Pre-Production Is The Key To Efficient Recording Sessions

Whether you’re an experienced professional or getting ready for your first recording session, taking the time to prepare before you record can save you time, money and help you get the results you want in the studio. These pre-production tips can help you achieve efficient and productive recording sessions:

  • Decide tempos for songs you plan to record.
  • Rehearse songs with drummer using a click track at chosen tempo.
  • Record rehearsals leading up to your recording session. Elect a band member responsible for reviewing the rehearsal recordings and taking notes. (It would be best if all members listened to each rehearsal recording).
  • If there are band members who both sing and play an instrument on a song, decide if they are going to do both during the recording session or if they’re going to track vocals separately. It may be necessary to rehearse a song without singing so that the band gets used to playing without the vocals. Other options will be available in the studio.

Tips for saving time and money in the recording studio:

  1. Record songs with the same instrumentation back-to-back. This will reduce set-up and tear-down times and allows headphone mixes / preamp settings / guitar amp settings / microphones to remain intact. Example: If you only have two out of ten songs with acoustic guitar, record those two songs back-to-back.
  2. After basic tracking, record the guitars and bass overdubs the same day. Maybe even lead vocals.
  3. Limit back-up vocals. If all your band members sing back-ups live on songs you’re recording, consider if all voices are really needed on the studio recording. Can your band’s experienced singers cover the for your band’s less-experienced singers? Consider the level of each band member’s singing abilities before committing to taking the time (and spending money) to record their voice in the studio.
  4. Don’t bring unneeded mounted and floor toms for the drum set unless you really plan on using them in the songs.

Vocal Production

Bruce Swedien’s tips on mics, effects and unleashing a memorable vocal performance

Michael Jackson’s vocal performances in the studio are legendary, and Bruce Swedien recorded many of Michael Jackson’s greatest records. Who better to get tips about getting a great vocal performance in the studio than from living audio legend Bruce Swedien? 

He sites the most famous signal chain as Michael Jackson’s Thriller: SM7 (Root Celler has an SM7 in our mic locker!) into Neve 1084 into Urei 1176 (RCMS has 16 1176s built into our Universal Audio mic pres) compressor into multi-track. Read more in this interview with Bruce Swedien on

Studio technique from the man who recorded Michael Jackson

Here at Root Cellar Music Studio, we can’t get enough of Bruce Swedien’s recording tips. He made so many great sounding records with Michael Jackson, so we’re always studying up on the tips and tricks he generously shares so we can pass them on to our clients’ projects. Read more on what he says about studio mic technique here:

Vocal Health

Great technique is the basis for a healthy voice

Most of us have crammed for exams. And, while we may have passed that important test, we probably didn’t retain most of the information. Similarly, many singers cram for studio sessions only to be dissappointed with the results or unable to recreate live what they did in the studio.

Regardless of the style of music you sing, one of the best investments you can make in your long-term vocal health is learning a proven and healthy vocal technique. Per voice trainer Kate DeVore: “Improper technique can lead to vocal injuries, which can be annoying and limiting at best and career-ending at worst. Most common vocal injuries (nodules, polyps, bruising, swelling) are caused at least in part by the vocal chords slamming together too hard when we speak, sing, shout, scream, wail, keen, sob and so forth. There are ways to do all of those things healthily, which ensures that a performer will have a flexible voice to last through his or her career.”

Rather than cramming for important vocal sessions and performances, making a long-term commitment to learning and practicing a healthy vocal technique is an investment that will produce long-lasting results. To quote vocal expert Mary Hammond, “Technique frees the imagination. The better, more solid and more unconscious the technique, the freer the performer is to grow, explore and mature."

Root Cellar Music Studio's favorite vocal technique and style program is Brett Manning’s Singing Success.

Vocal Straw Exercise

Whether you are getting over a cold, suffering from allergies or just need a great warm-up, the vocal straw exercise is a safe and effective technique to relieve a tired voice as well as stretch and un-press the vocal folds. Watch this video demonstration by Professor Ingo Titze to learn more about this fun and easy theraputic vocal exercise.

Michael Jackson Vocalizing With Seth Riggs

It’s well-known that Michael Jackson’s great voice teacher Seth Riggs would often warm Michael’s voice up as many as three times a day when Michael was touring. We love hearing Michael sing the same scales on different vowels that we practice! Listening to Seth Riggs take the great voice of Michael Jackson through these scales underscores the importance of great technique for a healthy voice.