#1
Thought i might bump this seeing as everyone being off during the summer, there might be a few bands going into a studio. 19/7/2010


So, me and my band are going into a professional studio next week, and we have just been sent a preparation email by the guys down in the studio, so i figured it would be nice to post it up here.

Hey killian,

Here is all the info you need.

The cost of the 4 days is €1360

Chat soon

Ross

----------------------------------

Hi there,


Our main aim to get your music sounding as good as possible. That is done by advance preparation and practice by you and simply allowing our sound engineer to spend as much time mixing your songs after you have recorded them. The recording process generally begins by spending some time setting up drums, microphones and getting sounds. This may take some time but after that it depends on how long the band will take to get the best takes of their songs.


Once all that is done the mixing begins. This is where your recording will begin to sound as professional as possible. We try to encourage bands to allow for as much time for mixing as possible........it is worth it.


Here are some very important tips on how to get the most out of your session so please take the time to read it thoroughly


Handy things to know before your recording session


* We provide full accommodation free of charge for up to 8 band members.

* We can only provide the accommodation for the musicians that are recording i.e.….not girlfriends, brothers, sons, daughters etc....

* We have a full kitchen available so feel free to bring food for cooking.

* The use of the kitchen and accomodation is completely FREE as long as you clean the house and leave it the way it was when you arrived. Unfortunately we will have to charge you the cost of a cleaner if we need to get the house back to the way you found it.

* Drinking alcohol in the house is no problem once you can take the empty bottles and cans with you when you leave.

* When driving to the studio please allow enough time for traffic, getting lost, stopping for food, trying to get the bassist out of bed and picking up the extra gear from your friends.

* Please remember that unfortunately we cannot give you any finished mixes, recordings or session data until we have received full payment from you.

* If you would like a copy of the full Pro Tools recording session then bringing an external hard drive with you is the fastest way to copy it. We can also burn the sessions to DVDs but this is time consuming and unfortunately we would have to charge you for the time it takes.

* A full recording day consists of 8 hours with a 30 min lunch break. You have the choice of starting at 9 and finish at 5:30 or start at 10 and finish at 6:30. Please inform the engineer before you arrive.

* Please remember that the sound engineer works 5 or 6 days a week and it is unfair to ask him to work longer then he is paid for even if you arrive late etc…or did not get everything finished in time.


Most common problems in the studio


1. No practice and lack of preparation. Parts of songs not decided upon and not finished (this can take hours of studio time).



2. Backing vocals not written and left till the day of recording.



3. Guitar solo not written or practiced and left till the day of recording as “off the cuff” guitar solo.



4. No practice done with a click (this can take hours of studio time).



5. Guitar intonation is out and clashes with other instruments.



6. Not allowing enough time to travel to the studio and arriving late and losing a few hours recording.


Preparation



There's no big secret to getting a great sounding recording. It's a combination of:



Good preparation,

Good playing,

Good gear

Good recording studio

Good sound engineer

Very good mixing engineer



We reckon we can supply you with the last three but the rest is up to you.

A well rehearsed band will have a very easy and enjoyable recording session.

Wise words….”Preparation is everything and the rest is enjoyment”

Preproduction is vital. Also known as “Free-Production” because you can perfect your songs and rehearse them without paying by the hour.

This includes absolutely anything that can be done outside the studio. Some artists also prefer to record a very rough demo before entering the studio.

You would be surprised how many bands show up and still don’t know how they will play their songs and don’t have the songs fully written. Preparation and practice are the most important things to do before hurrying into your studio.

This helps you get your work in order so when laying down tracks you can move smoothly through your recording session. There is nothing more stressful than an unorganized recording session. This will cause stress on all parties.





Vocalists



1. It is very hard to be creative when the clock is ticking and very costly as well. So don’t leave any vocals (e.g.…backing vocals) to be written and decided upon in the studio.



2. Know and practice all your lyrics and melodies.



3. Remember that vocals can sound perfectly acceptable live but can sound pretty rough when exposed to the intense scrutiny of the recording studio.



