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Music Recording -- 15 Essential DIY
Tips to Recording a Great Record

by Ken Cavalier

With the state of the music industry as it is today, many, or I should probably say most independent musicians attack the process of recording their record on their own.  I have stated before that engaging the services and expertise of a professional engineer and music producer can be the best thing musicians and bands can do when they have put all the material together and are ready to go into the recording studio and record their album.  However, I have also stated that this can be an expensive process and a lot of artists just do not have the budget for this. 

Over the years I have worked with many artists, record producers, and recording engineers, in the studio during the music recording process.  If the budget perimeters prevent you from hiring a well known and professional music producer and engineer, and you’re basically doing it all on your own, most likely in your own home-grown recording studio, here are some very important tips and a guide for the DIY Album recording process:


The Preparation

*
It’s probably a good idea to put together a ruff-up live demo of the material you plan to record.  This will help you to ascertain the best and worst parts of the songs.

* Thoroughly rehearse all of the songs – even more than you are considering recording – Work on arrangements to come up with the strongest songs and parts possible.  Make sure everyone knows all of their parts like the back of their hand.  You should be able to play all of the songs in your sleep.

* USE A CLICK TRACK – The flow and tempo is extremely important.  The drums drive this rhythm – so make sure everything is perfectly in sync.


Beginning the Recording Process

* Make certain everyone is in total tune

* Go through this process as if you were on stage in front of a thousand screaming fans – record with emotion.  Worry about the technical aspect afterwards.  This can always be adjusted.

* Punch in whenever possible as opposed to repeating parts.  It can be easy to burn out.

* Put the focus and essence of what your music is all about.  If you are primarily a vocal band, place a lot of emphasis on the strongest part of your production.

* Record The rhythm first, over dub the other parts.  Don’t worry about effects – You can add them later.

* Don’t over do it.  Spread out your sessions.  The old theory of remaining in the studio for 12 – 14 hours per day is another good way to burn out and not be effective.

 

Reviewing the Session

* Make rough demos of every session progress.  Review it quietly in your own time and space at various levels and machines – such as your car or ipod.  It is important that you do not rely on the loud level from the studio to critique your product.

* When it comes time to mix – bring in a couple different sets of ears.  Other musicians or friends can be a great second opinion.  You may be too close to the music and recording to detect deficiencies that other may pick out.



 The Final Process – Mixing and Mastering

* As stated above it’s always a good idea to have alternative opinions.  Bring in other musicians.  Although – too many opinions can be difficult to deal with.  Simply put all the opinions in place – then leave it alone and move forward on your own.


* View the production as one finished piece or as a whole.  Don’t focus too much on particular instruments.  Everything should be mixed equally correct to ensure the overall sound.

* No matter where you mix – please use the same speakers as you used in the studio.  If not you’ll be easily befuddled at how different everything sounds.

* Mastering:  For optimal sonic superiority, I highly recommend that you engage the services of a professional mastering engineer for this process.  The new ears and expertise of a great mastering engineer can make or break your product.

There you have it – Just a few basic tips for recording a great CD.  I will go into more technical detail in future articles.  Best of luck.

©2016 Ken Cavalier   All Rights Reserved

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