After you have found the right engineer, you will want to make sure that you are working in an acoustically accurate, well built studio that has the latest technologies. A few panels on the walls in a square room does not a control room make! A symmetric room with non parallel walls and acoustic clouds are telling signs that the room was built well. Double walls, and floated floors are also the norm, as they prevent the transmission of sound from the outside. Technologically most of the top recording studios use Pro Tools 11 HD or higher and have an HDX system, which means that processing is done both on the computer and separate PCIe cards. This combined with a large collection of analog equipment, and a good microphone selection are paramount.
Questions to ask:
-Does your studio record with Pro Tools HD?
-Is your room acoustically designed and built?
-What type of conversion do you use?
-Do you have any outboard gear? Which models and what is its value?
Now that you have your studio chosen, it is time to get into the studio.
Once you have properly prepared your performance and performers it is time to bring them into the studio for the recording and overdubbing process. If you plan to have your music compete with today’s latest releases, this process can be painstaking. It is critical to get each part captured exactly as you would want. Pitch, delivery, performance of every last note is critical. Many vocal producers have their clients deliver every line, one at a time, until it is exactly right, delivering the correct tonality, pitch, inflection, and timing. Capturing each instrument or programmed part this way can be tedious, but at times, be useful. A great engineer is able to capture and patch together a great vocal line, while putting on his “producer” hat, when one is not available. Capturing each instrument and each vocal part with the nuance, pitch and timbre that works cohesively, can be painstaking but is well worth it. Usually these songs tend to “mix themselves.”
Once edits have been made you are ready to mix the song. This process usually takes between 4 hours and an entire day. It may include pitch correction, further editing may be needed. You will be given a chance to make changes or suggestions throughout the mix process. When done you should receive a stereo track, and a pro tools session backup to archive. If the engineer has used outboard analog equipment, ask him to document what was used, should you need to recall the mix at another point. You may take this final mix to a mastering engineer to do the final finishing touches to your mix. Usually the mix is made louder, and sweetened. I would only suggest undertaking this process if you plan to have the song commercially released.