Further Thoughts on Recording

The question was asked, “What's the best way to get prepared for recording in the studio?” The easiest answer is, “Learn how to record things yourself!”

Seriously. We live in a wonderful age. If you own an Apple product, you probably have Garage Band included with it for free. Not bad. For under $500, you can add a recording interface, like the ZOOM U44, pick up 2 decent mics, and whatever cords you need. Then you can go on the internet and find all sorts of articles and videos on how to record.

Garage Band - free with Apple products

ZOOM U44 - under $200

RODE M5 mics - under $200

No matter what OS you use, there are many free or inexpensive recording programs to get you started. Often you can get a free lite version of some recording software included with a recording interface.

The next step is to record yourself, record your band, record your friends. Try different mic set ups, different rooms, different mic distances, etc. Just like learning to play your instrument, you need to practice recording! It's a learning process. 

As your knowledge and abilities grow, so can your gear. You can add more and better mics, a bigger interface, monitors, outboard gear, etc. 

While a lot can be done with a home studio, there are times when a bigger, professional studio will be the place to get the results you need. Now if you've been doing your homework, you will know the language and better be able to communicate with the producer and engineer. And while you're at it, when there is time, ask questions about what the producer and engineer are doing. Who better to learn from than the pros themselves? 

Also, while you are in the studio, instead of just hanging out in the lounge, or playing video games, pay attention to the whole process. Watch how the producer and engineer work. Watch how they shape the final outcome. Take notes. Take photos. Learn what mics and outboard gear are being used. If you get a drum sound you really like, learn how that happened so you can get that same sound again at another session.

The more you know, the more the chance is that you can have a say in the recording process. If you know what you are talking about, producers and engineers will be more likely to try your suggestions and experiment. I feel that it's ultimately important to form a partnership with the producer and engineer, instead of just having them tell you what to do.

Keep learning. Keep growing.

~ MB

Percussion Deconstruction™


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