The better the source, the better the recording. Think of the microphone as your ear. If something sounds bad to your ear, chances are it won't sound good in front of a microphone. Make sure your source is the best it can be - this is the first thing to remember whenever starting a new project. That could mean a new set of strings, drum heads, or having your vocalist do warm-ups before you start tracking. And, no matter what, everybody should tune their instruments before the session begins.
Remember that there's a lot you can edit out later on down the line, but there's lot's that you can't add if it's not naturally there and that includes tone, body, and definition, all things you lose if your instruments aren't in good shape.
Acoustic Guitars: Tuning and New strings
It’s very simple but often overlooked. Before the recording session, put new strings on your guitar. Before every take make sure it’s tuned. If you use a capo remember to compensate with your tuning. This is a very important process.
You must make sure that you have a quality guitar and it's in good working condition. If you’re not up to the challenge yourself, take it to a quality repair person who will be able to make sure that your strings are correctly adjusted, the action is comfortable and that all your electronics are working correctly and free of buzzing and other electrical noise.
What do I need to bring to the studio?
Bring your guitars, tuners, etc. Bring your amps and cabinets along with cables. We may not even use amps and speaker cabinets if we go direct, but sometimes for a particular sound, miking the cabinet is the best way to achieve this. Oh and don't forget those extra strings and drumsticks. You don't want to cancel a session if you break a string.
Can my music be mixed in your studio and what is the process?
Yes, we can mix your tracks. Once the recording process is complete, the mixing process will begin. We recommend doing an inital mix first. Then we bounce it to CD. It's best to take it home with you. Listen to it on the CD player in your car. Play it on your home stereo. As you do this, listen to how it sounds. Does it sound just like you want it? Are you hearing all the instruments? Is the vocals too loud or drowned out by other instruments? Make notes on all these items. Then come back into the studio and we can make the necessary adjustments for the final mix. You may need to do this more than one time to get everything just exactly right.
If I am using some other software in my home studio, am I completely out of luck bringing it to a ProTools studio?
No, there are ways to convert the files to be usable by any DAW (digital audio workstation). It is usually not too complicated, but can be time consuming, especially if you have many tracks. Call us and we will help walk you through it.f I am using some other software in my home studio, am I completely out of luck bringing it to a ProTools studio? No, there are ways to convert the files to be usable by any DAW (digital audio workstation). It is usually not too complicated, but can be time consuming, especially if you have many tracks. Call us and we will help walk you through it.
Once you get in the studio, you want to make the best recording you possibly can. Here are some tips on the things you can do to maximize the recording process. Be sure to check out our tips section before arriving at the studio
(1) Have all your material ready. If you are planning to record twelve songs for a CD, bring at least 14 with you. You never know which song on your list might be a disappointment after it's recorded.
(2) Be sure and practice all your material before coming into the recording studio. The studio can be an expensive place for a rehearsal.
(3) Have all your vocal and musical parts worked out before you hit the studio. You don't need to have all the lyrics memorized. However, they should be written down so you can refer to them as needed. Last minute lyric changes are acceptable and sometimes they work right and sometimes they don't, but keep this to a minimum. Consider bringing the lyric sheet for the engineer, sometimes that can be very helpful.
(4) Make sure everyone in the band is on board with the musical arrangements. The studio is not the place to decide who is going to play what when and where.
(5) Always consider recording your songs at home. Even a simple cassette recorder can reveal problems that need to be worked out before arriving at the studio.
(7) Outfit your instruments with new strings, drum sticks, picks, etc. They will sound better on the recording and always bring spares with you.
(8) Have an idea of how you want to go about doing the recording session. Do you want to record all the parts simultaneously? Do you want to record a track and then go back and record each part individually? There are many different ways to approach this process. If you are not sure, call us ahead of time so we can discuss your project.
(9) Be well rested and eat properly. If you stay up late the night before, it will show in your performance. This is especially important for all vocalists. Always rest your voice and drink plenty of liquids. Everyone should keep their ears rested and fresh.
(10) All band members should plan on arriving early and being prepared for the recording session. Time wasted waiting for one band member is money wasted. You don't want to be standing around twiddling your thumbs while the guitar player hunts for a pick or has to change out a string.
(11) Always keep your instruments in tune. Tune before each take. Not only guitars, basses, and strings should be tuned often, but the drums should be tuned up before the recording session begins as well.
(12) Drummers should consider arriving earlier than the rest of the band. It takes time to set up a drum set and get the mics set up properly.
(13) Use equipment that you're familiar with. Even if you have a brand new $5,000 guitar, it won't sound much better than your current guitar if you're not used to playing it.
(14) After setting up, remove all instrument cases and other items from the studio. Take them outside or put them in the back of your car. It will provide more room to work and you won't be tripping over them.
(15) Don't stop playing every time you make a mistake. If you do, you'll spend all day trying to create a perfect track. It is much easier to overdub or replace the error after the track is recorded.
(16) Don't use a lot of effects while recording. It is better to record the tracks dry and add the effects later. Effects are easy to add, but nearly impossible to remove.
(17) Keep it simple. Many bands and artists want to fill up numerous tracks with sound. They end up with poor sounding music. Listen to your favorite music CD. You can easily pick out the vocals, drums, guitars, and other instruments. If you can't do that with your recording, you might have too many tracks muddling up the sound.
(18) Double tracking can be a nice effect, but if you overuse it, it can become pretty boring. Consider double tracking the vocal for the chorus only.
(19) Always get the sound you want while recording. If someone says, we can fix it in the mix, don't believe them. It will save time in the long run.
(20) Make the studio comfortable. Bring some snacks if you like. The vocalist should drink plenty of water, but not very cold. Ice water restricts the vocal cords and makes it more difficult to hit those high notes. Consider drinking hot tea with maybe some lemon and honey.
(21) Have a professional attitude. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. These substances inhibit coordination and memory, affect your hearing, and impact your perception of pitch and tempo. You may sound better to yourself, but not to everyone else.
(22) Appoint someone to be the spokesman. You can bring a producer or you can nominate a member of the band to be the decision maker. It's alright for everyone to chip in with ideas, but if no one is in charge, things can rapidly degrade into arguments. You want to keep the studio atmosphere relaxed and creative.
(23) Take occasional breaks of 10 to 15 minutes to relieve ear fatigue. After a little quiet time, you may pick up things you weren't able to hear before.
(24) Know when to quit for the day. If you are tired, you will not be giving your best performance and it will show in your final product.