I'm a software design engineer at Linn. I've been working on development of the DS product range for the last 3 years. I also play pedal steel guitar and I sing in a choir called The Parsonage. My partner Janis started the choir in 2006. She arranges the music, conducts and takes care of all the other necessary organising. We're not a typical choir. There are about 40 singers many of whom had never sung in public before joining. We sing mainly country and folk and the occasional pop song, we don't use sheet music and everything is learned by ear. We have performed live, many times, at festivals and venues throughout Scotland and released our first recording in 2007.

In December 2008 we decided it was time to record a second EP. We have progressed considerably since our first release. Our arrangements are more mature with greater use of harmony. I suggested asking Linn Records' engineer Philip Hobbs if he would record us. If anyone could capture us at our best it would be him. I wasn't sure if he would have time for us amateurs given that he's usually travelling the globe recording more professional choirs and orchestras. But I knew that employing his expertise would give us the best chance of a great recording. He is renowned for his "golden ears" and, having attended his listening courses at Linn, and discussed choir recording techniques with him prior to our first recording, I'm fully aware of how finely tuned and focussed his hearing is. When he agreed to record us, and fixed a date for the recording, I suddenly became a bit nervous that maybe we'd bitten off more than we could chew. Were we really good enough to be recorded by someone of such high calibre? Could this end up being a complete disaster? Maybe we were about to find out the difference between a group of people who meet every week to sing, and a professional choir who really know what they're doing. Maybe by employing someone like Philip, we were setting ourselves up for a very big fall. Of course I never relayed any of this nervousness to the choir.

The recording took place over two days on 29 & 30 August. I met Philip at 9:30am and helped him setup the equipment before the choir arrived. He used 3 valve microphones equally spaced directly in front of the choir, and a centrally located stereo pair situated further back. These all routed back to his preamps and computer which were situated in the same room, beyond the mics, in front of the choir. He'd also brought along a pair of Linn 328A monitor speakers to let us hear each take after we'd recorded it.

We were expecting Philip to record us - we got much more than that. He adopted the role of musical director but not in a pushy way. After only one take he was able to pinpoint numerous flaws in our rendition. He highlighted pitch issues, inconsistencies in vowel pronunciation and consonant timing at the end of lines. He also explained how certain pitch problems were caused by the interaction of particular harmony parts and provided simple guidance on how to avoid such pitfalls. He introduced us to various techniques to help us focus and become more aware of how we were singing, such as performing a whole song without pronouncing any of the consonants. There were many takes, especially on the first song, while Philip bashed us into shape and we slowly became more focussed and approached the standard which he was pushing us towards. But all of his feedback was delivered in a very positive way, which encouraged and motivated everyone to perform at their best.

The choir were absolutely gobsmacked. We've never experienced anyone with such an ear for music let alone had the pleasure of working with them. His attention to detail was incredible. And although it was very hard work remaining focussed over the two days we had a great time. It was a very enlightening and fulfilling experience. The education we received was in itself worth the time and effort we put in. I can't ever imagine asking anyone other than Philip to record The Parsonage in the future. He is a remarkable person to work with, not only for his technical ability and musical insight but his great people skills too.

We recorded eight songs over two days, four by Hank Williams and four by Gram Parsons, whom we are named after. We're really looking forward to hearing the recordings once they've been edited and mastered. We know they're going to sound fantastic.