#1
So you’ve practiced tracking your guitar amp in your bedroom/basement for a bit and you can get decent tone. You’ve read a tonne of articles about recording drums, watched videos or recording drums. You know how to mic an acoustic.

Now you want to record OTHER people; you’re ready for it… but are you REALLY?

One thing I see (and deal with a lot) is a band who pays someone to record them. And it’s complete shit. “But we used microphone X and Pre-Amp Y and DAW Z, why’s it so bad?” “My guitar sounds huge in the room to my ears, why is it so weak in the mix?”

Because whoever recorded their stuff has no clue what they’re doing. Reading articles and forums is great for understanding CONCEPTS behind recording, but there are a lot of factors that aren’t accounted for in those articles/posts. Written knowledge does not, and cannot, replace practice and experience. I think, after some review, that a check-list is needed to ensure that you are in fact ready to ENGINEER THE MASSES. Now, I do realize the comical irony of a post to do this, but trust me, you’ll learn some things.

*Note: If you want to be a real PRODUCER (in the traditional sense), not an engineer/producer, learn these things NOW:
1) Money Management
2) Project Management
3) Interpersonal Skills
4) High Level Music Theory
5) Music Technology
6) Arrangement Theory
7) Time Management

ENGINEER THE MASSES

1) Confidence means nothing when dollars are down on the table.

You can think all you want that you know what you’re doing. And trust me, confidence goes a long way in getting your foot in the door. BUT, is your confidence real? Are you over-confident that you know EXACTLY what you need to do for each instrument for each track for each artist? Or are you expecting your confidence to overshadow you not being sure that things are right? Or is that merely cockiness?

In recording, your personal thoughts =/= your client’s wishes. Even if you reasonably argue that their guitar tone is garbage, at the end of the day the client is the ultimate voice. They pay the money, you give them their druthers. Done, that’s it, thanks for playing the game. This gets MUCH worse with producers (real producers, not FL Studio beat makers) because most of them are better at it than you are. Accept this and move forwards. Engineers remember prima-donna musicians; musicians remember engineers who overstep their role.

Ask, before you start recording someone/something, WHAT an artist’s end goal is. Ask what overall tone they want. Ask what kind of drums they want. And if you aren’t sure how to get that result, START PRACTICING. User your own recordings if you need to. Once a client sees that you aren’t sure of what you’re doing, YOU. ARE. DONE.

All of this being said, do your damn best to make sure that any criticism on the recording is because of the client’s requests and not your abilities. Nothing worse than blackballing yourself because you can’t get drums in phase, or vocals and bass guitars that pump when they shouldn’t.

What you record is also important. Do you want to be the guy who tracks everything, or just work with guitar, bass, and vocals? Do you want to record metal, country, or singer/songwriter types? This is all something you need to think of. I got pigeonholed early on in my recordings being the deathcore guy; I’m not a fan of deathcore, but I was efficient and gave results. I love to record classical and pops styles now, because a) it’s fun, and b) playing with DPA mics are a hoot.

Don’t be afraid to branch out either. You may find that recording rap and R&B is way more enjoyable to working with shredmaster DEATHSATANBROOTZ bands all day.


2) Preparation is KEY to a smooth session.

While we complain about musicians who aren’t practiced enough to record, there is nothing worse than getting into a studio as a musician and the engineer has no idea where they want to begin with tracking. Your job, as the main man in charge, is to have a plan. I call it MOOPOO (Method Of Operation Plan Of Operation), explained as such:

MOO: Expectations for the session. This is the pre-session dancing, if you will. Times, dates, rules. YES, RULES! You need to set rules in the studio… these are some of mine
- No Drinking or Drugs
- Do not show up drunk/stoned/tripping. If you do, your session is over for the day. Should 3 sessions be cancelled for this reason, your recording time will be cancelled and all moneys, minus deposit, will be refunded. No exceptions.
- Do not show up late. If you will be late, please call ahead
- Violence of any type will not be tolerated
- No Family or Friends allowed in studio

And so on. If they don’t agree to these terms, or in this case yours, TO FUCKING BAD.

