Underdog Studios Recording F.A.Q.
Q: What should I bring to my first recording session?
A: Bring all the equipment that you plan to use in the session, i.e. guitars, basses, drums, pedals etc... We have a some house instruments (available free of charge) if you don't have a particular piece and want to get a different tone. To avoid mixing up and losing cables, we provide them during the session. However, if you have a pedal-board, we recommend you bring your own patch cables.
One of the most important things you can do before your session is outfit your instruments with new strings. Nothing is more frustrating than having a perfect session ruined because your old strings sound like crap.
New drum heads are up to you, though changing them doesn't hurt. If you do change them, be sure to tune them up before the session, since it can be time-consuming, difficult to do in a rush, and expensive to do while the studio clock is ticking. We offer drum tuning for additional charge, from a experienced drum tech with the knowledge of how to record drums. (Please make arrangements with us to have the drums set up prior to the day of recordeing for tuning)
Bring extra picks, and a spare pack of strings. Make sure you have fresh batteries in all your active pickups, and in your pedals, if needed. We do have power supplies available should you need something to plug in your pedal, but we typically do not have extra batteries on site.
Remember to bring all your lyrics, written down, if you don't have them memorized. A spare copy can be useful for our engineer during the session.
Q:How should I prepare for my first recording session?
A: Set some realistic goals about what you want to get done for the session. That means agreeing on what you want to do when you’re in the studio. There should be no last minute changes to the song, no unplanned solos, and no hard to hit notes. Everyone should be solid on all your material, well practiced and ready to learn about recording, not just playing.
If you’re going to take you files to another studio for mastering, please contact your audio engineer and see exactly what format you need your audio files in.
In most cases, the drum track is the most critical track. It’s laid down first and getting it right makes the rest of the recording go much more smoothly. Decide before the session if you’re going to play to a click track. On the plus side, using a click track keeps you tempo consist throughout the whole song and makes edits much easier. On the negative, most self-taught drummers cannot play to a click track. That’s OK, we’ve done some great recordings without a click track. If you do want to use a click track, your band’s drummer should practice using a metronome before come to the studio to record.
One of the most crucial pieces of any recording is the drum track, and drummers must decide if they're going to play to a click track or not. More often than not, most drummers can't play to a click track; this is not a criticism, it's just a fact. If bands are stuck on wanting to play to a click track, its essential that the drummer practice their song to a metronome beforehand, so hours aren't wasted trying to get a solid drum track down to the metronome. Playing to a click track is not essential - we have produced many quality recordings without one, however, it makes edits and punching in easier, and eliminates unintentional acceleration/deceleration throughout the song.
Make sure all your equipment is dialed in. Tip: mark everything with tape in case things get bumped during the load-in.
Singers, be prepared: avoid soda, coffee, cigarettes etc.. for 48 hours before your session and stay hydrated. Do a full warm up on the ride over or while other parts are being laid down.
Q: Is it easy to get to the studio via public transportation?
A: Yes, the Sycamore Avenue Light Rail stop is just one block away. Head South on Sycamore, we are on the left side.
Q: Do you guys carry accessories? What if I need something at the last minute?
A: The closest music store is about 15 minutes away. We might be able to come up with an extra string, batteries, straps etc... but it is not guaranteed. Please bring all the essentials and having a backup is definitely a good idea. You are paying by the hour for studio time and the clock doesn’t stop because you forgot something.
Q: Is there anywhere to eat nearby?
A: There are a number of restaurants within easy walking distance, including fast food, mexican and a variety of asian choices. We do not sell food.
Q: Do you guys do any mastering?
A: Yes we do!
Q: Can we bring alcohol if we're over 21?
A: Yes and No, alcohol is permitted but not in the Studio only desiganated areas. We've found that alcohol and expensive studio equipment don’t mix. We also don’t appreciate cleaning up the mess afterwards. Bands caught drinking in the studio will be ejected, lose their recordings and their deposit. (Please Contact the studio before bringing any alcohol)
Q: Can we smoke cigarettes?
A: Yes, cigarettes are allowed to be smoked outside, presuming butts are disposed of properly.
Q: How long do you guys keep our tracks for?
A: We may have your files for up to one year.