Lets be honest, studio time isn’t cheap. Even if you’re rolling in cash you probably won’t have many opportunities nail the best take. Inexperienced artists are more likely to make a lot of mistakes, and as you can imagine, this could lead to a lot of time and money wasted.
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So, lets get to it:
There is no room for being late to a recording session. Neither the studio or the engineer will lose sleep over this. Studio time is booked on a block basis and if you don’t show up on time, there’s a good chance you’re paying around $5 every minute you’re late. The studio may even give your block away if they don’t think you are going to show up. Always get there 10 to 15 minutes early to warm up so that you can get started recording as soon as possible.
Lets push the 20 minute planning session to a few days before booking your studio time. Ask yourself, what do you hope to accomplish for the day? The answer is always going to be different, but make sure that you do this before walking in the studio. It’s all too common to have a planning session and realistically, the less time you waste the more you’ll get out of your session. Remember, time is money.
Many musicians want to learn their parts or treat a recording session like a practice session, but recording a song isn’t the same as performing it live. It’s a completely different process, and a lot of time takes a different type of practice. By the time you start recording, you need to know just how every part of the song goes. There are times that inspiration may hit, and you want to add or try something new, but those decisions need to be taken with caution. That 10 second part can quickly turn into an hour or more if you’re not careful. Rule of thumb: if it’s not working in the first 15 minutes, it isn’t meant to be.
The best way to explain a high quality recording is comparing it to video. Lets say you’re browsing for a TV at your local electronics store. You’ll might see some old 1080p and maybe the new 4K TV’s. You’ll get a pretty good idea of how much better the 4K looks when it’s placed side by side with a 1080. The microphone is basically like putting a big magnifying glass over your instrument or voice. Every imperfection will be heard in high definition (including your performance). If you don’t have great equipment try to borrow it or rent it from someone that does.
Your sound engineer is in charge of making sure you sound like a million dollars. It’s probably a good idea to make sure he/she does the best they can do for your project. Be respectful, and open minded to their advice. It’s not always wise to insult the cook that’s making the food you’re going to eat. In this case, the engineer is the cook making the food you’re fans will be eating. Unless you’re a seasoned engineer, it’s best to let them do their thing.
_bayland brings years of recording studio experience to Studio 411. He has worked with numerous independent artists, major label acts and been fully immersed in the music business since graduating from Full Sail University. Other than his experience, Chris brings great conversation, wit and a strong enthusiasm for Peaky Blinders.