The beauty of going to a recording studio is that someone else is handling all those left brain technical chores (setting the mics up, getting the headphones going etc.), leaving you to concern yourself mainly with making good music. However, many of us love working in solitude at home at whatever time of day we feel inspired and find that we do some of out best work without the pressure of the clock or the audience in the recording studio. The best of both worlds would be working at home when we feel inspired, using the recording studio when we need to, and being able to collaborate with outside producers and musicians from home. The problem is that technical chores, the engineering chores, can often stop creativity cold when all of the sudden you can’t hear the microphone, playback a track, or your tracks are out of sync or distorted and unusable. I’m sure many of you have raced to your setup to record a new idea that’s screaming through your brain only to get lost in some technical aspect of getting the gear going before you can record. In this article, we’ll discuss some techniques that will help you stay in the creative mode.
MUSICIAN AND ENGINEER-BUT NOT AT THE SAME TIME
I suggest you always try to separate the actual music making from the technology as best you can. Dedicate some time to learning how to use your gear and getting comfortable with the technology without expectations of getting a good performance. Hunt down videos online specific to your software. Scan the manuals. It really helps to have the technology in your back pocket before you you need to record a great take.
GET YOUR TECH STUFF DONE BEFORE YOU START
Before your recording day starts, first:
- set up a rough mix.
- get the headphones working.
- set up the mics.
- test the mics and check your leve.
- make sure the headphones sound great and that the tracks you’re listening to are comfortably balanced with the incoming signal.
- Tune up
- Lastly, put the track into record and make sure you’re seeing something being recorded as well as hearing it to make sure you’re actually recording something and not just monitoring the input. Get everything working as best you can.
ENTER THE MUSICIAN
Then leave the room as the engineer. Get a cup of coffee or whatever, and come back as the artist ready to go. The goal is to be able to sit down, start recording, and stay in the creative zone with as little interference from technical left brain chores as possible; to get a clean usable recording, a great take with a great vibe.
JUST TRYING TO REMEMBER SOMETHING THAT CAME INTO YOUR HEAD?
Don’t even use your gear you don’t need need it. Keep your IPhone, cassette deck, micro recorder, or whatever one button recording device you have, always handy to record that new idea as it’s coming into your head so you don’t forget it. Tackle the production later.
Figure out your set up and how to use it before you need it. Set aside some time strictly for experimenting and learning your gear. Seek out instructional how to videos specific to your gear, maybe even flip through the manual! Trouble shooting while you’re trying to record can be super frustrating and counter productive. Also, check out “Audio Recording Templates” to speed up setting up so you can get to work making music.
Audio File Formats Explained
Audio Recording Templates
Copyright 2014 Crit Harmon