How Do You Like to Record?

I’m a musician as well as an engineer and producer.  I have a preferred way to record based on years of experience and personal style.  I’m not saying this works for all bands/artists or musical styles, and I certainly don’t mean to impose this on anyone, but let me explain my choices.

I enjoy recording a band as a unit.  I feel that if you are trying to capture the feeling of a live performance, or a cohesive unit that IS a band, then recording while playing together is one of the best ways to accomplish that.  To that end, I’ve set the studio up to allow the rhythm section of the band to perform while recording all parts/instruments at once.  Some say this is the “old fashioned” way of recording, using 10, 16, or more tracks at once.

As an example, let’s say you are a 5-piece rock band – drums, 2 guitars, bass guitar and lead singer.  This is roughly 12 tracks.  In the studio we can mic or line-in everything and get pretty good separation and get a great rhythm section recorded, using a scratch vocal track that will be removed later after full vocal tracks are added.  Think of the scratch vocal track as just a way to keep everyone on cue when recording the guitars, bass and drums.  Then we go back and add leads, backgrounds, and other overdubs/tracks as needed for the song arrangement.

This approach provides a very musical and “tight” feel to the recording (assuming the band is tight).  This works well for bands that play out often and work well together, or those who have really done their homework and practiced before coming into the studio.

Of course, that’s not for everyone.  Sometimes scheduling, band attitudes, or just nerves make for tense situations and we can get better results by recording parts separately and combining them.  Some very big songs were done this way.  However, this kind of thing can take more (sometimes a LOT more) mixing time to make things work together.

I guess what I’m really saying is, you have to remain flexible to get the best sound, and we are very flexible here at HGRS.  We’ll work with you, and even provide producers, musicians, instruments and gear, etc. to help you get the sound you want.  So talk to us about your next project and we’ll come up with a solution together.