April 28, 2013

Session Tips

Recording in a studio should be a great experience. We are excited to work with you!  Here are some tips in making the most of your studio time at South Sound Sound.

Ostriches

 PREPARATION

1) Know your material. Practice makes perfect right? We’ll you may not need to be perfect to record but it does help to know what you are going to do when you get here. It should go without saying but make sure you are prepared therefore avoiding F.B.S.O.P. (Flying By Seat Of Pants) Have a clear understanding of the arrangements. Realize that recording in the studio opens up many possibilities to double instruments or add harmonies to vocals etc…if the song warrants it.

2) Practice playing your material without all players. Often in modern recording studios the best results can be gleaned by tracking instruments one at a time. Sometimes it can be helpful to rehearse your songs without out vocals or other instruments.

3) Click track or no click track. Click tracks can be used to in the studio to help smooth out the song tempo. Practice with one if you or your drummer hasn’t played with a click track before. Although we can certainly record without a click, click tracks make it possible to add tempo based effects to the song and speed up editing.

4) Prepare more material than you plan to record for your album. You may find we cruise through the tracks and you have the budget to do more.

5) Whatever instrument you play, make sure you have plenty of spare parts bringing spares of anything that might break. Guitars and basses should have new strings for nice clear sound. Also, make sure you have all your gear and accessories like power cords, instrument cables and tuners as the nearest music store is a fair drive. Drum heads shouldn’t have a hundred rehearsals on them so spring for some new heads and bring spares. If possible, load drums in the studio the night before the sessions so they can acclimate to the recording room.

7) Record yourself. It may be helpful to pre-record your project. A simple hand held recorder may reveal weak parts in a song. Make sure that you communicate your vision for the songs so I will know what direction you are headed with them, it can be helpful to designate a leader of your group for this. I’m happy to do a no cost casual sit down with you to visit the studio and go over your project game plan. It is also useful to know how the material will be distributed; i.e.: CDR, CD pressing or MP3 downloads etc…

8) If your are sequencing beats have them programmed prior to your session or recorded to CD to bring with you.

9) Bring a USB thumb drive or Portable Hard Drive to back up after each session. Each song requires 2-5GB per song of storage and South Sound Sound is not responsible for backing up your material! Computers and drives crash, $#@! happens!

10) Be well rested before coming to your session. Your album won’t reflect how much fun you had the night before…focus young grasshopper…

11) Budget. Make a budget of how much you plan to spend. Estimate how much time you think it will take to complete your project. It is difficult to put fixed prices on recording as each artist works in a slightly different way. Contact us for specifics on recording costs and specials. We require payment of cash, check or Credit Card (3.5% charge) at the end of each session, or phase of the project.

AstronomicalClock

 STUDIO SET UP

1) Please be on time.

2) Make your studio time a comfortable place. Don’t forget to pack your sense of humor! Musicians tend to produce their best work when relaxed but focused. You can bring food or something to drink if you plan on longer sessions. We run a clean studio so no drugs or alcohol please.

3) Your support group. We firmly believe that recording is a supportive process and South Sound Sound is a fun and positive place. Acts are welcome to bring friends along as they are not a distraction during your creative journey.

4) Singers: Get those vocal chords warmed up but don’t over do it. Water at room temp is good, too cold can constrict the vocal chords. We typically have hot water going here at the studio and supply organic tea to help the vocals flow. Sounds between singing phrases can easily be edited out so humming your upcoming note “I Walk the Line” Johnny Cash style is no problem.

GramaphondiscplayerRECORDING

1) Tune your instruments often during the session.

2) We’ll take the time to get the sound you want before recording. Its easier to record the right sounds then to try to “fix it” in the mix.

3) If you make a mistake, we don’t have to start over. We can easily punch in on most parts, like magic. Most musicians seem to get the most inspired takes within the first few takes. No worries!

4) When tracking as a group (drums, bass, guitar etc…) it is easy to run through multiple takes to get your favorite.
5) Get a rough mix of the days session. We will email you a rough mix after you leave through Google Drive, wetransfer.com or burn a CD while before you leave.

6) Most importantly, HAVE FUN! As the sound engineer and/or producer we are here to make sure that all you need to do is have fun making the music you love!