Studio service fees and policies:
I charge $40 an hour or $200 for a full day for recording, mixing or mastering. I can play bass or guitar on your project as well for no additional charge! For booking full days I require half up front to reserve the full days for you, so for each full day booked I need $100 in advance. I need at least 48 hours notice of cancelation or I will keep the deposit, so $100 kept for any last minute cancelations of full days booked.
For booking hourly you will need to book at least two hours, and pay for one hour before the recording day, so the deposit for booking hourly is $40. Like with booking full days if you cancel without giving me at least 48 hours notice I will keep the deposit.
For editing, mixing, and mastering I will add up the hours and request payment before sending the final versions of the files.
For payments, cash and check is preferred. Checks should be made out to "Cactus House Recording"
For digital payments Zelle is preferred.
As far as editing and mixing goes, I will mix three batches of your songs: drafts, revision, and finals. The drafts and revisions will be 44.1 / 16 bit WAV files (CD Quality) but the finals will also come in 48 kHz / 16 Bit (for use in video) and MP3 (320 kbps). If you also want 48 kHz 24 Bit (HD Audio) I can render that for you too as that is the audio resolution I record everything in. You also might want the stems from your session so let me know if you want those rendered as well.
Make sure to listen to the drafts and revisions carefully, once the finals are done I won't be re mixing your songs!
I can also publish your music to all the major streaming platforms for no extra charge!
If you want any video of your project being worked on I can film for you as well (I have a Panasonic Lumix and a GoPro). Of course if I'm already playing guitar on your album I might not be able to do this at the same time too, I only have two hands!
Any of the equipment in the studio is available for you to use as well, here is a list of the equipment I have on hand:
1 x Neumann TLM 49 - This is my go to condenser microphone for most overdubs, really shines on certain vocalists and acoustic guitars
1 x Electro-Voice RE20 - My all around favorite dynamic microphone, great for amps or live vocals
2 x Beyer Dynamic TG M88s - A great stereo pair for anything from floor toms to amp cabs!
1 x Sennheiser MD 421 - Previously this was my main dynamic mic, industry standard for toms, amps and brass, it is the MD421u variation
1 x AKG C414 - A Swiss army knife, or rather an Austrian army knife, I have one on hand and one always set in the omni polar pattern on a large stand for use as a room mic! Both of mine are reissues, not vintage ones
1 x Bock Audio 195 - A great large diaphragm FET mic for vocals that my Neumann doesn't pair with, yeah it's rare but does happen! I have one on hand and one always set up on the shell of the studio drum kit.
1 x Dachman Audio 87i - This mic was actually a kit that I bought and soldered together. I was interested in it because they use high quality parts and I like to build and repair things to see how they work. Does it stand up to a real u87, you can be the judge of that!
Microphones used for the studio drum kit
2 x Dachman Audio 87is - These are set up in ORTF stereo pattern as overheads and always run through a pair of Sytek MPX mic preamps
1 x AKG C414 - As mentioned earlier I leave one of my C414s in the omni polar pattern for use as a room mic, running through a Sytek MPX preamp
1 x Bock Audio 195 - As mentioned earlier I leave one of my Bock 195s set up on the studio drum kit, specifically miking the shell of the kick drum and running through a Sytek MPX preamp
4 x Beyer Dynamic TG D35s - I use these low profile super cardioid mics on snare and toms. I have four but generally only have three set, since the studio kit is one snare one rack and one floor tom. The one on the snare goes through a Phoenix DRS-Q4 mk2, and the ones on the toms go through my audio interface preamps (I am using an RME Fireface 800)
1 x Beyer Dynamic TG D71 - This is a pressure zone mic the I leave inside the kick drum and always run through the second channel on my Phoenix Audio DRS-Q4 mk2. Both Phoenix channels go through a stereo AHSLY compressor before reaching their line inputs on my interface.
2 x AKG c451b - I use one of these small diaphragm condensers on the bottom of the snare and the other on the hi hat, and generally run them through preamps on my RME audio interface.
Studio Drum Kit
1 x Four piece 1970s Ludwig Vistalite acrylic drum kit! The drum sizes are
- Kick - 24"
- Snare - 14"
- Rack Tom - 12"
- Floor Tom - 16"
*The studio drum kit is always set up, tuned, clean(ish) and ready to go so if you're able to use it you will save yourself time and me potential mixing headaches - nothing squeaks or rattles on these drums! Also you may have noticed that many of the pictures and videos from Cactus House Recording have a DW Performers kit in them, I still have these drums but they are stored in my band's trailer, always packed up for gigging and tours. I would offer them as an option for recording, but the Ludwig Vistalite is just a better kit across the board in my opinion for recording.*
1 x 22" Ziljian K Ride
1 x 26" Ziljian Vintage Ride
1 x 16" Ziljian Hybrid Crash
1 x 18" Sabian Studio Crash
2 x Paiste 2002 14" Hi Hats
1 x Yamaha FP-9D Direct Drive foot pedal (single)
Yamaha/Tama/DW drum hardware - I always have a ride stand and two crash stands, one of which also mounts the rack tom. I also always have a hi hat stand and snare stand set up. If you need another crash stand or an external hi hat you can bring that or let me know, I do have some extra drum hardware stored away if you need!
