We all make mistakes in life, especially when it comes to recording. Yes music is creative and an artform, but there are still some legitimate things that aren’t wise to do. If you can eliminate the mistakes, you can get better recordings. So forget your pride, spend 5 minutes of your life learning and get to making better music in your home studio right now!
Via Sharon Sinclair Flickr
Mistake #5 – Recording Too Many Takes
If you’ve read my free eBook, you know I’m all about setting limitations in the studio. In my opinion, they are the key to unlocking creativity. The problem with modern recording studios and our all powerful DAWs is we can easily find ourselves recording a ton of takes for each part.
Tracking bass guitar? Why not lay down 3 or 4 takes. We can comp the best of the best together later. Lead vocals? Definitely record 5 or 6. Heck the singer wants one more round? Do it. We’ll just piece it all together later or pick the best take. There are two problems with this mindset: it breeds laziness in the studio and more pointless work in the editing/mixing stages. Do yourself a favor and limit your musicians to two takes max on any part. Two takes of drums, two bass guitar takes, heck two takes of lead vocals. If you can’t get a solid performance in two takes then you’re not ready to record.
Let your musician play through the song once to warm up and ensure they have a great monitor mix and you have the right mic placement and gain settings. Then when everyone feels ready, hit the record button and give them two shots. It’s that simple. This slight pressure (which isn’t much considering you have to nail it in one take live) will usually bring out the best in a good musician. They know they are “on” and want to make some killer music. Also, when it comes time to mix you will only have two takes to choose/comp from. It will allow you to know those takes more intimately and ultimately deliver a better edit, faster!
Mistake #6 – Not Doubling Key Parts
Now I know I just told you to not record too many takes, but one thing people don’t record enough of is doubles. What is a double you ask? It is simply setting up a second track and re-recording the exact same part with the intention of the two parts being played simultaneously for a doubled or chorus effect.
Why is this helpful? So many great mixes benefit from having doubled guitars because you can easily get a huge thick wall of sound without any crazy mix tricks. Pan one part left and the other right and “Bam!” you have one big sound. Same is true with vocals. With a double available you can easily thicken up parts of a song, say the chorus, by un-muting the double and blending the two tracks to taste. No plugins needed.
I think so many home studio owners miss out on doubling because they either a) don’t think to do it, or b) don’t realize how beneficial and subtle it can be in their mixes. Here’s the truth of the matter, it’s almost impossible to create a double after the fact (see this video for some help there), but you never HAVE to use the doubles you do record. So you might as well record some doubles for guitars and vocals now and see if they work in your mix later.
Eliminate The Mistakes
That’s it. If you can stop making these six common mistakes in your recording sessions, I promise you’ll notice a difference. Have you made any of these mistakes? Leave a comment and let us know what you’ve learned!