Your MOO also contains a rough outline of schedules (IE: Days 1-4 = drums, day 5 = bass guitar, etc.). You also want to set expectations as part of the MOO. Who is the ‘final’ say in the band, who is the musical reference (important for mixing and editing), who stays and goes. If the bass player is done and he has no other roles in the band, he shouldn’t need to be there for guitar or vocal tracking. This is also great for figuring out mixing times. As a rule, when I was actively mixing everything, I spent 2 hours editing and 0.5 hours mixing for each hour spent tracking. Why so much editing? A fade is an edit. A cross fade is an edit. An edit is an edit.

POO: How you actually plan to record. Equipment, mic techniques, track assignment, room layout. This is all the nitty gritty of the recording itself. If you have assistants/helpers, this will be where you define their role. Even if one guy is your wingman and gofer (I steal a term from LoL and call one guy my Leash (on sanity)), list it.

When you determine your MOOPOO, stick to it as best you can. This will help you keep focused and mostly on track. Trust me, nothing worse than a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants session; those suck ass.

Always ask for a reference track or 10. Meaning if someone wants to record TEH BROOTZ, ask them for some examples of TEH BROOTZ. Listening to a style of music before recording/mixing it is incredibly important. I’m not going to walk into a session recording a jazz band and expect to mic a guitar amp or drums like I would for Strapping Young Lad. I wouldn’t apply the same EQ/compression on a grindcore snare that I would on a country snare. It doesn’t work. Research what is commonly done in the situation you will be in.


3) Common choice =/= right choice, and gear

You’ve read it, I’ve written it. The ‘trusty old’ mic technique. Electric Guitar? 57 on cone. Bass drum? D112. While these are great things to know, they aren’t always the best choice. Part of recording is experimenting with what you have available.

Going into a session, you need to keep your options open. Think of the movie Rounders: You always need to give yourself some outs. Sometimes, that 57 just doesn’t work, and then you need to get creative. Maybe that bass guitar sounds better mic’d with an SM58 over being DI’d and processed that way.

So, take the common choice and realise it’s just what seems, SEEMS, to work every time.

Here’s some choices I’ve made (off the top of my head) that have worked in the event that the ‘trusty old’ hasn’t:

E-Guitars:
Common - SM57, MD421, RE20, i-5
Can be used to great effect - C414, AT40xx series, AKG 451, big fatty ribbons, NT2/NT2-A, e609, MD441

Snares:
Common - SM57, i-5, MD421
Can be used to great effect - AKG 451, Oktava MK-012, C414, Any KSM series, *Perception series (I’ve used these a lot on country/jazz/blues, adds a neat crunchy sound that cuts without being overpowering), NT1

Bass Drums:
Common - D112, AT2500, e602
Can be used to great effect - ANY 10+ speaker, MD421, C414, AT4040/4050, *Apex460 (Canadian tube mic, relatively cheap and really powerful)

Voices:
Common - AT40xx series, C414, SM7, just about any LDC really
Can be used to great effect - combinations of an SDC and a dynamic, active ribbons (I’ve found passive are a bit too dark and some preamps don’t play nice with passive ribbons), SM58 (laugh at that one, I’ve done it and gotten great results)


But, The Chemist, you said to be prepared and not look dumb! I did. Throw your trusty old 57 on a guitar cab, but throw some other stuff on there and compare. Sometimes the 57 is the weaker option, and if you decide on something other than the 57 when recording, record the 57 anyways… sometimes when mixing you wish you had the 57 sound in the end.

It never hurts to over-record and strip away stuff you don’t need. Everyone does it. I don’t think there’s been a session in years I haven’t recorded 10, 12, 15 mics on a drum set, only to end up using 8-10 on a mix. It’s easier to take sounds away then to add ones that were never there.

A lot of this is entirely dependant, to be fair, on budget. And trust me, renting is never a bad option… just make sure that it works and it’s part of the cost. I’ve recorded sessions using real UM57s… and recorded sessions using nothing but Rode and Shure mics. It happens and you learn to deal with it.

