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October 6, 2012

Make the most of your time in the recording studio


After musicians have made the decision to record their music in a studio, they should ask questions and make a plan for the recording process. Do they want the band to play together for the recording or do they want each musician to play his or her part individually? 

The advantage of having the whole band play together is that the recording can be made more quickly and the musicians can capture the feeling of playing together. But editing individual instruments can be difficult or impossible, depending on the separation achieved in the miking technique. If someone makes a mistake, everyone will have to take the time to play that part over, so this technique usually involves editing a final recording from multiple takes and is one recommended for a well-rehearsed band, or one that doesn’t mind imperfections in the final recording.

When you record only one part at a time, you have full “editability” of those individual tracks. You also have the advantage of recording the instrument in any way you’d like instead of being held back by concerns of leakage in the mics from other instruments. But keep in mind you also lose the spirit of musicians playing their parts together in real time.

With either method, danger lies is getting obsessed with recording the perfect take. Give each song a specific amount of time (depending on your budget), and if a take isn’t happening, move on to the next song. Come in with 10 songs prepared but be ready leave with the six songs that really worked. You want people to hear your best work, and it’s a good thing if they are left wanting more, rather than getting tired of listening.

* Efficient work with the recording engineer

Make sure you meet with the recording engineer before you start to work so you know that their methods are in line with how you’d like to record. During your conversation, discuss what recording method will be used (one at a time or a live band recording), what instruments may be available for the recording, and what the final product will be. Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample of the engineer’s work before you agree to record at the studio. Gauge how interested the engineer is in the music you’re making. It’s often a good sign if the engineer wants to hear the songs before you come into the studio. Also explore your options and call a number of studios so that you can get an idea of the different opportunities available to you.

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