Professional Recording tips (studio)

rockon2112yyz

New member
My band is getting ready to go into the studio and put out an album and I have never done this before. Can I get some advice from the drummers who have done this before about how to do it best? Like some little tips that would help save time/money and make it sound good. Thanks
 

justin headley

New member
pre-production is EVERYTHING!!!! if you rehearse and have the tunes down perfect when you get to the studio you should be able to do each trak in 1 take.
A big problem alot of people face is there nerves. Example... i was doing a session with kid rock here in detroit a few months ago and i was having problems sticking the track, and bob (K.R.) pulled me aside and said i wouldn't be there if i couldnt do it. so just have the confidnce and own what your playing. and if your recording to a click and you dont use one live or in practice, work with it before you get there, learn to groove with it, dont be scared of it.

If you got any other questions hit me up.

Good Luck, I hope it goes great!
 

Rockula!

New member
I was looking for the other thread that talks about this but I couldn't find it so...
The other thing that can be a time waster is not having your equipment ready fo the session
Try to talk to the producer/engineer about what type of heads would be best for your situation
Also, little things like positioning can be a huge problem
For instance, I like my whole kit to be very compact
In the studio, this means that everything would bleed into everything else
In order to compromise, I had to set up with a more streched out kit and had to raise my cymbals up very high (for me that is)
Luckily, the producer came out to see a live show beforehand and we discussed such problems beforehand
All it took was one rehearsal with the modified "strecthed out" kit and I was comfortable enough to do the sessions (I even aced most of them on the first take!)

Also, try to record your rehearsals of the song beforehand and listen to any inconsistancies
Especially try to record just your drums
It is amazing how many things you can pick out even if it is just a jam box in the middle of the room

Communication and compromise are actually more important than equipment
If the producer has a drumkit he alrady uses, then try to use it (unles it is impossible to accomodate and you HAVE to use your kit) because he is most familiar with the way that kit sounds in that room
My first recording session was done on a very expensive Sonor kit (and you can bet your ass it did not belong to me!)
It sounded WAY better than my cheap ass Pearl Export

We all have an extremely personal attatchement to our music and we all tend to feel encroached upon when someone tries to make us compromise our vision
Advanced communication with the producer will minimize said encroachment and will cost you less time (re-MONEY) in the end

One last thing
There are tons of articles and books about recording both at the library and on the internet
You don't necessarily have to read them all cover to cover
Just about every one of them will have a section covering recording drums
Try to do some homework on your own just to learn the nuts and bolts of the process

Above all, try to have fun because taking your session too seriously will result in frustration and endless takes where you make the same mistake over and over
 

justin headley

New member
Rockula!":2arfz4zk said:
Above all, try to have fun because taking your session too seriously will result in frustration and endless takes where you make the same mistake over and over
That is the best advice you'll get
 

rockon2112yyz

New member
wow thanks everyone. I took your tips and told it to my band and we are going to use this advice. I just have one more question: what are the advantages/disavantages of recording everyone live, to having it done track by track?
 

justin headley

New member
it is a sound VS. "feel" issue. you get great tone and seperation and more options with effects and tone. but when you record live you get a more groovy feel. go to my myspace page and you can hear the diffrence. the song "the rocker" was recorded track by track and "born under a bad sighn" was live at a festival, and the other 2 were recorded "live" in the studio, so you can hear the diffrence and compare
 

Rockula!

New member
One of the things that you can do is to have other members isolated to do scratch tracks
This is done mainly for the drummer's benefit so that there is a more natural feel to the take
The last album I recorded was done that way
In fact, since we rehearsed our asses off before recording, the scratch tracks were used as basic tracks for the session
The bass player normally uses a clean tone and a dirty/distorted tone at the same time wehreas the guitar player was using a Line 6 head with very good modeling sounds (pretty much every guitar effects pedal has some sort of modeling unit that sounds fairly decent when running direct to the board)
This allowed them to play along with me in the same room while recording direct
Later, they went and laid down additional tracks with the ambience of the room
This provided a very full sound by providing a good clean track as a foundation for the distorted sounds later on

One of the most challenging recording techniques from the drummer's pont of view is laying down the track by yourself with no guidence whatsoever
All the subtle nuances that play against each other in a performance are hard to approximate in your head, especially when the pressure of the red light is on
See if scratch tracking is a possibility in your situation
 

MRSTICKSTUFF

New member
DRUMMERS!

