10 Tips for Getting the Most From Your Studio Time
Sunday May 13th 2007, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Audio recording

Remember, in the audio recording studio, time is most definitely money! Even if you’re recording yourself in your spare bedroom, paying attention to details will help you not only get your audio recording done faster and more efficiently, but you’ll also end up with a more professional product. Following these tips will help you be prepared before you arrive, use your time wisely while you’re there, and get the best possible mixdown after you’re done.

  1. Work out your instrumental and vocal parts before you get to the recording studio. Don’t wait until the clock is ticking to try to figure out the harmonies you want to sing, or work out that killer drum solo. Spending ample time rehearsing your songs before you get to the studio will pay off in the long run.

  2. Rehearse and record more songs than you plan to use. You’ll be able to pick the strongest-sounding songs for your final product.

  3. Be on time (or better yet, arrive early). In many recording studios, the meter starts running at your scheduled start time whether you’re there or not. You don’t want to be paying for valuable studio recording time while you’re searching for a parking place or lugging your gear out of the van.

  4. Make sure your equipment is in good shape. Before you arrive, re-string your guitars, blow in some new reeds, install new heads and break out new drum sticks, the works. (And don’t forget to bring spares! You don’t want to be paying the studio for time while you’re out looking for a replacement D-string…)

  5. Stick with your tried-and-true gear. Yes, you want to make sure your strings and heads are new, but the recording studio is not the place to try to break in totally new equipment or gear. It takes time to get used to new equipment. You’re better off spending that "getting to know you" time in the rehearsal hall than in the recording studio.

  6. Let the engineer "punch in" corrections. If you mess up, don’t start all over again. That just tires you out faster and wastes recording time. A good engineer should be able to "punch in" the correction. (That means you’ll just have to start over a second or two before where you made the mistake.)

  7. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Technical perfection doesn’t necessarily make the best song. Let your emotions and feelings come through, and don’t worry so much about getting every sixteenth note exactly, precisely right. If you want your music to be as precise as a computer, use a MIDI sequencer…

  8. Know when to quit. If you’re tired, it will sound through in your music. Your ears get tired, as well, and you may not hear what you’ve done as clearly as you should. Take a break, or (if possible) come back to it the next day when you’re fresh. (This applies to mixing down as well as recording.) Note: be sure to ask in advance about your studio’s policies regarding schedule changes.

  9. Tune up often. ‘Nuff said.

  10. Backup, backup, backup! Make backup copies of all tracks after each recording session. Make sure your engineer backs up the mixes at the end of each mixing session. And when you’re done, make a safety DAT or CD-R, to preserve your investment in the event the original master is damaged.

Article copyright © by Diane M. Aull. All Rights Reserved.

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