If this is
your first session, you're in for a real treat. While recording in the
studio can be very exciting, it is also a lot of hard work. Let's look
at what you need to do to be prepared for the studio.
is the key to a successful recording. Rehearsing in the studio is expensive;
so any time spend in pre-production will lead to a more productive and
cost effective session. If at all possible, tape your rehearsals. This
will give some insight as to what will sound good on tape and what will
the "Studio Touch"… Many people, upon first going into the studio,
don't realize that the recordings have a restricted dynamic range. To
help get a feel for how tape recorders react to dynamics, plug your instrument
(this can also be voice) into any available tape recorder that includes
meters, and simply play while observing the meters. Try to play as consistently
as possible to keep the meter hovering around the same range. Blasts of
volume can create distortion, requiring a possible retake; playing too
softly can bury your part in the noise. Learn to stay in that critical
"window" where your playing is neither too loud nor too soft.
Realistic Expectations… Don't book two hours of studio time and expect
to get an album done. Time flies in the studio so plan on at least one
hour of studio time for one minute of finished product (In other words,
it will take approximately four hours of studio time to make a good tape
of a four minute song). If you are doing a project with only one or two
players and lots of overdubbing, count on two hours of studio time for
every minute of finished product.
a Demo Tape... When you are going to be using studio musicians, send
a tape of the songs you will be recording at least 2 weeks before your
session. Recording a rehearsal on a "boom box" will suffice. Don't worry
too much about how it sounds. If you sing with sound tracks, send an extra
recording of just the music. The reason for the demo tape(s) is so the
songs can be charted for the musicians.
6. Have lyric sheets…
Bring at least two copies of the lyric sheet for each song you will be
recording. The engineer will need this during the vocal recordings. We
have found that almost every singer we work with sings with more feeling
when they don't have to read the lyrics. Try to know your songs by heart.
This will no doubt give you more confidence once you're in the studio.
spares… Musicians need to be prepared with extra strings, picks, batteries,
cords, etc. Even though we carry spares, it may not be the brand/type
that you are familiar with using. Be sure to have "new" (approximately
a week old) strings on your instruments.
your nerves... Come ready to have fun! Without a doubt the number
one problem most singers have when they do a session is overcoming their
anxiety. Let us do the worrying for you. If things start getting rough,
take a five-minute break. Walk around the building, do some exercises,
breathe, pray, or whatever it takes to restore your equilibrium. Sometimes
taking off ten minutes will save you hours of wasted time.
fall into the "We'll Fix It in the Mix" trap… Get it right the first
time. While the engineer can hide many blemishes, mixing should not be
a repair job, but a creative adventure. When you listen to the mix, think
of the group sound, not whether a particular vocal or instrument is featured.
Most of the listening public hears only the overall effect. Remember that
as you listen to the mix.
It is the responsibility of you, the artist, to obtain the license to
record a song written by someone else. We do not pay the royalties for
you. You will need to contact one of the companies listed below.
(212) 621-6160 or (213) 883-1000
SESAC (800) 826-9996 or (212) 586-3450
BMI (212) 586-2000 or (310) 659-9109