Your Music…on your terms

” …these are UNREAL!!!! They sound better than I ever imagined they would. You addressed my notes so well! We are so happy. Thank you SO much!” 

–Sweet Ophelia

Franklin and Marshall's Sweet Ophelia

“…a pleasure to work with. We got things done quickly and thoroughly, and he really knows his stuff! He took us all the way from recording to mastering, and he did an amazing job across the board.” 

–Ben, Pizmon

pizmonColumbia University's Pizmon

“The right balance between a friendly person that gets along well with college students and a professional who really wants your music to be of the highest quality it can be. His experiences as a singer and musician allowed him insight into our goals for creating a CD. He works hard and is very accessible.”

–Ryan, The Mountain Ayres of Middlebury College

Mountain Ayres

“Thank you so much for everything.  These tracks all sound better than any of us imagined they could…”


–Anne, Drastic Measures of Skidmore College

Drastic Measures

“From day one, he was supportive and responsive with any questions or worries we had about the album process. During our recording sessions, he was patient and enjoyable to be around, but also demonstrated extreme knowledge about music and offered great advice on how to make our album the best it could possibly be. The album turned out better than we ever could’ve imagined and it really would not have been possible without his consistent support, attentiveness, and professionalism.”

–Jessie, The Shwiffs

The Shwiffs of Connecticut College

“We all had a wonderful time recording. Very professional, flexible, and knew exactly how to attack recording an a cappella group (an art in and of itself). Our finished product was head over heels better than our previous records, and with a much lighter price tag. We can’t wait to work with Firecat again.” 

–Mark, The Bobolinks of Middlebury College

The Bobolinks

“Our group struggled to find a recording studio that produced high quality sound without charging a ridiculous amount of money. We recorded on our own campus without having to travel, which was extremely convenient for our rather large group. We finished our CD in the following year within our limited budget, and couldn’t have been more pleased. Firecat was dedicated to making the CD sound exactly as we wanted, and cared a great deal about our comments, input and suggestions. We will certainly be recording with them again!”


–Lena, Harmonic Motion of  Brown University/RISD

Harmonic Motion

“Recording our album was an all-around wonderful experience. Not only is he an expert at the technical aspects of the process, but he also respected our group’s style and direction, while providing helpful commentary and suggestions to aid us in creating the sound we strive for.”

–Naomi, The Vassar Devils

The Vassar College Devils
“Robby, Thank you so much for all of your help during this process and for so skillfully incorporating our feedback! It’s been a pleasure to work with you and I’m glad to know the ‘Gates are in such good hands moving forward!”- Taylor, ‘Gates President
-The Swinging Gates
The Swinging Gates, The Colgate Swinging Gates

“Working on our CD couldn’t have been a better experience. Not only was he extremely helpful with all musical aspects of the process, he was also always just a great guy to spend the day with. His musical expertise really came in handy at times of indecision or uncertainty–he even conducted for us when we needed it! He made the long days of recording that much more enjoyable. And the final mixed, mastered product…fantastic.”


–Seth, Quasimodal of  Wesleyan University

Quasimodal

“We just recorded our first album and we were so glad we chose Firecat Audio to record and mix our album. Not everyone is so flexible and helpful, especially with groups that have questions regarding the process. He knows exactly what he’s doing and he even helped us through our physical and digital release processes. We couldn’t be happier with our choice! Thanks so much and we look forward to working with you again! “ 

–Ben, The Bensonians

The Bensonians of Fairfield University

“Hey Robby- These are awesome! Thank you for being so receptive to feedback and being patient with me as we navigate a much more difficult way to record! I really appreciate all that you’ve done for us.”- Avery, The Resolutions

–The Colgate Resos

newresosThe Colgate College Resolutions

“The Mamajamas truly admired the patience and technical knowledge provided for meeting our recording goals at the right price. We sincerely value this gem of the recording world, who placed an album in our hands in no time! Thank you!”


–Patch, The Mamajamas of Middlebury College

The Mamajamas

“He had an extremely flexible schedule and was more than willing to experiment with many different recording techniques to achieve the sound we were looking for. We couldn’t be happier with the way our CD turned out.” 


–Jonathan, The Longfellows of Bowdoin College

The Longfellows

“Thank you so much for all of the work you put into producing our album. It is our first, and we are all extremely excited about listening to it and sharing it!” 

–The Paradiddles

The Middlebury College Paradiddles

“Thank you so much for all your help with our recording. We appreciate your patience and guidance and look forward to working with you again in the future.”

–Measure 4 Measure, Vassar College

Measure 4 Measure

“I just listened to the CD and it sounds fabulous! You did a great job, as usual. I just wanted to say thank you so, so much!”


