This section will offer up some recording studio tips that may be helpful to anyone starting out, or even to those who are already well into their recording gig. There is nothing absolute here, just some personal thoughts and ideas, and things that have worked for me in the past.

Rather then get into very specific technical processes and detailed audio engineering, as there are already many great books covering the technical minutia, these tips will offer more general purpose suggestions that will be applicable to most situations regardless of the size or complexity of your studio environment. Occasionally, new tips may be added, and some additional "support information" could also find its way into this section. This will always be a work in progress.


Avoid acidy and gas-causing foods prior to a recoding session! You will be a lot more comfortable, and your studio mates will thank you. This is twice as important if you are going to be doing any singing, because you will end up burping and gulping constantly as you sing and work your abdominal muscles to push air. A light meal a couple of hours before the session is a good idea. If it's going to be a long one, you can always break for some food later on.

Bring some indoor footwear to the recording session, whatever is comfortable for you. After about 3 hours your feet will thank you! Just remember not to bring anything too stinky, and that goes for your feet and socks too! Wear comfortable clothing. Tight jeans, sunglasses and other "fashion statements" are not important in the studio, unless you happen to be a known rock star.

Water, always have bottled water on-hand (with twist caps), and maybe some light snacks to keep your energy going, but see the first tip about which type to avoid. If you prefer other beverages, just avoid anything that will have a negative effect on the vocal cords if you plan on singing. Non-acidic is best, but some of us do enjoy sipping coffee, so adjust to what works for you. And if it doesn't have a twist cap, be careful you don't spill it!
Turn off the damn cell phones and don’t be walking in and out of the session every 10 minutes to make calls. It is very disrupting and rude. Plan on making your phone calls during a planned break, and that goes even if you are not the one playing or singing at the moment. Constant interruptions can kill the vibe for others.
If you are working alone in the studio, like I do very often, learn to “shut out” the rest of the world during that time. If you are constantly stopping to deal with non-session issues, to make/take calls or go out of the studio, your concentration will fade away, and along with it any vibe you had going. This is most important for the people who have their studios inside of their homes, because it’s very easy for the outside world to find you there and interrupt your workflow. Install one of those “RECORDING” lights outside your studio door and use it when working.

If it’s not working, don’t beat on it… or …BEAT on it! Sometimes you have to figure out what’s going to work for your situation, and yes, there is a point where just stopping and/or moving on to something else is the best choice. But don’t quit on something too fast, as it can take a bit of time to get things flowing. It can be a rollercoaster ride at times, and you just have to ride out the trough until the next crest arrives.

Consider alternative approaches to tried and true processes. If you always do things in an A-B-C fashion, try starting with B and then A and then C, or whatever. This helps a lot if you find your session is getting a bit monotonous, the same old thing. Break out of your safety zone from time to time, whatever it may be, and take some risks. You may not nail it, but it just might open up some fresh ideas for you.

If you’re tired, turn off the gear and go rest up. Trying to work your way through a session in a sleep-deprived state will rarely yield positive results. Although, there is that David Bowie anecdote about his time in Berlin when he would just stay up for days and fall into a sleep-deprived hallucinatory state of mind and get all kids of great ideas, but as always, YMMV.
Lighting is more important than people realize. I find that a mood can be created or changed just through lighting. It might seem cliché, but the lava lamps and colored lights really DO work. Having many, smaller lights in key areas works better than a "stadium" lighting scheme. Just watch out with dimmer packs and certain low-wattage transformers that are often found in track lighting and such, as they can induce all kinds of AC line noise into your audio gear if both are not properly wired and isolated electronically from each other.

While staying focused is important, you do need to take breaks from time to time, and that might even include a walk outside or a short car ride. Just don’t get really involved with anything during the breaks. Always keep the session and the music at the center of your thoughts. While walking or riding you can subliminally enjoy the outside world and at the same time be discussing or thinking about the recording session.

Finally....remember to have FUN! It's not going to sound good if you feel uptight or stressed about the recording session. There is a tendancy to choke up when the recording starts...but it's easy to do another take and there's no reason to worry about doing a perfect take. It's much simpler to do a few solid takes, and then use the DAW to comp one final "best" track out of those few.

Copyright © 2015 Miroslav Music

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