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What to Prepare for a Recording Studio Session

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Posted by Evermore Sound.
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Whether you are a seasoned professional or in for your first session, recording could be an intense and possibly intimidating task.

That being said, there are some steps that you could take so you could walk into the recording studio feeling confident in your preparation and are ready to record a great sounding album.

Do Your Research

In an industry where there is a wide range of recording studios with a wide range of equipment, prices, and styles of engineering, it can be quite challenging to find the right fit for you or your band.

However, there are certain things you have to consider when booking a studio session.

The most important thing is to find recording studios or producers that specialize in your music genre.

Try to listen to their previous work and see if it suits your style.

Additionally, you should probably visit the studio, and see if the recording room is big enough to fit all your band members.

Of equal importance is the budget; it is important to agree on the payment terms and the medium through which you will pay for the studio session.

Guitar Near River

Being Well Rehearsed

One of the first steps of preparation you can take is scheduling the session at a time that will allow you to be in a creative state of mind.

A long workday can leave you mentally and physically fatigued which will not allow you to think or perform at your best.

If you are always groggy until 1:00 p.m., then don’t schedule your session at 10:00 a.m.

The most important step to take is to become well-rehearsed in the music you will be recording.

More time spent rehearsing before the session will save you money because you will not have to keep redoing takes while you are on the clock.

Arrangements Scheduling/Pre-Production

Solidify the arrangement, key, and tempos of all your songs and practice the version of them you are planning to record.

If you are going to layer or harmonize an instrument or vocal parts, try out and work on those harmonies before going into the recording studio.

For this, you could use GarageBand – the built-in mic on your computer or phone or a looper pedal.

It is very beneficial to practice with a metronome if you plan on using one while recording.

This is especially true for drummers as they are usually the ones holding the tempo while everyone else follows.

Metronomes

Metronome

Speaking of metronomes and click tracks, you will need to decide if you are going to use one or not during the session.

Unless your drummer has impeccable timing, we strongly suggest that you play to one when you are in the recording studio.

This will solidify the tempo of your music and will simplify the process of overdubs and mixing.

Again, it is very important to get used to practicing with a click track otherwise it could be hard to play with one and stay on beat without sounding robotic and mechanical.

Sound Vision

You need to decide on the sound that you are going for also.

This can range from a live, roomie, a natural sound to a more in-your-face highly produced sound.

A great way to go about this is to find some CDs that really have that sound you are going for.

It can mean you like the kick drum from one album, the snare from a different one, and maybe the guitar sounds off another.

If you can try to get these to your producer several days or weeks before the sessions so they have that in mind when they are setting up the first microphones.

Warm-Ups

Make sure to be warmed up before your session too, this can include full body stretches, scale exercises, and playing through some of the songs you are going to record.

Breathing exercises are also great for your voice and mind.

Taking deep breaths can help you stay relaxed, confident, and calm.

It can also help you overcome any fear or anxiety of recording when you are in the studio.

Figure out what works for you and be sure to leave yourself time for that before your session starts.

String Changes

Along with these tips that apply to all musicians, there are also several others that will apply to specific instruments.

For guitar and electric bass, you should restring your instrument with brand new strings three to five days before your session.

Fretboard

This will allow your instrument to sound its best and will allow a reasonable time for your strings to stretch and settle.

It is also recommended to bring an extra set in case one break during the session.

Check that your guitar is properly set up which includes intonation and the height of your action.

Be sure to bring all the power supplies and patch cables needed for your pedal-board as well as extra 9-volt batteries if you use them in your pedals or have active pickups.

Make sure to bring your favorite picks and a strap, capo, or anything else you might need.

We have many of these items available at the recording studio but most players tend to favor the feel of a certain pick and other accessories.

If you feel that your amp is not sounding as good as it should, schedule a tune-up with your repair guy a few weeks before your session at the recording studio.

This will give you plenty of time in case a part needs to be ordered.

If you are not happy with your amp sound or looking for a different flavor, we have several classic and modern amps that are available for you to use in our recording studio.

