What To Expect at Infirmary Records – A Short Guide To Recording Pt 1

Martyn, our Infirmary Records Technician, has put together a blog post aimed at students, new bands and artists who are interested in using the studio. It’s his brief guide on what to expect at a recording studio and how the process works.

recording studio

A Short Guide To Recording Pt 1.

Whenever I walk into a recording studio for the first time, it’s always a pretty exciting experience, even after many years of working in and around them, and whilst all recording studios technically offer the same service, they’re all different too, and knowing what makes a studio work for you is important when deciding when, where and how to record your music.

One question I get asked a lot in more recent years is why bother hiring a recording studio at all when it’s so easy and affordable to record at home? Personally, I feel like the experience of being in a dedicated space with professionals who know how to capture your music effectively makes a big difference, but it’s also about the collaboration that happens in those spaces, bouncing ideas off each other and sharing in the creative journey. When working with an engineer or producer, it’s also really valuable to have a fresh perspective on your music, and they might be able to suggest things you’d never have considered before.

One of the best things about making music now, especially with the latest recording software, is that you can spend some quality time at home writing and composing, and then easily take your project to a studio environment to give it the full recording and mixing treatment! For new bands and artists, sometimes booking a recording session might feel quite daunting, and you also want to be sure you make the most out of the money you’re investing in that precious studio time, so here’s a little guide on what to expect.

recording studio


One of the first things to consider is whether or not you feel ready to record – one of the most common issues I’ve encountered over the years is that artists just aren’t quite ready to actually record their music, and this is especially common with bands who haven’t been together that long. Before you look at booking studio time, make sure you know your songs inside out – this means you’ll have more time to get creative during the recording process and enjoy it.

When you feel like it’s time to book, you’ll have to consider how much time you’ll need to record your song/s – if you’re working on a single you might only need a couple of short sessions, whilst a full album might take a few days, a week or more. Here at Infirmary Records, you’ll need to complete a booking or hire form, which has all the information we need from you to run your session and invoice you correctly for the time and any additional instruments or equipment you might need. This is where I can help, and I’m more than happy to discuss this before you book, to make sure you have a clear idea of the overall cost, how much time you’ll need and how best to use it.

Prep & Planning

Once you know what you’ll be recording and how much time you’ve got, start to prepare your material so it’s ready. Make sure you know your songs really well and start to think about the best way to record them, which I’ll look at in more depth next time. If you need chords, lyrics or other information close at hand, make sure it’s either printed out or quickly available on your phone or tablet for the recording session. If you are bringing a project from another DAW (like Ableton, Cubase etc) or backing track, make sure to discuss this beforehand during booking and bring it on a suitable hard drive or USB device so it can be easily transferred to the studio (downloading from the internet isn’t always as reliable as it should be!)

Finally, make a list of songs that you’d like to record as a priority and prepare any instruments beforehand, making sure your equipment is in good working order can be the difference between an ok take and a great recording, so keeping your guitar etc in good condition is vital. The same goes for your voice, so look after it in the days running up to a recording session.


On The Day

When you arrive at the studio you’ll first need to get everything brought into the space and familiarise yourself with the different rooms and facilities – it’s always best to feel comfortable in a new environment so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you want to know where something is or how to use anything. Most studio sessions start with a quick discussion about the day, what we’re hoping to do and how to go about it (this is where your prep and planning comes in) – it’s also nice to get to know everyone so we’re all feeling relaxed and ready to make some music!

Whatever you’re recording, remember that the studio is there for you to enjoy and make the most of, so take your time.

Afterwards, Once you’ve finished your recording session/s you’ll probably want to have your songs mixed and mastered ready for you to distribute online, or maybe even get pressed onto CD or vinyl. Mixing and mastering are separate parts of the recording process, and these are also carried out here at Infirmary Records, again I’ll look at this in a separate blog too, as there are lots to discuss! When they’re ready, your songs can be transferred to a portable hard drive or e-mailed for you to download later. The songs you record at Infirmary Records are yours to use however you like, but we can also offer support with online distribution, press sheets and more!

Next time I’ll be discussing some typical recording scenarios and how these might apply to your own music, and look at a few different industry-standard practices that you’ll come across in studios all over the world.

Find out more about the range of courses and apprenticeships available at Chesterfield College.