Session Tips

Simple TidBits that will help your session.

There are many ways to screw up your recording session. Whether you are the artist or the engineer there are certain practices you can adhere to when you are recording. If you are working in a commercial studio or recording at your friend’s home recording studio then try not to screw up your studio time in any of the following ways.


 1. Being late – If you are the engineer show up early to make sure everything is working properly. If you’re the

     musician don’t make the engineer wait around for you.


 2. Not changing the strings of your guitar – Scummy strings can’t be fixed in the mix.


 3. Not knowing your parts – It’s a waste of time and money to come unprepared.


 4. Singing with a cold – Reschedule your vocal session if you know you can’t perform.


 5. Giving a lackluster performance – Not everything can be fixed in the mix.


 6. Being disrespectful – It goes without saying, the engineer is your best friend. So treat him well.


 7. Recording for recording’s sake – Similar to not knowing your parts. If you are just piling on parts without a clear

     direction, it’s still a waste of time and money.


 8. Recording a badly sounding drum-kit – Replace the drum heads and tune your drums. It’ll be worth it.


 9. Not having a plan – Make sure you know what you are going to do during the session. A good plan goes a long



10. Don’t cram too much into one session – Don’t try to record drums, bass and orchestra in the same three hour

      session. Recording takes time, so plan accordingly.


11. Skipping the warm-up – Singing first thing in the morning is hard isn’t it? So is nailing a 200 bpm solo without

      warming up your fingers.


12. Recording too hot – Better be safe than sorry. Record at lower digital levels to avoid clipping.


13. Not being in tune – I’m sorry. It’s a pet peeve, but people are prone to forget to tune their instruments.


14. Not having enough cables – Say you’re doing a location recording and you didn’t bring enough cables. It’s not

      only a huge waste of time to go and get what you forgot, but it also reflects poorly on you as a professional.


15. Not being familiar with how things work – If you are working with a new piece of equipment, or working at a

      new studio then it’s imperative you don’t look stupid when you’re trying to figure out how things work.


16. Fix it in the mix? If you know you can(and will) fix it in the mix, then use this sentence. If you know you can’t fix

      it, don’t lie. It’s one of the more common lines in the audio industry.


17. Communicate – Even though engineers and artists are a closely bred species they do not share all the lingo

      that’s inherent to them. If the engineer isn’t a musician then getting too musical will be confusing. Likewise with

      an engineer getting to “audio-engineer-y.”


18. Don’t do drugs – I know what Bill Hicks said about drugs and music, but it’s usually not a good idea to be stoned

      or drunk during a recording session.


19. Bring extras – Extra strings, extra picks and extra drum sticks for instance. Some things break and it’s better to

      be prepared when(not if) that happens.


20. Break the session into chunks – It’s better to record two energetic four hour sessions than one long eight hour

      one where the last two hours people are tired and uninspired.


21. Not being comfortable – As an artist, much of your performance is based on how you are feeling when you are

      recording. If you don’t feel comfortable then your session will suffer.



Think about it, there are just as many things you need to NOT do in order to get that great recording down on “tape”. Just like it’s all about following the right guidelines for recording, engineering and musicianship; there are also some pitfalls you need to avoid.



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