lot of studios to choose from. Each have their pros and cons, and it is a decision that should not be made lightly. Sometimes it is a gut instinct and sometimes it is a process of gathering as much information as possible

There is nothing more exciting in the music production process than recording music. This is where the magic happens. It doesn’t matter what stage of your career you are at, this is the time you need to perform with the most focus and concentration.

I love putting up mics in front of the drum kit and tweaking the positions until the drums are punching out of the speakers. It can be tricky though, which is why it is necessary to take time and have patience when tracking drums.

Here are some aspects to consider:

The Best Location for Recording Music in Hamburg

Where do I want to record my music in Hamburg? Do I want to be in amongst the hustle and bustle of the city when recording my songs? Or do I need a place away from the daily grind, a place to focus? Do we work best with a quietened mind or a head full of ideas and inspiration?

Do we need restaurants and cafés nearby when recording our music? Or do we prefer to get lunch delivered or even cook ourselves and bond during the album production process?

Hamburg is an exciting hub for music with all the venues, bars and clubs. Finding the right location and choosing between Altona, Sternschanze, St. Pauli or Barmbek is only one aspect of many when looking for the right studio for recording music in Hamburg.

Whether you choose the inner city location or a farmhouse in the countryside, always take the time to consider: what will put me in the right state of mind to create the music I want to release to the world?

The Right Studio Atmosphere

The question that follows is the atmosphere of the music studio. The recording space and it’s ambience can play a big role in the creativity of an artist and the level of focus their can achieve when producing an album.

Is the space a clean and sparkling studio with high-end gear? Do I need to take extra care when moving in this space? Am I inhibited by the expectations of the owners regarding cleanliness? Can I relax in these rooms?

Is the lighting producing a positive vibe? Can I feel at home and at ease here or am I worried about making mistakes and screwing up my parts?

Gear

Whether or not to list the audio equipment as one of the features of a particular recording studio is a big debate amongst audio engineers in the industry.

On the one hand, a music studio full of gear does suggest the engineer has a lot of experience if able to afford to buy, use and maintain the equipment on hand. On the other hand, buying a guitar for 3000 Euros doesn’t mean you can play it like Jimi Hendrix.

Also, choosing a recording studio after drooling over the pictures of equipment worth tens of thousands does not ensure you will be looked after by the right engineer.

And the list of compressors, equalisers and mixing desks tells you nothing about the personality of the producer using it. The best engineer in the world can’t help you make music if you don’t relate on a personal level.

Recording Engineer

It is imperative that you find the right recording engineer for the job. You must resonate on the same level and have the same goals in mind. Your musical vision must become their musical vision and they must know and understand the music that you create and the music you are inspired by. Only then can you be sure you are on the same path together, working towards the same end result: a record that you are proud of and want to take out into and share with the world.

The Music Production
Process Explained

From Songwriting to the Final Master

The music production process can take months or even years from the songwriting stage all the way through to mastering and pressing of the final product on CD or vinyl. While other artists need to rely solely on themselves to produce their art, musicians will call on many specialists to help them convert their creation into a product they can sell.

Pre-Production

The band have finished writing their songs and are ready to begin their album production. They know they’re parts, have probably performed them live on stage and gauged the audience’s response. But before they lay their tracks down onto tape, they want to be sure that each song is as strong as it can be.

Pre-production is a phase in which the finished songs are recorded in a quick and dirty way so that the members of a band can listen to a rough version of their album before committing to expensive recording studio time. They will analyse their songs and make sure that aspects such as tempo, rhythm, song structure and other musical elements are as close to perfect as possible. There might be vocal harmonies that need tweaking, or the song might need a double chorus at the end or a slightly slower tempo. Each band member should sit down and listen to each song in turn and take notes before having a discussion with the rest of the group about possible changes that have to be made.

Bands with larger budgets may also use the pre-production phase to head into the studio and record demos they can present to labels and record companies. They will then use the recording to gain funding, a record deal or to approach a music producer who they are looking to work with.

The Tools Of Music Production

Audio production can get very expensive. Recording studios will be equipped with gear costing thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. From microphones to mixing desks, computers, digital audio workstations and high-end analogue compressors, each piece of equipment has an important part to play in the music production process.

Microphones

music producer working with microphones

Mics are the first thing we think of when discussing audio production. There are several types of microphones that are used regularly to record music and a few specific mics that are almost always used in recording studios.