4. Try and stay away from alcohol before your session as it may tighten up your vocal chords.



5. Milk is also not a good idea as it lines your vocal chords and throat and may prevent you from reaching your full vocal range.



6. Apple juice, lemon juice and pineapple juice are great at clearing all the junk from your throat.



7. Remember that your voice needs to be looked after so try to reduce the number of cigarettes you have if any.



8. Probably best not to bring friends to the session who are not directly involved with the recording.








Drums



1. THE DREADED CLICK TRACK: If you are a drummer and are considering recording to a click you most spend a LONG LONG time practicing in advance. It is very hard to stay in time with a click and unfortunately you will not be able to record with a click track if you have never played comfortably with one before. Make sure the band practice with you so you all agree on the exact tempos and iron out the arrangements for each song. Make sure to write down the tempos for the sound engineer.



2. The key of a good drum sound lies in a good sounding drum kit and the drummer himself.



3. No matter how good the studio equipment is, if the drum skins sound pretty bad it will be difficult to improve the sound in the recording stage.



4. We recommend all new drum heads, both top and bottoms.



5. Bring at least 2 snare drums. This is by far the most important part of the drum kit and a good snare can sound very different when it’s miked up. Often the snare that costs €150 sounds fatter and bigger then the one that costs €1500.



6. When drummers tune a snare repeatedly over time they generally keep tuning it up. A tight high pitched snare can sound great for live gigs and it can cut through very well but for recording it will end up sounding like a “Tin Can”. A deep solid sounding snare sounds much better and fills up the whole song and drives the rhythm section.



7. Put on the heads and tune them a day before the recording session to save you an hour or two in the studio.



8. Remember that setting up the drums and microphones for them can be time consuming.



9. A good big and solid drum sound comes from the drummer hitting the snare and kick with consistency. Practice hitting the snare in the centre and not accidentally hitting on the each of the skins…..otherwise it may sound like a miss hit and weak playing.



10. If you like to hit the cymbals hard, consider rehearsing before you go into the studio and try to hit them a little more softly. This helps a lot in getting an overall good and big sound through the overhead microphones.



11. Our drum stool is currently broken so maybe bring your own just in case.



12. Do not forget to bring spare sticks.


CONTINUED IN NEXT POST DUE TO CHARACTER LIMIT
Last edited by jimmy_neutron at Jul 19, 2010,
#2
...

Bass



1. Try to solve any Bass hum before entering the studio. It can take a lot of time to fix it.



2. Check the action and reduce any fret buzzing if needed.



3. Check the pots and electronics and, if you use some effects, make sure you know the presets.



4. Remember to bring lots of picks if you need them.



5. Bass players generally do not need to bring their amp and speakers because they usually record direct through one of our many tube or solid-state pre-amps and direct boxes. But if you have a nice bass head then do bring that.




Guitars



1. Put new strings on your guitars one day before the session so they have a chance to stretch out.



2. Try to get your big distortion/gain sound with the master volume down. Everything sounds good when its turn up but when its miked up and playing back a normal volume it may sound thin and very harsh.



3. If you can borrow a very nice guitar amp (i.e. Mesa boogie, Marshall JCM, Fender Deluxe) then do. It will save a huge amount of time trying to get a nice tone etc..



4. Check the intonation of the guitar. This can be a big problem if you are always out of tune. Unfortunately it can’t be fixed after recording.



5. Make sure you tune guitars several times so that they get used to being at the correct pitch. Check your 12th fret notes vs. harmonics and adjust your bridges accordingly.



6. Remember your amp settings.



7. Be sure to bring your own guitar and amplifier to the session, and bring your favorite amp-modeling pre-amp or effects too.



8. Use good cables



9. Brings spare strings.



10. Check your effect boxes for noise;



11. Check the action and adjust to avoid fret buzz.



12. Always install new batteries in your pedals before the session or in your guitar preamps if they have active hardware or piezo preamp for acoustic guitars.