So to prepare, I’d look at a few small investments to start:

A good multi-channel interface (Focusrite and PreSonus are forefront)
An SM57
A good pair of Small Diaphragm condensers (Something like a pair of Rode NT5s or Oktava MK-012s, you can find these on ebay for good prices)
One good Large Diaphragm condenser (Anything less than about $300 isn’t good enough. I’d look at the mid ranges of MXL, Rode, Sonntronics. Scour ebay/craigslist/kijiji)
A good set of headphones (I always recommend the AKG Perception 77 or 99s)
A good stereo Preamp, or one of the worldbeater 8channel (this is touchy as they vary quite a bit. I’m partial to stereo tube preamps, nut buying an AD8000 or igimax is not a bad option, increases your live channel count (usually by 2x) via ADAT)

Outside of this, until you get a good amount of work (IE: more than 1-2 sessions a month), rent everything else. You can rent a D112 for like 10 bucks a weekend. Better than paying 300 and using it once a blue moon.


4) Notes. Lots and lots of notes.

While not as important in this day and age (according to some people), session notes are really important. Do a google search for ‘Recording Session Notes’, read about their importance.

Everything from takes, mic placements, hardware settings, DAW set-up (including the PT take lists, other DAWs have this feature as well), guitar used, tuning, etc. is all important. If someone spots something that sounds funky for mixing, write it down. Need to tell the editing engineer (if not you) what takes to comp for vocals? Write it down, even if YOU are the editor and mixer.

This is what you need to specify for editing:

-Track name in DAW
-Timecode start and end of issue/comp
-Timecode start and end, as well as DAW takes, of what is to be added to the comp(s)
-Special instructions (Grid alignment needs, hits and runs that are wonky, StripSilence (really useful in metal to remove noise in breakdowny things)

This is what you need to specify for mixing:

-What tracks are currently softbussed in the DAW
-What tracks are VCA grouped in the DAW
-What tracks are filler (pads, strings, FX) so that they are labelled as such during mixdown
-What tracks contain automation data
-What tracks are scratch tracks
-Tempo maps (if not identifiable in the DAW immediately) and their appropriate Timecode reference and tempo
-What tracks are meant to be hidden and deactivated (this sometimes doesn’t come across in PT, dunno why)
-Other information that may be needed (comping multiple vocal lines onto one mix buss, client requests for sounds, etc)

I found this form in 2010, and have used it since: http://www.soundcurrent.com/Session-Doc.pdf

I’ll print that whole thing out (plus about 25 extras of pages 3 and 7) and put it in a duotang, along with some loose leaf for EACH SONG. I keep almost none of them; when I hand over the DVDs of the sessions the duotangs go with them. That’s why we keep notes, people: if a band wants to revisit the recordings we help them by letting them know what was what, why, when, and where, and recorded by who.

Mastering engineers love these, because it lets them know what to expect. Editing engineers need these because it lets them know what to do and where. Mixing engineers love them because it makes track counting, comping, and assignment easier.


5) Backup your shit and RTFM.

APPLE S! CTRL S! Save often, save the session, save your ass. Nothing worse than recording a few hours of shit then your computer dies. It sucks, I’ve been there (Alesis HD24XR, looking at you).

If your DAW has an autosave feature, enable it. Set it to 5 minutes (never use X edits when tracking, that’s dumb until you are actually editing. I set my X edits to 15 when editing).

When you finish tracking for the day, save a copy of the session files (as well as all audio) to an external hard drive. Done for the session? Hard drive and DVDs. You never know when a session file will go corrupt, or get deleted by mistake, or you want to have 2 different mixes, or have an original master to reference.

Do this like a religion. This is another reason why we take session notes (see point 4).

If you rent gear or get new gear, Read The F’ing Manual. This will save a tonne of time tracking; make sure you know what your gear does, how to determine if it’s working correctly, and sometimes they throw in some useful tips (and if it’s SSL or A&H, there’s usually some great jokes and dark humor in there).

