In our first blog we talked about Pre-recording so it only makes sense to do another blog on the recording itself. Recording is all about the preparation you do before coming in to the studio. In other words, the more times you’ve rehearsed the songs, the better. Are you aware of how you’d like to record, live or overdubbed? Are you recording to a metronome? If so, have you practiced the songs playing to the right tempo and become familiar with playing to a click track. If recording overdubs, have you practiced just playing the guitar take with no lyrics? So, as you can see there is much to prepare in order to get the best takes while in the studio. Recording is all about getting the best possible takes.
When laying down acoustic guitar for example, we like to use a good quality large diaphragm condenser microphone plus a DI so we can blend the sound from the mic and DI and this results in a beautifully rich and natural sounding acoustic guitar tracks. Some people prefer to record the whole guitar take at once and others prefer to record it in sections. For us here at Four Doors Studios we like to take the path that makes the artist more comfortable so as to get the best possible take.
Another technique may be composite takes. For example, when recording vocals, we would set up a cycle meter for the chorus and the artist can sing as many takes as required to get the best possible chorus. Then we would do the same for the verses and bridge etc. Comp takes are useful as they give the artist the opportunity to select vocal takes word for word.
Here are our top 10 recording tips:
- Be fully rehearsed with the songs, this includes practicing to a metronome and practicing instrumentation without vocals etc. The more rehearsed, the more confident you will be in the studio and the better the takes will be.
- Warm up! You can warm up your vocals prior to coming in to the studio. Sing in the car or do warm ups at home before you leave. With warm vocals comes a much more confident artist in the studio. This applies to guitarists and drummers and all musicians. Do a warm up at home first and the results will be much better.
- Allow yourself to show strength and vulnerability during takes. This relates to instrumentation feel and especially vocals. Recording a track that has great dynamics and shows the artists strengths and subtle vulnerabilities makes for a much more professional sounding song. This also helps connect to the listener on a deeper level.
- Have a plan and execute it. If recording with a band, make sure that all musicians are on the same page before entering the studio. This will make for a much smoother recording session.
- Don’t be late. Respect your own time and the audio engineer/producers time. This will start the session on a positive note and you will not waste your money either.
6. Make sure your instruments are all good to go prior to recording, for example, have the guitars already re strung, replace the drum heads and tune your drums. Bring extra accessories like guitar picks and strings, cables, drum sticks etc. Tune instruments before and after each take.
- Work with a producer or someone who is not the artist or band if possible. Honest feedback about each take is incredibly important if you want to make sure you get the best out of your valuable time in the studio.
- Do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable. The more comfortable you feel in the studio, the better you will perform and the greater the songs will sound.
- Take breaks to re-energise and record in sections over the day. Three 2 hour recording sessions will sound much better, with more energy in the takes, as opposed to one long 6 hour session.
- Talk openly and honestly with the audio engineer and producer. You don’t want to take home a recording that sounds mediocre when it could have been prevented by talking with people to help get a better take.
To find more great tips on recording head here.
To see a list of songs we have recorded at Four Doors Studios click here.
To check out our recording gear click here.
To learn more about the services offered by Simon Paparo at Four Doors Studios click here.