Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Studio Recording Tips- How to keep a smile on everyone's face :)

Most often I got calls and enquiries about studio rates and what are the possible best way to get their songs done in the least time and best performances. I can't give you a price quote when you're not sure of what you want to do in the studio. Well, here are some accumulated experience throughout my days in StarMount Studio:   Sessions can take too long, albums budget went overboard, and musical and artistic differences can put a real strain on band relationships. So I've decided to put up some useful tips for those who are preparing to record at a studio that can help save time, money, and relationships.
#3 – Have a reference and know the sound/ tone you want
I do agree on creativity and keeping an open mind on every project as nobody likes to classify their sound, but it is important to have reference points when trying to explain the tone you’re looking for.  It'll be a great help if you could show us samples or references, for instance - " I like the reverb on this particular vocal track, or I want my drum sound like this reference". And most of all, keep it realistic. A Yamaha Grand Piano will never sound like a Steinway in anyways... If you want to have the sound of a Steinway grand, go get one. Well, to have a clear sound in your mind and be able to kind of reference it to the engineer would speed up the whole set up and tone searching time. 
#2 – Get your gear(s) into shape.
Before coming into the studio make sure your gear is in good working order.  Change guitar strings and drum heads.  Batteries!! Make sure your active guitars/bass/ stomp boxes are fully charged or replaced. It happens when all of us  would be so carried away, looking for the buzz or trying to fix distorted signals and in the end is the caused of a dying battery.   Drummers make sure that you have enough sticks to break, and make sure the pedal is squeak proof.( a lil WD40 spray would do the job)
#1 – Plan your songs
In my opinion, the #1 way to save time and produce the best recording is to come into the studio with your songs prepared.  You don’t want to waste your studio time working out arrangements, especially when you're on budget crunch. Although more time spent means better business to us, but we certainly do not want that to happen. We want to extract and capture the maximum potential of your project, thus putting more time on tracking and mixing.  Sure, there might be some "magical" moments of artistic inspiration happen when you want to try a different harmony or rearrange a chorus, but it should be just a bonus on the already solid foundation. 
It is always good to have a well thought out pre production plan. Then bands/artistes can communicate better with the engineer on voicing out the needs. And if you have your own comfortable ear/headphones, bring along and you won't have to complain on how uneasy you are with a stranger headphones.
Of course, keeping everyone hydrated and well fed is the key of a happy and productive session.

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