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LASSENCE I1/4-VENTURY II
Tips for a Great Recording
By Richard Dolmat
You know your songs are great (and so does your
girl/boyfriend, family, pets etc), and you finally
decided to record an album in a real studio. Thats
great! But what actually happens when you get there?
When you finally do pick the perfect studio, one
that you feel comfortable at, there is a certain
routine that must be followed in order to get the
best performance and the best recording for your
1.Tune Your Instruments. This also includes your
drums and any tunable percussion instruments you
may have. There is absolutely nothing worse in the
world than to have a perfectly written song with
a perfect performance be ruined because someone
didnt take an extra 2 minutes to check their
tuning. Tuning takes a few minutes; a recording
2.Be Well Rehearsed. Youll be surprised how
many bands suffer shock when they get the final
recording bill. The main reason for this is because
they confuse rehearsal time with recording time.
Rehearse at home, in the garage, at your uncles
house; anywhere but at the recording session. When
you arrive at the studio, you should know your songs
inside-out and be ready for the red light.
3.Practice with a Click Track. A lot of drummers
arent able to play with a click track. Make
sure yours can. A click track is essential in getting
a good basic rhythm track that the rest of the band
can lock in to, and to sync-up loops and delay times.
4.Be Early. Many studios start charging their clients
from the exact time agreed to in the contract. Just
because you decide to show up late, doesnt
mean that the studio should give up that time for
free. Be early and be ready to go.
5.Get the Sound Right. Never, ever try to fix
it in the mix. It doesnt work like that.
Take an extra few minutes to tweak the sound before
recording it. Turn that knob, tighten that string,
have another sip of water. Remember again, tweaking
may take an extra minute, but the recording will
6.Know When To Quit. Recording often leads to diminishing
returns. Spending 20 hours in a row at the recording
session isnt going to make your song twice
as good as spending 10 hours. This rule also applies
to mixing. If youre tired, call the session
and come back the next day fresh and ready.
7.Record Alone. Dont bring your friends, family,
parents or anyone else into your sessions. As fun
as it may be, you are there to do a job and record
the best music possible. If you are a millionaire,
then by all means, have a party at the studio, but
dont count on getting anything done.
8.Mix and Match. After letting the engineer do the
first rough mix alone (which he should) do an A/B
comparison of your mix to some of your favorite
CDs. Remember that the production CDs you are listening
to have already been mastered. But its a good
way to compare levels and panning.
9.Bring Spares. Always bring spare strings, drum
heads, bass strings, water bottles, throat lozenges,
etc to a session. Youll always need the one
thing you forgot to bring, so bring it all and leave
them at the studio until your recordings are finished.
10.Have Fun! This is THE most important point of
all. Creating and recording music isnt rocket
science. Although there is a science involved, you
should let the engineer worry about that. If youre
not having fun, then youre in the wrong business!
© 2004 Richard Dolmat (Digital Sound Magic)
About the Author
Richard Dolmat is owner, engineer and producer for
the Vancouver based recording studio Digital Sound
Magic. Visit his site at: http://www.digitalsoundmagic.com