Our lovely friend Dan Logan, the sound engineer from the awesome Orchard Studios (where we hold our monthly acoustic sessions) has kindly offered some advice about what artists should do before heading into the studio to make sure that they sound their absolute best.
“Here at Orchard we welcome all types of people into the studio, both professional, and those for whom the recording process is a new experience. However, it is always useful to run through what to get ready before you come into the studio to record.
Whether you are recording a guitar, drum kit, bagpipes or singing, it is important to make sure your instrument is in good working order. A drum kit needs to be tuned and free from any rattles, guitars need to have correct intonation and voices need to be warmed up and free from hangovers! Earlier this year someone came in to sing who was possibly still slightly drunk from the Leeds Festival the day before and it really didn’t help their vocal!
The microphones and recording chain here at the studio will pick up your instrument in incredible detail which not only means that we record the true sound of your saxophone for example, but also the fact that you have a squeaky key! So, please make sure that everything is working how it should be before you get to the studio – as much as I like getting paid to watch you try out several batteries in your favourite overdrive pedal before you finally give up and decide it’s broken, it isn’t what any of us are really in the studio to do 😀
A good tip for a guitar recording is to put new strings on the day before. Not only does it mean that you don’t need to waste time doing it at the studio but also it gives them a good few hours to settle in and begin to stay in tune. New strings make a huge difference to a guitar recording so it’s well worth the investment. It’s also worth bringing a set of new strings with you on the day as well, just in case…
Although you should practice and have rehearsed what you will be doing before you get to the studio be careful not to over-practice. This is particularly important if you are coming in with your band. You should, unless you are lucky enough to be using your studio time as a writing/recording session, already know the songs inside out anyway so a good couple of run-throughs should be enough the day before to get you ready. Otherwise you will just get bored of playing the same things over and over again and by the time you actually record them the energy could be lost.
Sometimes we are able, usually by prior arrangement, to supply instruments and session musicians. I strongly suggest however that if you would like to record your own instruments that you bring everything you can along with you. By that I mean; if you play electric guitar then bring your guitar, amp and any effects pedals you have with you. Although we have a collection of guitar amps we may not have the exact sound that you create with your own equipment (also, we want to record your sound, not ours). Equally, if you are a drummer then bring your entire kit (shells, hardware, snare, cymbals etc.) so that you can set it up the way you want to. If during the recording you wish to try the sound of some of our equipment then you are welcome, but if you take everything you can with you then you won’t be short on anything you may need.
All our equipment is designed to bring out the best from the sound source it receives. Be that an acoustic guitar or drum kit, or a vocal or trumpet, the best recording practices and the best equipment cannot truly come to fruition without a great performance. The quality of the recording chain starts with the quality of the performer and their instrument.
Finally, the secret to a good recording is a relaxed performer, so take your time and don’t feel the need to rush. Your recording will last a lifetime so make sure you work towards quality rather than quantity. You have a professional recording studio at your disposal. Use it!”
If you’d like to pop along and meet the guys at Orchard and get a feel for the studio why not head over to the next Orchard Sessions Acoustic night? Here’s the details and we hope to see you there 😀
Or, check out some of the videos from the previous sessions here…