#1
I was just wondering if there were any tips that can make a big difference in studio recording. Obviously learning the songs really well and being able to play them well is a given. I was wondering because from previous experiences I've compared our song from a studio where another band recorded and I always think the other band sound way better, it's not really the equipment and (I don't mean to sound cocky) but sometimes there really isn't that much skill in difference.

So if anyone has any tips, I'd be extremely happy as I am recording in nearly 2 weeks time.
#2
Well, I think it could be a number of things....It could be the person mixing/mastering the tracks, they might not be as good as who the other bands get...

The second thing I can think of is how its recorded, do you guys record it while all playing at the same time, or do takes via mutitrack (like have the guitarist record separate, then the bass player, etc.)
#3
If you have more than one guitarist in a band then only have one of them record all the rhythm guitar tracks, makes it more consistent that way. Make sure you have a book or something to keep you busy while the producer is doing some editing. Obviously be able to play the song perfectly. My general rule before entering a studio is to make sure I can play a song flawlessly 3 times in a row. If you have some way to record yourself at home beforehand, it makes a huge difference because hearing yourself while playing sounds very different than hearing yourself while not playing.
#4
Quote by badgers brow
I was just wondering if there were any tips that can make a big difference in studio recording. Obviously learning the songs really well and being able to play them well is a given. I was wondering because from previous experiences I've compared our song from a studio where another band recorded and I always think the other band sound way better, it's not really the equipment and (I don't mean to sound cocky) but sometimes there really isn't that much skill in difference.

So if anyone has any tips, I'd be extremely happy as I am recording in nearly 2 weeks time.

Time taken may well be a factor - a few years back my band recorded with a producer who had a UK number 1 hit to his credit, amongst other things. Tracking went fairly well, albeit a bit more rushed than I'd prefer, (3 songs in 3 days) but when it came to the mix it seems to me more and more as I develop as an engineer that he just threw up a quick balance with a few nice plug-ins thrown here and there to try and a little quick, cheap sparkle and considered it done as it was only a few days and a small project to him.

When people pay more money and book more studio time, unfortunately many engineers prioritise this for their focus and smaller projects (demos/EP's) can be pushed out of frame so little is really done short of pressing record and delivering a stereo mix to the client.

Just try and make sure you don't try to cram too much into the time you spend there, and if you really want it to sound pro consider that even for the level I'm at (far from a pro-level producer, I'd imagine) I usually spend most of the first day of a session setting up the drumkit and tuning it, getting it in the right part of the room, and then trialling a few mics and putting them in the spot that sounds right. A whole day.
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#5
You need to tell the sound engineer how you guys want to sound. Unless you have a producer, it's your job to tell him how you want it to sound. If you want a more clicky, metal sounding bass kick, then tell him. If you think the guitar is too bright or too muddy, tell him. Sit there with him and work through every song like that.

If he refuses to work with you, then find a different studio, cause you'll never be happy with that one. If it's not your skill or anything holding you back, then it's just a lack of communication during mixing/mastering. It should make a world of difference. You should be happy with it, at the least. You could also get the stems from them and try mixing and mastering it yourself just for kicks as well. Or let the Mixing/Mastering Competition use them and watch what they come up with. There are a ton of people on here who would be willing to do that stuff for free (myself included), just as a challenge and for the experience.

If you want more info, just PM me. Also, what DisarmGoliath said is also quite true.
Last edited by CrossBack7 at Aug 20, 2011,
#6
If you haven't all recorded a quick live demo of you all playing together for the drummer to play along to...make sure they use a click track. Don't be afraid of people rolling their eyes at you, it really holds the whole thing together better.
How are the guitars/bass recorded? Miced up amps or run through a DI box? Are you layering any tracks? What mics are you using on the drumset, and how are they arranged?
Remember, mixing is as much (if not more) about making the individual tracks sit well together and adjusting the levels, as about EQ and compression etc.
#7
At the two studios I've previously tried, we're basically done it to a click track and layer it over multiple times with each instrument to get the best sound. Everything pretty much put to mic.

I've done it live before, but to me it's far too difficult to get it perfect, there's always going to be some small little flaws.

I just can't see how sometimes another band that will spend the same amount of time at the same studio with no real difference in equipment and skill will come out with vastly better quality recordings.

I'm kind of thinking that the best approach is setting out how we want the instruments to sound first and lay that to the studio engineer as CrossBack7 stated.

Cheers for all the replies so far.
#8
- Make sure the whole band can play through the songs all on their own (too many people rely on hearing the other guys part - big mistake)
- Practice to a click - religiously - bands are annoying when they get lazy and duck this - consistency is a big part of maintaining a listeners focus, when people hear timing issues they are brought out of the illusion of a perfect musical vision and the general allure of the music - even unconsciously. Plus you'd be amazed at how much better everything sounds when its perfectly in unison, it punches through so much more.
- New Strings & Skins - should be obvious but some people are lazy .
- Don't insist in completing something in one take without drop ins - people object sometimes when I make them go from the middle of the song - this isn't about ego or pride its about consistency (that word again); nobody completes everything in one take unless they drum for Nickelback or something. It saves time too - work with it.
- Get as much time as possible - the more stuff is rushed the weaker it tends to be, an engineer fixing something later is never as good as getting it right in the first place but that requires a good degree of patience too.
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