5 Tips to Increase Studio Session Productivity
One of our favorite resources and studio effects plug in products had this great article by Charles Huffman on Studio Session Productivity. Definitely worth sharing and for you to check out. Waves!
Creative energy can often run dry by the time you press “record.” Learn how to stay productive and creative by laying out the production process and running more efficient recording, mixing and mastering sessions.
Have you ever spent hours in a studio session, only to realize that the project you’ve been working on has gone nowhere? It’s not a great feeling, but this has happened to all of us at one point in time. I’m going to share with you five tips to increase studio session productivity.
Whether you’re a bedroom producer or working as a recording, mixing or mastering engineer professionally, there are always minor enhancements you can make to your workflow. This list will help you identify pain points that are slowing you down so that you can make adjustments as necessary.
1. Clean Up Your Workspace
Investing some time into cleaning up your workspace can provide significant workflow gains. Simple steps you can take include: decluttering your desk, organizing small electronic accessories, as well as wrapping and storing cables correctly. Nobody wants to spend 20 minutes scavenging through a messy studio, looking for the tools they need.
You can free up lots of space by getting a desk with a pullout MIDI keyboard tray or adding a tray to your current desk. I store a beat pad, MIDI keyboard, and two pairs of headphones on my keyboard tray, which leaves me with lots of room on my desk. Two producers can comfortably set up their laptops beside my keyboard and mouse.
If you own gear that’s meant to be rack-mounted, then rackmount it. You don’t need power conditioners, audio interfaces and patch bays taking up desk real estate. Get a cheap rack stand and get that gear off your desk.
Small accessories like phone chargers, power banks and USB hubs should remain out of the way but easily accessible. Consider dedicating a drawer to small electronics. You can even get rack-mounted drawers to kill two birds with one stone and save on space.
The more recording you do, the more cables you inevitably end up acquiring. I keep my cables wrapped up and tucked into a shoe organizer that hangs off the back of a door, but you can also tackle cable management by hanging your cables on wall hooks. The latter option will put less strain on your cables and increase their lifespan.
2. Lay Out the Recording Process for Clients
Many clients and performers you work with may be unfamiliar with how you run your ship, and they may have never set foot in a studio before. For this reason, it’s a good idea to provide them with an outline of how to make the most of a recording session with you.
Your outline may consist of things like how to prepare for an upcoming recording session and what mindset to enter your studio with. For example, a considerable time-killer is when musicians don’t think to practice their songs ahead of time with a backing track, click-track or however it will be recorded on the day. It’s important that artists are as prepared as possible for the studio recording to keep things as smooth, relaxed and timely as possible during the session.
The more comfortable your artist is, the less likely they are to make mistakes while recording. Performers can’t necessarily snap into a productive recording mindset at the drop of a hat. However, you can help put them at ease by being friendly when they walk through the door and by accommodating their needs.
You don’t necessarily have to cater to them on your hands and knees, but simple acts of kindness—like providing them with water, taking breaks and showing interest in their project—can go a long way.
3. Prepare Your Studio Ahead of Time
In the same way that you should ensure that the artists you’re working with are prepared, you should also be ready yourself. Make sure that your recording rig is set up and ready well ahead of time; this includes turning all your hardware on and testing that it works, but it also refers to in-the-box prep.
If there are plugin presets that you frequently use, consider turning them into default plugin presets; the same goes for plugin chains. Using Waves’ free StudioRack plugin to create custom chains for vocals and instruments (or using the many included artist presets) is an extremely efficient way to dial in mix-processing on the fly, and give your clients a taste of the final result. Saving your most popular task-specific plugins as part of a StudioRack chain will let you load all of them onto a track at once and activate them on a case-by-case basis.