Studio News

Preparing For A Recording Session

By Rowan Bishop

Regardless of whether you’re a recording newbie or veteran, entering the recording studio can be a daunting process. Here at Garage Mahal Recording Studio we do our best to make the process as pain-free as possible. With that in mind, we’ve prepared a list of things to take care of both before and during your recording session.

Preproduction meeting

Please feel free to schedule a visit with us to discuss your project. Iron out with the engineer your budget, the amount of songs you would like to record, and the instrumentation of said songs. Come to a consensus as to rates, scheduling, what needs to be accomplished and who takes responsibility for what. Get it in writing.


Have your material completely written and well rehearsed. On top of the songs you plan on recording, have one or two extra songs ready to go. Sometimes an otherwise workable song just doesn’t cut it under the microscope of the recording studio, so if this happens, having some backups ready to go is a good idea. It’s also a good idea to make a rough recording of your song(s) at a rehearsal. You can use your phone. This can help reveals problems with an arrangement.


Examine all your equipment for any flaws (crackly cables, broken cymbals, guitars that just wont stay in tune, etc.) Fix or replace whatever needs fixing or replacing. Guitar and bass players may want to have a setup performed on their instruments by a qualified professional (this includes changing strings.) Drummers may want to replace their drum heads and give them a good tuning. All this should be done well ahead of the session, and there should be at least one rehearsal with the new strings and heads to break them in.

Don’t bring an entourage

Yes recording is exciting, but that doesn’t mean your friends need to be part of the fun. If there’s a non-band member who can actually contribute to the session, fine, bring them along. But otherwise, keep the people present to a minimum. Ditto for spouses and girlfriends/boyfriends.

Designate someone as “The Voice of the Band”

In terms of communicating with the engineer and making decisions, it’s best to give that job to one person. For the engineer, interpreting one person’s requests can be difficult sometimes. Imagine if there are five people making requests, some of which contradict each other. If the band is a true democracy and everyone is on the same page, great – just pick someone to voice the requests. If not, well that’s another issue. Some people are ok with others speaking for them and making decisions. Others are not. If anyone in the band falls into the latter category, it’s best to sit down and work that out before the session starts.

A few other things

• Don’t sweat the clock – that’s our job
• Don’t work longer than you realistically can – the work may suffer
• Don’t try to do it all in one shot – you can always come back later
• Bring snacks
• Stay hydrated (especially you vocalists)
• Take breaks
• have a portable hard drive with you so you can get a safety copy of the sessions

Be prepared to have FUN

Recording is work, but it’s also fun and rewarding. We’ll do our best to keep that happening as the session unfolds.


Don’t let the process of recording intimidate you. We’ll make it as easy as possible. Call or email us now to book your next session.