Get those keyboard stickers for your DAW… you may look stupid using them, but it sure beats looking like a tool in the session when you try to use a keystroke combo that instead of changing the TC readout makes the session disappear. Read the DAW guide, learn to autopilot the most basic tasks (new tracks, navigate with the keyboard, set Arm Record, enable record and loop, overdub, SAVE!, group/VCA group, zoom in/out, return to 00:00:00:000, new take). Learn the menus. LEARN THE MENUS!. SAVE!


6) The session doldrums, or how I learned to run a session
Coming Soon


7) You are the engineer, not the producer.
Coming Soon


8) Don’t EVER let the band touch your shit. Ever.
Coming Soon


9) Dealing with ‘that’ request.
Coming Soon


So you’ve practiced tracking your guitar amp in your bedroom/basement for a bit and you can get decent tone. You’ve read a tonne of articles about recording drums, watched videos or recording drums. You know how to mic an acoustic.

Now you want to record OTHER people; you’re ready for it… but are you REALLY?

One thing I see (and deal with a lot) is a band who pays someone to record them. And it’s complete shit. “But we used microphone X and Pre-Amp Y and DAW Z, why’s it so bad?” “My guitar sounds huge in the room to my ears, why is it so weak in the mix?”

Because whoever recorded your stuff has no clue what they’re doing. Reading articles and forums is great for understanding CONCEPTS behind recording, but there are a lot of factors that aren’t accounted for in those articles/posts. Written knowledge does not, and cannot, replace practice and experience. I think, after some review, that a check-list is needed to ensure that you are in fact ready to ENGINEER THE MASSES. Now, I do realize the comical irony of a post to do this, but trust me, you’ll learn some things.

*Note: If you want to be a real PRODUCER, learn these things NOW:
1) Money Management
2) Project Management
3) Interpersonal Skills
4) High Level Music Theory
5) Music Technology
6) Arrangement Theory
7) Time Management

ENGINEER THE MASSES

1) Confidence means nothing when dollars are down on the table.

You can think all you want that you know what you’re doing. And trust me, confidence goes a long way in getting your foot in the door. BUT, is your confidence real? Are you over-confident that you know EXACTLY what you need to do for each instrument for each track for each artist? Or are you expecting your confidence to overshadow you not being sure that things are right? Or is that merely cockiness?

In recording, your personal thoughts =/= your client’s wishes. Even if you reasonably argue that their guitar tone is garbage, at the end of the day the client is the ultimate voice. They pay the money, you give them their druthers. Done, that’s it, thanks for playing the game. This gets MUCH worse with producers (real producers, not FL Studio beat makers) because most of them are better at it than you are. Accept this and move forwards. Engineers remember prima-donna musicians; musicians remember engineers who overstep their role.

Ask, before you start recording someone/something, WHAT an artist’s end goal is. Ask what overall tone they want. Ask what kind of drums they want. And if you aren’t sure how to get that result, START PRACTICING. User your own recordings if you need to. Once a client sees that you aren’t sure of what you’re doing, YOU. ARE. DONE.

Always ask for a reference track or 10. Meaning if someone wants to record TEH BROOTZ, ask them for some examples of TEH BROOTZ. Listening to a style of music before recording/mixing it is incredibly important. I’m not going to walk into a session recording a jazz band and expect to mic a guitar amp or drums like I would for Strapping Young Lad. I wouldn’t apply the same EQ/compression on a grindcore snare that I would on a country snare. It doesn’t work. Research what is commonly done in the situation you will be in.

All of this being said, do your damn best to make sure that any criticism on the recording is because of the client’s requests and not your abilities. Nothing worse than blackballing yourself because you can’t get drums in phase, or vocals and bass guitars that pump when they shouldn’t.

What you record is also important. Do you want to be the guy who tracks everything, or just work with guitar, bass, and vocals? Do you want to record metal, country, or singer/songwriter types? This is all something you need to think of. I got pigeonholed early on in my recordings being the deathcore guy; I’m not a fan of deathcore, but I was efficient and gave results. I love to record classical and pops styles now, because a) it’s fun, and b) playing with DPA mics are a whoot.

