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Essential Tips: Booking a Studio
So, why would you decide to spend some time and money in a professional recording studio? Because the process of recording and mixing music is highly skilled. Anyone can do it, but to do it well requires much practice and talent: audio engineers and producers usually work a ten-hour day.
Here are some ideas, based on managing a studio for 15 years:
1. All pro engineers will be able to do a good job with any kind of music, but will have their particular enthusiasms and tricks, so try to find a studio who can supply someone who has a track record with your style of music.
2. Send the guy a couple of tracks (no matter how badly recorded) ahead of the session and get any feedback you can about how much time you will need to book and how you plan to record - live? Click-track? Overdub? Etc.
3. Check out the studio drum kit - hopefully it will be properly tuned and will save time. (Your drummer can take his snare and cymbals along).
4. Tape is nice for some kinds of music, but it's expensive and slow. Forget it until you have more studio experience.
5. The engineer will record your music as YOU want it to sound (not as he might like you to sound) so make sure the band members are in general agreement before you enter the studio. If you are not agreed on this you will waste a lot of studio time.
6. Steve Albini was not the first person to do this!
7. If you are on a tight budget (who isn't?) then try to mix each track when you record it. This will save time. If you can afford a separate session for mixing, your ears will be fresh,but it will take longer.
8. FORGET DEMOCRACY WHEN MIXING - you will end up with something that everyone accepts but no one really loves. The engineer plus one is usually the best team.
9. The singer is king/queen. If the voice is not in good shape, postpone the session, even if a fee is payable. Auto-tune cannot perform miracles...
10. Provide your own external hard drive for recording (usually FireWire) and make sure the studio keeps a backup copy of the session on their system until the final mixes are agreed. There are two kinds of computer user: those who have lost data, and those who will lose data!
?Have fun, but go easy on the fluids/substances: you will regret it later.
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