Recording in the Studio
I’m going to give an example of how I would record a band for a layered session:
(Layered Recordings, recording 1 instrument correctly at a time)
A practical problem when trying to record a band is how many tracks you have available to record on at one time?, most medium sizeddesks only have 8 sends available on the recording buss or groups, or when recording to pc, some audio conversion cards only have 8 channels or inputs available at any one time.
If you have a typical band line up, I would first put the Drummer in the Recording Booth and mic up his kit,
I would have:-
1 mic on the Kick on its own track
1 mic on the snare on its own track
1 mic on the high hats on there own track
1 mic on each tom, panned left to right (e.g. 3 toms sent to two recording channels but panned at 3 o’clock 12 o’clock and 9 o’clock ) with a stereo pair of Over heads for Cymbals panned left and right fully, recorded to the same pair of tracks but balanced as close to a final level as you can judge.
That’s 5 Tracks used so far….
The rest of the band would set up in the control room if you don’t have any more rooms and would emulate their sounds very crudely or maybe just use a clear sound to send a signal down headphones to the drummer from the desk. The vocalist would also have a mic and all the other instruments would be recorded on the remaining tracks as ghost tracks, maybe a mix of guitars on track 6, bass on track 7, Vocals (vox) on track 8.
Then when a perfect Drum take is down for all your songs (it dose not matter if vocals or instruments have played wrong or Bum notes as long as the Drum tracks stand up on their own), check and listen through several times with ghost tracks playing and without them playing, after several play back’s you will know if the Drum part has the right feel and levels (Cymbal and toms balance) for your songs.
Then usually the Bass sets up in the booth with headphones and plays to the drum tracks with some of the ghost tracks turned up in the headphones (obviously not the ghost bass) until his/her parts are done, at this stage any mistakes on the bass tracks can usually be “dropped in” a term which means the engineer finds a place in the song before the mistake and gets the bass to play along then hits the Record button in a gap between notes just before the mistake and then drops out again in a way that is not noticed when played back. (Dropping in is usually easy, dropping out is not! It is sometimes better to get the musician to play to the end of the song once dropping in midway through a song)
Then each other instrument would record their parts in the same way finishing with the Vocals.