Roc n Soc Throne
1 x 1996 PRS McCarty Pro with P90s - This is my main guitar, the body is mahagonay, fretboard is rosewood, the p90s are single coils and the guitar uses a Schaller Signmu wrap around bridge which is my personal preference, generally strung with SIT 11-50 strings
1 x 1990's PRS McCarty Hollowbody - This guitar was my main guitar for jazz gigs but can add a special sound to a pop or rock recording as well. It also has a mahagony body and rosewood fretboard but has a beautiful maple top as well, generally strung with SIT 11-50 strings
1 x Warmoth Partscaster - I built this 80s inspired shred guitar with parts from The Starving Musician, where I taught guitar for six years! It has a German made Floyd Rose and features a wizard profile neck with birdseye maple and ebony for the fretboard. The frets are extra jumbo stainless steel which gives the higher frets an almost scalloped feel. For pickups I put a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails in the neck and a DiMarzio PAF Pro in the bridge.
2 x Music Man Stingrays - One is from the 90s and has been heavily modified by me. This is the bass I use for playing in Dark Satellite, so I put a Seymour Duncan pickup in it, replaced the frets with jumbo stainless steel, replaced the onboard EQ with a distortion circuit and had a leftover hole so I also installed a kill switch! The other Stingray is a totally stock 2022 Dark Ray. The Dark Ray comes with stainless steel frets, a Dark Glass distortion circuit, roasted maple neck and ebony fretboard, it looks and sounds mean but plays nice!
1 x Martin Auditorium Steel String - An industry standard and the guitar I have had the longest! It is covered in scrapes because it was my main teaching guitar for over a decade and I used to take it camping as well, but it sounds great and plays really well, most of my guitars have been worked on and set up by Kent and Josh over at the legendary CB Perkins luthier shop in San Jose, where I briefly taught as well!
1 x Taylor Grand Symphony 12 String - An amazing 12 String that now lives in the studio since it's such a useful tool for overdubbing.
*I have other quality guitars that are not normally in the studio and can be used on special request, including a National Resonator, a National Mandolin, a Warmoth Fretless PJ Bass, a Ramirez classical and a pair of 20th Anniversary PRS 24s*
1 x Laney VH 100R Head - A 100 Watt British tube guitar amp head! I have owned a lot (some would say too many) guitar amps over the years and this is my all around favorite. It has a clean and distortion channel, and both channels have separate foot-switchable extra gain stages, so the clean channel can also get a good crunch and the distortion channel can also dial in substantially more gain. These are the heads Opeth used in recording Blackwater Park which is one of my favorite albums, but will work on anything really.
1 x Marshall 412A - I've played through plenty of boutique speaker cabs but there is something undeniable about the industry standard 412.
1 x 1970s acoustic 370 - The vintage bass head mostly known as Jaco's preference but also an industry standard for their reliability and warm fat sound
1 x Atlas Cabinet Custom 210 / 115 - This custom cabinet made by Atlas features custom made speakers that are clones of the old JBL E series bass speakers (with the aluminum dust cover). This is the studio bass cabinet and is the best cabinet pairing I have tried for my vintage acoustic 370 head
1 x 1970s Fender Deluxe Reverb - A true workhorse that never disappoints. I upgraded the spring reverb to a MOD tank and the stock speaker to an Eminence Delta.
*I have a couple other amps that can be used by special request, such as a Zinky Blu Velvet, Quilter Bass Block with a 210 / 112 cab system using Eminence Deltas, and a Marshall 412B*
1 x 1980s Roland JUNO 6 - One of my favorite sounds has always been the JUNO, from it's versatile but easy to dial DCO and envelopes to the lush stereo chorus built in it is truly a wonderful instrument. I have also modified it to send and receive MIDI, which was a necessary MOD for sending it the click track from the DAW to sync the built in arpeggiator!
1 x Nord Grand 88 - I used to have an old Fender Rhodes and an upright piano but was getting sick of tuning and maintaining them so I replaced them with the Nord and have never regretted it! The Nord Grand features Kawai hammer action keys so it has a touch response much more similar to a real piano rather than a synth or electric piano.