Don’t be afraid to branch out either. You may find that recording rap and R&B is way more enjoyable to working with shredmaster DEATHSATANBROOTZ bands all day.


2) Preparation is KEY to a smooth session.

While we complain about musicians who aren’t practiced enough to record, there is nothing worse than getting into a studio as a musician and the engineer has no idea where they want to begin with tracking. Your job, as the main man in charge, is to have a plan. I call it MOOPOO (Method Of Operation Plan Of Operation), explained as such:

MOO: Expectations for the session. This is the pre-session dancing, if you will. Times, dates, rules. YES, RULES! You need to set rules in the studio… these are some of mine
- No Drinking or Drugs
- Do not show up drunk/stoned/tripping. If you do, your session is over for the day. Should 3 sessions be cancelled for this reason, your recording time will be cancelled and all moneys, minus deposit, will be refunded. No exceptions.
- Do not show up late. If you will be late, please call ahead
- Violence of any type will not be tolerated
- No Family or Friends allowed in studio

And so on. If they don’t agree to these terms, or in this case yours, TO FUCKING BAD.

Your MOO also contains a rough outline of schedules (IE: Days 1-4 = drums, day 5 = bass guitar, etc.). You also want to set expectations as part of the MOO. Who is the ‘final’ say in the band, who is the musical reference (important for mixing and editing), who stays and goes. If the bass player is done and he has no other roles in the band, he shouldn’t need to be there for guitar or vocal tracking. This is also great for figuring out mixing times. As a rule, when I was actively mixing everything, I spent 2 hours editing and 0.5 hours mixing for each hour spent tracking. Why so much editing? A fade is an edit. A cross fade is an edit. An edit is an edit.

POO: How you actually plan to record. Equipment, mic techniques, track assignment, room layout. This is all the nitty gritty of the recording itself. If you have assistants/helpers, this will be where you define their role. Even if one guy is your wingman and gofer (I steal a term from LoL and call one guy my Leash (on sanity)), list it.

When you determine your MOOPOO, stick to it as best you can. This will help you keep focused and mostly on track. Trust me, nothing worse than a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants session; those suck ass.


3) Common choice =/= right choice

You’ve read it, I’ve written it. The ‘trusty old’ mic technique. Electric Guitar? 57 on cone. Bass drum? D112. While these are great things to know, they aren’t always the best choice. Part of recording is experimenting with what you have available.

Going into a session, you need to keep your options open. Think of the movie Rounders: You always need to give yourself some outs. Sometimes, that 57 just doesn’t work, and then you need to get creative. Maybe that bass guitar sounds better mic’d with an SM58 over being DI’d and processed that way.

So, take the common choice and realise it’s just what seems, SEEMS, to work every time.

Here’s some choices I’ve made (off the top of my head) that have worked in the event that the ‘trusty old’ hasn’t:

E-Guitars:
Common - SM57, MD421, RE20, i-5
Can be used to great effect - C414, AT40xx series, AKG 451, big fatty ribbons, NT2/NT2-A, e609, MD441

Snares:
Common - SM57, i-5, MD421
Can be used to great effect - AKG 451, Oktava MK-012, C414, Any KSM series, *Perception series (I’ve used these a lot on country/jazz/blues, adds a neat crunchy sound that cuts without being overpowering), NT1

Bass Drums:
Common - D112, AT2500, e602
Can be used to great effect - ANY 10+ speaker, MD421, C414, AT4040/4050, *Apex460 (Canadian tube mic, relatively cheap and really powerful)

Voices:
Common - AT40xx series, C414, SM7, just about any LDC really
Can be used to great effect - combinations of an SDC and a dynamic, active ribbons (I’ve found passive are a bit too dark and some preamps don’t play nice with passive ribbons), SM58 (laugh at that one, I’ve done it and gotten great results)


But, The Chemist, you said to be prepared and not look dumb! I did. Throw your trusty old 57 on a guitar cab, but throw some other stuff on there and compare. Sometimes the 57 is the weaker option, and if you decide on something other than the 57 when recording, record the 57 anyways… sometimes when mixing you wish you had the 57 sound in the end.