Dynamic Microphones

The most sturdy type of microphone and the most common are dynamic mics. They tend to be the least expensive and the most durable of all types of microphones. Common models include the Shure SM57 and Sennheiser MD421. Dynamic microphones are used in music production for recording instruments such as drums and electric guitars and bass. Brass instruments such as the saxophone, trumpet and trombone are also commonly recorded using dynamic microphones.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones are often used to record acoustic instruments such as vocals, acoustic guitar, strings or instruments with high frequencies. Models such as the AKG C414 B-ULS, Neumann U87 and KM184 are used for recording drum overheads. The Neumann TLM 103 is a go-to mic for recording vocals. Schoeps microphones are often used for recording strings classical music production.

Ribbon Microphones

Ribbon microphones use thin strips of metal, such as aluminium, suspended in a magnetic field. They are used for recording drums, electric guitars, brass and woodwind instruments. They work especially well on harsh sound sources and have become a favourite among audio engineers for drum overheads and overdriven or distorted guitar amplifiers.

Examples of popular ribbon microphones include the Beyerdynamic M160, Royer R-122 or the Coles 4038.

Digital Audio Workstations – The Heart Of Music Production

The DAW or digital audio workstation plays the central role in the modern music production process. Where in the past a large analogue mixing desk was connected to an analogue tape machine, today audio engineers use computers and audio software to record music digitally.

Mixing Desks, Audio Interfaces and All Those Different Cables

mixing desk music production

Mixing desks are still used today for the purpose of sculpting the sounds with equalisation, but before the music can be captured on a computer, it must be converted to the digital realm. An audio interface has inputs for microphone and line signals as well as outputs for speakers and headphones. It sends sound signals to the computer via USB or Firewire.

The DAW communicates with the audio interface and captures the incoming signals, saving them to disk on the computer. The most common digital audio workstations used by modern recording studios include Avid Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase and Apple Logic Pro. All work in roughly the same manner, adhering to the traditional music production workflow.

When a mixing desk is used in conjunction with a DAW, a recording engineer is able to enjoy the best of both digital and analogue worlds. Outputs are routed from the digital audio workstation via the audio interface and into the inputs of a mixer. The producer or mixing engineer can then use the mixing desk to shape the sounds using EQ.

Equalisation – Frequency-Shaping A Music Production

Mixing Engineer

EQ – short for equalisation – is the method of manipulating the frequencies of an audio signal. An audio engineer is able to boost or cut specific frequencies for technical or creative purposes. This can be achieved using a mixing desk, a special piece of analogue equipment or with a software plugin on a computer DAW.

Equalisation is probably the most important step in the music production process, as it corrects any faults in the frequency spectrum of a signal. A poorly recorded instrument can be improved dramatically by using EQ.

The creative possibilities provided by equalisation are also very valuable when mixing a song. Instruments that take up similar places on the sonic spectrum can be shuffled around sonically in order to create more coherence and space within a mix.

Compression – Reducing The Dynamic Range Of An Audio Production

Mastering Music

A producer will also use compression to achieve one of the main goals of music production: making music sound larger than life. Despite the term concerning reducing size, compression, when used correctly, can actually make instruments sound bigger and louder. A compressor reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal by lowering the highest amplitudes, and lifting up the more nuanced elements.

Compression is regularly used on dynamic instruments such as drums, vocals, bass and brass instruments, as it can help tame and sculpt the sounds. In styles of music such as classical and jazz, compression is used sparingly during music production due to the desire for more natural recordings.

Reverb – Creating Atmosphere And Space

Creating an atmosphere for instruments and a song to reside in on a record is one of the key goals of music production. The main tool an audio engineer uses to achieve this goal is reverb. Reverb is an echo effect that when added to a signal source makes it sound like it was created in a space different to the actual recording room. Traditionally, large, reflective rooms were used in recording studios to add reverb, as were special plate reverb devices. Spring reverb is still used today in some guitar amplifiers. The most common form of reverb device in modern music production is either a digital outboard reverb or a VST plugin in a DAW.

Reverb plugins can range from simple algorithms with few controls to complex modelling software in which impulse responses form real-world spaces can be imported. The plugin is added to an auxiliary input track and fed the dry signal from an instrument. The wet signal with the reverb is then mixed in with the original instrument which gives the impression that the instrument was recorded in the reverberating space.
Reverb is an effect that really lifts instruments and nests them into the mix. Drums, vocals and piano all benefit greatly from a bit of added reverb.

Closely related to, but not quite the same as reverb is the delay effect. Delay is used a little more creatively than reverb during music production, but also often to achieve similar goals. Delay is simply a copy of the original signal repeated back at a later time. The copy can be played back once, several or an infinite number of times. The possibilities are endless.

Monitoring During Music Production – Speakers Or Headphones?