13. Remember to bring lots of spare picks.

#7
This should be stickied, don't you think?\
I'll sticky it for myself anyway
My Gear:
Gibson SG Classic
Les Paul knockoff >.>
Vox VT30 with footswitch
EHX Big Muff w/ Tone Wicker
#8
Excellent info!

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#9
I guess I'll throw my pennies in the jar for this one.


It's definitely a smart idea to solidify all the parts everyone plays. Even the minute details. Although, don't be closed to suggestions from the producer or engineer. Some things will sound better live than they will after it's been engineered.


It's always a good idea to have scratch tracks ready for the drummer if you're tracking instruments separately. This means recording the guitar parts to the tempo you set as a band (they don't need to be perfect tone-wise, just in time). The vocal parts should also be done for the drummer but aren't necessary. I own a record label with a fellow engineer/producer and many times the emotion in the drums can be brought out more prominently when he hears the vocals and guitars as well. Not to mention he will play, and if it so happens, ad-lib different parts that will be in accordance with the original guitar tracks, as opposed to whatever he thinks he remembers is playing with the click track.


You should ALWAYS be playing to a click track if the drummer isn't already a perfect metronome in the studio.


Run it by the engineer about renting mics for vox or guitars. I know a band who records some things outside an expensive studio and there are places that will rent out expensive high-quality microphones for pennies on the dollar for a weekend. (granted the expensive pre-amps won't be there, but it is a less expensive option if you can't afford to do anything other than drums). Drums are the most VITAL sounding part to a professional quality recording. A good studio will have a big tracking room with high wood ceilings and wood floors.


Bring a digital and/or video camera and document it. I'm sure you've already thought about it, but fans enjoy seeing what goes on behind the scenes. Video clips in studio can be lined up over the final track for a nifty sequence of frames in a promotional video you may make later on. Check with the studio before hand, bc camera clicks can possibly be picked up between (or during) light cymbal hits if you are in the tracking room and flashes may distract the musician.


Don't just try to remember your amp settings....write them down. Three knobs you NEVER touch may accidentally be touched or moved while moving or setting up the amp. HOWEVER!!! DO allow the audio engineer to tweak your tone knobs. Tell him the type of sound you want. Cranking the lows and mids might sound good to you, but studio engineers know the best path through the maze of audio manipulation to achieve the best sounds.


Consider borrowing a guitar or two for tracking. The live tone of your schecter + mesa during your solo may not sound better on a cd than a gibson + orange combo or what have you.


Do warm up with your songs and solos before you get to the studio, or while the engineer is setting up. Consider them pre-takes, as it will help cut down on the number of times you have to attempt to get it right.


Even practice recording at home on a crappy mic to a click track, then play it back. The quality won't be there, but you are working on tracking perfect time and transitions.


Be sure to get PLENTY of sleep the night before, especially if you're starting in the morning. You'll want to be well rested for the rocking that's about to happen. Eating breakfast does help, even though most of us don't do it.


Fret buzz and 'rouge notes' before, after and during places it's not supposed to be in the song should be cut to a minimum


Don't drink alcohol or smoke weed when you record. You think you are better but you are not. If you have to be drunk/buzzed/stoned to be in the zone, you should get checked into a facility.


Being on time means getting there early. Time LITERALLY is money in studio. When you got paid at a show at the end of the night would you turn around and give back 50 bucks to the promoter? Might as well if you like to be late.


Really, whatever software the engineer uses doesn't matter (protools, cubase etc). It's his knowledge, skill, and familiarity with it that makes it great. Ask, but don't hassle the guy. You want HIM to also be in the best mood and not to just be "ugh, I have another band to record today". If you make him think just because you're paying him he should do everything you want. Maybe so, but get on his good side. Avoid being abrasive or pushy. To him you are probably just another band he has to record today. The more he likes you as people (regardless of the music) the more enthusiastic he will be and more attentive to detail he will be while mixing your songs. If he didn't like you as much he might not go the extra mile. You may never hear the before or after difference, but I have. Trust me, you want him to like you .


