“For the most part you have a finite amount of time while in the studio. “Given that, try to have a realistic idea of how long you want to spend on each song and then break that up depending on how long you want to spend on each part for each song.”“For the most part you have a finite amount of time while in the studio. “Given that, try to have a realistic idea of how long you want to spend on each song and then break that up depending on how long you want to spend on each part for each song.”
Deal with money ahead of time
“A quality recording studio has some expensive equipment to maintain and some specialized staff, so it can cost you some money,” says Percy. “We all know that dealing with money can cause stress, so try to remove that stress from the session.”
Practically speaking, that means working out exactly how much each musician, engineer, studio manager, and producer will get paid before you step foot in the studio to make music. It also means agreeing, preferably in writing, on how and when that money will be delivered.
Make sure that everyone is aware of what happens financially if things don’t go as planned. “Know what it will cost if you run over your time,” says Percy. “Please make sure that you are as clear as you can be on the details about anything and everything concerning money.”
Know your gear
A big part of communicating effectively with your engineer ahead of time is knowing your own tech. That means being as intimately knowledgeable about your gear as possible.
“Know exactly how to get that guitar tone you might need and know how your drums are tuned,” Percy says. “Know how to edit your synth patches to turn off effects. The engineer will be the expert on all things engineering so you must be the expert on all things related to your instrument.”
This includes knowing what sort of setup will make you the most comfortable for a performance. Do you prefer to play guitar standing with a music stand waist-high in front of you, or do you want to lean on a stool? Do you like singing flat on your back and do you like to play the piano with the bench higher rather than lower? Anything you can do to help get in the studio, set up, lock in, and get ready to play as quickly and painlessly as possible will help you end up with the session, and recording, that you want.
Save your recorded sessions in multiple places
“When it comes to saving your recorded performance, studios do it in so many different ways,” says Percy. “As a client, I would advise you to bring a portable hard drive and copy the entire session to it as soon as the studio will let you. Many won’t let you do that until you pay, but I would always make sure you don’t leave until you have your materials.”
Back up your session again once you get home from the session with your hard drive — and also know what your studio’s policy on data storage is. Some studios wipe their hard drives clean at the end of each day, while others store and archive every single session they do. Regardless, do what you have to do make sure your data is safe and backed up in multiple places.