It never hurts to over-record and strip away stuff you don’t need. Everyone does it. I don’t think there’s been a session in years I haven’t recorded 10, 12, 15 mics on a drum set, only to end up using 8-10 on a mix. It’s easier to take sounds away then to add ones that were never there.

A lot of this is entirely dependant, to be fair, on budget. And trust me, renting is never a bad option… just make sure that it works and it’s part of the cost. I’ve recorded sessions using real UM57s… and recorded sessions using nothing but Rode and Shure mics. It happens and you learn to deal with it.

So to prepare, I’d look at a few small investments to start:

A good multi-channel interface (Focusrite and PreSonus are forefront)
An SM57
A good pair of Small Diaphragm condensers (Something like a pair of Rode NT5s or Oktava MK-012s, you can find these on ebay for good prices)
One good Large Diaphragm condenser (Anything less than about $300 isn’t good enough. I’d look at the mid ranges of MXL, Rode, Sonntronics. Scour ebay/craigslist/kijiji)
A good set of headphones (I always recommend the AKG Perception 77 or 99s)
A good stereo Preamp, or one of the worldbeater 8channel (this is touchy as they vary quite a bit. I’m partial to stereo tube preamps, nut buying an AD8000 or igimax is not a bad option, increases your live channel count (usually by 2x) via ADAT)

Outside of this, until you get a good amount of work (IE: more than 1-2 sessions a month), rent everything else. You can rent a D112 for like 10 bucks a weekend. Better than paying 300 and using it once a blue moon.


4) Notes. Lots and lots of notes.

While not as important in this day and age (according to some people), session notes are really important. Do a google search for ‘Recording Session Notes’, read about their importance.

Everything from takes, mic placements, hardware settings, DAW set-up (including the PT take lists, other DAWs have this feature as well), guitar used, tuning, etc. is all important. If someone spots something that sounds funky for mixing, write it down. Need to tell the editing engineer (if not you) what takes to comp for vocals? Write it down, even if YOU are the editor and mixer.

This is what you need to specify for editing:

-Track name in DAW
-Timecode start and end of issue/comp
-Timecode start and end, as well as DAW takes, of what is to be added to the comp(s)
-Special instructions (Grid alignment needs, hits and runs that are wonky, StripSilence (really useful in metal to remove noise in breakdowny things)

This is what you need to specify for mixing:

-What tracks are currently softbussed in the DAW
-What tracks are VCA grouped in the DAW
-What tracks are filler (pads, strings, FX) so that they are labelled as such during mixdown
-What tracks contain automation data
-What tracks are scratch tracks
-Tempo maps (if not identifiable in the DAW immediately) and their appropriate Timecode reference and tempo
-What tracks are meant to be hidden and deactivated (this sometimes doesn’t come across in PT, dunno why)
-Other information that may be needed (comping multiple vocal lines onto one mix buss, client requests for sounds, etc)

I found this form in 2010, and have used it since: http://www.soundcurrent.com/Session-Doc.pdf

I’ll print that whole thing out (plus about 25 extras of pages 3 and 7) and put it in a duotang, along with some loose leaf for EACH SONG. I keep almost none of them; when I hand over the DVDs of the sessions the duotangs go with them. That’s why we keep notes, people: if a band wants to revisit the recordings we help them by letting them know what was what, why, when, and where, and recorded by who.

Mastering engineers love these, because it lets them know what to expect. Editing engineers need these because it lets them know what to do and where. Mixing engineers love them because it makes track counting, comping, and assignment easier.


5) Backup your shit and RTFM.

APPLE S! CTRL S! Save often, save the session, save your ass. Nothing worse than recording a few hours of shit then your computer dies. It sucks, I’ve been there (Alesis HD24XR, looking at you).

If your DAW has an autosave feature, enable it. Set it to 5 minutes (never use X edits when tracking, that’s dumb until you are actually editing. I set my X edits to 15 when editing).

