The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Engineering/Producing in a BIG studio for the first time
Old 23rd November 2010
  #1
Gear Addict
 
Empora's Avatar
 

Engineering/Producing in a BIG studio for the first time

Hi all,

Feeling a bit daunted (but very very excited) to be recording in a top studio for the first time. I have been in bigger studios in my time, mainly as a musician but also helping out assisting on the odd session but this time I am in the hot seat and this place is a hole different deal really

I run a small project studio, usual deal, PTLE rig, live room, control room few bits of choice outboard etc etc. I like to think I get a pretty good end product and it has been my full time job for the last couple of years. Being that my live room is far from perfect for drum recording I have been increasingly "out-saucing" to other studios/locations.

I am recording an album for a band later in the month, I have done several demos for them in the past, we get on very well and they have entrusted me with the actual record. Somehow they have secured some downtime in a very big pro studio for the drum sessions, the rest will be done at my place, awesome!! However, although I know in theory how all this kit works, moving from an LE rig with my trusty mac up to a HUGE Neve console, crap loads of outboard huge live room etc etc is pretty scary stuff!!

So I guess what I am asking is, can anyone offer me some pearls of wisdom here? Is there some research, reading or even just attitude or priority advise that might help me to prepare for such a session? The last thing I want to do is make a tit of myself or more importantly jeopardize the bands album.

I have been assured that an engineer will at least be there to get us up and running (I bloody hope so), so thats all good I guess. It will no doubt be an amazing experience just want to do everything I can to prepare myself. I have recorded drums tones of times and have a pretty clear idea how I want to go about micing up etc, I think my main concern is routing signals and that kind of thing.... I am guessing even experienced freelancers would expect a "heads up" when working in a new facility right?

Thanks in advance Slutz, any comments will be much apreciated
Old 23rd November 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
Ask the engineer what his "go to" chain is for drums, preferably ahead of the session, and augment a few things (extra kik mics, room mics, etc.), but don't try to re-invent the wheel.
Old 23rd November 2010
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Empora's Avatar
 

Yeah, good thinking. Definitely going to play it safe! Hoping the room and pre's (as well as the obvious drummer/tuning etc) will be the main contribution to making this sound "pro". Will be great to use some of the gear I have read so much about and drool over on a regular basis though!
Old 23rd November 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
doubledecker's Avatar
Just trust his experience with this room to get great drum sound, watch his placement ,choice of mics etc. you might pick up something usefull. He is going to setup all routing for you so you should just press record button and enjoy yourself. I have never questioned in house engineer's decisions while recording cos they know ins and outs of that particular studio and how to get things sounding good faster than i do.
Old 23rd November 2010
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Empora's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledecker View Post
Just trust his experience with this room to get great drum sound, watch his placement ,choice of mics etc. you might pick up something usefull. He is going to setup all routing for you so you should just press record button and enjoy yourself. I have never questioned in house engineer's decisions while recording cos they know ins and outs of that particular studio and how to get things sounding good faster than i do.
It's actually really nice to hear these calm responses, as long as the engineer is there I think I will have the time of my life. I am totally up for learning off other more experienced people.
Old 24th November 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 

Yeah, make sure you have the house engineer there the whole time. Then enjoy, everything should be easier.

-R
Old 24th November 2010
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
LimeMusic's Avatar
 

Maybe the studio would let you stop by to meet the house engineer and check out the space. I have a feeling that would ease your nerves a bit...

It's kinda overwhelming to go into something like that for the first time, but there really isn't anything (usually) too complicated. It's just understanding signal flow and getting your hands on things...

Good luck!!
Old 24th November 2010
  #8
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empora View Post
Thanks in advance Slutz, any comments will be much apreciated
I don't know if they're selling you the "down time" or just letting you have it. If they're letting you have it [as in for free] talk to the studio management and hire one of their assistant engineers on the side to run the "HD" rig [and coil cables, and make session notes - remember you're a first now!!]. As far as the "huge Neev console" goes - once you understand the signal flow of the desk [should take about 8 minutes] then the assistant will know all about things like "master status" [etc., etc., etc.] - don't be afraid to ask the "house guy" [assistant] a desk question if you have one.

If they're selling you the "down time" then make sure an assistant is included in the deal. If not, find out how much more it will be [and pay it] to have the assistant in the room every minute you're there [and if the assistant is worth a damn, he'll be there at least 30 minutes before you show up and an hour or four after you leave doing "backups" and "clean up".

You're in the big time now -- act like you belong there and you get there more often!!! While I totally understand the ethos of working a "one man shop" where you do everything, the fact of the matter is that there is division of labor for a reason -- the assistant does assistant stuff -- you concentrate on the task at hand [the sounds you're recording]. The assistant runs machines [in the old days they were called "Tape Op"s for a reason] and you worry about microphone selection and placement. If you're wearing the "producer" hat too - worry seriously about the sound of the actual drums you'll be recording -- don't do things like take drum tunings for granted unless you're working with a serious "top shelf" drummer - and even then don't take the tunings for granted - at least if you have any notion of getting back into a room like that during "normal" hours instead of just during "down time".

Most of all - don't forget to breathe when it seems overwhelming -- and remember that its supposed to be fun [in other words, don't let anyone see you stressing - and most likely, you will be stressing!!] and you'll be perfectly fine.

Peace.
Old 24th November 2010
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Empora's Avatar
 

Thanks for the kind and useful words chaps!


Turns out there is definitely going to be an engineer present and he seems like a cool guy. Should all go off without a hitch. Can't bloody wait
Old 24th November 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
evangelista's Avatar
 

The biggest problem I've encountered with people stepping into a big studio for the first time is that they expect to all of as sudden sound "professional" simply by being there. Expectations are often unreasonable.

"It's all in the performance" is a law often learned slowly.

That being said, functionally there's no difference between your home studio and a "big" one. They just have more and better stuff. It's still mics running into pres going to a recording medium. If you have an assistant who knows the room, you're set. Use your ears and concentrate on getting sounds. Even more importantly, keep the vibe nice.
Old 24th November 2010
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

I've seen this situation a few times now and would suggest that you try and make it your session and not the house engineers...just a thought as I've seen our guys take over from a freelancer which leaves the band wondering why they hired him in the first place. I would say lean on the house guy, but don't forget that you know how to engineer as well.
Old 24th November 2010
  #12
Registered User
 

Remember that your skills and knowledge are still the same as they were in your own personal space. Remember that you've been in the situation before, it's just on a larger scale, but that doesn't really change any of the fundamentals: good music is still good music, a great take is still a great take and anything that's not sounding how it should needs to be fixed.

Everything is right there in front of you. If the drums don't sound right, just keep asking yourself why until you get the answer. Too much room? Not enough snap? Wrong snare?

Make sure the band is well rehearsed and happy with the fundamental tones of their instruments.

If you haven't already, I would make sure you take a tour of the space. Go in there with the assistant and ask some questions. It's you the band wants to work with, so trust that they hopefully made that decision for a reason after contemplating other choices and work your ass off/make them work their asses off to get the results you all want.
Old 24th November 2010
  #13
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

All the above points are spot on.

I'll add this: depending on your familiarity with what they have there, you might want to bring your monitors.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump