Stonecutter Studios Tips
- Record all of your performances, whether live gigs or pre-production rehearsals. Having these simple single-track recordings may reveal weak parts of songs that you can fix while in the studio.
- Be prepared by having all of your musical and vocal parts worked out before recording! (Know all guitar solos)
- If you are using a computer or sequencer, be sure to organize all of the material before the session.
- Using a click track? Make sure your drummer is comfortable playing to it. (Tighten up your sound by practicing to a click track at a slow tempo)
- Come in to our studio with more songs prepared than you plan to record. You never know which songs will sound strong on the final tape, so if you plan on a four-song EP, come with six songs.
- Your body is your most important asset! So be sure to take care of yourself before and during recording sessions. Eat well and get enough sleep so that you can think clearly and perform well to make your best sound possible.
When you arrive, get situated with Chris and learn where things like the live room and gear are, as well as who can help you with what.
Communicate with staff about what type of equipment you have a desire to use.
If you’ve brought your own instruments, get them tuned and ready.
Making music is very mood based! Do your pre-game ritual, motivate yourself, get in the zone and get psyched to record.
- Remind yourself that it is emotion and feeling that make the best song, not necessarily the best technical rendition, use your guts!
- Just keep playing, if you mess up a part of a song do not stop and start over. Doing so can become exhausting. Instead, check to see if our engineer can punch in corrections needed.
- Do not try to force something that won’t fit, just because you may have a lot of available tracks, does not mean you should use them.
- Keep in mind the focus of your music. If what needs the most work is your vocals, then plan to spend the most time on them. Do not waste time on things that don’t highlight the focal point of your song.
- Do not rely solely on the mix; make sure to get the sound you want while in the recording session.
- Unless you have unique effects, we will record your individual tracks clean and then add effects later. You do not need to have everything double tracked. Doubling a lead vocal can hide all the subtleties that make a song personal and likable (however, it canwork well for a chorus).
- Don’t risk a bad recording by playing too long. If you’re tired, then let us know and take a break; you do not want any exhaustion to show.
- Keep guests out! You do not need the distraction of having guests, especially if they try to sway your opinion of how the music should sound. It is your recording, so make it the way you want.
- Make backup copies after every recording session. We recommend a master and safety hard drive for every project. Always make a safety master, which will preserve your recording investment in case your original master should get damaged.
- Tune up often.
- Singers: keep your vocal chords relaxed by always having water at hand (do not use ice though, it constricts your vocal chords). Hot tea with lemon and honey also works well to keep your vocal chords relaxed.
- Always get a track listing and accurate time log from the studio.
- Get an idea of how Stonecutter Recording Studios’ system sounds by listening to CDs you’re used to hearing on your home stereo.
- Be sure to always use the same speakers, especially if you are mixing somewhere other than the recording studio. The mix will sound completely different if you opt for different speakers.
- Have our engineer mix your recording; his experienced ears are better trained than yours. Try to keep an open mind to his suggestions! Think about your songs as a whole piece and not on the individual instruments. Otherwise, everyone will want their instrument louder in the mix.
- Choose a band spokesperson ahead of time. Having suggestions thrown from every direction can be very distracting for our engineer, and you wouldn’t want him rushed through the job. So just have one person be the representative of the group.
- Determine which format you want the finished mixes to be on: high resolution, .wav or .aiff files o CD-R, DVD-R, or flash drives; an audio CD or DAT are viable options as well. Specify the bit rate and sample rate for any needed files.
- Budget for and count on unforeseen delays.
Post Recording and Monitoring the Mix
- Listen to your music at moderate levels in your car or on a CD player, because this is how most of your fans will listen to it. Mixing at loud levels will fatigue your ears and distort the “true” sound.
- Don’t worry about taking a break. Sometimes it’s good to take a day off and come back later to listen. The same applies for mix down. A fresh start can make a huge difference!
- While reviewing each mix, make sure you can comfortably hear all of the instruments. Fine-tune the mix on a small pair of speakers at a very low volume. The use of headphones is also valuable at this stage, but don’t base your final decision on them. You should be able to pick up each instrument at this level.
- Learn to recognize ear fatigue. It would be better to quit a session early than wasting time making a bad mix because you are tired, that would have to be redone anyways.