-Get to know your engineer! Make sure he can get a good ear-phone mix with all your drums.
-When recording have the whole band in for a scratch mix, recording only the drums, rhythm guitar and bass that day. Then Lead guitar and Vocals.
-Keep the band members out of the studio during mix-down.
-Trust the ears of the engineer for pre-mix. Listen to the mix two/ three days after recording, with the whole Band. Then take a copy with, listen for the next 2 days, go back and then beat up your engineer! WE NEED MORE KICK DRUM!
Drummer, you are done, unless you wrote the song, leave and go practice with your other bands!
STICKSTUFFGRIP.COM
 

seandude

New member
how do u do hat and know where the fills go ...do u do the WHOLE song?....do use the gutar and studd im confused whats it like recording drumss
 

FelterSkelter

New member
Use the studio kit (if you wanna define yourself bring your cymbals and use some of those and your snare).

Be well practiced on the material and focus on the way the song sounds.

Listen to the engineer. If they like your music or ideas they may put a little extra effort into making it sound it's best.

Check out everything (mics, rack gear, recording gear, functions, etc.) and ask questions (without being a nuisance).

It's a really awesome experience. The guy who recorded my band in high school became a great friend to my bandmates and I. In this experience, it was less businesslike and a very relaxed environment so that you could just put all your focus on playing well.

As far as tracking vs. live ... in my opinion, if this is your first recording, you should just do a live set and bang through it. Pick your 3-5 best songs and make a demo out of it.

Keep good track of it....damn I can't find mine anywhere.
Best,
FelterSkelter
 

Rockula!

New member
MRSTICKSTUFF":3pat7k9t said:
DRUMMERS!

-Get to know your engineer! Make sure he can get a good ear-phone mix with all your drums.
-When recording have the whole band in for a scratch mix, recording only the drums, rhythm guitar and bass that day. Then Lead guitar and Vocals.
-Keep the band members out of the studio during mix-down.
-Trust the ears of the engineer for pre-mix. Listen to the mix two/ three days after recording, with the whole Band. Then take a copy with, listen for the next 2 days, go back and then beat up your engineer! WE NEED MORE KICK DRUM!
Drummer, you are done, unless you wrote the song, leave and go practice with your other bands!
STICKSTUFFGRIP.COM
The further into this post I get, the more I completely disagree with what you are saying
The best recording I have ever done in my life was done with me in the studio 75 to 80% of the time
Luckily, we had a producer that was artist friendly
However
He wouldn't be producing us if he wasn't
I guess I just don't know my place

I do agree on taking a break and coming back with a fresh perspective
But most of us pay for our recordings ourselves
I always insist on getting my money's worth
 

iminaband

New member
Hey man, I just got done recoding my album and I learned a lot. We were there for a 2 months straight. One of the most important things that I learned was to be prepared. You will als blow our producers away. On the first day of drum tracking, my producer, Bonnie, told me that I need to get ready cause it's gunna be hard day and a long one. I was prepared and whiped out the track in 2 takes. She was amazed. If you go in there knowing what you are going to do and being practiced up, you will even impress the people working with you, which also makes them happy and easier to work with as well as SAVE you money.

Another thing I learned (the hard way) Is not stacking up on enough drum heads and stuff. I was at one of those live in studios in the middle of nowhere Massachusettes and could not just go to a store and get some. We had to order a couple more snare heads and floor tom heads. It took days before we got them in the mail. Having all your stuff ready to go is important and will save you time and money.

Also, it is good to have a good idea of what type of sound that you are looking for with your drums. And make sure that when the mics are set that you have the engineer record a little of you playing, so that you can hear it and make changes as desired.

Other than that, there are a few technical and not so technical things, that you will learn while you are there. LEARN HOW TO TUNE!!!!!!!!! That is important, don't waist your engineers time or anyones, just change your heads and tune while a nother instrumentis recording. DON"T BE THAT GUY!!!
 
Man....so many good pearls of wisdom here. Let me see if I can pass any ideas on as well.

I did attempt to count the number of sessions I have done in my career and so far I lost track at about 500+. This is everything from jingles to small budget projects to larger budget master sessions and everything else in between. So I do feel somewhat qualified to point out some things that helped me along the road.

1. Be comfortable playing with a click or some other mechanical device(drum machine, etc.) to help keep things in line. There have been occasions where the choice has been made to go without one but 99% of the time most sessions you will do will be with a click track. What helps? PRACTICE. EXPERIENCE.

2. Have a good rapport with the engineer and producer, who are sometimes one in the same. This can be anything from working together to get a great drum sound, suggestions for parts, what snares to use and if loops are needed, what time to take lunch and whether the song isn't working for whatever reason. These guys can make or break you.....

3. Have your drums ready to go and make a record. Fresh heads, no rattles or other extraneous noises, and having various options to choose from all go a long way in making everyone's job easier. Let's face it, if you have a DW Timeless Timber $10,000 kit with beat up heads on it, you might as well go and grab a Pearl Export with newer heads that to make the old heads work. And having a variety of snares and cymbals is the LEAST you can do. On some of the master sessions I have done I have brought another set of toms and extra bass drums with as well as 10+ snare drums. And having some different options with regards to sticks, mallets, bundle sticks, bass drum beaters, rattlers that turn regular cymbals in to sizzle cymbals and a myriad of other options show your creativity and your level of preparedness. You NEVER know what you might run into on a session.

