I’d venture to say that most people probably don’t like to waste their time or money. I’ve never met anyone that felt really good about spending their time or money on something that didn’t have some kind of value. Let’s face it, we’ve all done it and hopefully we’ve learned some lessons along the way.
I thought it would be easy to record my music and so I invested thousands of dollars in gear, equipment, and sound design. Once everything was set up, I discovered my recordings didn’t quite sound like the songs I heard on the radio (they sounded like garbage!). It has taken many years of study, internships and trial and error to get to where I am today in my musical journey, and I am constantly learning something new every day. Looking back it would have been cheaper to go to the professional studios to record my music but I had to learn the hard way through years of experience to hone my skills in the elusive art of sound recording.
Through my experience as a song writer, musician, sound engineer and producer I’ve had the unique opportunity to be on “both sides of the glass” in a recording studio. I’ve wasted tons of time and money on projects due to my own lack of experience or knowledge of the process. The purpose of this article is to help you use your time in the studio as effectively as possible, and as we all know, time is money! These are just a few things to keep in mind before going into a recording studio.
- Know the song. Please keep in mind; it’s almost never a good idea to write the song or music in the studio. Unless you have a substantial budget and don’t mind dropping hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars to write your music, you should probably have it written and mapped out before coming in. Make sure you have a solid idea of how the song should sound and what instrumentation you want to use. Have some firm ideas about the direction you want to take your music, or work with someone that can help you develop that vision (i.e. a producer). If you are a song writer but don’t play any instruments, the studio is a viable option to help put the song together. Many times the studio will have instrumental tracks that you can license for a fee or you can work with a producer to put together the instrumental track. Just know that it is very easy to quickly rack up quite a studio bill.
- Practice the song. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on session musicians or producers, you may want to look into putting together your own band, or instrumental tracks before coming in. If you are playing with a band, make sure that you practice the song plenty of times before going into the studio. This helps keep the song tight and reduces wasting time on getting the perfect take. If you have trouble playing to a metronome, you may want to think about practicing with one for a while as most engineers and producers will recommend recording to one. Bottom line, be prepared. If you want a professional sound, put in the effort before going into the studio.
- Invest in experience. By doing the above, you now can invest in the part of the process that has the highest value. It is becoming much more affordable to record music these days if you look for the right kind of studio. The benefit of working with professionals is that they can help you quickly and cost effectively, create the music you want. You might be surprised at the results you can achieve working with someone who knows what they’re doing. At the end of the day, you will get far better value working with someone who has experience (as opposed to the Do It Yourself method) because they’ve learned their lessons the hard way… With experience!!!
So if you want to produce the best results, it is clear that the investment should be made in leveraging the experience of seasoned recording professionals. To avoid overspending your time or money, check out RCR Recording Studios.
Cary Crichlow, Senior Producer and Engineer
RCR Recording Studios