When we refer to an "end to end" solution, it is important that the artist have some idea of what process that solution addresses. Although the following is a very high level view, it gives you some idea of the steps you can expect us to help you address:
1) Typically, it starts with the artist and producer meeting and planning the project. Careful steps are taken to design and chart out a course of action. Selecting songs and instruments, picking a studio to record in, selection of the graphic artist, etc. Most importantly, this part of the process starts defining the image or concept that is desired for the final product.
2) Next, the producer may spend some time with the artist in rehearsal, testing out the ideas for songs in a real live performance environment. The artist and producer also use this session to confirm their initial plan for the song selection, redo the arrangements, or select other songs based upon what they hear. They might even create a rough live recording to hear the songs played back on a small cassette player. The Engineer may also attend these sessions to get a jump on what the artist may sound like in his recording studio.
3) The artist and the producer go into the recording studio with the engineer. Time is spent setting up the band in different spots around the room and testing different microphones for different sounds on the various instruments.
4) Once the set up is completed, the engineer will begin "tracking" - this is recording the instruments in small groups. Typically, the basic track is done with just drums, bass guitar and a rhythm guitar (or keyboards). Each instrument will have at least one track (or as many as four) on the tape, just dedicated to that instrument. Other people may play or sing during this process, but only the instruments mentioned are recorded. The next step in tracking is to take individual players (lead guitar, sax, piano, etc.) and record them all playing with the previously recorded basic tracks. Each instrument gets its own "track" on the tape or the hard drive. Finally, the singer(s) come in and record their vocals over all the other previously recorded individual tracks.
What you have at this point, is a tape or hard drive recording of songs, with each instrument or voice on its own dedicated "track". Each track can be manipulated or modified with its own volumn, tone, EQ, Pan (left or right speaker assignment), or "special effects" (reverb, echo, delay, phlanger, etc.).
5) In the "Mixing Process" the engineer takes the multi-track recording and adjusts all the levels (volumn, EQ, etc.), adds effects, and plays them back from the original recording deck, blending all the tracks (possibly as many as 32) down to another recording machine that records them all on a smaller tape in true stereo (or basically mixing 32 tracks down to 2 stereo tracks).
6) In the Mastering Process, the final mix is "tweaked" to make sure the final recording has songs all at the same volume, that there is 2-4 seconds of digital silence inserted between the songs, and some additional effects and equalization (EQ) may be added to "sweeten" the sound of the final audio master.
7) The Graphic Artist may have been working parallel to all this putting together the pictures, and text that become the "cover" and tray card for the CD. All the photos and text are scanned and manipulated into a work of art on computer that is then saved in a properly layered and templated software file on a CD-R.
8) The artwork and the final audio master are shipped off to the Manufacturing plant where they create the printing films for the cover art and duplicate thousands of folders and tray cards, and begin stamping the print on blank CD discs. The final master recording is converted into a "glass master" which is then used to convert the thousands of blank printed CD's into ones with sound on them. "Proof Copies" are prepared during this process so the artist and producer can make sure the art replcations are correct. The plant then packages the discs, wraps them in that annoying cello that you can never get off, and ships them off to the label.
9) The next steps may involve working with a Distributor, who will service the many physical retail outlets that cater to the artist's target market, or simply posting the finished product for sale on an internet site. The artist or label may also undertake the somewhat laborious task of self distribution to the many independent outlets (record/CD shops, bookstores, etc.) that may sell directly to the artist's target market.
10) The function of promotion, which may or may not figure into the artist's overall marketing plan, is discussed at another page on this site.
Working this process yourself can involve countless hours in sourcing, and qualifying the best places to have your work done... Silk City takes that off of your plate and enables you to concentrate on the important part... Creating your music!