8 Helpful Hints for a Smooth Recording Session
1. Be Prepared. Rehearse. Know what you’re going to accomplish before you are in the studio. Have your lyrics written. Have solos planned. Treat some of your rehearsals as if you are in the studio recording to get a feel for the time it takes to accomplish your needs. Remember that listening to the playback of what you recorded is just as critical as tracking (recording) it. Allow time to listen to your performances.
2. Your engineer will help you plan your session according to your needs. If it’s a full band, we will help you determine if you should record everybody at the same time or overdub certain musicians.
3. Most of the time, it’s going to be helpful for all members of your group to know how to play to a click track or a metronome. Of course some music is too restricted by this suggestion, but most of the time it will be helpful. Click tracks make it easy to lock everybody into the same zone without drifting, “punch ins" will be easier, editing will be faster, and most of the time it will make your group sound more professional.
4. Bring all your own instruments, music, cables, tuners, drinks, food.
5. A good way to estimate your studio time. There are 3 parts to the recording process: Recording, Mixing, and Mastering. A standard/general way of estimating studio costs is to divide your allotted studio budget into thirds. One third of the time will be spent recording, the other two thirds are so often overlooked, and a very important part of the process: Mixing and Mastering. Please allow time for a proper mix-down and final mastering. This will make all your efforts of recording worth it, giving you a final representation of your artwork that is polished and respects your time spent on recording it.
6. Arrive on time. It is in your best interest to plan your trip to the studio, making sure all band members are equipped with their gear and a ride. The studio clock starts at your scheduled session time, and unfortunately late arrivals are spending money on an idle engineer.
7. Feel free to suggest a couple of songs to your engineer that you like the sound of. This could help guide certain techniques to help you attain the sonic character that you’re looking for.
8. Consider hiring a producer. A producer’s role is to have an objective set of ears, and helps guide your group’s songs, and sounds to a higher quality of production. An engineer can certainly give you a polished sound to the sonic characteristics of your music, but it is not their position to critique your performance.
A producer will be the one to bounce all creative decisions off of. They will keep track of your budget, studio time and help direct your group so proper decisions can be made to get the job done effectively.
They get more involved in the songs’ elements, adding or eliminating parts that can make your song better. Perhaps it’s organizing harmony parts, extra guitar sounds, percussion additives, ambient pads that give the song a whole new level, or rearranging a section of a tune. A producer’s role is to help your music, not take away from your artistic creativity, but to enhance it. Offering their experience into your project will most certainly make it better. Employing a producer allows you to hear their honest opinion about creative decisions within the creative process.