WHAT TO EXPECT
The recording process consists of three phases: recording, mixing and mastering. Each phase of this process is very important in the creation of a quality recording. When you arrive to your session your engineer will help you get set up and walk you through what to expect during your appointment. Whether you're a first time artist or a seasoned musician, your engineer will make sure your session moves at a pace to accomplish your goals. All sessions booked at District Entertainment come with an engineer. Please click here to see our Studio Policies prior to purchasing studio time.
Bands: The recording phase is where the core musicians: bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, and vocalist get together in the studio to capture the basic rhythm tracks. All of the musicians are in the same room to receive visual cues from one another. Guitar amplifiers are moved into a separate sound proof room to achieve a clean sound on the drum track. Bass and keyboards are usually taken via a direct box. All the musicians have headphones and can hear themselves via the headphone system. It is usually a good idea, but not necessary, for the drummer to be fed a click track. The drummer locks to the click and the rest of the band locks to the drummer. The vocalist sings parts of the song to aid band members with their place in the song. Final vocals are recorded in the over-dub phase. Several takes of every song are performed, and the best take is chosen to build on. One of the most important parts of the recording phase is capturing the lead vocal. Having several takes of a lead vocal performance is always a good idea. The est takes can be spliced togehter to form a final take in the mix-down phase.
Tip: In most pop rock music, the tempo of songs is critical to achieving the proper feel for the tune. It is recommended that before recording rehearsals include the use of a click track to lock down feel and tempo.
Soloist: If you are a songwriter who wants to record your song with a guitar, then the guitar is usually recorded first. The vocals are saved for over-dubbing. Both can be done at the same time, but a better sound can be achieved if these are done separately.
Tip: Playing with a click for soloist can be helpful for keeping a consistent tempo. The soloist should also rehearse playing the song on their instrument without vocals and with a click track.
The Engineer: The engineer’s job during the recording phase is to get a great starting sound on every instrument. Choices of microphones, pre-amps, equalizers, dynamics processors are set by the engineer. The engineer also sets the optimal recording levels on each of the pieces of recording equipment and the recording medium.
After all parts of the song have been recorded, the mix-down can begin.
Mixing (or the mix-down process) is where the engineer blends and enhances the recorded sounds. After flawless captures, your engineer must use their tools to create blended music that is pleasant to the ears. This is the most critical part of the recording process and where the engineer can make or break your project. After communicating with the artists, the engineer should have a good idea of how all parts fit together.
When mixing starts, the engineer has a multitude of tonal decisions to be made.
Each track is listened to and cleaned up. Blank spaces on tracks containing only noise are cleaned up.
If there are 24 tracks recorded, then there are
24 choices about panning (left and right in the stereo image)
24 volume choices for each track
24 equalizer decisions to be made
24 compressor choices to be made
Delays, reverbs, echo, chorus, gating choices to be made for each track. These items help the sense of space and depth to the music.
Mixing is a very artistic balancing act. A good mix will hook the listener into the tune. A mix that has not been given the proper attention can cause the listener’s ears to get fatigued. You have spent your recording time capturing good material. Leave plenty of time for a quality mix.
Mastering creates the audio file from which all copies will be produced. It is the mastering engineer’s job to apply corrective equalization and dynamic enhancement in order to optimize sound quality in all playback formats.
In the mastering phase, the final mix is processed using equalization, compression and limiting. Other necessary tasks in the mastering phase include editing, leveling, fading in and out, noise reduction and other signal restoration and enhancement processes.