10 recording tips from pros

Wanna record like a pro? Here are 10 handy tips for better recording sessions.

Matt Wiggins

Matt Wiggins

Matt has worked on records by everyone from Adele to Florence + The Machine alongside Paul Epworth. He has his own studio in Strongroom for mixing and production duties.

Top Tip “Be prepared for anything that could happen, ever, in the studio! For example, always have a vocal mic up even if you are coming in just for mix tweaks, because you can guarantee someone will just want to drop in a vocal.”

Rhiannon Mair

One of the UK’s rising production stars, Mair has been nominated for the MPG’s Breakthrough Producer Of The Year Award.

Top Tip “I always ask vocalists when the best time is for them to sing. Most will say
it’s mainly best in the evening time – so I usually have it set up with a couple of lamps, make it feel nice and cosy, and I think that does make a difference.”

Lauren Deakin Davies

Laura Deakin Davies

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At the age of 23, Lauren Deakin Davies has already made an impressive mark on the music-production world. She’s helmed more than nine albums, received numerous awards for her work and was the youngest-ever full member of the MPG.

Top Tip “I’ll get the artist to send me the track that they want to work on, and then other tracks of theirs. Then I’ll get them to send me three reference songs and explain to me what they’re going for with the song in question. I have a crib sheet of things that I go through with them, but when they come into the session I get them to actually explain it again, just to make sure we’re on exactly the right page. I then decide how we’re going to record it, how we’re going to achieve the sound.”

Jolyon Thomas

Producer of Royal Blood’s second album How Did We Get So Dark?, Jolyon also had a hand in U2’s Songs Of Experience.

Top Tip “Often the best productions aren’t what you think they are. For example, with Royal Blood, most people probably imagine Mike [Kerr, vocalist and bass player] is playing a guitar and they are a ‘standard’ band. The point being, I think you can experiment with the sound a hell of a lot to discover your own sound. Production, for me, really comes down to finding the most emotion out of that song and artist and I find that with experimentation.”

Guus Hoevenaars

Netherlands-born Guus is a versatile Emmy-winning mixer, producer, engineer and composer. He’s had an enviable career in the industry.

Top Tip “Isolating your speakers from the floor is a must to clear up your mono-phantom image and low-end coupling. I can’t stand the look of those grey foam acoustic panels, so I always build my own panels – they look and sound better and they’re also less expensive.”


Reader tips

1. “Focus on the room’s acoustics before anything else. If you can hear accurately how a track is sounding, it will sound great anywhere. And get the best A/D converters you can within your budget, then worry about mics.” – Dean Nelson

2. “If the source is good, and the capture is good, your production will thrive and mixing will just be an organic summation of everything.” – Christian Olmeda

3. “Don’t expect to get the best sound on the first recording. You need to make mistakes to be able to learn from them. Listen to music and pay attention to the details.” – Simon Pattee

4. “No fancy vectorscope or spectrum analyser or intersampling meter is going to tell you what you need to know as well as your ears will. Learn your monitors, learn your room.” – Anthony Long

5. “Try to make sure your recording is as clear and perfect as you want. You can fix some mistakes in the production phase, but with a good recording, it makes things a lot easier.” – Mount Street Studios

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