I am the Studio Philosopher and I have been enlisted by Studios 301 to share some of my thoughts and knowledge about all aspects of studio life. Much of what we do in the studio is technical, but these technical aspects are influenced and informed by less tangible qualities. Over the coming months I will provide insight into ways have thinking that may influence your studio practice or at the very least make you analyse how you work.
To begin we will appropriately start before we even get into a studio session with Preparation.
In many ways preparation is at once one of the most important and overlooked aspects of a recording or mixdown session. An engineer (or assistant) who is across all aspects of an upcoming session and has the necessary setup in place before a session starts will almost always provide for a stress-free (or at least less) and productive session.
The first key in preparation is knowing your equipment. This means before you even have a conversation with a potential client you should have an intricate knowledge of the operation of your setup, hardware and software. From a large studio to a basic laptop rig be aware of possible eventualities and troubleshoot them long before you bring anyone else into the room. This means spending the hours with your equipment and software, watching tutorials, and READING THE MANUAL!
Now that you know your setup, you’ve got a client booked and a session approaching. It is essential for you to make contact via email and/or phone to clarify exactly what the client requires. In larger environments request a tech list and room setup sheet. Even if your recording a mate in your bedroom having a clear idea of exactly what and how the want to record/mix is going to make your life easier on the day and also make you look super professional.
Once you’ve received all the technical specs and info for the session the next step is to set up your session the day/night before. This means you can troubleshoot any last minute issues (of which there is almost always at least one) without a client over you shoulder. It also means on the morning or the session, when things can get a little chaotic, you can be in a position to make minor adjustments and handle new client requests rather than doing basic setup.
This level of preparation is a bare minimum for anyone working in a large studio environment and I believe is essential no matter the size of your setup. This hard work beforehand enables you to focus on creativity and magic making during a session.
Till next time…