For other string instruments such as violin and cello, strings tend to last much longer – so as long as they have been changed within a few months of the session they should sound great.

Having your bow rehired a few days before the session however can vastly improve your sound.

For drummers, replacing the batter heads will make your drum perform and sound at its best.

Before coming into the recording studio, check the tuning of all your drum heads and adjust as needed now.

If your cymbals don’t sound great, consider borrowing some from a friend.

Make sure your hardware is not noisy either; this may include applying some DWD-40 to a squeaky kick pedal or tightening a loose lug on a top.

If you could hear a noise that should not be there, the mics will definitely hear it.

Don’t forget to bring your sticks along with extras and any other types of brushes or mallets you may use.

Microphone

For vocalists, figure out what part of the day your voice is at its peak performance, we will schedule the vocals of your session accordingly.

This may mean that one song has some really low notes that you hit best in the morning or all your other material is better performed later in the day.

If you have a secret weapon such as a specific T or a throat spray that you usually use when singing, make sure to bring it.

Also, be sure not to wear your voice out in the days leading up to the session.

Practice and warming up are good things but too much of it can be counterproductive.

We have noticed that the more constructive practice a vocalist gets in the weeks before the session; the more their abilities and stamina are increased.

A few other considerations to take before you come into the recording studio include bringing in a song list for the band, engineer, and producer – this will allow everyone to follow the progress of the session.

If you are using session musicians, chord charts and lyric sheets are a necessity.

Even when recording vocals, the producer might want to follow along with the lyrics.

Along with preparing for the performances, you will need to get a grasp on the overall concepts and goals of the project and convey this to your producer.

This includes what the tracks will be used for, which may be a demo to get gigs, a fully produced album for distribution and sales, or just something to give to your family.

Purpose of Audio

Figure out what format you need your audio in or let us know what want to do with it and we could help decide what you need.

You might even want instrumental versions and vocal-only versions so you could easily license your music to TV and movies or use the audio as a karaoke track.

The extra cost of 10 to 15 minutes per song will now save you hundreds of dollars down the road if you need to rebuild the mix for any reason.

Data Backups

Along these lines of format delivery, you must also decide how and if you would like your audio backed up.

This can be individual tracks which each contain different instruments; stems, which contain groups of instruments, or the simple stereo mix downs.

Remember the recording studio does not hold these files.

If you are unsure what is best for your specific project, let us know and we could give you the details of each option and help you decide which option is best for you.

Difference Between Using an Engineer VS Producer

Often, audio engineers and music producers work together to create great musical recordings, however, their skills and roles differ a bit.

Both audio engineers and music producers work with musicians to create the sound they want.

However, a music producer has more of a managerial and leading role, as they are involved with the sounds that should be included at different points and the aural aesthetics of the recording.

On the other hand, an audio engineer operates on the more technical aspects of production.

Their focus is on compiling and recording different sounds. Music producers, like audio engineers, typically work in recording studios.

What to Expect at Evermore Sound Recording Studio?

Evermore Sound Console

You might be wondering what should I expect when I get to the recording studio.

Well, you can expect an inviting environment with a knowledgeable staff to help you with your needs and concerns.

Our facility can accommodate many people but we suggest limiting the number of guests coming to your sessions.

The more people the more distractions and loss of focus take place, hindering the quality of your session.

If musicians are arriving at different times and have strict schedules, you will also want to make sure the producer knows this information so the session priority can be prepared correctly before the musicians show up to record.

Most artists like to bring prepared food to the recording studio or have food delivered.

If a band is recording, they might take turns eating while other musicians are recording their parts to efficiently use the day.

Other bands like to take a break at the same time, just let the producer know your preference.

At the end of your session, it is possible to take a progress CD with you so you could review the work of the day.

Remember, it takes time to render all the songs and prepare the CD; make sure you allow time before the end of your scheduled session time for the producer to accomplish this.

Evermore Sound recording studio is a fully integrated multimedia production facility in Orlando, Florida. Book your session today!