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Old 12-06-2008, 06:05 PM   #50
Human being with feelings
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,012

One of the most important things any studio should have is an ingenious device known as a pad of paper.

You may already own one and not even know it. This should have a dedicated, permanent spot in easy reach of the mixing desk (please have extra pens to go with it). Your hip pocket is a great place. Its purpose is to record "to do" and "to buy" items as soon as you think of them. Even better if you can have separate ones for each. Its value will become immediately apparent.

The "to do" list is the place to write down things like "find best upright piano preset," or "create new template for recording DI-miked hybrid bass," or "find better way to edit drum loops," or "re-write bridge for song X" or whatever you think of that needs to be done while you are focused on the deliverable goal that we talked about above.

This pad should be different from the one that you use to write lyrics or recording notes, assuming you use one. The idea here is to have a dedicated place to write down the stuff that could otherwise become a distraction while recording, as well as a place where you can capture recording-related ideas as they come up, and set them aside for future consideration in the sober light of considered reflection.

It should also be a place to write down stuff you wish you had, or wish you knew more about, so that you can shop and research in a systemic way. If you find yourself fumbling around with the mixer and the soundcard trying to get enough headphone outs or trying to rig up an A/B monitor comparison, then write it down. You might be able to rig up a simple setup on a Saturday afternoon, or you might decide it's worth getting a cheap headphone amp or monitor matrix (Behringer probably has one of each for $30).

If you can't find the right drum sample or string patch, don't stop recording to look for a patch now, instead, get the tracks laid down with what you have and make a note to look for better samples tomorrow. Tomorrow, you might have a totally fresh perspective and realize that it's not the samples that were the problem, but the arrangement. Or it might turn out that after a good night's sleep and with fresh ears, it sounds just fine. Or maybe you do need to find better sounds. In any case, it will be a lot easier to keep the processes seperate, and to focus on the issue at hand. Your pad of paper makes everything possible.

Anything that distracts your time or attention should be written down. Don't try to solve it right now, instead set it down as a problem to look into in the future.
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