When you finish tracking for the day, save a copy of the session files (as well as all audio) to an external hard drive. Done for the session? Hard drive and DVDs. You never know when a session file will go corrupt, or get deleted by mistake, or you want to have 2 different mixes, or have an original master to reference.

Do this like a religion. This is another reason why we take session notes (see point 4).

If you rent gear or get new gear, Read The F’ing Manual. This will save a tonne of time tracking; make sure you know what your gear does, how to determine if it’s working correctly, and sometimes they throw in some useful tips (and if it’s SSL or A&H, there’s usually some great jokes and dark humor in there).

Get those keyboard stickers for your DAW… you may look stupid using them, but it sure beats looking like a tool in the session when you try to use a keystroke combo that instead of changing the TC readout makes the session disappear. Read the DAW guide, learn to autopilot the most basic tasks (new tracks, navigate with the keyboard, set Arm Record, enable record and loop, overdub, SAVE!, group/VCA group, zoom in/out, return to 00:00:00:000, new take). Learn the menus. LEARN THE MENUS!. SAVE!


6) The session doldrums, or how I learned to run a session
Coming Soon


7) You are the engineer, not the producer.
Coming Soon


8) Don’t EVER let the band touch your shit. Ever.
Coming Soon


9) Dealing with ‘that’ request.
Coming Soon
Quote by Watterboy
Do you have any dilithium crystals or fresh warm dumps for sale
Last edited by the chemist at Oct 13, 2016,
#2
I don't know man, I think you're mixing both engineer and producer hats here...most of the time bands can't afford a producer, hire a local engineer in one of these demo factory cut rate studios, he records them as they sound in the room and then they're unhappy.

Well, if we're talking big boy sounds, there has to be a producer on the record, or the engineer has to be paid to produce. When recording some of these sessions you get kids that are so c*cky that you can't tell them the cheesegrater sound is horrid, you mention once and they stare you down...

No drinking or drugs - come on some of the best rock was recorded using substances. Granted, I don't want anyone Jim Morrison drunk or Phil Anselmo stoned but usually I leave that being their business as long as they are coherent. The "no fighting" - totally there with you, but again you won't get any GInger Bakers
#3
Cool article - I like the concept, but I would love it if you expanded on that first paragraph there where you said 'it sounds huge in the room but weak recorded' or whatever. Talk more about getting the dry recording to the polished track; hell maybe consider doing a video series, I would definitely subscribe to that
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#4
@ Diabolical - I would assume that most people on this forum who are recording other people would be the engineer. While there are many levels to this, ultimately a band recording a demo (IME) are the producers. They know what they want, and in my role it's my job to give that to them. If they ask for an opinion on something (and trust me they always do) I'll offer it, but I don't solicit opinions when not needed.

As an example, recording metal drums. Sometimes the drummer just gets what is needed. But sometimes you get that idiot kitbasher (you know the type) who just overplays everything. In a practice the band may think it's cool and 'edgy' but in a studio everything slightly off is magnified and dissected. More often than not the band will ask how to get something sounding better. In this case, I'll offer input (play fewer fills, simplify the double bass) but I won't tell them exactly what to do. I will NEVER start recording a band and start telling them what they can do better; it's simply not my place.

@Watterboy - I think you're right, and I'mma re-write this so it's more relevant to the target audience we have.
Quote by Watterboy
Do you have any dilithium crystals or fresh warm dumps for sale
#6
Thanks Chemist - you do great things. I wish there were more people like you generating activity on this forum
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#7
This is a good read but man, it is too long for the average attention span. Just do a series on it, I'd be happy to work with you on that, but I think you might have it covered.

Great tips on saving your work! Many times had to stay up until 3am in the studio backing up sessions. The few times I didn't they let in one of the engineering interns and they either mess up the hard drive or the digital board recalls.

Also "Studio Lockdown" should be mentioned - had to fight with management and the other engineers over this all the time. If a client has paid for the lockdown, don't walk around in there tripping over their mic placements!
Last edited by diabolical at Oct 15, 2016,
#8
Good call, and I'd love your input and help
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