THE BEST USE OF YOUR STUDIO TIME
We truly hope
that this article will be helpful to you. Feel free to refer back
to it or print it out in the PDF format
to discuss with your band mates. Good luck and happy recording!
When your project
is finally completed and ready to be Mastered or duplicated, keep
ASi studios in mind for high quality Mastering services and CD duplication
packages of all kinds.
your songs, till you're blue if necessary! Pay close attention
for weak areas.
your songs during live gigs and pre-production rehearsals. A simple
cassette is fine. The recording doesn't lie. You will hear the
areas that need work.
all your musical and vocal parts worked out ahead of time. That
includes the Lead guitarist! Know your solos!
sure the drummer is comfortable playing to a click track. This
is extremely important if you desire a "tight" professional
always a good idea to rehearse more songs than you plan to record.
You never know which songs may come together and surprise you.
If you plan to record 4 songs, have 6 ready just in case.
If you are using a computer or sequencer, make sure you prepare
all the material before the session.
your gear & instruments. Use new strings, have your instruments
checked and adjusted as needed. Check for and remove all buzzing
sounds, as for sure they will wind up on the recording. Drummers,
install new heads and tune drums accordingly. Clean all cymbals!
This will produce much clearer images when recorded. Bring spares
of what ever you use!
prepare yourself mentally for the day. Take care of your body
before and during the sessions. Eat well, get plenty of sleep
and keep your ears rested.
Early! The clock starts whether you're there or not. I would recommend
having the drummer arriving first to set up the kit and get it
dialed in. This process is time consuming, and it's best when
there are only a few involved.
sure you and the engineer have the same idea of what you are trying
to achieve. Discuss and go over the songs with the engineer before
the session. Take notes. It is also a good idea at this time to
determine what 1 person from the band will is responsible for
interacting with the engineer regarding your direction and what
is to be achieved. This will alleviate a lot of problems down
Depending upon the studio and the track capability, plan out how
many tracks you will utilize and how you can leave room for all
the essential parts. This will simplify the mix and cut down on
the need for bouncing tracks later on.
the studio a comfortable and relaxed place. If your not relaxed,
it will show through on the finished product.
Be comfortable with your gear. It is not recommended to use new
or different gear that you are unfamiliar with. Simple surprises
may arise and cause problems that eat up time.
it's all about emotion and feelings that makes the best songs,
not necessarily the best technical rendition.
to relax while recording. If you mess up a spot individually,
keep going. The engineer can easily punch in a correction later
on. If you keep stopping and starting over, you will quickly burn
out and be useless to the rest of the group.
and tune your instruments often.
keep in mind the focus of your music. If it's in the vocals, plan
on spending more time to produce them. Don't waste time on things
that don't highlight the focal point.
you don't have to fill all the tracks on the tape!
and get the sound you want while recording. Don't assume you can
fix it in the mix! You know what assume means don't you?
tracks individually with no effects! You'll have plenty of time
later to add them. The idea here is that if you record with an
effect you are stuck with it, no turning back. If you add effects
later, you can change them as much as you want and it will not
effect the original track. If necessary, the engineer can add
effects through the returns of the head phones so you will hear
the effect but it won't be recorded.
Be careful not to double track everything. This process is sometimes
Singers: always bring plenty of water with you. Warm or room temp
is best. Never use ice! Cold temps constrict your vocal chords.
Warm Tea with honey works great!
guests out! Period.
get a track listing and accurate time log from the studio.
make a back up tape at the end of each recording session. A must!
when to quit for the day. If you are tired, it shows in the recording.
If a session is going to hell, quit! You can only work through
a bad session for so long. I can't stress this enough... remember
you are creating, if it's not happening today that's OK.
the studio, listen to a few favorite CD's that you're familiar
with on your home system. This will give you an idea of how the
studio's system sounds.
ONE person ahead of time, a spokesperson if you will, who will
interact with the engineer on opinions regarding the mix. An engineer
getting five different opinions on how to mix and do his job will
grow old & tired real fast. This only causes bad feelings and
a rushed job. Avoid this at all costs.
you have selected an engineer or producer to mix your recording,
trust them to do the first mix. Simply put, their ears are better
trained than yours. Try to keep an open mind. If you have a certain
style or sound your going for, bring the engineer copies of these
bands on CD to listen to. This will give him direction and examples.
about the songs as a whole and not for the individual instruments
or parts. Otherwise, everyone will want their instrument louder
in the mix causing mayhem.
for some reason you are mixing in a different location from where
the recording took place, make sure you use the same speakers.
If not the mix will sound completely different.
you review each mix in the studio make sure you can comfortably
hear all of the instruments. Try listening to the mix at a very
low volume. You should be able to pick out each instrument. Also,
listen to your mix at moderate volume levels. Avoid mixing at
loud levels, your ears will fatigue quickly and you will loose
sense of the true sound.
each mix session, get a copy on cassette that you can listen to.
Make copies on your own if necessary. Listen to your music on
many other sources like your car, boom box, or other home stereo.
Sit down with the band separate from the studio and go over it
carefully. As a group decide what changes, if any are needed and
have the selected person meet with the engineer to make the changes.
on and budget in unforeseen delays, especially in the mixdown
process. Simply stated, the more time you spend on mixing each
selection, the better your project will be. It is not uncommon
for a major label project to spend a week just mixing 1 song.
Most people don't have that kind of a budget, but you can get
an idea of the different levels that can be obtained.
always, always make a back up copy of your mixdown DAT after each
selection is completed. This will preserve your investment should
something ever happen to the original master.