All in all, make the most efficient use of your time in-studio as possible. Aim for perfect takes, planning which songs to record, having lyrics, melodies and solos written.
This is all what is considered as pre-production.
^^^^The MOST IMPORTANT PART OF STUDIO RECORDING IS PRIOR TO!!!

Being creative is a good thing, don't get me wrong. But the odds of garnering 'perfect part inspiration' while under a deadline don't usually go hand-in-hand with each other.
Last edited by JackFlash19 at Oct 4, 2009,
#10
Have fun! That's one of most important things when it comes to studio recording, it's supposed to be fun but still professional. So in other words you need to have fun but not just enough fun to keep it professional
#11
That sounds like a really good, professional, friendly and sensible studio.

Hope it works out great for ya, make sure you post the recordings as soon as they're finished
#12
Thanks for this I'm no where near a studio but this will come in handy *stickies*


Quote by Spoonman69
Rap is music,far better than metal for example. id much rather hear about hoes and anal sex than dragons and supressed homosexuality.
#13
This is mostly good advice, but there are a few things I take minor issue with.

Quote by JackFlash19

You should ALWAYS be playing to a click track if the drummer isn't already a perfect metronome in the studio.


If the drummer is not used to playing with a click track, then I don't believe s/he should be made to play to one. It will only ruin the performance. Ideally, things will be in perfect time. But I would sooner have an energetic performance that speeds up or slows down a bit here and there than one that just sounds studied and stilted and lifeless. Mind you, a great player will be able to play to a click and still give an energetic performance.


Run it by the engineer about renting mics for vox or guitars.


For the purposes you described, sure. Try it. If a studio asks you to rent mics for 'studio day', then I'd be thinking of looking elsewhere.

Quote by JackFlash19

Don't just try to remember your amp settings....write them down.


I'm glad you mentioned that your favourite amp tone probably won't be the one that ultimately gets used in the studio, though. The first thing to get dialed down is the amount of gain. You never use as much in the studio as you would live.

Great post overall, though!

Here's a link to what I tell prospective clients before they come in to record with me. Note the extra links in the menu related to specific instruments.

http://greenroomrecording.now-here-this.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=35

... and my 'advice before booking.'

http://greenroomrecording.now-here-this.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=48

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#14
Quote by axemanchris

If the drummer is not used to playing with a click track, then I don't believe s/he should be made to play to one. It will only ruin the performance. Ideally, things will be in perfect time. But I would sooner have an energetic performance that speeds up or slows down a bit here and there than one that just sounds studied and stilted and lifeless. Mind you, a great player will be able to play to a click and still give an energetic performance.


I know that there will be songs that are free time and that, if recording the band all at once, change tempo to where a click would be hard/near impossible to program the changes. Most drummers don't play live with a click, and that's fine. They keep rhythm as an instrument. If they can't play to a click, they need to practice more in general.

It's one thing to have an energetic live performance that at times fluctuates in speed (still not a fan, but I know what you're saying), but to have tempo unintentionally increase or decrease in a song that you have dozens and dozens of takes to get it right (to forever put onto a cd) does not sound professional at all. It's essentially the same thing as hitting the wrong note in a guitar solo.

To overcome the 'studied/stilted/lifeless' feel you speak of I do what I said before and put the scratch guitars and vocals in his headphones along with the click. A click track won't be what makes the tracks feel lifeless anyway. It will more likely be the fact the drummer has to play it 3 dozen times to get the tempo right that the life gets sucked out of him.

You have to remember also, always keep a good creative energy and vibe in the studio. Keep everyone happy and positive. There won't be any tear-jerking or face-melting solo's if somebody is pissed off and just doesn't want to be there. Do everything you can to keep your bandmates emotionally and mentally 'in the zone'. (alcohol and drugs actually DON'T do this.....)

