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NEWS

 

November 2007 - Pine Woods Recording releases "Mni Wakan Oyate: A Visual Documentary".

March 2007 - Pine Woods Recording is pleased to begin full length production of a documentary for the Spirit Lake Dakota Tribe.

May 2005 - Studio production of "Songs for Quarry Hill" by artist S.M. Shockey wins 2005 Parents Choice Award.

 

37 RECORDING TIPS

Courtesy of Disk Makers and Pine Woods Recording

 

Common sense tips and techniques were collected from some of the country's top studio and mastering engineers. Here they are presented to you as a common-sense guide to making the most of your time in the studio.

 

BEFORE YOU GO IN
1. Record your songs during live gigs and pre-production rehearsals. A simpler cassette recording on a boom box may reveal weak or marginal parts of songs.
2. Have all the musical and vocal parts worked out. Know your guitar solos, harmony vocals and special percussion parts before-hand; having worked them out a head of time will help keep the frustration and tension level at a much lower level.
3. If using a computer or sequencer, prepare all sequenced material before the session.
4. If you plan to use a click track, make sure your drummer is comfortable playing to it. To get "tight", practice to a click track at a very slow tempo.
5. Rehearse more songs than you plan to record. Your never know which songs will sound strong on the final tape. For example, if you plan to have a four-song EP, prepare six songs just in case.
6. Take care of your body before and during recording sessions. Eat well, get enough sleep, and keep your ears rested and clear.


SETTING UP
7. Be early. At some studios, the clock starts running whether you're there or not. Find out about their cancellation policy as well.
8. Make the studio a comfortable and relaxed place. If it's not it will show in your finished product.
9. Make sure you and the engineer have the same "vision"-go over your songs with him/her before recording. Before booking your studio time, ask to hear other material the engineer has recorded.
10. Depending on whether your studio has small or large tracking capacity, plan out how you will leave room for all the essential parts. This should simplify the mix and eliminate bouncing tracks later.
11. Use new strings, cords, drum sticks, batteries and heads - and don't forget to bring spares.
12. Find out the hours of the local music store, just in case...


THE RECORDING PROCESS
14. Remember, it's emotion and feeling that make the best song, not necessarily the best technical rendition.
15. If you mess up a part while recording, don't stop and start over. That can easily cause you to burn out. Instead, check to see if the engineer can punch in the correction.
16. You don't have to fill all the tracks on the tape - don't try to force something that won't fit.
17. Always keep in mind the focus of your music. If it's the vocals. Plan to spend the most time on them Don't waste time on things that don't highlight the focal point.
18. Get the sound you want while recording. (Never assume that you can fix it in the mix).
19. Unless you have unique effects, record the individual tracks clean, and add effects later during mix down.
20. Don't necessarily double-track everything. Doubling a lead vocal can hide all the subtleties that make a song personal and likeable although it can work well for a chorus).
21. Know when to quit for the day. If you're tired it will show.
22. Keep guests out! It's your recording. Guests will distract you and may sway your and your recording team's opinion of how the music should sound.
23. Make backup copies after every recording session.
24. Tune up often.
25. Singers: always bring water but don't use ice! Ice constricts your vocal chords. Hot tea with lemon and honey works just as well.
26. Always get a track listing and accurate time log from the studio.


MONITORING THE MIX

27. Listen to your music at moderate levels in your car or on a boom box. This is how most of your fans will listen to it, and mixing at loud levels will fatigue your ears and distort the "true" sound.

28. Sometimes it's good to take a day off and come back to listen. The same applies to mix down. Ears usually don't last very long in the studio.

29. Hint: review each mix to make sure you can comfortably hear all of the instruments. Tweak the mix on a small pair of speakers at an extremely low volume. Headphones are valuable at this stage, but don't based your final decision on them. You should be able to pick up each instrument even at this level.

30. Know when to quit for the day. You're better off quitting a session early when you're tired than wasting time making a bad mix that will have to be re-done anyway.

31. Listen in the studio to CD's you are used to hearing on your home studio to get an idea of how the studio's system sounds.

32. Determine a band spokesperson ahead of time. An engineer receiving five different opinions on how to mix will grow tired and try to rush the job.

33. Once you have selected an engineer or a producer) to mix your recording, have them do the first mix. Their ears are better trained than yours. Try to keep an open mind.

34. Think about the songs as a whole and not about the individual instruments. Otherwise everyone will want their instrument louder in the mix.

35. If mixing somewhere other than the recording studio, make sure you use the same speakers. If not the mix will sound completely different.

36. Decide which format you want the finished mixes to be on: DAT, CD-R, PMCD, 1630, or reel to reel. Use the format that is most practical and economical to you.

37. Count on and budget in unforeseen delays.

 

Bonus tip:

Always make a safety DAT or CD-R. It preserves your recording investment.



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