studio time

Getting the most out of your studio session

Many bands come to Shine On with no prior studio experience, so here are a few tips for using studio time efficiently.

First and most importantly, be prepared to spend time working on recording & mixing. Spending all your time on recording will leave you with unfinished tracks. A good engineer will record decent raw tracks, but they will still need to be mixed. The amount of time it takes to mix a track can vary, but a good rule to follow is at least 1 hour of mixing for each recorded minute. So a 4 minute song can take 4 hours to mix. If you want to get technical about the mix, plan more time. Better to over-estimate than run out of time with half-mixed tracks.

Second, show up on time. Time is the primary factor for how your session moves along. Showing up late to a session is the same as giving away money. Don't expect an engineer to stay late cause you showed up late. It's called an appointment and that means everyone has agreed to meet at a specific time.

Third, make sure your gear is in good condition to record. Tune, replace strings, bring spare everything, and always plan for the worst-case scenario. It doesn't happen often, but I've had sessions where the tubes in the amp burn out. Think of everything because this rolls back to the time factor. Running to Guitar Center in the middle of your session is waste of time and money. Don't expect the studio to put your session on hold while you run errands.

If you plan ahead and prepare for your session, you'll walk away with great recordings that sound professional.

What time should I arrive at the studio?

I get a lot of clients asking this question and it is a good question. Time is the primary commodity in the studio. Regardless of the rates studios charge, you're still spending your hard earned cash on time in the studio. The rate may be based on the gear the studio has or the experience of the engineer, but it still revolves around time. To make the most of your time in the studio, start with getting to the studio on time for your session.

The first step is to confirm your session a day in advance. Even if you confirmed weeks in advance, it's a good idea to send an email or call the studio just to confirm they still have you scheduled for a session. If for some reason the studio didn't put your session on the schedule, you should take a moment to make sure everything is going according to plan. Next thing is to call all the band members and remind them of the session. You don't want to show up to the studio and have to wait for your band mate to drive an hour to get to the studio. Carpooling is always a good idea.

Most studios will tell you when to arrive for the session. Some have a load in time and its always a good idea to ask if they allow time before the session for loading and setup. Either way, you should plan on being at the studio 15-20 minutes before the scheduled start time of your session. This will give you time to find parking and take care of any paperwork before your session starts.

Be sure to read my post about how to prepare for your studio session. This info will help you get the most out of your time in the studio. Please leave any comments if you have questions about this post.

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