Recording Studio Control Room Hamburg

There are two options for monitoring during music production. Both have their advantages and pitfalls. The most obvious option is to monitor with a pair of speakers. For optimal results, an audio engineer should mix music on good quality speakers which have been installed properly in an acoustically treated room. With the proper setup, you are able to hear the mix in a neutral environment and mix the sounds coming from the DAW properly.

However, if the speakers are of poor quality or the room hasn’t been acoustically treated, thus colouring the sound, all attempts to create a coherent mix will be for nothing. It is imperative to have a good listening environment when mixing music using speakers.

Headphones Can Be Tricky

Monitoring using headphones removes the necessity for a good listening environment. Yet headphones also have their disadvantages. They tend to not have such a linear frequency response as studio speakers, presenting a slightly different overall sound than what is actually being played back by the DAW.

Monitoring reverb and effects reliably is also often tricky when using headphones. A music producer must be careful not to add too much, because cans tend to mask the actual volume of the effect.One also tends to monitor a mix at too high a volume when using headphones, resulting in a mix that lacks punch when played at low volumes.

It is always a good idea to listen to a mix on several different sound systems in order to gauge how it will translate to different speakers. Every time a mix version is finished, an audio engineer should listen on earbuds, on a hifi stereo, a car stereo and any other systems they have available. It is at these times that elements tend to stick out that were otherwise not particularly disruptive.

Mastering – Fine-Tuning The Mix For Broadcast And Release

music producer

The final stage of music production is mastering. This involves processing the stereo mix and fine-tuning it for maximum compatibility on different sound systems and media platforms. Mastering involves processing the frequency spectrum, adjusting the overall loudness, and adding meta data such as song and album titles and release codes to the digital audio file.

Adjustments to the frequency spectrum involve cutting any areas that are too overpowering, or boosting any frequencies that aren’t present enough. A mastering engineer will generally only add or cut small amounts of any given frequency to enhance the mix rather than change it dramatically.

Achieving a certain level of loudness is required so that there are little to no differences in volume between tracks. A song that is quieter than others will attract less attention on the radio than a louder one. On the other hand, a song that has been mastered for maximum loudness may be unpleasant to listen to, with all instruments fighting to be heard. A good mastering engineer will use compression and limiting to lift a song to a good level of loudness without destroying the original mix.

Other tasks performed by mastering engineers include a separate master version for vinyl or particular streaming platforms. A CD master is delivered to production plants as a DDP, a special digital format with all album information in text for embedded into the file. Digital audio files also contain text information to display artist, song and album titles when played on the radio.

A Comprehensive List of All Recording Studios in Hamburg

In the following section you will find a list of recording studios in Hamburg.

Andrew Bryan
Drum Recording, Workshops, Coaching

Audioactive Records
Recording Studio, Label, Publisher

BASS
Commercials & Music

Baysound
Audio book, Song and Jingle Recording

Beverlystudio
Pop, Hip-Hop, RnB, Gospel, World Music

Breed Music
Audio Books, Recording Studio, Publisher

Chameleon Recording Studios Hamburg
Recording, Mixing, Mastering, Film Sound, Events

Chaos Compressor Club
Recording, Mixing, Mastering, Producing

Clouds Hill
Recording, Mixing, Mastering, Analogue Gear

Ecopark Studio
Audio Books, Music Production, Voice Recording

Eimsbütteler Tonstudio
Voice and Radio Productions

Electric Avenue Production and Recording
Tobias Levine – Music Production & Recording

Elevate Studios
Music Production, Film Music, Jingles, Voice Over, Audio Books,

Gaga Studio
Studio & Mobile Recording

H.O.M.E – Studios
Music Production, Mixing & Mastering

Juniton
Recording Studio & PA Hire

Killer Wave Studio
Recording, Mixing & Mastering

Krüger & Krüger Studios

Loft Tonstudios GmbH
Commercials, TV, Film, Audio Books

Luna Studios
Photography, Film, Music

Milchkettenmusik
Music Production, Live Recording

MOB recording
Music Production, Film & TV

Mondbasis Hamburg
Recording, Mixing, Mastering, Video

Nomos Music
Music Production

Nullviernull Tonproduktion & Verlag
Studio, Label, Events

Off Ya Tree Studio
Recording, Mixing, Mastering

Parry Audio
Classical Music, Live Recording, Livestreams

PBF Studio Hamburg
Music Production, Film Music, Sound Design, Commercials

Rekorder Tonstudio
Recording, Mixing, Mastering – Guitar Music

R-Musica
Recording, Graphics, Video

Studio Höll
Recording, Mixing, Mastering

Upaya Sound
Recording, Mixing, Mastering

Von Henko
Film Music, Audio Books, Theatre Audio

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Studios
Recording, Mixing, Mastering

Zwischengeschoss
Recording Studio, Coworking Space

RELEASES.