–Caitlin, Onomatopoeia of  Wesleyan University

Onomatopoeia

Thank you so much!!!! The tracks sound amazing, and we could not have asked for better results. I’m so excited to get this album out for everyone to hear! Thank you for your hard work, flexibility, and continued patience.


–The Decibelles, Dartmouth College

The Decibelles

We’ve worked with groups from:

Columbia                        Yale                        Princeton                        Brown                        Cornell                        Dartmouth                        Colgate                        Hamilton                        Wesleyan                        Williams                        Amherst                        Wellesley                        Bowdoin                        Middlebury                        MIT                        Vassar                        Franklin & Marshall                        Fairfield                        Connecticut College                        Boston College                        Smith                        Trinity                        Keene State                        Elizabethtown                        Muhlenberg                        Skidmore                        NYU                        GWU                        Brandeis                        JTS                        Barnard                        RISD                        Lehigh                        SUNY Geneseo                        SUNY Binghamton                        Loyola                        

Firecat has built a long career working with a cappella groups throughout the northeast US.  We’ve recorded and mixed hundreds of songs! We’ve worked with new groups releasing their very first single, and we’ve worked with seasoned acts who have a long culture of recording. We bring the same attention to detail and enthusiasm to every one of our projects.  We do this so you can have an album that sounds the way YOU dreamed it would, so you can have a piece of your college career that lasts forever- one that you’ll be proud to share with your fanbase, your friends, and your family.

No two groups are the same, and neither should be the “rules” to making an album.  We offer a wide variety of approaches and options to fit any aesthetic and any budget.  We won’t “shoehorn” your group into our vision of how an a cappella album should sound.  We’ll help you to achieve your artistic goals, and make a record that truly sounds like you at your best.

We strive to fit any budget and, better yet, we will travel to you so you can record right on the comfort of your own campus.  Listen for yourself. This is college a cappella re-imagined.

Tell Us About Your Project!

RECORDING

Shhhh…You can still record a great sounding album in a “not-so-great” sounding room

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While you’re more than welcome to come record with us at our sonically stellar studio in the heart of NYC, we’re very happy to bring the best equipment and expertise right to you on campus.  The truth is that over 90% of the groups we work with opt to record at school. We’ve recorded groups in everything from meticulously designed campus recording studios, to recital halls, to rehearsal rooms, to regular old classrooms, and (when necessary) even student housing.  We know how to approach making music in these less-than-ideal spaces and how to compensate to ensure you still get a high quality result.  We want to hear about your next recording project, so reach out anytime to see how we can help.

We’re here to help even before the recording starts and can advise you on anything from vocal arrangements, rehearsal techniques, room selection, scheduling, fund-raising, guide track (MIDI) preparation and much more (see also our Consulting Services), and we’ll help you make sure that you get the most out of our recording time together.

Even while on the road, we use the best microphones and preamps available to capture every nuance of the voice.  We have the knowledge and experience to know how to record efficiently and capture precisely what we need to make a great record.

We’re happy to be here for the whole process and work with you at every step along the way, or jump in at any point where you might need us.

In Studio

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Quiet and pristine recordings

If you want the superior sonics and quieter, more controlled experience of recording in-studio, or if your group is based near NYC, come on down and record your music at Firecat’s SOHO Recording studio.  We’re based in Lower Manhattan, in a busy and exciting neighborhood just a few blocks away from the NYU campus and Washington Square Park. Here, you’ll be treated to an even wider array of high quality microphones and preamps, and enhanced monitoring control so that each singer can precisely tailor his or her own mix while singing.  We’re conveniently located near multiple subway lines so you can just show up, record your part, and leave. You can trust us to do all the rest!  Contact us now to get more information about recording in-studio.

Mobile

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Let Us come To You

Most groups we work with opt for the ease of recording on campus.  We’ll travel hundreds of miles so that you don’t have to, often saving the group significantly on expenses and lost time.  Comfort elicits the best performances, and nothing is more comfortable than recording in a space that you know well. We also know how to get the most out of a room, even one with severe limitations and a high noise floor. We’ll do what we can to capture your best performance and keep the session moving swiftly.  Shoot us a message to book a session or get more information about recording on campus.

Recording Approaches

One thing that separates Firecat from other a cappella recording services is our ability to customize a recording process that fits your own group’s workflow and unique aesthetic goals.  In addition to offering the typical voice by voice overdubbing pop a cappella process, we’re one of the few mobile studios that can offer a truly high end multi-track “live recording” solution. We have the wealth of equipment and expertise necessary to get great sounds and polished performances using this more organic recording method, thus opening up the opportunity for great sounding recordings to groups who wouldn’t be able to otherwise afford it.

