Friday the 13thIt’s Friday the 13th. Late-night TV will be riddled with all sorts of slasher films. In honor of that, I want to give you a recipe for how to ruin a recording session (so you can  re-create your very own horror film right in your home studio!).

1. Sing into the wrong side of the microphone.

Yep. I’m guilty of this one. I sang an entire vocal take into the back of a microphone. I thought it sounded bad, but I went right ahead and recorded a full take of the vocal. Sadly, it took me a while to figure it out.

2. Don’t save.

If you’re into wasting time and making extra work for yourself, then this step is for you. Simpy work for hours on a recording session, and never hit “Save.” If you really want to stick it to yourself, turn off your DAW’s automatic save function. (For example, Pro Tools defaults to automatically saving your session every five minutes. Be sure to turn that sucker off.)

3. Never back up your files.

If #2 doesn’t sound dastardly enough, try this one on for size. Once you’ve invested hours and hours into a recording session, be sure to not back up the files to a backup drive. In fact, you really shouldn’t even own a backup drive. What a waste.

4. Use your eyes instead of your ears.

You’ll hear all sorts of engineers and music gurus tell you that you need to make all your mixing decisions with your ears. Forget that. Choose whatever EQ setting looks pretty to you. If you like the way the compressor looks when it pumps out 30 dB of gain reduction, go for it!

Also, don’t waste any time testing out different microphone placements during tracking, just throw a mic in front of the source and hit record as soon as possible.

5. Use as much reverb as you possibly can.

If you’re really new to recording, then you may already be a pro at this step. If you’ve gotten away from this, then you really are shooting yourself in the foot. You’ll never have a chance of making horrifying recordings if you don’t drown everything in reverb.

Your turn. If you have a lot of experience in ruining a recording session, please share your tips here. We all want to learn. 😉

[Photo Credit: Double Feature Podcast]