Preparing for a recording session

Steve Phillips wrote the following to offer recording artists some tips and advice to making the most out of their time with him at Big Time Music Productions in Kansas City, Missouri. 

What to expect when you come in to record at Big Time Studio

In most cases bands/ artists come to the studio with a pretty good idea of what they want, but other times they’re looking for some direction when it comes to overall sound or even arrangements. I like to take an active roll in the production process and will make suggestions such as changing a kick drum pattern in a particular part or adding a harmony vocal here or there. Some times I’ll throw an idea out and it sticks and sometimes it doesn’t. I have no ego attached to it. I will defer to the artists and let them make the call. My general philosophy is to always do what best serves the song.

Doing the Session

like to record a band as “live” as possible. In all my years of producing and engineering I’ve found that the energy is always better if the whole band or at least most of the band is playing along while recording the tracks. Many times we start with the intention of replacing the lead vocal, but when we get to that stage we find that the intensity is not there. There is indeed an art to achieving that same intensity as when performing with the band, sometimes we get there, sometimes we end up liking the “scratch” vocal better. Sometimes everything is fine except for one or two lines, in which case we can punch in and replace those. You can do amazing things with Pro-tools!

Tips for preparation

Make sure your gear is in good shape. Change drum heads and have them tuned up and such…change strings on guitars too, unless you just really dig the way they sound with old strings. I’ve found that guitars intonate better with new strings.


After the recording and mixing is complete, your songs need to be mastered to even out the levels from song to song so you’re not having to turn one song up to hear it and the next one down etc. also to push the level of all the songs up to where your CD is as loud and punchy as your favorite major label artist. I do this with compression and limiting.
And finally, sequencing the order of the songs and getting the spacing between them right.

How long does it take? 

I’ve had bands come in and record, mix and master their entire CD in one day. I’ve had people who will spend a week mixing one song. A lot depends on what you want to get out of it …is it a demo, is it a full-fledged CD project? I have a very efficient system and I know it well, so how long it takes depends more on you than on me. It also goes without saying, the more rehearsed you are, the quicker it will go.

What about Artwork and Duplication?

We offer CD art services. Using Photo Shop and Illustrator, we can lay out the CD art and get it ready for print. We’ll give you the files on CD, which any duplication facility will be able to open up and work from. We also have a number of duplication businesses that we can refer you to.

Steve Phillips / Tracking + Mixing Engineer Extraordinaire for Big Time Music Production.

  • There is no cost to come check out the studio and talk.
  • The standard rate for recording, mixing and mastering is $60 per hour.
  • There are no hidden fees or charges.

Available Services:

  • Music production for demos and full length CD projects
  • Jingles production for business
  • Songwriting / composing
  • Remote recording for live music or corporate events
  • Audio enhancement
  • Voice-overs and narration
  • Digital editing, mixing and mastering
  • Audio transferring / archiving
  • Karaoke recording
  • Studio musicians available upon request

More Info on Karaoke Recording

We can easily accommodate anyone who would like to come in to record songs using Karaoke CD+G for the music track. You can easily view the words while you are recording your songs, just as you would at a Karaoke bar or on your home Karaoke machine.

Most people can expect to record and mix 4 to 6 songs in one hour. This just depends on how many takes you want to record for each song. We charge $50 per hour to record and mix. Be sure you bring your own Karaoke music.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Karaoke Recording Samples
Steve Douglas – Little Sister
Steve Douglas – She’s A Woman
Steve Douglas – Runnin Scared
Steve Douglas – Secret Agent Man

About Big Time Music Production

Big Time Music Productions began operating in Kansas City, MO with the recording of The Rainmakers’ “Flirting with the Universe”(1993) and then later “Skin” (1996) for Polygram Records. Since then, the steady stream of repeat customers speaks volumes for producer/engineer Steve Phillips. Steve was one of the founding members of The Rainmakers and remains active in the international music scene as a member the Celtic rock band The Elders. His lifelong love of music, attention to detail, and superb ear will insure your success in the studio. Steve has always maintained that while high quality gear is a must, the ears are even more important:

“You must be able to hear where everything belongs in the sonic spectrum and know how to get it there.” 

-Steve Phillips

Big Time’s reasonable rates, combined with Steve’s personal supervision of all projects, enable cost-effective, high quality productions for any project, large or small. If you are looking for a place to feel comfortable and creative and want the best recording your money can buy, this is it!

More Client Samples

Velvet Freeze
Dale Maxfield
John Maxfield
Hydro Mafia
Smokin Voodoo Playboys
Still Point
Sid Sowder
August Project
Blue Sky
Ex Patriot Smugglers
Forrest Whitlow
The Super Nauts
The Day After
Boot Hill
The Hand
Cosmic Taxi
Electra Complex
Retro Active
Victor Stands
Folk/Singer Song Writer

Rechelle Malin

Kathy Forste
Super Clyde
Chamber of Poets
Song Writers Circle (various artists)
Juanita Clayton
Natalie Clark
Darin Crisman
The Kemps
Jeff Graham
Connie Wollenhaupt
Ben Rekettke
Mark Curtright
Lezlie Revell
Roy Snider
Lisa Moritz
Ed Bethard
Sherry Lawson
Ed Bethard
Becky Stiener
Marty Wall
Blues Busters
Fresh Brew
Funk Syndicate
Code Blue
FAM Entertainment Group
Mark Murphy
Leon Davis (Big Belly Records

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