Being Prepared to Record Over a Beat/Instrumental
It is quite common to come into a recording studio to record over an already recorded instrumental or beat. This could be a karaoke version of a song or a custom instrumental you found online. No matter the purpose, here are a few tips to ensure you have a great recording session when you come in.
Have the Instrumental With You
This may seem obvious but it can often be overlooked. Having the instrumental on a flash drive or sending it over ahead of time can save time when recording in the studio. This will also give you more time in the booth to get the perfect take.
For example: we cannot remove a beat from a YouTube video if you only bring a link to the beat online. Typically, when a beat is for sale on YouTube there will be a link in the description to purchase or download it. Follow that link to get the instrumental file, then either save it to a flash drive or email the file to us so we can have everything ready to go when you walk into the studio for your session. We can’t do anything if you only provide a YouTube or Soundcloud link.
Get Stems of the Instrumental
This is not essential, but it does come with a lot of benefits. If you purchased a custom beat see if you can get stems or multitracks of the instrumental. This is essentially all the parts of the beat separated out into their individual elements. This gives the engineer more control to mix your voice into the song, as well as giving you more creative choices to manipulate the instrumental.
For example: if you found an instrumental you like on Soundcloud, message the person to see if they can provide stems for any purchases of the track. If they can, they will most likely send you a link to Dropbox or Google Drive to download all the elements of the beat.
Bring Your Lyrics
Having your lyrics with you can save time when you’re recording. Sometimes you may feel nervous and “on-the-spot” while recording, and it’s easy to forget words/lines. Having a copy to give the to the engineer is great as well so that he/she can follow along while you sing, and they will be able to communicate effectively if certain parts need to be sung over again.
Have an Arrangement
Knowing how you want your song to progress sonically is essential for having a smooth recording session. Having a prepared arrangement can mean planning a few things including, harmonies, vocal doubles, effects, and more. Communicating these with the engineer will allow for an efficient session so we can come up with the most efficient and effective way to make your vision come to life.
An example of this is if you want the verse of your song to sound very small like it’s through a cell phone, while the chorus sounds like a choir. Informing the engineer of this tells him/her that we’ll only have to record one pass for the verse, but we will need to stack up multiple takes for the chorus to make your vision come to life.
Practicing your song before you come in is a great way to be prepared for when it’s time to record. The more you practice the more comfortable you’ll be with your song. This will give you the opportunity to edit and change parts if need be, without having to figure it out on the fly while you’re in the booth.
Practicing a bit before your session is also a great way to warm up your voice. It’s like running a race: if you don’t stretch beforehand, you’ll cramp up and won’t last very long. At the same time, you don’t want to run a bunch of practice races just before your big race, otherwise you’ll be too tired. Warming up your voice will allow you to nail the perfect take while you’re in the studio, without having to spend the time warming up while you’re in the booth.
If you follow these tips when coming in for your session you will be sure to have a great time and walk away with a product you’re thrilled about.