Part by Part

This is our most common recording approach, especially for groups seeking the more slick and polished “studio” pop a cappella sound.  Each voice part records independently (to a guide track), preserving the maximum potential for editing timing, tuning etc. Soloists, Vocal Percussion and any other special parts will record separately as well.  You can expect to be able to record 2 songs in a day using this approach.

Live Recording

This is a great option for more traditional vocal groups and choirs, or those groups who are on a tight budget.  Record your group, in the space of your choice, the way your group is most comfortable: singing together! We’ll still be able to edit your performance, combine the best portions of each take, and fully mix and master your songs from the multi-track recording projects.  This approach enables the group to record a full album in a single day (10+ songs).

“Hybrid” Recording

 If you’re looking for a “best of both worlds” solution, this hybrid option might be your best bet.  You can get the precision/polish and editability of the part by part approach (especially re: the solo and percussion), and the organic feel and energy of the live performance (especially re: the group “block” recording).  The background will record together (with or without the assistance of a guide track) and any extra parts (solo, percussion, harmonies etc.) can overdub separately for maximum control and focus. You can expect to record 3-5 songs in a day with this approach.

POST PRODUCTION

EDITING

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Editing is an essential and often overlooked part of the process.  Here, the music really starts to come together. Depending on the recording approach you chose and your artistic wishes for your project, editing can include selecting the best takes, timing and tuning correction, entrance and cut-off tweaks, percussion sample selection and looping, arrangement adjustments etc.  This is often the most time intensive part of the process, but it’s also the one that can most noticeably improve the end result.

MIXING

Back at our studio in NYC…this is a fun and rewarding part of the process, where we can bring a finished balance and musicality to your songs.  The process includes setting volumes, dynamic range, placement of each voice, and adding effects. Mixing can define the “sound” of a song, from a polished organic sounding performance to a more heavily manipulated and effects-laden pop production.  Each mixing approach has its value, and we’ll do our best to honor your taste and artistic vision for your work. 

Even if you didn’t record your album with Firecat, we’d be happy to help you mix it, so feel free to get in touch with a project description.  You’re welcome to sit in with us at the studio, or work with us remotely sending feedback back and forth. Either way, we value your creative contributions and want you to be a part of the process!

MASTERING

Mastering is the final step in the process and the one in which all your songs come together to form a coherent whole.   This includes any final EQ and compression adjustments, volume matching, smoothing transitions between songs and just generally making everything sound like it belongs together.  We tend to master all of our own a cappella projects, but are happy to master outside projects as well. We can prepare masters for a variety of delivery formats, suitable for CD releases, high resolution lossless downloads, compressed digital formats (mp3, AAC etc.) and streaming platforms.  Keep us posted if you have a project that needs mastering.

CONSULTING

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Here’s a great budget friendly option for those groups who want the experience of recording an album themselves but might need a little help and advice along the way!

Firecat offers a brand new DIY album production consulting service to help you out when you get stuck!  We’ve been making a cappella albums for years, have had our fair share of issues when we were starting out, and we’re committed to passing along all we know so you can make your self-produced album sound as good as it possibly can!!  We’re available for single phone consultations, Skype sessions, screen sharing or ongoing “subscription” membership pricing if you’ll want support throughout the whole creative process. We keep no secrets, and no question is off limits! Services include:

  • Tech Support (with options for Screen Sharing)
  • Equipment Rental
  • Pre-production support:  Refining your arrangements, getting the most out of rehearsals, creating and preparing MIDI files, selecting the best equipment.
  • Recording support:  Recording Workflow, Room selection, Mic Setup, DAW selection and support etc.
  • Editing Support:  Basic and advanced techniques, tuning, looping etc.
  • Mixing/Mastering Support
  • Track review (send us your work at any point in the process and we’ll give you feedback and suggestions)
  • Final Release Support:  Rights licensing, delivery options, CD/vinyl production etc.

Just let us know how we can help!

ARRANGING

A great recording starts with a great arrangement

It’s a noble pursuit to arrange your own songs, but sometimes you need a professional to bring out the best in a song: harmonize it properly, ensure that it’s comfortable, singable, breathable(!) and interesting, and adapt it to highlight the unique assets of your group.  We have a few talented, trained a cappella arrangers on the Firecat team and we’d love to work on your next song. Whether you’re looking for a creative reinvention of a popular song or a comfortably singable vocal facsimile of the original, we can help.  We also offer discounts on recording our own arrangements. Send any arrangement requests our way!