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How many of you do pre-production?
View Poll Results: do you do pre-production before you start recording?
always
31 Votes - 31.00%
whenever possible
55 Votes - 55.00%
only on "big" projects
10 Votes - 10.00%
never
4 Votes - 4.00%
Voters: 100. You may not vote on this poll

Old 15th February 2006
  #1
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
How many of you do pre-production?

I'd like to find out how many of you producers/engineers do pre-production before you start a project.

Last edited by mwagener; 15th February 2006 at 05:47 PM..
Old 15th February 2006
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

whenever possible. always helps.
Old 15th February 2006
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Jeff A. Roberts's Avatar
 

Former "whenever possible" guy.

Current "always" guy.
Old 15th February 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Infernal Device's Avatar
 

ALWAYS. Even if it is a casual meeting for two hours where we discuss their songs, the way they want them to come across, and the end result of what sonic picture should be created. It is best even on small projects to do this WAY before recording starts.

On big projects, I have spent over 100 hours in pre doing tempo changes, key changes, storyboarding songs, scratch takes, etc.

Sometimes it allows for random sloppiness to actually work. Sometimes there is no margin for that stuff. You only know which it is in pre.
Old 15th February 2006
  #5
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
actually, let me clarify. With pre-production I mean going into rehearsal with the band and working on each song to prepare for recording.
Old 15th February 2006
  #6
Lives for gear
 
drmmrboy's Avatar
 

Always, but it varies. Sometimes just a meeting, sometimes to dig in.

Andrew
Old 15th February 2006
  #7
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener
actually, let me clarify. With pre-production I mean going into rehearsal with the band and working on each song to prepare for recording.
I had a pretty small deal with Mammoth, but they rented us a room at Cole Studios for five weeks. We would meet with our producer and engineer twice or three times a week and go over specific things. The rehearsal space was expensive, but a lot less expensive than the studio.

I had a mackie and an ADAT set up and running most of the time.

Thought I'd report that even though it's from the band perspective.
Old 15th February 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 
paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener
actually, let me clarify. With pre-production I mean going into rehearsal with the band and working on each song to prepare for recording.
Always. I find it hard to concentrate on both the arrangements, chord voicings, harmony, etc, while simultaneously sorting out the sonics and the engineering details at the same time. Rehearsals give me time to learn the songs [if I haven't learned them already], try different arrrangements and parts, and work out tempos before we go in. Some bands need more, and some less, but it always raises the confidence level when the time comes to go in and record.

With budgets the way they are these days, it seems like the most cost effective way to record a band as well...

Cheers,
John
Old 15th February 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Always!!!
Old 15th February 2006
  #10
Gear Head
 
Old Dog's Avatar
 

rehearsals? Bands rehearse? heh

if I have anything to do with it, I'm kicking but.
Old 15th February 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Always - It can't help but benefit the recording.
Old 15th February 2006
  #12
I do pre-production when I'm hired to produce. It's surprising how many bands don't even know what pre-production is, or what a producer is for that matter.
In theory, when a band "produces" themselves they should have done the pre-production before coming in to the studio. I think it takes a lot of objectivity, experience and mental concentration on the bands part to do their own production. Usually a beginning or intermediate level band can't do this. When they are starting out they don't really know how to communicate what they want. Usually they will just show you a CD of their favorite band and say "make us sound like that"...
Old 15th February 2006
  #13
Gear Head
 
Old Dog's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred
I do pre-production when I'm hired to produce. It's surprising how many bands don't even know what pre-production is, or what a producer is for that matter.
In theory, when a band "produces" themselves they should have done the pre-production before coming in to the studio. I think it takes a lot of objectivity, experience and mental concentration on the bands part to do their own production. Usually a beginning or intermediate level band can't do this. When they are starting out they don't really know how to communicate what they want. Usually they will just show you a CD of their favorite band and say "make us sound like that"...
Yup. That's it. And most bands don't see the value of a producer. They just think that being in a studio will make them sound like rock stars. I always offer my services to produce and rarely do people want to pay my nominal fee. They ultimately pay for it and well beyond in the end with all their indecision and lack of focus. Makes it very difficult as an engineer to know how to approach the project as well.

Ho hum.
Old 15th February 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
 
DontLetMeDrown's Avatar
 

I record locals acts, so sometimes, my pre-production is not always welcome. It usually happens with return customers who trust me and know that I wont completely rearrange their "vision"
Old 15th February 2006
  #15
Lives for gear
 
superburtm's Avatar
 

Depends on the band. If they suck I'll go into rehearsals to help them not suck. If they are damn good and they know what they are doing I leave them be
Old 16th February 2006
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Pre-production

What John Paterno said!