*Just for fun, you can check out my Intsagram for a time-lapse video of me restoring an old Hammond Organ, the whole job took 26 hours and I used the organ on the intro of the song Undertow off Dark Satellite's new album "Death of a Classic"*
RME Fireface 800 audio interface, with a pair of RME adat converters
1 x Avalon Vt 737sp - An incredible tube channel strip with an optical compressor and wonderful EQ, my main channel strip for everything from vocals to electric bass DI!
2 x Universal Audio LA610 Mk IIs - A pair of the classic tube channel strips, my go to for any recording source that requires stereo miking or DI inputs!
1 x SSL Alpha Channel - A solid state channel strip with a distinct British sound, great for electric guitars!
1 x Sytek MPX 4A - An industry standard 4 channel mic preamp that I use for the mics on the studio drum kit
1 x Phoenix Audio DRS-Q4 mk2 - A stereo preamp with classic British style EQs that I use on the Kick and Snare mics for the studio drum kit. I used an 80s Soundcraft board for several years that boasted 24 of these British Baxandall EQs and when I sold the old board and replaced it with a touchscreen I felt like I needed at least a pair of these EQs so I got this Phoenix preamp and was in love immediately!
1 x Demeter Real Reverb D - This is an actual stereo spring reverb by Demeter Amplification. I have tried several analog reverb units and this one sounds great, is easy to use, and isn't noisy or boingy like a lot of the vintage units.
1 x Ibanez AD 202 - Speaking of vintage I have used this 70s analog delay on almost every mixdown I've done at Cactus House, so at least 200 at this point. Delay plugins are still more useful for most things but the haunting fat sound of an analog delay is something most people want on their song...ong...ng...g
1 x Two Notes Torpedo Live - Since guitar is my primary instrument, and I used to be a full time teacher and performer for over 10 years, I have tried out most of the load boxes, plugins, amp modelers and DIs. Most of the quality ones sound good, but do they sound as good as your favorite amp cranked?! One of my main gigs for a long time was playing for churches, many which utilized "silent stages" where the guitar and bass are run through DIs and the drums are either electronic or inside an acrylic booth. The trick here is either to rely on an amp modeler setting that you like or running your amp into a reactive load box so that it responds to your playing like normal even though it is not hooked up to a speaker cabinet. What I like about the Torpedo Live is it is a reactive load box that ALSO uses digital IR (impulse response) to model the sound of a particular speaker cab and mic! I also have an all analog Palmer load box and DI that I used to use at these kind of shows but in the studio I find the Torpedo Live much more useful.
1 x Voodoo Labs Guitar Preamp - This is a desert island piece of gear for me! It's a three channel foot-switchable tube rack unit by Voodoo Labs that I use as a recording DI and also for adding distortion to tracks during mixdown!
2 x Little Labs redeyes - Handy little phantom-powered units that are both DIs and reamping units. You probably suspected seeing how many different DIs I have that at some point I routinely reamp some of these DIs as well. For those who don't know, reamping is simply sending a DI (direct input) recorded track back to an amp. Most commonly this would be a bass guitar track that was recorded through a DI (usually live with the drums) and then reamped back into a bass amplifier so we can get a clean recording of the drums and separately over dub the bass track through the amp. It's an easy way to remove bleed from your recording and also allows us to focus on optimizing how we mic the amp for best overall sound, rather than miking in the way that picks up the least bleed from the drums.
2 x Little Labs monotors - Handy little headphone amplifiers. The pair of monotors and the pair of redeys all fit in a custom single rack unit chassis and look super sleek!
500 Series Units
1 x Mercury G810 Rack - One of the most powerful 500 series racks available, which is important because power consumption is generally the issue people run into with the 500 series format
1 x Serpent Audio Stereo Compressor - Modeled after the legendary stereo bus compressors in the SSL 9000 boards (which I had the pleasure of recording on years ago) this is my favorite stereo compressor for busses, drum overheads, or even entire mixes!
2 x FMR RNCs - As the name suggests, these are really nice compressors, especially on acoustic instruments
2 x RNLA - Also as the name suggests these are really nice leveling amps, great for things that need smooth but not so transparent limiting, like an electric guitar bus or a stereo synthesizer track
2 x Inward Connections Brute Limiters - These are my favorite optical compressors, two knobs, three switches, but perfect for bass and vocal tracks
2 x API 525s - Hard and fast limiters from one of the world's most important audio companies! These are on most of my kick and snare tracks, virtually all of them actually
1 x Amphion One18 Pair - Reference grade Finnish studio monitors. These are the speakers I mix everything on.
1 x ADAM Sub10 - This is the sub for the studio monitoring system.
1 x Hafler P3100 - The main studio power amplifier for the Amphion monitors.
1 x Heritage Audio Baby RAM - A passive monitor controller.
Beyer Dynamic / AKG / Sennheiser / Shure Headphones
1 x Mu-Tron Phaser
1 x MXR analog delay
1 x Tube Works Real Tube Overdrive