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Studio Time

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bigboy_78, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. My band is going to the studio to get some audio to use for promos. Just pro sounding stuff to synch with live footage.

    My only experience in the studio has been with an originals band and we spent all day, like 12 hours, to get a demo of 3 songs because the singer was a perfectionist and did endless overdubs. I’m thinking (with a decent engineer) we should be able to knock out 4 or 5 songs in 3 hours?

    How long should I realistically expect this to take? Recording cover tunes, that we have played a million times so everything is tight as it’s ever going to get.
  2. It really depends on a lot of things, particularly the goals and expectations going in. Are you all just playing live in one room, or going for ultimate separation to do clean overdubs later? Also, the studio experience (or lack thereof) in your band line up can make a big difference in time spent. Sometimes those with little to no experience, or even those with LOTS, can't play like themselves when the red light comes on and struggle to just play like they normally do.

    I've been in bands that take over a year to record 12 songs, and in bands that finished 5 songs in 8 hours. 4 or 5 songs in three hours kind of sounds rushed in any situation. Are you talking three hours of just tracking, or does that time include setting up, getting sounds, mixing and mastering?
  3. Yeah I was thinking 4 x 3 minute songs = 15 minutes + 2 hours mixing + 45 minutes to set-up.

    Recording "live" but with as much isolation of tracks as possible.

    Maybe I'll book 6 hours to be safe, but adding a time constraint will hopefully minimise the fart-around time involved.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    First, the band has to sit down and agree upon expectations. Also, are you doing the entire song, or just a minute or so, which seems more appropriate for a promo video. I would think at most two takes of the instruments, maybe a couple of punches to fix mistakes, and same with vocals. This isn't Abbey Road...

    Depending on how long it takes to mix, three seems to be enough if you know the tunes.
  5. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    In my experience it has usually taken 2 hours minimum to get mics placed, cables plugged, and levels set, before a single note is recorded. YMMV of course.

    the thing that takes the least time when recording, is the actual recording – the difference between a one-take wonder and having a few runs at it might be to spend 5 mins vs 20 mins per track. obviously if you're well versed in the material this should be fast (and no one in the band catches a bad case of red light fever).

    then an hour or so for a quick scratch mix and export.

    if it was me, I'd book the 6 hours and aim for 4 tracks – if it goes well you could squeeze in a fifth.

    however you may be in a super fast efficient studio who gets you in and out in a flash!

  6. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    My experience is... If we're talking actual "pro" level, it takes a day to choose and place mics, choose and tune drums, take stuff around, get monitor mixes going etc. before a single note is recorded. Then, if your playing is at "pro" level, you can expect to track a few songs live per day. Also, expectations may vary. And then there's perfectionism.
    knumbskull likes this.

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