Probably the biggest concern that people have before coming into the studio is the cost associated with recording. Here are some tips and practices to help you save money in the studio.


          1. Make a plan and stick with it- Having a basic plan on how you want to proceed in the studio can save you a ton of time and money. Simple things like song orders and how exactly you are planning on tracking (i.e. all together or separately) can have a huge impact on the overall cost of your studio time.
          2. Create song maps- Song maps are really simple tools, but without them I’ve seen recording sessions go from being productive and rolling smoothly to immediately come to a standstill. Song maps should include a basic list of every voice/instrument of a song. This will help you to include everything that needs to be recorded.
          3. Practice with a click track or metronome- This is one of those things that is really simple but can make a huge difference in the studio. And because we record to click tracks it only makes sense to practice to one. Even as an accomplished musician I suggest people practice to one as it can take a few hours to get used to playing to one again.
          4. Consider Re-amping- If you are proficient in recording things in a home studio, re-amping is a great way to save money. Re-amping is where we take a dry recorded electric guitar or bass track and run them through an amp at a later time, allowing you to take as much time as you want to get your guitars perfect.
          5. Create a scratch track- If you are proficient enough to record some basic tracks to a click track at home, it can be useful to create a scratch track as a guide to use in the studio. You’ll want to write down the BPM of the song and have that readily available for the Engineer when you come into the studio.
          6. Practice, practice, practice- Being practiced is an important part of prepping before you come into the studio. You should be able to play the same song repeatedly and consistently each time. This will help cut down on takes in the studio. It also will help you prepare for the long hours that recording takes.
          7. Change your strings/heads a few days prior to recording- New strings and drum heads are usually fuller and much richer in tone but changing them at the studio can waste a ton of time and money. Changing them a few days before hand allows them to still be new but gives them just enough time to stretch and settle.
          8. Bring spares- If it can will go wrong in a studio, there’s a good chance it might. Strings, drum heads and sticks break. Picks warp, cables develop nasty hums and so on. Being prepared is one way to keep things rolling when things do go wrong. If you’ve got spares bring them with you. If you don’t have spares I suggest getting some.
          9. Plan a food budget- This is one of things that doesn’t really occur to a lot of people until its eleven P.M. after six hours of tracking. I suggest planning out meals in advance or even talking to your studio about having something catered while you’re recording. Depending on how many people are present, it may be a much cheaper option with much less of a hassle to have food catered than trying to feed 8-10 starving people at one in the morning.
          10. Have your gear set up or checked out by a professional- Before heading into the studio its a good idea to take your instrument in and have it checked out to make sure that it is is in tip top shape before recording. This is especially true for any stringed instrument as things like seasonal changes in the weather can have a huge effect on things like intonation.

S. F. Shields

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Posted in Enigineer's Corner.

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