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Recording Album - Couple weeks straight or weekends?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by b to g is yummy, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. For those of you who've recorded full-length albums with an original band:

    What do you recommend in terms of booking a studio? Is a couple weeks straight of recording every day benefitial or would dragging out the recording process over weekends and evenings be better?

    I can see ups and downs to both situations. Obviously studio location will be a big factor, as well as personal schedules. My band has only recorded a demo so far, but I like the idea of when/if we record a real album going to a studio and sticking with it till we get it done. I think it'd be a great experience.

    Any thoughtful thoughts welcomed!
  2. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I dont have allot of experience but one thing i know is budget. Its all about that! The longer it takes and the longer you take the more the expenses rise. I just did a weekend a pretty grueling sat/sun tracking of bass and drums with some vocals a few weeks ago. I took us 10 hours on Sat and 8 on sunday to lay out 8 songs. Some vocals might be kept some not .We did do harmonica overdubs but still have guitar ,vocals and muti strings to finish.We decided to do the bass and drums live for a fuller sound.The longer you string it out can be hard on you. I would know what you want to do and how much you want to spend. This way you will be able to schedule better. Weekends are the best IMO.
  3. on a lot of things-

    How good does the band know the songs, and how good are they in the studio? Can they lay good tracks in fewer than 4 takes? Are the arrangements "fixed"- no redoing songs while in the studio? Is the timing tight? Can everybody play their part through, top to bottom, with a click track, solo? Are the vocals in tune, and do you release together? Are the vocal phrasings tight, too?

    If you say yes to this, then I would go straight through until finished, becasue your work with move quickly, and it is doubtful you will burn out during the process. And you can be done within a couple of weeks.

    If not, then you have two paths to follow: The "finish one at a time" path, or the "lay down ruffs and finish them as a package". I prefer the second, if things are moving along. You have 4 steps in recording: 1- put down the rough tracks, 2- put down the tracks that will be used (like retracking), 3- mix, 4- master. Allow plenty of time for each step, and make sure you are all fresh for each session.

    Don't allow too much time between sessions- you can lose the continuity. But the worst thing you can do is to burn out, so that, by the time you get to mix and master, your brain is toast. Set your schedule by how much you can handle before getting tired. Set the dates between the two criteria.. And good luck!

    BTW- check your bass's and guitar's intonation before you go into the studio......
  4. Natrix


    Mar 21, 2009
    Sydney Australia
    I play on around 60 full length albums & my personal favourite way is to go in and
    nail it all in a few days. Of course some music lends itself to that approach more than
    other music but I like the enrgy of everyone in the studio seeing it through on lots of
  5. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    a few points to be considered:

    1. studio expenses.

    it´s easier for the studio owner to book 2-3 weeks as opposed to the same amount of working days scattered over a few months. longer sessions = lowered quotes per day. not to mention how much you´ll waste time recalling the cue mixes (very important in achieving good results), mic placements and such... repeated setting up and tearing down will also be a part of it. weekend bookings are highly sought after anyway, so the studio might charge premium for weekends...

    2. the sound of the record.

    do you want your record to sound like a collection of singles (think f.ex. early beatles, where all the songs sounded different from each other), or do you want an album that sounds like it has the same "mentality" start to finish (think most modern albums)? trying to replicate the sound you had last week after a few days´ break is really hard... your approach will also change during those breaks (slightly, but audibly).

    3. psychologics

    is your group better concentrating on the process on one go, or will somebody start to "lose it" if locked away for a few weeks? can you manage your social life (work, family etc.)? a few weeks of "5 days working, and weekends in the studio" is bound to get tough on you...

    there are more, but you get my point...
  6. Hi, few rules we work by, but remember whatever works best for your band is what is best:

    • As has been said before, budget is of course all.
    • Most important rule: Every member of the band should know their parts by heart, inside out upside down. Studio time is too expensive to use for rehearsels.
    • Don't endlessy re-record an instrument, when the track is fine, it's fine , it does not usually get better when you record a track for the 10th time. Track 2 we found out, is often the best.
    • You can't please everybody all at one time, studio time is too expensive for endless discussions.
    • Get a producer, or someone with good ears, to listen to the recordings, he/she will not be focussed on his/her instrument ,as most players/singers will, and wil have an objective opinion.
    • We work in straight consecutive days, but no more than 5 days in a row.
    • Between recordings and mixing/mastering we wait a week, just to be able to mix/master with a fresh ears and minds.

    Have fun, 'cause it is!
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    If some of your answers are "no," fix those problems before you book studio time.

    My preference is to have the band tight, and then to record basic band tracks in as few sessions as possible (saving any limited spot-correction -- as well as leads and vocals -- for overdub sessions). This saves set-up time, and it cuts down on the amount of time bandmates have to sit around the studio during someone else's set-up and overdubs.

    In general, I want studio time to be as compact and efficient as possible for everyone. Even in your own project studio where cost isn't an issue, the more sit-around time there is, the likelier that bandmates will fill their idle time with creating problems or freaking out.
  8. baalroo


    Mar 24, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    If you can get consecutive days I would say go that route. Stringing it out on weekends ends up breaking up the flow and if you do consecutive days sometimes you can leave stuff set up so that the exact mic placements, knob settings, etc don't change and you end up with a more uniform sound over the course of the recordings.

    If you do break it up, I would suggest tracking each instrument for the entire album at a time. Basically do ALL the drums on one weekend, the bass the next, etc etc.
  9. Thanks for all the advice so far guys, I feel a bit wiser! The goal would be to pretty much have our parts nailed down b4 we go in, but there's some stuff that we're waiting for the studio to figure out such as some drum loops and misc electronics, since we like some of that stuff and want to incorporate it into our sound.
  10. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    if you´re going to use drum loops with live stuff, learn how to play to a click track before you enter the studio. it takes loads of practice, but it´s an absolute MUST...
  11. jimmy rocket

    jimmy rocket

    Jan 24, 2008
    Ayden, NC
    Go for the consecutive days, but if you have the time, spend a few days (all day) going over your stuff with a fine-toothed comb. It's nice to have the continuity of consecutive days in the studio because everyone gets into a rhythm (you, your band-mates, the engineers, the producer).

    The days before are for serious pre-production. Ask yourselves about every drum beat, and every note. Sometimes there are notes that you play live or when writing, that sound like crap when recorded. Sometimes this happens when you're outlining what your guitarist said was a "Dm7" and it turns out to be diminished or something like that.

    + a tentative 1 on the producer. It's nice to have someone with an impartial ear, but the last time I was in the studio our guitarist was having trouble nailing a lead that he had done a thousand times before, and the producer just kept looking at his watch thinking about how much this was costing the label. IMHO a great engineer is a better ear than a producer (unless it's Rick Rubin or something, and then you wouldn't be fretting the studio time question)

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