Professional Sound - Indepth

Stay Creative & Keep The Session By Shawn Bradley

First impressions can mean everything to new studio clients. Our goal as producers and engineers is to provide a creative environment for artists and achieve the best possible sounds in the least amount of time. Take a few steps to prepare yourself for the unfortunate so that you’re able to keep the session rolling and your clients happy.

Auto Backups
In your DAW set-up preferences, enable session file auto backup. This will keep a designated number of backup files and is extremely handy as you are only a click away from a previous saved version if something goes awry.

**Dual Vocal Microphones **
Capturing a vocalist’s performance is key when producing. Sometimes, the best performance comes on the first or second take and you need to be ready. Try this: Set up two microphones; one will be your main vocal mic and the second can be set with a lower gain stage and a bit more compression to capture any part of the performance where the main mic overloads ensuring no performance is lost due to bad levels.

**Mix While Tracking **
I have found this to be a huge help over the years. When drum and bass tracks are complete, start a mix before adding the next part. It will give each additional performer a better feel for how the track will sound.

Record The Process
When I started engineering I remember the piles of DAT tapes on the producer’s desk. The tapes were continuously recording everything happening in the control room and the live floor. No ideas are lost and you’re able to refer back to any part of the session. Try this in your own studio with a small recorder.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Every session and artist is different and they are all looking for their own individuality and sound. I thought this quote from Paul McCartney on The Beatles’ recording process was appropriate: “We would say, ‘Try it. Just try it for us. If it sounds crappy, OK. We’ll lose it. But it might just sound good.’ We were always pushing ahead: Louder, further, longer, more, different.”

Shawn Bradley is the Owner, Producer, and Engineer of Ottawa’s Fadernoise Recording and works with artists such as Rikers, Electric Six, The Reason, Mellowdrone, Ian Thornley, Birthday Boys, and more. Check out for info about Fadernoise Recording and lots of recording and mixing tips.

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About Andrew King
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Professional Sound. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
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