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Pre-Production


March 9, 2012 by Aaron Dobos

Recording your music well is one of the most important things you can do as an artist.  In this first blog I’ll talk about how to get ready to record and some of the things to focus on before going into the studio.

 

 

1. Are you as prepared as you can be?

No amount of editing or effects can make a bad song good. The more time you can spend working things out in pre-production, the more time you will have to record – for starters, remember to:

 

  • Iron out how you want the song to be arranged and

  • Make sure all the parts work together

Work out what equipment you want to use. That is, try to decide which guitars, amps and drums you want to use for each song, or part of a song.  This may not be something you’ve thought about before but it can add a lot to the feel and character of a song.

 

Good pre-production will mean you’ll have more time to focus on recording the best performance possible.

 

2. Be Realistic about time!

Recording is a time consuming process. If you are after serious recordings (i.e. not demos) any more than 2 or 3 drum tracks in a day is often pushing it. Keeping this in mind will ensure the quality of the end product and stop you from trying to rush things.

 

Regarding sound quality, the most important part of the session is the set up. Many bands don’t realise that it will often take at least a couple of hours to be ready to hit the record button.

 

[This always depends on the time you are in the studio for, the longer the time, the fussier you can be. For the Bobby Flynn record we were constantly reassessing mic choice, mic position and moving things around to make sure we got the exact drum sound we were after.]

 

My advice would be to make sure your gear is set up in the right place and get it working and then chill out until you are needed (play some table tennis).

 

The better the sounds you record, the less it time it will take later during editing and mixing, so take your time.

 

3. Is your equipment up to scratch?

When you go in to record make sure all your gear is working and ready to go.
For instance:

  • Put new strings on your guitars.

  • Make sure all your pedals (and patch cables) work and don’t make excessive noise.

  • Tune up!

 

4.  Get Comfortable

For lots of artists and bands going into a studio can be a daunting experience.  It often seems like a completely different world and so they get overwhelmed and can perform poorly.

 

Do whatever you can to make the studio feel more like home: whether it’s lamps, carpets, incense or posters, if it helps you relax then bring it along.
[Kanye brings his own barber… but well, that’s just Kanye]

 

5. Talk to the Engineer/Producer before you record

You should be on the same page as your engineer/producer. Make sure he/she knows what sound and vibe you are going for; reference CDs and any demos you have will help the engineer/producer know how to approach the session.

 

In the end, recording is all about you. Make sure you put in the work in with rehearsals and pre-production to make the recording go smoothly, and don’t forget to have fun.

 

If there’s anything you would like me to write about, feel free to put it in the comments.

 

 

Aaron Dobos
In-House Engineer at Sing Sing Recording Studios

Website: thesoundbaron.com
Email: aaron@thesoundbaron.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.


Author Details

Aaron Dobos

Aaron is a Sound Engineer based out of Sing Sing Recording Studios in Melbourne. At Sing Sing, he has had the opportunity to work and learn from some of the top Artists, Engineers and Producers from both Australia and around the world.

Seeing how these Producers and Engineers operate has allowed Aaron to build his own arsenal of techniques and he is able to help with most projects and styles of music. As an Engineer in his own right, Aaron has worked with artists ranging from British India to Wiley, and Phantom of the Opera as well as recording the orchestral sections for the X Factor Australia.


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