a creative environment

 

Welcome to
Raptor Recording Studios!

Located in Fargo, North Dakota, USA, Raptor Studios is a professional digital recording facility featuring a Mackie HDR24/96 24-track hard disc recorder and four Tascam DA-78 and DA-88 modular digital multitrack recording decks, a Mackie 32-Channel 8-Bus Mixer with six auxiliary buses, numerous outstanding effects and signal processors, Tascam DA-40 and Tascam DA-30 mixdown decks, and Alesis Monitor Two three-way midfield monitoring as well as Alesis Point Seven nearfield monitoring in the Control Room (pictured below).

The result is pristine, superior digital audio with an organic warmth generated by the hardwood floors of the Main Room (pictured left), isolated studio rooms (pictured below) and a full professional complement of premier brand microphones including Neumann, Sennheiser, AKG, Audio Technica, Beyerdynamic, Electro-Voice and Shure.

Now in its tenth year of operation, Raptor Studios has recorded a broad range of CD projects for artists throughout the Upper Midwest. Under the expertise of producer/engineer Mike Coates, artists from rock, blues and country to classical, folk and jazz have released successful and musically outstanding projects. Co-owners Mike and Linda Coates remain committed to their original vision of a recording facility that offers top-quality production values to regional musicians at affordable prices.

The page below will give you an overview of our studio's history, aesthetic philosophy and a look inside a typical recording project. You are also invited to check out recordings produced here at Raptor Studios by artists on our Barking Dog Records label, independent clients who have recorded full-length CD projects, and a limited number of demo/short CD projects.

If you are planning a recording project and are checking out recording studios, please read the rest of this page to see what we are all about and take a moment to look at the illustrated equipment list. If our studio seems like a good fit for your project, you can find contact information and rates here.

 

History and Mission Statement
by producer/owner
Mike Coates

"When Linda and I created our professional recording studio/record label business in 1995, we did so with several specific goals in mind:

First, we resolved to create a first-rate facility predicated on superior contemporary technology --rich in artistic ambience-- that would enable exceptional area & regional artists to record CD projects exclusively (i.e., we don't do advertising campaigns or produce "jingles") in an inspiring, relaxed and comfortable, highly affordable creative environment with optimum artistic control and personal freedom. Founded on extensive personal experience, we conceived Raptor Studios as a direct challenge to the traditional "big studio" recording scenario with its crippling prices, revolving door clientele, long, stressful sessions, inflexible scheduling, and technicians wholly unfamiliar with the artist and his or her work--all typically at a long commute, both physically and psychologically, from the artist's home.

Secondly, we wanted to create a facility that would serve as a creative vehicle for our own classical guitar/vocal duo projects. We simply really enjoy performing together and plan on recording many albums and performing live until we're even older and grayer.

Third, and supplementary to our own performing/recording agenda, we elected to take an even greater calculated risk by forming our own Barking Dog Records label to assist in releasing and promoting both our Mike & Linda Coates product and that of artists we chose to take on as special status "label projects." Initially we felt that the label would deal exclusively with acoustic and classical artists, but since that time we have expanded that paradigm into a broader, "regional artists" concept. It is our ultimate hope and goal to advance the career of every Barking Dog Records label artist by conquering the immediate upper Midwest region -- through live performances, record sales and distribution -- and to eventually attract the interest of major labels and distributors for a national campaign.

Fourth, we both wanted to be involved in a business venture where we could seriously exercise our personal chops. After spending ten stifling years in academia (and sick to death of office politics) I was itching to return to performing and recording our own efforts and to design a recording facility according to my specs where I could work and interact closely with artists in a broad and stimulating range of musical styles--classical to rock. Linda had achieved such remarkable success in the community as director of the Lake Agassiz Arts Council and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony that we were anxious to challenge and exploit her marketing skills in these treacherous waters. And working as a graphic design artist with our recording clients offers her the opportunity to practice her considerable visual arts skills. Of course, as lifelong career musicians with Masters Degrees, the opportunity to practice our craft in art is vital to our personal happiness.

And finally, we both felt it was important to give me--a self-avowed workaholic--an opportunity to work in an environment where I could be home and near our two kids more than I was when I taught at Moorhead State University. If the professional need arises some day to build a larger "downtown" facility with multiple rooms and expanded functions (e.g., video facilities) we will examine the options, but for now, Raptor Studios is our dream come true--our own personal "batcave."

Comfort and flexibility...

We have worked with many fine artists and people over the years and have been thankful to be a collaborative part of all the exciting, innovative, and diverse music that has graced our facility. We have quickly established a reputation in the region for quality and care that are second to none. Extras at Raptor have always included special pluses like flexible scheduling which includes lock-outs at no additional cost (we do projects one at a time!); living room monitoring (via a Tascam DA-20 and our Pioneer home stereo) to augment our control room main and nearfield monitoring (a great comfort feature for artists); in-house graphic design including full color laser printer for promotional materials and in-house color proofs; use of our 6 1/2' Kimball grand piano as well as vintage Marshall and Fender guitar amplifiers, various keyboards, and 760 Leslie speaker at no additional cost to the performer; and even an adjacent guest suite for artists who need to stay for extended periods of time. However, Linda and I are dedicated to the notion of constantly upgrading our facility and our personal skills, and during the past couple years we have made a number of improvements that I feel make us competitive with just about anyone. See our full complement of equipment and instruments here.

Facility features...

Our isolation/vocal booth (left) allows us to comfortably accomodate "full-band" or "live" recording scenarios and still maintain individual track integrity for optimum mix flexibility and overdub/punch-in options. Featuring sightline accessibility to both the control room and the studio, what we are most excited about is the size of the room ( 9' x 7' ) and the fact that it maintains the acoustic properties of our main room, due in no small part to the custom hardwood floor.

A slightly smaller, second isolation room (right) provides further flexibility in group tracking. Typically used for guitar or keyboard amps, this acoustically treated space makes it possible for bands to simultaneously track drums, bass, guitar and vocals to get a true ensemble "feel" yet retain complete track isolation.

Location recording

Our full complement of remote recording equipment (featuring Yamaha's ProMix 01 16-channel digital mixer) allows us the flexibility to offer location recording--all in the digital domain--with our best house microphones. We then return to the studio for post-production, final mixes and mastering utilizing all of the studio gear.

Take a moment to check out our illustrated equipment list.

 

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