4. if at all possible, be prepared for the music you will perform. When I do sessions on which I am a hired gun, I NEVER know what to expect. But in the case where I have the material ahead of time, I listen and get in my mind what I need to do and what options I can bring to the table. If you don't know what to expect, being able to play in a variety of styles is invaluble. On one particular session I played a big band number, a Latin number, a funk groove, a heavy rock groove and I turned my kit into a hand percussion set. You just never know. Be able to play LOTS of different styles convincingly. Or at least be SOMEWHAT familiar with a given style so can at least FAKE it well.

5. Be patient and wait your turn when it comes to getting a mix or anything else. Sometimes you just have to wait your turn when it comes to these things. If you are working FOR someone, let the session leader get what he needs, then politely ask for what YOU need. And be nice. And polite.

6. BE ON TIME. Be on TIME. Be ON time. BE on time. Studio time is expensive and emergencies and accidents happen. BUT, barring those occasions, being late is inexcusable. AND, if you have trouble all of the time with your vehicle, traffic, etc., know this and leave earlier or borrow another vehicle. I will say that NO ONE has had worse vehicle luck than me. I have had flat tires, busted belts, you name it, I have had it happen on the way to sessions. BUT, I never missed a session because of it and I was never woefully late because of it. Again, accidents happen. Try to keep those at a minimum. And by all means have a cell phone. JUST IN CASE.

Some of these points have been said by other drummers. I personally LOVE being in a recording studio. Would do it EVERY day(and did do it for about 5 years) if I could. Take the time and do these things and you will THEN be able to do the one thing you should be be to do in any musical situation.......HAVE FUN. Sure beats digging ditches or shoveling manure, wouldn't you say?
 

Ticknonstop

New member
As both a drummer and engineer I couldnt agree more ... Learn to play with a click!!!!

Be prepared new heads,extra head/sticks,Check that kit for rattles (especially that sqeeky kick drum pedal)
If you can yes use the studio kit (most engineers know how to get all the sounds out of it )

Bring examples of how you invision your sound, it helps (Remember you will never sound exactly like you invision yourself but you can get really close with patience)

If you can bring a several snares/toms ect...

You dont have to have a billion dollar kit to sound great (you do need to know how to tune it BEFORE you set it up in the studio) I have recorded DWs that sounded like ass and Ive recorded low line pearls,tama,ect that sound great (They were tuned well and miked accordly)
 

mudoyal

New member
it all depends on the studio equipment, your engineer, and your overall expectations. i've been seeing a lot of "listen to the engineer". unless you know who this guy is, trust your own sound. i've always had a bad experience listening to the engineer. the problem was, i would never just stand up and say
"no, that is not the sound i'm looking for". you have to remember that this person could be someone who is stuck in their ways on how music should sound. now if your not sure on a sound, then go through albums that you like the drum sound of. take it to the engineer and say "this is what i want it to sound like"........... depending on his knowledge of the trade, will be your result. actually, that is what it will all boil down to

and just like what was said before about the click track if you are going to use one. practice until the click track plays to you.
 

steveund

New member
Hi guys i'm new to the board.

But I agree play to a click as much as you can. I don't know if anyone knows Max Reese, he's a studio engineer here in Bakersfield. He engineered for Tom Petty and for Korn. He worked at Fat Tracks which is owned by John Davis' father. Anyway, I recorded with Max Reese several times and I trust that guys mixing over anyone else that i've worked with. Max got me used to the click track. I won't record without it and I've played for 20 years.
 

DrumBoy

New member
Hey "greeneyedgrooveman" hit the nail right on the head. Lots of good advice here. It should be bumped up to "Sticky" rank.

-DrumBoy.
 

devilspain

New member
justin headley":2n9z7tyz said:
if your recording to a click and you dont use one live or in practice, work with it before you get there, learn to groove with it, dont be scared of it.

i totally agree clicks rock they make sure your in time!! and also it s great way to show your bloody guitarist your playing in time and its the lousy recording they did thats off time lol i love it CLICK for the win. never used one live though.
 

torkid47

New member
justin headley":zu3n8m2m said:
it is a sound VS. "feel" issue.

So,so true.

Record the entire band first. Play it like it's a rehearsal and have a great time doing it. Then afterwards you can go back and "punch in" any cover ups of mistakes. If you don't know about punching in just ask the man behind the glass, he will explain it.

Remember this, If you smile when on the phone the person on the other end can hear it in your voice. Same is true in the studio. Smile at your band mates and have fun playing your songs, it will come through on the track.
 
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