A Guide To Recording Studio Sessions
When you book a recording session, the session clock starts at the time you booked so be sure to arrive for your recording session early. Please note there may be recording sessions after your recording session, so it may not be possible for your session to run late. If you arrive early and there's a session going on please be respectful to your fellow artists' privacy. Feel free to text that you've arrived.
Generally there is some setup time involved in recording. Plan some time to load in any instruments, amps or gear that you need for your session. A great sound starts at the source, so before we setup any mic's we'll make sure any instruments sound the best they can. For vocals and instruments that are sounding great we'll move on to mic setup. Some sources like drums or a live band will take longer, we may setup as many as 16 microphones. For vocals the setup takes less time, we use 1-3 mic's generally to capture a warm and full vocal.
Once the source and mic placements are set, we'll have you do some rough takes so we can set levels and eq on the microphone pre-amps, we'll also check the phase when multiple mic's are used. Keep in mind that the levels may need to be adjusted section to section or from one vocal to the next, if there's a large variance in dynamic range throughout a track or from track to track, levels will need to be re-adjusted. This is a great time to get warmed up, we'll ask you if you'd like more time to warm up.
This is the performance stage of the process, we're looking to capture your best so if you make a mistake or hit a clam, not to worry let's restart that take. We'll restart you if we feel there's a part that needs to be re-done, that doesn't mean you made a mistake but it might just be there was a string noise, we're listening for every nuance and we're here to help you perform your best. Recording in the studio is like performing on stage except that you get to perform several times and pick the best performance to share with your fans.
Some of the time in your session will be dedicated to listening to your performance in the control room, this is an important and sometimes overlooked part of the process. A great take is going to sound great the second time you hear it too. We might add some basic effects while we're listening back.
We'll mix the tracks together so you can listen to the performances at home, in your car ect, note you must be paid up to current to receive a rough mix.
This is where the individual tracks are balanced and tweaked into a stereo mix. Automation will keep the balance and enhance the excitement of a song, in order to write great automation it takes listening to the song several times for each element, Artists can be present for mixing though it's not necessary.
This is the last creative step in the process where a track or collection of tracks are brought together, generally the mix get's the song to 90-99% and mastering is like the icing on the cake. This is where the commercial release level is set and album data is added to the album. For a CD release a DDP will be created for the manufacturer with ISRC codes. Be sure to have all your release info for mastering, this is where it's encoded. Mastering takes around 20-60 minutes per song on average and generally the first song on an album takes the most time.
Breaks are encouraged - while you might want to nail a part and try a hundred times in a row, sometimes the best thing is to take a snack break, have a coffee/tea/water. Take your mind off it for a few minutes and come back to it. Short breaks work wonders for long recording sessions. It's also necessary to rest your ears, Everyone is feels the effects of ear fatigue and it might not be obvious until you take a short break.
We always provide wifi, water, snacks, tea and fresh ground coffee. The little things can make a big difference when performing so we go the extra mile in providing five start service allround.