Recording Studio Tips

Here are some great recording studio tips to save you time and money. We want you to get the most out of your studio time at Waking Life Studios.

Not sure what to expect when you go to a recording studio? Don’t worry, we are here to make this a great experience and with a little preparations before hand, you can save yourself some valuable time and money too. Here is what I found through my own experiences.

Every professional studio engineer I have met who had been doing their job for 15, 20 or 30 years often gave me the same advice when I ask “What would be the best thing for me to know when going to record at a studio?” Their answer was,”TIMING”! If you can’t play to a METRONOME you’ll be doing nothing but wasting time. Often bands will come in thinking their timing is great because it sounds good live, but when you sit down and play each instrument individually, it’s a different story all together. One engineer told me that a band came in sure they had great timing, then spent 6 hours and only got the drums recorded because their drummer couldn’t keep time to a metronome! If your band mates can each individually practice to a metronome you’ll save yourself a heap of time and trouble when you get to the studio. Even better, if you can come into the studio and tell the engineer the BPM (beats per minute) for each song you’ll save yourself some headaches when trying to figure it out in a studio while you’re paying someone by the hour to wait while you figure it out. Now that I’ve covered the big point, here are some more recording studio tips in bullet points:

* Get to know your engineer. Before recording, go meet with the engineer see if you’ll get along well together because you will be spending many hours with that person. If you get a good feeling from the engineer and you both seem to have a good idea of what sound you’re going for, I guarantee you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

* Have new strings on your guitars/bass put on a few days before you go to record, that way they will be worked in enough and they won’t keep going out of tune as they stretch. Plus you will get a great sound out of them.

* Bring in example CD’s of artists you are influenced by or who’s sound you like. For example, I like the band Thrice’s drum kit, particularity the snare, Alexisonfire’s guitar sound and Tom Morrello’s guitar solos, Rise Against’s vocals, and so on. These are ideas I keep in mind when recording myself so as to get the sound I want and have a reference point when mixing. Do not think about sounding like those artists, it’s merely the recording techniques that help the engineer learn what you like, not copying that bands exact sound.

* Don’t be afraid to tell the engineer what you want. I was too timid to say to our recording engineer (who recorded my band) how to suggest some things because he had been doing it for 35 years. But the techniques I had learned in recording were ones he wasn’t familiar with, so some of the mixing done on the vocals that I did at home were a way he had never done before, yet it gave me the sound I wanted. There’s a million ways to record the same thing, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new. However, we also welcomed our engineer to give us any advice or suggestions he thought would work well in our recordings to make them sound just that much better or make them a little more unique and dynamic.

* Bring in things that inspire you or that help you play at your best. The hard part about recording is capturing the emotion of the moment in each song. So anything that helps put you in that mood is something that you should bring with you. It can be anything from a painting, a song, a movie, a memento, a shot of whiskey, having black lights in the room or whatever. I’ve heard some pretty interesting stories of random things people have brought into the studio to help them play at their best.

* ENJOY YOURSELF! If you’re not having a good time with what you’re doing and stressing out over everything it will come out in your music and you don’t want that! Have some fun and get the results you’re paying for!