Every indie artist knows that time is of the essence because lets face it, studio time is most definitely money. A successful studio session can be broken down into two very powerful words: Work Flow. Developing a good work flow takes some practice and repetition, but with consistency you can manage your own in no time! Here are a few steps on how to get started to help make life a little easier and less stressful in the studio.
An important part of developing a good workflow is to prioritize. Completing the hardest tasks on your to-do list first is proven to be the most productive. By focusing on the most important/ the most difficult task, your attention and energy is strong and fresh and it allows you to put your best into the project. If you leave it last on your list, then by the time you get to it you will not be able to give it the attention it requires for it to get done.
When developing a good work flow multi-tasking is a big no-no. Multi-tasking means that your focus is split between many different things. Multi-tasking leads to becoming overwhelmed and the chance of making a mistake is much higher.
Keep everything organized
It is also very important that you try to keep everything as organized as possible. This also goes hand in hand with prioritizing.
If you need to, write down a list of all the things you need to get done. This helps with not having to figure out with what you have to do next. Many times it seems as though you have an overwhelming amount to do, but when you write everything down it is much more attainable.
Another way of staying organized is by keeping all of your sessions and files in one place where you don’t have to keep searching for where they are and having to try to remember where they are again.
Good communication goes a long way with anyone you are working with or for. If you are working with someone it is important to keep each other in the loop with what is being worked on so there won’t be miscommunication and having ended up creating more work than needed to.
It is extremely important to have a good communication with a client, make sure to keep them updated on what is going on with the project or when it will be ready so they will be able to plan for it accordingly.
Last but not least, make sure to take breaks in between. Taking breaks while working in the studio ensures you don’t get overwhelmed or stressed. Taking breaks also help with clearing your mind to be able to come back in with a fresh mind ready for new ideas! A relaxed mind is a productive mind.
Who’s behind the rise of Studio 411, you ask? Today we take a dive into the brief history of the founders and creators of this up and coming conglomerate. Even if you have met them, you may not know the history and experience behind this dream team. Without further ado, lets dive in:
As our in-house sound engineer he is the brains behind all the mixing and mastering here at Studio 411. Chris has worked in the music industry for over 9 years; working with labels like Sony, RCA, Atlantic, and Super Records, among others. Throughout his time working with artists, Chris has developed a keen skill set and a well-rounded knowledge about the ins and outs of the industry. Not only can he mix and master your music, but he also serves as a guide for new and upcoming artists who are wanting to make a name.
Chris started his career in music at a young age, but truly found his calling as he witnessed English Pop band “McFly” record their song Love Is on The Radio. The heartwarming lyrics “but I can get up now, the dark clouds have lifted” carried him through a rough patch in his life and lead him to find his place in the music production world.
Aside from music production, Chris is also a dedicated father, husband, son, and friend and enjoys spending time with family and reading anything and everything Gary Vee puts out.
Jimmy is a multi-hyphenated persona, to give him a title is to confine him to a box that sheds no light on his many talents. With his background in graphic design, music writing, and marketing, Jimmy handles all the ins and outs of the studio’s website, Instagram page, merch design, and much more. Although he works mostly behind the scenes, his work does not go unnoticed; Jimmy’s vision for the studio is what truly brought it to life in early 2019.
Jimmy started his career in music as a young guitarist in high school and then continued on to play in bands as a guitarist and now a vocalist in his band The Dead Electrics. Throughout his time working with his bands he naturally landed the manager position; handling all the booking, branding, merch design, and social media – even back in the MySpace days!
Aside from putting in work at the studio, Jimmy works as the creative director of his marketing agency Positive Design Company where he creates web and logo designs, handles SEO and social media, and essentially guides businesses to grow in their market. He dedicates his weekends to writing music and working on all “the band stuff” for The Dead Electrics. And, as though he did not have enough on his plate with running three businesses, Jimmy also has an upcoming project: Moon City Clothing Company, in which he will dabble into the world of the fashion industry. Throughout all of his ventures and big ideas, what keeps him grounded are his loving fiancé Janene, their cat Whisper, and occasional yoga sessions.
Improve Your Vocal Recordings in 5 Easy Steps – Studio 411
Before we get into the nitty gritty, lets dive in to what it means to be intentional with everything we do. We first need to know exactly what we’re recording and understand the approach is never going to be exactly the same.
With regard to vocal recordings, we need to understand that background (supporting parts) and main parts will likely be treated differently. Most of this can be re-created in the mix, but it’s always better that it sounds incredible from the very beginning!
Decide what kind of sound your going for. Ask yourself these important vocal recording questions first:
* Is the vocal supposed to be big and roomy?
* Is the vocal tight and present?
* How important is the part in regards to the whole project?
* What physical space do you have available to use at the present moment?
* Do you have anything to help minimize or maximize the recording space?
* What problems do you want to avoid in your vocal recording?
* What characteristics do you want to accent in the recording?
The most important part of any vocal recording is the performance. The vocalist needs to be in the right frame of mind to make sure they do their best because lets face it, there’s no amount of money or equipment in the world that will get a good recording out of a bad vocal performance.
A bad vocal performance could simply mean the artist was having a bad day, or is going through a breakup. It’s part of the job to make sure the artist is comfortable and in the right headspace.
Try setting up some water, hot tea, and light snacks out. It will help make the artist feel a little more at ease. If you are recording yourself, try to watch an inspirational Youtube video, or scroll through some super funny memes. Do whatever you have to do to get in the right frame of mind!
Next, you’ll want to decide the way you place the microphone. It is always a matter of compromise between what you want to do with the vocal recording, the environment you are recording in, and the vocalist’s tonal character. I’ll give you a quick example of a question we commonly get asked:
What’s the best way to record vocals?
In many cases this question refers to a main vocal in a modern stylistic representation (pop, hip hop, or EDM).
Make sure that the microphone is oriented in a way that will not impede their inspired, energetic performance.
Distance and Levels
For this type of vocal sound, you’ll need a to make sure the microphone is placed about 5 – 7 inches from the artist, and make sure that the levels going into your DAW are, for simplicity’s sake, sitting nicely between the green and yellow lines.
Don’t worry about compression or equalization on the way in. Your environment will factor in more than any of that.
If your room isn’t treated, try to minimize as much of the “room” sound as you can. Try draping heavy blankets over microphone stands and make a makeshift booth for the artist. You can move the microphone stands to really “dial in”
the sound you’re looking for. If you have a reflection filter, use that in conjunction with the blanket booth.
Mixing and Mastering
Mixing and mastering is much different than recording. It’s very important to have room that is designed to let the listener hear what’s really coming out of the speakers. There are special architects that specialize in designing how the audio waves in a room react inside of the very room it lives in. It also takes a specially trained ear to be able to make accurate changes to a recording so that it can sound like a radio ready hit. Studio 411 offers the best online mixing and mastering service available today and have very affordable rates for any budget. For a limited time, try our mixing and mastering service free.
In summery, make sure that the artist gives their best performance first and foremost. Other than that there isn’t a lot too a vocal recording. You can get creative and do some fun stuff with it, but always remember that there’s no right or wrong way to do it.