1. Decide whether you want to record live (with the whole band playing together) or record one instrument track at a time. Even though recording live seems more fun, it’s actually much harder and requires renting a bigger, more expensive studio.
2. If you plan to record live, you should first try recording one of your rehearsals with an mp3 recorder. Even though the audio won’t be high quality, you’ll get a good idea of how “together” your band sounds and whether or not you’re ready to hit the studio.
3. If you decide to record one instrument at a time, you must prepare a sketch of your song before you enter the studio. This allows you to find the right tempo, work out the song structure, and think about hooks, breaks and other details that would otherwise take up a lot of your studio time. The sketch doesn’t have to be high audio quality. It will simply serve as a guide, so you can just record it at home before you get in the studio.
4. Bring in reference tracks of well-known song that you like. Write down exactly what you like about them and play them to your recording engineer. He will need to plan ahead for the recording (recording techniques, mic selection and placement, etc.) so this step is crucial if you have a specific sound in mind for your band.
5. The biggest mistake bands make is using the local studio engineer for mixing and mastering their album. Don’t settle for a mediocre mix and master. Although local recording studios have their own staff that you can often hire for cheap, this is usually in the best interests of the studio, not your music. You must have an experienced engineer (with “fresh ears”) to mix your album, and usually they are not part of a local studio.
NEED ADVICE BEFORE ENTERING THE STUDIO?