How do you make a good School CD Recording?


Recordings 4 Schools has always been designed to be exactly that.  A mobile recording company which specialises in Recording CDs in schools. We operate all over the UK and work in all types of school from Infant and Nursery Schools right through to Independent schools and Academies.  We don’t even stop there as we have also recorded University Choirs too.

By focussing our business exclusively towards the Education sector here in the UK, we are able to gain a detailed understanding of what schools want from a CD recording.   From this, and with many years of experience now behind us, we can tailor our business to deliver the product which best suits your school.

What do Schools want from a CD Recording?

The most obvious answer to this is they want to make money.  Increasingly with cuts to funding, particular for music, schools are not able to fund a jolly day of music making for their pupils – however much they might like to.   We have spoken to many teachers, a lot of whom had always assumed that recording a CD would be an expensive business.   Traditionally this is the case.  If you want to hire Abbey Road Studios, for example, you will need at least £1200 just to pay the security guard for the day – that’s before they even let you in!  When we last enquired, hiring a professional London studio to make a CD recording was costing in the region of £15-20k.  This is a serious amount of money for anyone wanting to record and most likely to be out of reach for most schools!

So this is why we turned the whole model on its head and instead of charging ridiculous sums of money we make it possible for schools to earn money from sales of their CDs with no financial risk.  Our business model and pricing structure is well documented elsewhere on this website.  It’s not just about money though.  Sure that’s likely to be the main priority but having established there is no financial risk, most schools just want to give their pupils the experience of recording their own album.  After all that’s kinda cool right?  How many of us would love to have recorded our own album when we were at school?  Not only is it a great experience for your pupils but it’s something the school can be proud of.   A lot of the schools we work with record CDs every couple of years.  Some even record a CD every year.

As well as making a small profit, your school has created something which showcases the talents of your pupils and the staff as well.  And that’s not just through the staff choir!  Amidst all the doom and gloom of budget cuts for music, a CD makes not only financial sense but gives you something that everyone can be really proud of for many years to come.

What makes a good School CD Recording?

Recordings 4 Schools was set up in 2004. At the time of writing this means we have 14 years experience of actually being out on the road recording in schools all over the UK.  But more than that, our company was built after many years of research and planning.  And we don’t just mean writing a business plan and playing around with spreadsheets.  We are engineers and so we actually go out and make things.  For 5 years before the company was set up, we were experimenting with different microphones, different setups and building our post production studios so they could be amongst the best in the industry.

All our staff are professional musicians and our sound engineers have qualifications in music production and audio engineering as well as a background in music.   This gives us a good starting point but ultimately education alone is not enough.   The world of sound recording is not about ticking boxes and following a set routine.   In particular, because we record on location, all our setups will be slightly different.  The best mic position is not one based on measurements and forming patterns, but rather created through listening.   Yes we have a basic setup which forms a starting point for most of our recordings, but there are a number of variables which determine the final position, height and quantity of microphones used.

Just at the most basic level, sometimes we want to record the sound of the recording space – if for example we are recording in a School Chapel or a local Church.   Alternatively, we might be recording in your school hall which although perfect for speeches, drama, gym and lunchtime might not be the most acoustically pleasing space.  In such instances we then need to take out the sound of the room.   This we do by using different microphones which are set up in a slightly different way.

The benefit of working with Recordings 4 Schools

And that, in a nutshell is the main difference you get when you employ Recordings 4 Schools to record your School CD.   We don’t just turn up with a laptop and a handful of microphones which we picked up because they were being sold off cheap in a sale.   We carefully selected all our equipment to give us the most flexibility in the slightly unknown world of school recording venues.   We also chose recording kit which would best record children’s voices as well as having a wide selection of options for recording instruments, accompaniment and backing tracks.

This was not the cheap option.  Far from it.  Since 2004 we have always built our reputation on providing recordings of the very highest quality.  We are always looking at new products and we travel all over the world to attend trade shows and speak to suppliers and ‘audition’ the latest recording technology first hand.   Whilst we still have, and regularly use a lot of microphones which we originally purchased nearly 20 years ago now, we also have recording kit being delivered on a regular basis to ensure we are always absolutely up to date.  This year, for example, we refitted one of our post production studios with an entire new set of Apple Macs, Pre amps and Hardware based Plugins.

Our aim in doing all of this, aside of keeping our Engineers happy with lots of boxes that have flashing lights on, is to make sure we are giving our clients the very best recording.  After all, your pupils might only get the chance to be on one recording during their time at school.  For their sake, we need to make sure this recording is the very best it can be so they, and you, can be proud of the CD for years to come.

If you are thinking about recording a CD in your school and would like to give your pupils the chance to be Recording Stars, then please give us a call on 01225 302143 or click here to email us