Since it’s President’s Day here in the US…and since last week was the State of the Union Address…I think it’s time we had a “State of the Studio” address.
I’ve mentioned the movie Sound City several times already. (It’s incredible. Please watch it.)
Here’s a quote from that movie that I think (sadly) sums up the state of many home studios today.
It was a quote from John Fogerty:
“I heard some young guy in a band say you don’t have to practice anymore. You just slice it up in the machine (meaning the computer), and it comes out perfectly.”
Sadly, that’s what a lot of people think, right?
Musicians just need to show up, barf out some sort of sound into a microphone, and then the magical computer, manned by a recording engineer/wizard, will digest it and poop out a diamond.
I’ll admit, it’s tempting to just want to “phone it in” some days. You just slap up a microphone and play something.
Make a mistake? Ah, well, we can probably cover that up later.
Is the recording lacking energy? Yeah, but we can fix that with compression.
Does the recording sound sloppy? Yeah, well that’s normal. We’ll fix that with some slick editing later.
Here’s a test for you.
If you’re playing back a recording for someone (a client, friend, your wife, whatever), and you find yourself making a ton of excuses before you hit the play button, chances are you’ve done something wrong.
You might say things like:
“Well, this isn’t mixed yet.”
“Keep in mind this will sound a lot better when it’s finished.”
“This is just a rough version, ignore all the mistakes.”
If you’re having to make these disclaimers a lot, then you’re not doing a good job on the front end capturing a really great-sounding recording.
It might be your fault. It might be the musician’s fault. But ultimately the responsibility falls on YOU to get a great recording.
I’m finishing up an album of my own music. And you know what? it’s taken a lot longer than I expected. But you know what else? These tracks sound ridonkulously good…unmixed.
Mixing should be a breeze, because I’ve invested a lot of time up front in making the recorded tracks sound as good as possible.
That’s how it should be.
No, I’m not bragging. I’m simply sharing a lesson that has taken me a looooooong time to learn.
That’s why when you sign up for something like my Production Club, I spend over HALF the time on all the stuff that happens BEFORE editing and mixing…the truly important stuff.
To check it out for yourself (and embark on an awesome 19-week journey towards noticeably better-sounding recordings), go here:
Happy Presidents Day!
Home Studio Corner
P.S. Yes, a Production Club membership is expensive, but you can get 30% off if you’re a VIP member. Join here to find out how: