Tips for Maximizing Your Recording Time – Part 1

How to Prepare for Your Recording Session

A few words of wisdom for your preparation in the days leading up to your session. This is cobbled together from my own experience and that of older, grayer and wiser engineers.

Ground Rules

Here in the Red Room, I have a few rules which need to be followed at all times. These rules are meant to maximize the productivity of the session, and to ensure the health and safety of all involved. If you get kicked out for violating these rules, don’t expect a refund – These are pretty straightforward:

  1. Respect the Studio and all people, equipment, furniture, etc. within its walls. I’m happy to share my amps, guitars etc. as long as they are used in a professional manner. You break it, you buy it.
  2. No Smoking inside the Building or Studio – If you smoke outside, please clean up your butts (empty cans/bottles are great for this).
  3. Nothing wrong with having a few drinks during the session, but keep it reasonable, see the first point above, and don’t drink and drive.
  4. Rock out and melt faces like a boss.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are a few tips to get the most out of your session before, during and after the tape rolls:

Pre-Session Preparation

Getting your act together before the session is the most important part of any recording project – treat your session like its the biggest show you’ve ever played, and keep these tips in mind while you’re getting ready to go into the studio:

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice only the songs that you’ll be recording for at least 2 days before the session. Practice with the last two beats of your count in silent (i.e. “1, 2, …, …”)

The Click is Your Friend (Part 1)

If you’re a drummer, practice with a metronome or click – you can even get metronome apps for your smartphone like those listed here

Spare Parts/Strings

If needed, put on new strings and drum heads at least 2 days before the session. Bring extra batteries, tuners, strings, sticks and cables, just in case. I’ve usually got some on hand, but better safe than sorry.

Sleep It Off

Go to bed early the night before the session, eat a good breakfast that morning, don’t party too hard. On drugs and drinking; Some people play better when they’re wasted, some don’t. Check with the rest of the group to see which category you fit into. See Rule No. 3 Above.

During and After the Session

The next post in this series deals with how to successfully slay your session and mix reviews.

Check out Part 2