That's just my opinion. If the drummer doesn't want a click, I'm not gonna make him have one, but in the event an audio engineer has to fill in or copy and paste takes that he missed or messed up, it's going to be hell on earth (and likely impossible) to fix something after you have left the studio. You're going to be spending $$$ on this album, and there's nothing like having it finished, not being able to fix something you wanted to and having to listen to it never being right until you re-record it.
#15
Quote by axemanchris
If the drummer is not used to playing with a click track, then I don't believe s/he should be made to play to one. It will only ruin the performance. Ideally, things will be in perfect time. But I would sooner have an energetic performance that speeds up or slows down a bit here and there than one that just sounds studied and stilted and lifeless. Mind you, a great player will be able to play to a click and still give an energetic performance. CT


Personally, I hate click tracks, and refuse to record with one. Our drummer does session work so he can play to a click flawlessly, but he hates it (as do the rest of us) as it wrecks the dynamic feel of the band. I think if you're playing complex music (modern technical metal etc) or perhaps have a beat drummer who holds a tight rhythm but tends to wander during fills, it's understandable.

But for rock/blues/funk etc, I just see it as yet another factor that's making modern studios produce bland and soulless recordings.
#16
Quote by kyle62

But for rock/blues/funk etc, I just see it as yet another factor that's making modern studios produce bland and soulless recordings.



??? Is this just a supposition or do you have examples of soul-less recordings who were done with a click track?

I'm sorry, but the fact that soul = not playing in time with the beat is ludicrous.

As far as I remember, drummers, guitarist, pianists....any instrument that has a time signature, should be learned with a metronome in your ear. Since when does soul equal imperfection? Overproduced and overcommercialized are maybe the two words you are looking for. You can blame the musicians and producers for not putting soul into their music, or for them allowing a simple tick to suck the life and emotion out of their playing. I mean, SOOOOooooo much soul in a recording is fragile enough to be disrupted and erased from a cd......Get off your high horse. If you've ever recorded to a click it eventually fades out of your mind and you just play, but you play IN TIME.....

If your drummer has perfect time, go right ahead. But it's just a load of crap saying a click sucks the soul out of a recording. Cry me a river if you can't play to one. Don't downgrade a legit instrument for those who may actually have a use or a need for it and in turn assuming they are going to record a soulless and bland album. How fcking pretentious can you be....really.

Sorry Kyle, I have much respect for you as I've always seen legit posts from you, but that just struck a nerve in me.
Last edited by JackFlash19 at Oct 8, 2009,
#17
I have to say, I agree. Playing to a click produces a bland, soulless, lifeless recording when the player is not used to playing with one. When you're not used to it, you really need to concentrate and every hit becomes very deliberate so that it falls just in the right place, and it sounds studied.... almost as if you're reading it for the first time - only hopefully without mistakes. At that point, you can almost hear the drummer counting out loud as s/he plays. Yeah, it will sound lifeless. But!! If you're used to playing with one, then you just do what you always do - play, and play it fluidly and naturally, so that it sounds like it should.

For our album, we did not use a click. Our drummer has excellent timing, so even the very odd copy/paste usually worked, but there were a few instances where we had to rely on punching in. No biggie. For our three new songs we're working on, one of them uses samples, so we decided to record with a click on that one. Worked out fine.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#19
Quote by JackFlash19
Well I guess we have differing opinions. Either way, be prepared to be in the studio. Whether you agree with a click track or not, it is helpful to have the ability to play to one.


agreed! for the longest time, my bigget weakness was playing to a metronome,yet oddly, i can play to a drum track just fine. that said, i'd prefer a click track in the studio if my alternative is a drum track out of tempo. sure, it might add more "soul" to the drum recording if he just one-take's it and it's close enough (i don't really agree to that, but that's not the point i'm trying to make anyhow), but what about all of the other instruments who have to layer on top of that drum track? what if the bassist is "really feelin' it" in yet another tempo? by the time the tracks get to me, i'm like "wtf?"

EDIT: also, just to chunk a nickle on my two cents, it's my belief that "soul" comes out in a recording through dynamics, not lack of keeping time, though free time passages certainly have their place in music so long as everone recording keeps the same "free time."
Last edited by GrisKy at Oct 14, 2009,
#20
Thought i might bump this seeing as everyone being off during the summer, there might be a few bands going into a studio.