Mid last year after Nick Carver and I finalised recording and mixing the first Morrisons release I put together a little outline of how I’d like to approach my next recording, based on the experiences we had. I thought others might find it useful, so here it is..
Recording plan for a learning engineer (written by a learning engineer)
Analyse properties of ensemble (instruments, voices, various percussion).
Figure out in advance what a desirable sound for each instrument is. (identify reference recordings?)
Figure out the gear (instruments, amps, mics, preamps, effects)/space (surfaces, dimensions, baffles) necessary to attain desirable sound.
Do a sketch recording of song with simplest possible configuration of gear/space elements.
Analyse structure of song.
Figure out a mix narrative (points to tweak sound/instrumentation/arrangement to fit narrative of song).
Amend gear/space plan if necessary.
Figure out how the e.q. landscape is going to be covered (what instruments accentuate/are filtered out from what).
Record a guide track of all instruments in one space.
If optimal spaces for recording instruments are different, perform seperate recordings. (alternately and ideally record the instruments at the same time in their optimal spaces).
Be prepared to re-record anything and/or everything.
Figure out an order of focus for the various sonic elements (i.e. voice priority 1, drums priority 2, etc.)
Consider aesthetic of recording before beginning to mix (does it need to be loud? clean? subtle? are there genre considerations?)
Establish necessary buses/routing.
Select effects according to specific sonic/narrative objectives.
Achieve a satisfying mix on monitors.
Test on a variety of speakers, tv, hifi, pa, large, small, etc.
Identify corrections to be made, repeat.