I'm a BIG fan of pre-production. I record the rehearsals, listen at home, and then go in the next day with any changes and proceed from there. Also....some GREAT moments get caught on rehearsal tape which can be quickly played just before tracking for one of those, "Oh, yeah....I remember that" moments.
Old 16th February 2006
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Jetblack's Avatar
 

I HATE working on a project where the budget doesn't allow for pre production, even if its a straight to laptop 12 track off the floor in their rehersal space. It definitly has made my work improve by leaps and bounds.
Old 16th February 2006
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Every minute spent in pre-production saves me ten in recording and hours in mixing.
If you're not doing (demanding) preproduction, either you have too much time on your hands, or you are working with a modern day Mozart who understands exactly the nuances of what he is trying to create and EXACTLY how to express it, and he does not need you to produce or engineer!
Old 16th February 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 
TornadoTed's Avatar
I live and work in rural Mid Wales which is one of the poorest areas in the UK. I get a lot of bands with £200 for a demo and they have to struggle to get that! They don't have the budget for pre production. I always get them to come the night before and 'set up' their kit, this does save time on the day but more importantly gives me the opportunity to talk to the band about what they want. I listen to some CD's in their genral genre and get a feel for the people. I try to go to as many gigs as I can also.
Old 16th February 2006
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Ditto to what Jon has already said, and as he pointed out, especially if your engineering in addition to Producing. I would love to be able to afford to not engineer.
Old 16th February 2006
  #21
Lives for gear
If you're not part of the arranging and song selection and all that stuff that goes under the header of "pre production" (which is fundamentally a stupid name), then you're not really PRODUCING.

so it ALWAYS has to be done at some point...
Old 16th February 2006
  #22
Gear Addict
 
EngineEars's Avatar
 

There isn't a better tools in the world for finding the right keys and tempos. Every time I have to deal with an artist making last minute key/tempo changes while overdubbing or even worse in mixing or mastering I think it could have been avoided with just a little pre-production.
Old 16th February 2006
  #23
I have to say that I don't produce alot of bands, it's much more the solo artist thing.
I get together with the artist, get the arrangement together maybe reharmonize if need be, then I sequence a little track to get the vibe and groove happening to paint a clear picture of the direction for the musicians that I'll bring in, record a ref vocal.
I usually wind up keeping quite abit from that demo and refining it after I've added live players. i just did a really neat track with an artist in the Sara McClachlan, arty pop vibe. i wound up using abit of the ref vocal in the final comp, and all of the keys after alittle tweaking.
Old 16th February 2006
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

I work more with individual artists than I do bands, so I probably spend more time in pre-production than I do in production.
Old 16th February 2006
  #25
Lives for gear
 
DirkB's Avatar
 

If I am producing, I definitely rehearse the songs with the band. With the bands I work with (non of them pro's) there is always a lot of work to do on groove, voicings and tempo. Most of the time we are simplifying things...
Also, it's the time where we get used to eachother, get to know the songs and get some ideas what kind of sounds we are going to be looking for when we start recording.

When it gets to recording, most of the real creative part has been taken care of and it is a matter of performing the parts as skillful and musical as possible.
There will always be some "spur of the moment" ideas that get recorded, but mainly during recording I want to focus on nailing the part, not thinking of one.

Greetings,
Dirk
Old 16th February 2006
  #26
Lives for gear
 
blackcatdigi's Avatar
Depends on the situation.

If I'm producing, always and as much, for as long as it takes, to get it to where I need it to be, to record.

If I'm engineering, never.

I prefer to produce, but I charge for that. I don't produce for free or as an 'added value'.

If I'm hired to engineer, I'm just driving the bus. You tell me where you want to go, and I'll try to choose the most appropriate route. But where we're going is up to you!
Old 16th February 2006
  #27
Gear Addict
 

I,d rather have 20 hours pre production time and 8 hours in Abbey road than the other way around.(unless of course YOU are paying for it )

It saves a lot of messing around redoing takes or showing someone how to play their instrument properly .

It means you can be sure the band are TIGHT and everyone is playing an appropriate part.

You also get to know each other and get a feel for the the bands vibe and sound.

You can establish what each individuals role is and what their tone is.

Decisions can be made here regarding how you will approach tracking which will save a lot of time and money if you're paying for a suitably slutty studio.

It means that the tracking session can be the fun vibey experience it should be .....a bunch of people playing some serious tunes and sounding right on the money.
Old 17th February 2006
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Jamz's Avatar
Always.
Also, seems to go hand-in-hand from the writing process.
Old 17th February 2006
  #29
11413
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim vanBergen
Every minute spent in pre-production saves me ten in recording and hours in mixing.
BRAVO!
Old 17th February 2006
  #30
When I'm hired as the producer, I always do preprodcution.

I've been toying with the idea of hiring myself out as a producer for just the preproduction stage. I've got a package in mind that would cover my fee and rehearsal studio time. Basicilly they get arrangement help and some very specific rehearsing for recording help the will prepare them to play the songs at the right tempo, in time, with or without a click.

Then they could do their project at home, a low budget studio if they can't afford my rates, or do the whole thing with me and probably save a good bit of money through efficiency as a result of being prepared.

It doesn't take much guidance to make a huge difference.
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