Three Ways to Save Money in the Recording Studio
Here are three money-saving / time-saving techniques for the recording studio most musicians don’t think of.
Time is money! Especially in the recording studio!
There are a lot of ways to prepare yourself and your band so you’re ready for the stressful environment of a recording studio. Here are three ways most musicians don’t think of.
First, rehearse everything!
I don’t mean rehearse all your music. I mean rehearse EVERYTHING. Rehearse setting up your equipment efficiently. Rehearse replacing strings and drumheads, plugging in pedals and racks. If you’re a drummer, rehearse playing to a click-track. It’s a very different experience if you haven’t done so before! If you’re a singer, practice singing in isolation with recorded versions of the songs. Singing with the live band behind you is very different from singing in an isolation room to pre-recorded music, which most recording studios are going to use. Listen back to yourself. What you hear recorded might be very different to what you THINK you sound like when singing live.
Second, get your studio agreement in advance!
Make sure you and the recording studio have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations before you arrive. Find out how many engineers you are paying for and what time you are expected to arrive and leave. Some recording studios are prepared to keep their doors open for you until you get the right sound, but not all of them. Know in advance how many hours you’re getting and when those hours are happening.
Find out what instruments the studio has available for you to use. Confirm they aren’t going to be charging you extra. Some studios have acquired collections of incredible instruments and the engineers are used to getting the best sounds out of them. Know in advance what they have and consider finding similar among friends or local instrument shops so you can rehearse on them. The rehearsal isn’t just about getting used to playing on a new instrument, but seeking the best sounds for the recording. (For more on this, check out our blog article on Four Things Your Demo Can Do For You!)
Make sure there is an agreement for you to own and take home your recording stems when you leave the studio. Stems are the isolated tracks of the recording which you can then use for remixes, live backing tracks, intro and outro music for concerts, bonus material for fans during the album rollout, and much more.
Third, plan with backups in mind!
You can’t expect the unexpected, but you can plan for some things that are inevitable. You want to keep people focused and present in the studio so plan to have your studio sessions catered (by friends or fans). Or, bring in groceries every day so noone is leaving the studio to go get lunch or dinner. Murphy’s law states when they are needed they won’t be there and no quick trip to the local Burger King is actually… quick. Keep everyone in the womb of the studio as much as you can. Make allowances for time to decompress and clear the mind. And make sure everyone is well fed. Noone likes a hangry drummer!