It’s time to record. You’ve decided which song to cut, and you’ve set up your session. Now what?
You are now standing on the precipice of a million different options, methods and techniques. Do you record it live with the whole band playing together, or do you take a more surgical approach and track each instrument individually, striving for the “perfect” take, wearing everyone’s patience down to dust.
Most of the time, an experienced engineer will be able to listen to the demo and/or speak to the composer. Pick their brain, be able to determine what would best service the song, and from that point decide the recording techniques and equipment to use. “But seiñor Deinesaur, what if you are not experienced?” you may ask.
Now comes the scary part, the great unknown. Not unlike the Oregon Trail, you begin by picking your equipment. Microphones, placement, preamplifiers, location, etc. Its wide open. And guess what? Results will vary! If you aren’t sure what direction to go in, its time to take a chance and roll them bones!
The path from greenhorn to experienced pro is a long one, fraught with feedback, hiss and phased recordings. The coolest thing about that journey is that the “right way” or “wrong way” to record have both yielded excellent, cool or interesting (and very usable) results. Sometimes… they don’t.
Make no mistake, being educated and using good techniques will inevitably help you reach your goal quicker and/or easier, and knowledge of your equipment may save you thousands of dollars and prevent misuse. Blow up one ribbon microphone using phantom power and you will be more shell-shocked then a Walmart shopper on black friday.
But to get there, you’ve got to grow and gain experience. Record some songs. Try using a kick drum mic on vocals, see what it sounds like. See how easy or hard it is to mix it in with the rest of the song, and go from there! There’s nowhere to go but up!