The Process

       Let’s face it, recording can be stressful. The minute you get the signal to start laying your soul down in front of some stranger on the other side of the window your hands become clubs, your voice reverts to pre-adolescent strangeness and focus is nowhere to be found. Knowing what is expected in the studio before recording starts is extremely helpful in making the process smoother and almost enjoyable. Remember, these moments are not going to define your existence, they’re just the “now” of the musical thought you want to bring into physical reality. The role of the engineer is two-fold: 

1. To get your music to disk  and   2. To provide an objective ear so it’s as mistake free as possible.This is not a judgment thing….we all make mistakes, the goal is to work through them, use them if they inspire, and get the best sound possible. 

 The #1 rule is “THE SONG WILL TELL YOU WHAT IS RIGHT.” This often means listening with ears that aren’t attached to ego, but it always gets great results. The following list of rules will help in making the process easier. 

  Restring guitars and basses at least two days before the session.  Check your intonation as well, if you don’t know how ask us, we’ll help. This can save tuning headaches later on. Bring extra strings and batteries too! Drummers, new heads on toms and snare at very least and a spare snare head.

   Prepare only the songs you’ll be recording by rehearsing each one straight through, intro to end with all solo’s. Rehearsal in the studio is expensive and with the package deals I offer being prepared saves time and cash. Whoever is counting the intro should use an 8 count with the last two counts silent, this gets everybody in together and aids in timing for punches later on. 

   When the song is finished be silent for a couple of measures, no talking, playing etc.. This makes for clean endings.

   A good group mind is essential for the groove, so everybody get rest, be positive, and know what the plan is. Zaney Recording is a drug free zone, if this stimulus is crucial for your performance make sure your partners know and prepare ahead of time.

   The tones you use for live performance very often must change for the recording process so be flexible, listen and be willing to experiment. EQ’ing and stereo placement have a lot to do with how your performance translates in the song. We do our best to make you comfortable and get the best sound possible. 

   Relax. Unless you specifically want a “live, what you play is what you get” vibe, any mistakes or hiccups can be punched in with extreme precision. The creation process is prone to mistakes so don’t freak out when they occur. Expectations play a big role in recording, knowing how it works and what to expect will help ease the pressure. 

    Rough mixes are just that, a preview of what you have recorded in rough form. Listen for a day or so and then stop. Take some time to get away from the material and clear your ears for the final mixing which should be several days later. The day before the final mixing listen to the rough again and make notes on what changes you want. It is helpful to compare to a CD or two of groups whose sound or production you like. We’ll use your notes to refine the final mix so you hear what you want!

    When mixing listen to the WHOLE SONG, not just your part. The goal is to get a finished product that captures the music and performance the way it exists between your ears. Enjoy the ride and it will show in the tunes!


© Zaney Recording 2012