Audition and Demo Recordings

For Professional Musicians and Prospective Students

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Are you ready to compete?

Getting into a top music school, festival, or conservatory is one of the greatest challenges you face as an upcoming classical musician. The same applies after graduation when you start competing with others to be listened to and promoted by management agencies and professional performing ensembles. You are contending against the best of the best. However, providing prospective schools, talent agencies, and employers with a superior audition or demo recording will make you stand out. Musical Horizon® engineers also record demos on-location for musicians in search of professional promotional materials.

Musical Horizon, LLC is not only one of the few NJ recording studios specializing in classical music, but we come to you. We record on location anywhere that is convenient – even your own living room. We operate mostly in the NYC Metro areas, including New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Pre-screening recordings for university admissions

An increasing number of music schools are requiring prospective undergraduates to send a pre-screen audition recording before considering them for live auditions. The pre-screen consists of a CD or DVD created according to each school’s specifications that must be received by the application deadline.

Before you submit an audition recording, review each prospective school’s recording requirements. What do they expect in terms of quality? What are they looking for as far as accompaniment and repertoire? Musical Horizon® engineers can help you get your recording up to par to compete with the top musicians applying to the top music schools.

Some tips to keep in mind about the institutions to you are applying to:

  • Some require everything to be memorized
  • Some require no editing of the performance
  • Some now require videos
  • Some require audio files only
  • Some require CDs only

Musical Horizon® audition services are predominately used by prospective music majors, but any student can also create a CD showcasing their best talents to put themselves ahead of the competition. For example, if you are interested in becoming an accounting major, but you also excel at the piano, creating a recording of your piano playing could give you an edge when applying to a competitive school.

Additionally, some music schools allow you to submit an audition recording in lieu of a live audition if you are unable to travel.

Audition recordings for music festivals

Serious classical musicians understand that getting into the top music festivals is no easy feat. If you are an advanced student interested in studying with world renowned instructors from across the globe, a pre-screening audition recording is essential. At a music festival, you receive the benefit of taking lessons from master teachers – and receiving valuable critiques from respected musicians and fellow students.

Recording a Demo CD with Musical Horizon® services

If you are a professional, or are interested in becoming a professional, you need a high-caliber demo recording. You can submit your demo to:

  • Management agencies
  • Professional orchestras
  • Professional competitions

A professional demo recording may be part of your larger media kit or promotional package. These packages may include your photography, biography, resume, and one of our Musician Promotion Videos.

Musical Horizon® Audition and Demo Recording Packages

We offer three standard packages for audition and demo recordings: Audio CD Package, Digital Audio Package, and the Audio CD & Digital Files package.

The services for these packages include:

 Audio CD Package

Digital Audio File(s) via Downoad or USB Thumb Drive Package

Audio CD & Digital Audio File(s) Package
Recorded at your locationYesYesYes
Custom Microphone PlacementYesYesYes
Classically Trained Musician as Audio EngineerAlwaysAlwaysAlways
Live Audio MixingYesYesYes
Dual Audio Capture Recording System*YesYesYes
Audio CDs3 copies includedNo3 copies included
WAV Audio File(s) via Downloadn/aIncluded at no charge**

Online Storage Fee

(maximum $20)

Password Protected Downloadn/aYesYes
WAV Audio File(s) on USB Thumb DriveNoIncluded at no charge**Fee Per required CD Set or USB Thumb Drive
MP3 Audio FilesAdditional FeeAdditional FeeAdditional Fee
Online Storage FeeNoNoIf Online Storage Chosen
Copy Protection***NeverNeverNever
Background Noise ReductionYesYesYes
NormalizationYesYesYes
TrackingYesYesYes
RemovalYesYesYes
CD MasteringYesn/aYes
Splicing and other advanced editingUpon requestUpon requestUpon request
RAW AudioAdditional FeeAdditional feeAdditional Fee
Student Discount AvailableYesYesYes
Travel FeesFree within 30 min.Free within 30 min.Free within 30 min.
Rush Order Option*****YesYesYes
Shipping FeesFree UPS Ground****** for up to 5 CD setsn/aFree UPS Ground****** for up to 5 CD sets
Payment Plan AvailableYesYesYes
* Musical Horizon® engineers record on at least two audio capture devices for every session.
** You choose either Audio File(s) via Download or on USB Thumb Drive. If both are desired, there is an additional fee.
*** Musical Horizon® engineers do not put anything into our Audio CDs or Audio Files that will prevent you from copying them yourself. However, you are required to follow our copyright policies.
**** You get free MP3 conversion also!
***** Available, but upon approval of the audio engineer. We charge a premium price for this. Please schedule early!
****** This is an overnight shipment for most areas we service!

