#1
What is something you wish you knew going into your first time at a recording studio? What's the typical process (steps, procedure, order, etc.)? What are some good ways to prepare?

Some background:

I have an original project with about 10-15 minutes of music that I would like to have recorded professionally in the near future. I've already invested in a USB 8-track mixer and a few microphones for home-recording demo purposes - but rather than having to buy more gear and spend more time learning about audio engineering, I'd prefer to focus more on the music, the arrangement, and actually playing.

Also, I will probably have to play every instrument myself (guitar, bass, drums), so I am concerned about the amount of material I will have to practice, but I am open to the idea of session musicians (I have never worked with session musicians either). Long story short: I don't want to let my lack of a band prevent me from getting my original ideas out there. Sounds kind of backwards, but I think having a recording done first would help me start a band. I've been working at this for so long that I honestly don't care how expensive it is.

This seems like a very DIY and home-recording type of forum, but has anybody here ever gone this route?
#2
Quote by cjohnson122989
What's the typical process (steps, procedure, order, etc.)?
You enter, you record stuff and then you exit.
Quote by cjohnson122989
What are some good ways to prepare?
Learn everything good enough to be able to play it perfectly the first time you play it, so you don't waste anybody's time nor your money.

If you get a DAW you'll have yourself a way of putting your stuff together.

The reason to go into a recording studio is to record stuff nicely to very good, though you gotta have something to record and you gotta be able to do it perfectly.
If this is the case, learn your stuff and go into a recording studio.

If that's not the case, get a DAW and record decently your stuff at home.
Name's Luca.

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#3
Quote by Spambot_2
You enter, you record stuff and then you exit.
Learn everything good enough to be able to play it perfectly the first time you play it, so you don't waste anybody's time nor your money.

If you get a DAW you'll have yourself a way of putting your stuff together.

The reason to go into a recording studio is to record stuff nicely to very good, though you gotta have something to record and you gotta be able to do it perfectly.
If this is the case, learn your stuff and go into a recording studio.

If that's not the case, get a DAW and record decently your stuff at home.


yeah. this is basically the response i expected. i'll pretend that you read the part where i said i already own a mixer and microphones... but maybe i should have clarified that i am also putting the multi-track demos together myself first.
#4
Discuss preparation with the studio mgr as they should have recommendations. Know your music well and be prepared to record it in order. Use a click track always. Have a good idea about how you want things to sound but trust the ideas of the engineers and session musicians who do this a lot. Bring lead sheets so others can see the song layout and make notes if needed. Make room for spontaneous inspiration which often happens in studio. Have fun.

FWIW I think you're wise to do this in a studio and let the pros handle the tech stuff while you focus on the music. You will nearly always get better results this way.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Jun 8, 2014,
#5
Quote by Cajundaddy
FWIW I think you re wise to do this in a studio and let the pros handle the tech stuff while you focus on the music. You will nearly always get better results this way.


Thanks. I was thinking the same thing. Would be nice to have someone with more experience running the computer for a change. I like the DIY approach, but I've been overwhelmed lately. I don't mind outsourcing some work.
#6
Make sure your shit works, make sure you can play the stuff you wrote, make sure your equipment is set up, new strings etc. Be professional, don't **** with the sound guy. Know what you want but be open to the fact that the studio engineer probably knows more than you do.
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#7
Quote by ChemicalFire
Be professional, don't **** with the sound guy. Know what you want but be open to the fact that the studio engineer probably knows more than you do.


Absolutely. I have been on the other end of this and it sucks. Part of my decision to do this is precisely because I'd like to have someone more knowledgeable than me handling the mix. I have no problem trusting someone else to do this.

I once let one of my friends use me and my equipment to record one of his songs. He was just as ungrateful for my time as he was clueless about recording. Huge waste of my time. Very unprofessional.
#8
I always direct potential clients to these two particular pages:

http://greenroomrecording.now-here-this.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19&Itemid=20

http://greenroomrecording.now-here-this.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32&Itemid=4

That's a good start.

As far as playing to a click, the jury is really divided on that one. Sure, it's nice, often. But not always. If the drummer has little experience playing to one, you may actually wind up stifling the performance and have it come off as stilted or mechanical. Or he/she may screw up often because they're just not used to it. I've done both with a click and without, and honestly, it really doesn't matter.

A click makes editing later easier. It means a track that will be in time. However, a solid drummer with a great sense of time doesn't need a click to help produce an even performance. Of course, if the drummer has a great sense of time, it probably has come about as a result of practicing to one...

A drummer with a poor sense of time probably does so because he/she doesn't practice to one. A click may well only make things worse.

If you play to a click, you can't let the song ebb and flow unless you take a fair amount of time programming those accelerandi and decelerandi into the tempo map, which is a pain in the arse.

Mutt Lange (Def Leppard, AC/DC, Shania Twain, Backstreet Boys, etc.) = click nazi.

Steve Albini (Nirvana) = click only if it will make a better performance. Did not use a click for Nirvana. Of course, Dave Grohl is a solid drummer....

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.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jun 9, 2014,
#9
Quote by axemanchris


Much appreciated. These were helpful links.

On the subject of the click: I'll be playing guitar primarily, and I've never had a problem recording with one at home. Definitely makes editing easier. When I try to record drums though, I do struggle with the click - partly because of the noise, and partly because of the natural time-keeping as you've said. I will need to figure something out there. But thanks!
#10
No prob. Glad what I linked you to was of some help.

It almost always works better to record the drums first, then bass, then guitars. Trying to do drums after a guitar part is down or whatever is usually a headache - even with a click somehow.

Once you've got the drums, playing guitar or bass to that should be a cinch.

Just get a really loud pair of phones and find a sound - usually beeps or something - that will cut through the drum noise and that you will be able to hear in the phones.

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.