Start Recording 101

By George Martinez  FaceBook    Twitter

Starting a recording project can be a challenge when your full-time job is not recording. Setting up the hardware, getting the cables connected, and balancing audio is tedious work. You may wake up that morning and drink coffee and then another cup and then realize you need to get something from the music store. Interruptions can be damaging to your career. So let’s get first things first.

Sometimes you just have to step up. CC0 License

Your song will never record itself. Sometimes you just have to step up to the Mic, so to speak, and get started. There is comfort in delaying but there is no reward in it.

I talked to a friend the other day who asked a multi-millionaire “What’s your secret to success.” His answer was surprising. His advice is to “Just go do it. You will never succeed if you don’t do something. Don’t wait until everything is perfect.” Essentially, if you do nothing, you will gain nothing.

To alleviate the stress, start with a plan. Every project should start with a well thought out plan. Once you have the plan laid out, during the project you can tweak it. After a few successful recording projects are under your belt, it will be perfected. Or at least those problems will be easier to deal with.

Here is a simple way to get started. The most important thing is to have the equipment necessary set up, so let’s start with that. Every studio will have its own needs so if yours requires additional equipment then add it to your personal list.

  • Computer
  • DAW
  • Audio Interface
  • Microphones
  • Headphones
  • Studio Monitors
  • Cables to connect them all
  • Microphone Stands
  • Pop Filter

Setup your hardware: This is the computer and any external equipment that will be plugged into and/or played through. Make it comfortable to record within the space you have available. Verify all connection are connected properly. Some equipment will still let audio through even if is not connected properly. So if you are making adjustments and wondering why the effect you expect is not happening, the cables are probably not connected correctly. Test all the equipment and make sure everything is working correctly far in advance to starting.

Musicians equipment: You may have your equipment perfectly arranged for you but when the musicians and vocalists come in, their space needs to be comfortable as well. They each have needs that need to be considered like elbow room, space for a long neck bass, music stand, and they don’t want to trip over cords. They will also need a place to plug into power.

Verify: Do you have all the equipment you are expected to have? Do you have mics, patch cables, amps, enough plugins for mics, headphones, USB, USB3, Thunderbolt, Firewire, MIDI, devices, or other computer equipment you may need?

Plan the Studio time: Sure you may be recording with friends but your goal is to have the best quality recording as possible. Remember, Interruptions can be damaging to your career. Minimize as much interruption as possible. During the recording session, everyone needs to be professional. Make sure everyone involved is aware of time restraints. Have a schedule available for everyone. Let everyone review it in advance to make the necessary adjustments. Verify with your partners if they have other plans that may interfere with the schedule and make adjustments in advance. Leave open spaces for overtime.

Finally: Step-up to the mic.

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