What Happens During A Recording Session?

There are different things out there that we all haven’t experienced before.

We all get curious about such experiences and it’s only natural.

I’ve spent most of life in recording studios so I’m pretty accustomed to them.

For a new musician that’s never set foot inside a studio, it may be both an exciting experience and scary one.

This will discuss what exactly happens during a recording session so you have a general idea.

I hope this post helps out any newbie musicians out there that are read to get in the booth!

With that said, what happens during a recording session?

During a recording session, a recording engineer helps you record your vocals by giving you feedback and directing you towards the best performance possible.

This is of course, a very brief description, but not to worry, I’m going to give you a full breakdown of what actually happens during a recording session.

So, let’s first begin with what a typical recording studio will be like.

Control Room

The control room in a recording studio is where the producer or sound engineers will work from. This room is usually separate from the recording booth.

It also serves as a sitting area for people that are present in the session.

When you first walk into a recording session, this is the area that you’ll first walk into and settle.

Recording booth

The recording booth is a special booth that is optimized for audio recording.

These areas don’t let any sounds in or out which keeps any and all recordings clean.

Once you’re ready to record.

You’ll be directed to the recording booth where you’ll  record your vocals via a microphone.

Below are the people that you should expect to find in a recording session.

Recording engineer

A recording engineer is the person that will be responsible for recording your vocals.

They’ll also help you in your process.

Sound engineer

A sound engineer may sometimes be also present in a recoding session. However, its common for recording engineers to double as sound engineers and vice versa.

Sound engineering involves applying various processes to recorded audio in order to get it to a workable state.

Artist’s

Sometimes it’s common to have artists and other people present in the recording session.

It depends really. Sometimes it will just be you and the engineer.

What happens in the recording session itself

Equipment set up

First things first, the engineer will set up their equipment and ensure that everything is working fine.

Usually, the recording engineer will test to see if all equipment is working as intended.

Once this is done. Other things can follow.

Share the beat

If you came with your own beat, you’ll need to share it with the engineer so they can load it up in the DAW session.

On the other hand, If the producer of your beat is present they can easily send the track to the engineer if they’re not engineering the vocals themselves.

Recording your hook

Once your beat is loaded up, you’ll need to get in the booth to record your first vocals.

The first vocals are usually the hook or chorus which is usually recorded once and then duplicated to repeat at specific sections through out the song.

Coaching and idea building

During the process of recording your chorus, you’ll work hand and in hand with the engineer and they’ll help and direct your ideas so they’re executed well.

Perfecting the hook

Idea building is great and builds rapport with your engineer.

Once the engineer gives you feedback, you can then go back in the booth and start Perfecting your chorus by recording certain sections again, or simply redoing the whole chorus.

Even in this process your engineer will be there to guide you on the specific things that need improving.

It’s good to keep an open mind and trust the engineer.

This is how great records are made.

Recording your verses

After you’re done recording your hook, the next step will be recording your verses which is important.

You’ll work with the engineer on the verses just like you worked with them on the chorus.

Backing vocals and ad libs

Once you’re done recording your verses and bridges. The next step will be recording backing vocals that will support your lead vocals.

You’ll also be able to record your adlibs during this stage.

The engineer should help you even in this process so you get the best possible record .

Listening to your recording

After recording your full song, it will now be time for you to leave the booth and comeback to the control room.

In the control room, the engineer should be able to play you the record.

Your job will be listen to the record as closely as possible. Check for errors, check for what you you can record better etc.

Making changes

Once you listen to the full record, you’ll most likely feel the need to make a couple of changes to the record.

This will involve going to re-record some parts and making various changes to get the record sounding how you want it to sound.

It usually won’t take you a lot of time to make these changes because you would have already fixed most mistakes during the recording process itself.

The engineer will usually help you so that you avoid recording things again.

Saves you both time and energy.

Furthermore, studios charge per hour for studio time so you need to use your time wisely.

Working with the engineer

After you fix all your mistakes and listen to the record. It will now be time to work with the engineer in the actual process of engineering.

You can specify the things that you want done to your record and the engineer will give you feedback and advice.

For seasoned musicians that have recorded many songs, they’ll know the exact effects what they want done to their vocals and so forth.

This is great because it gives them what they exactly want.