GEAR.

Instruments

Drum Kit: Mapex Saturn V, Sonor S Class Maple Snare, Masterwork Iris Cymbals
Guitars: Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Breedlove Acoustic
Amps: Fender Deluxe Reverb II, Engl Squeeze 50
Keys: Roland FP-30

PRICING.

I don’t have prices set in stone as there are so many factors that influence the time and effort that needs to go into recording, editing and mixing music projects.

Pricing depends on the number of instruments, the amount of parts, complexity of an arrangement and a myriad of other aspects. A guitar-bass-drums trio isn’t going to need as much time for recording and mixing as a 12-piece folk collective with a brass and strings section.

Just send me the details of your band’s project, name your budget and I will then send you a quote, tailored to your music, no strings attached. We then discuss the project at length over the phone and see if the chemistry fits. If I like your music, and you like my work, chances are we’ll come to an agreement.

So don’t hesitate to get in touch below for a free quote, no strings attached.

RECORDING

  • Pre-production
  • Tracking at Upaya Sound
  • Mobile & On-Location Recording
  • Use of drumkit, guitars, amps, pedals & other instruments

MIXING

  • Drum & instrument editing
  • Analogue & digital processing
  • Innovative, creative, left-field mixing
  • Unlimited revisions until you are satisfied

MASTERING

  • Mastering offered through partner studios
  • I take care of all communication with the mastering engineer
  • Complete project support from start to finish

FREE RESOURCES

Free Email Template
label contacts

What I Can Do For You…

Recording music is my passion. Working with musicians in the studio and helping them to shape their songs is what I love to do, day in day out. Whether we’re tracking a single, EP or 10-song album, the time in the studio is where the magic happens.

Choosing the right microphones and placement for the music is a new challenge every session. Matching your gear with mine, and your vision with my own influences, creates something new and exciting every time. Whether we’re looking for an intimate, direct sound, or want to create a bombastic cacophony, the recording stage is where the journey begins.

The myriad of ways to capture sounds mirror the infinite possibilities we have as musicians to create and record our music. Each new song holds the thousands of sounds and influences that came before it, a continual process that is never exhausted. Indeed, we mustn’t become complacent with tried and true methods, but continue to innovate and move forward with new ideas to keep things fresh.

I tend to mix music in the flow state. It’s kind of like painting, adding colours and shapes here and there, working in layers, slowly creating form out of the chaos of the raw material.

I generally start with the drums – kick, snare, overheads, toms – usually in that order. Adding compression and EQ where needed, taming and shaping the sounds to create a balance and fundament for the rest of the song. At this stage I’m not really focusing on flavour and detail, that tends to come in the second or third wave, once the other instruments – bass, guitar, keys and vocals have been tamed.

So I then move onto the rest, layering each instrument and finding a place for it to settle on the canvas of sound. The drums and bass tend to get along, the frequencies supplementing each other and creating a balanced fundament. Guitars and vocals battle it out for their place in the sonic spectrum and one of them must give way – alas, usually the guitars – as frequencies are cut for the vocals to nest themselves nicely into.

When it comes time to add effects and flavour, I tend to zip all over the project, dabbing reverb here, delay there, a phaser lifting the guitar solo out of mediocrity. Sometimes the drums just sound too straight and need some grit. Or the vocals need more depth and three-dimensionality. The piano or keys might need spicing up a bit. This is the stage we mixing engineers live for – adding effects is the icing on the proverbial cake.

A producer friend of mine once said that mixing was like playing a computer game. And this has stuck in my mind ever since. It’s addictive and takes up hours in which I am gone, lost in between the bass and the guitars, between the toms and the snare, the vocals and the 1/8th note slap delay fed into a soft plate reverb.

Mastering is the last step in the music production process and one that is often overlooked. Good mastering can turn a mediocre mix into something palatable, yet poor mastering can undo all the nuances and detail of a good mix.

Too much compression can render a mix lifeless and flat. Too little attention to problem frequencies can cause the track to sound great on some speakers, and lacklustre on others.

I do not specialise in mastering but do give clients the option to book mastering through me as part of the complete recording package. I make all arrangements with partner studios and act as an intermediary between artist and mastering engineer.

I find that this is the best way to ensure the best possible results for the recordings I help create, and can use my ears and your feedback to shape the final product together with the mastering engineer.

CONTACT.

Let me know about your music!

Tell me about your new album. The more details, the better!

By the way, if you just want to drop me a quick message, you can of course email me instead.

CONTACT.

Let me know about your music!

Tell me about your new album. The more details, the better!

By the way, if you just want to drop me a quick message, you can of course email me instead.

© 2022 Upaya Sound