Working in your home studio has it's advantages and disadvantages. Creating great music is every musician's, enginneer's, and producer's goal. I firmly believe recording in a professional
studio is pertinent to a great sounding recording; however, I'm going to focus on what I believe are your biggest advantages and will ulitmately save you money in your next studio visit.
This point is clear and precise. Every studio owner, engineer, and producer will tell you practice is crucial to achieving great sounding recordings. Knowing your part and critiquing your performance only elevates you as a perfomer and musician. Take pride in yourself and work hard on acheiving the best tone, technique, and performance to the best of your abilities. This goes a long way. Critique each band member and stay positive. As a band, you have to coach each other. Demand excellence from one another and encourage each other to be the best. Work hard at playing in the pocket. Your live performances and studio recordings will thank you later. Being a well rehearsed band will save you time and money in the studio.
The Studio isn't the Place to Write and Arrange
Numerous times, I've encountered bands that try to write and arrange their songs in the studio. This can be beneficial and disheartening. More often that not, you're going to waste time, and time is money, only to be disappointed in yourself. Work out your parts before hand and your recordings will thank you. Unless you have an endless pocket book, most bands cannot afford to write an album in the studio. This is where your laptop can be favorable. No longer do we live in an era where you cut demo after demo in the studio. We have the capabilities to record demos at home. Utilize modern technology and recognize your home studio is a demo studio. Once your demos are completed, consider sending these recordings to the studio of your choice. This gives the engineer an idea of what to expect. It will allow them to brainstorm and study your music, resulting in better recordings. This method will save you time and money in the studio.
Recording Overdubs at Home
After long hours working in the studio with an engineer, often times we feel like something is missing from our arrangements that will take our music to the next level. Sometimes, we haven't budgeted for these extra overdubs. Sometimes these overdubs can be done at home. Especially if these overdubs are "ear candy" and just add extra character to the mix. After we've recorded the core rhythm, drums, bass, keys, and vocals, we need extra subtleties to acheive greatness. These elements can easily be recorded at home on your laptop. Usually, these tracks will be mixed in ways that listeners won't notice the quality difference. The freedom we have by working at home on these few minor additives will free up our wallets and may improve our recordings overall. If you have a lot of synth based tracks, most times you can export your MIDI files. These files can be imported into the studio's DAW. You can even export your MIDI files as .Wav's so the engineer can have your sounds as well as build new synths in his DAW.
Multi-tasking is another way to save money in the studio. Having your laptop with you in the studio can be useful. After recording all the core instruments, you may want to program extra MIDI tracks. The engineer can easily bounce down a rough mix of the song you want to begin programming on. While the rest of the band continues to record other songs, you can work on programming.
Having the Studio Mix
Another way to save money in the studio is to record your music at home and send your sessions to be mixed at the studio of your choice. The first step is to take a step back and determine whether or not your home recordings are demo quality or professional grade. Once you've determined the quaility of your recordings, I suggest you send the recordings to your mix engineer. Allow him or her to determine whether or not the recordings are good enough to be mixed. If you have clean, quality recordings, then the mix engineer should approve and will begin mixing. A professional mix improves the overall perception of your music. Only paying for mixing and mastering saves you on studio recording.
Your overall goals and expections during the studio process will determine which method is best for you. Sometimes, working in the studio for the entire process is better suited for your project and other times, it's more auspicious for you to split recording between the professional studio and your home studio. Most engineers and studios are honest and will help you achieve the best sounding album you can imagine. At AMR Studio, we're here to help guide and produce quality recordings.