What is Custom Microphone Placement?

One should never record without first deciding where to place the microphones and how each microphone should be positioned. To achieve the best results, different combinations of instruments require different microphone placements. Unlike some recording engineers, a Musical Horizon® audio engineer does not just plop the mic stand in the same place for each recording.

What does it mean to normalize my audio and why should I do it?

We increase the volume of your CD after recording. Without this, your CD would sound significantly lower in volume than other CDs. Our philosophy (for live recording) is that your finished product should be a direct representation of the music being recorded. We use a constant normalization value for the entire performance. See the editing page for more details.

Have you considered video?

More and more schools, festivals, and talent agencies are beginning to require videos of your auditions and demos. We have a video recording add-on just to suit your needs, as well as a video-only contract!

Helpful Hints:

  • Always schedule your recording session as early as possible. We all want to practice as much as we can, but recording your audition CD at the last minute is very stressful because you are pressed for time.
  • Plan to record at a minimum of 2 to 3 weeks prior to the required submission date. Recording sessions are scheduled on a first-come-first-serve basis. Keep in mind, you are not the only person submitting a recording to your jury and audition due dates for many schools, conservatories, and universities are roughly the same time.
  • Musical Horizon® engineers only create professional recordings, which cannot be made available immediately at the end of the session like consumer grade cassette tapes, MiniDisc, or Flash recorder recordings. Our recordings can take a week or longer to process, depending upon your recording’s needs.
  • Make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before your recording session. This will help you relax and concentrate.
  • If you are using an accompanist make sure that they know what time to arrive and that your piano has been recently tuned prior to your recording session.
  • Consider recording several takes of your repertoire. We can help you select your best performance.
  • Make sure that all phones are turned off prior to the recording session. This includes your cell phone or any other device that might go off. These extraneous sounds may require you to do another take from the beginning.
  • Request that your teacher or coach attend the recording session. They can spur you on to your best performance and help you choose your best take.

Why do I need a professional recording company?

You may wonder, “Why don’t I just create my own recording for an audition or demo?” At Musical Horizon, LLC we think this is a mistake. In the time you spend purchasing your own consumer-grade recording gear, and then of course learn how to use it, we could have done the job for you faster and for less money.

Additionally, Musical Horizon® professional engineers understand recording techniques unknown to novices. For example, we are experts in custom microphone placement necessary to achieve optimal results. Also, we know how to set up your mastered recording in the way most likely to engage a jury or judging panel.

Contact a Musical Horizon® engineer today to learn more

If you have the talent to compete against top musicians, we have the gear to capture your talent in an audio recording. To get more information regarding our audition and demo recording services, contact a Musical Horizon® engineer today at 973-287-4029 or email us at recording@musicalhorizon.com.

When contacting us, please include the following information:

  • Will you be performing with accompaniment?
  • Do you need audio recording services? Video recording services? Or a combination of both?
  • Are you a student?
  • Are you planning to use these recordings for college-entrance/competition/professional/commercial/other purposes?
  • Do you need digital product (WAV, MP3, MP4) or physical product (Audio CD, DVD, Blu-Ray Disc)? Or both?

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Relevant Information:
Applying to a Music Program?
Live Audition vs. Recorded Audition
Audition Recording Tips
Video Audition Recording
Rates (PDF)

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