For beginners, the studio can seem like a mystery zone, a place where MP3 files are distilled from an unknown alloy of instruments, cables, and knobs.
Even for experienced musicians, there is an emotional element to the process that can complicate things. Long hours, attention to the smallest details, and constant repetition can swing them from rewarding highs to frustrating lows.
To help shed some light on this complex topic, we sat down with producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Susanne Vega, Pavement, Wilco) to discuss common misconceptions about recording and address basic questions that might improve your next (or first) studio experience.
PART ONE & TWO: FINDING A RECORDING ENGINEER
Before the amps are plugged in and the microphones are turned on, an artist must decide what kind of record they want to make. They need to decide who they want to work with. In our first two videos with Mitch, we discuss what this process is like, and what is important to consider when selecting a studio. We also discuss the rise of home recording technology, and how artists who pursue that path can still find value in supplementing their work in a proper studio.
PART THREE: MAKING A RECORD
Once you’ve found a producer or engineer to work with, preparing for the session is crucial. You must determine what your budget is, what kind of musical reference points you’re going for, and what you want to focus on while in the session itself. In the next video, Mitch breaks down what the recording process is like for both new and experienced acts, as well as what a band can expect when going into a studio for the first time.
PART FOUR: MIXING VS. MASTERING
For our last segment, we spoke with Mitch about the differences between mixing and mastering. He spent some time breaking down each of these processes to provide a clearer understanding of topics that can be complicated or confusing.
If you’d like to share any tips or advice for maximizing your time in the studio, please feel free to contribute your thoughts below!