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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Before You Record in a Studio

Here my tips and experiences:

  • Check the sound of your instruments. Do you have all soundbanks for the synthesizer with you? Did you remove the rusty strings from last gig from your guitar? Is the guitar well tuned?
  • Do you want to record all instruments at once or every single instrument?
    • Recording the rhythm group at once can be good for bands where the musicians interact and need the feeling of a band. A blues band with improvisations will only work with a "live" recording. You may overdub the vocals and the solo instruments and additional instruments like blues harp, brass or tambourine.
    • Recording instruments seperated makes sense when the song structure is given and the job is to play straight like in dance music productions.

  • If recording more than one instrument in one recording session, check crosstalk. Too much crosstalk causes a smudgy sound. On the other hand that can be stylish for your sound.
  • Are the microphones placed right? Not too close (causes deep sound, less body, more noises like hand moves on the instrument's body) and not too far (too much room sound, thin sound, far-away sound).
  • Check the sound - specially of acoustic instruments - in the control room. Does it sound as it should sound?
  • Recording a instrument with more than one microphone can cause phase problems.
  • Has every musician a good sound in the earphone to feel good?
  • Start relaxed and record minimum 3 times. Then take the best cut, but don't delete the dropped out - maybe you will change your mind. And don't be astonished if the rehearsal is the best. Musicians play cool and relaxed when they play (or sing) for a soundcheck or levelcheck, but sometimes get nervous  and uptight at the moment they hear from the engineer "take 1".
  • Do you know what you want? Please no discussion in the recording studio. Make a plan BEFORE you go to a recording studio.