Rarefied Recording, a San Diego Recording Studio

Rarefied Recording Session Prep Checklist

So you’re band is headed to the studio? Here are some tips I compiled to make the most of your session. Some of it will be applicable to you, some of it won’t. But I hope you find it useful whether you’re recording at Rarefied or elsewhere!


  • Are the songs ready to record?
    • Structure?
    • Arrangement?
    • Tempo?
    • Lyrics, sheet music, charts?
  • Have you practiced enough?
    • Does everyone know their parts?
    • If using a click, is everyone comfortable playing to one?
    • Have you memorized the lyrics or are you bringing a copy?
  • Are your instruments/gear ready?
    • Guitars recently setup/intonated?
    • New strings on (if desired)? Don’t forget an extra pack!
    • Any technical issues? (buzzes, hums, rattles, etc.)
    • New heads for drums?
    • Are you comfortable tuning drums or do you need help? (I can hook you up with a drum tech if needed)
    • Any need to rent an instrument or hire a session player?
    • Have singers been taking care of their vocal chords? (avoid smoking and drinking prior to your session)
  • Have you discussed “sonics” with your engineer?
    • Have you provided references?
    • Is there a clear sonic vision you can communicate?
  • Do you have a “day of” game plan?
    • Which musicians are recording initial basic tracks vs. overdubbing?
    • Which song will you record first, second, etc.?
    • Do you have a plan for snacks, drinks, and meals?
    • Does everyone know where and when to arrive?
    • Does anyone need to leave early and have you accounted for that?
    • Do you have a hard drive or USB stick to bring for your files?
  • Are your financials in order?
    • Do you have a budget for the various stages of the project (recording, mixing, mastering, release)?
    • Are all band members prepared to pay their share?
    • Are you paying by cash, check, Zelle, credit card, or PayPal?


Artist Spotlight – The Killer Hz

The very first band to record at Rarefied was San Diego garage rock outfit, The Killer Hz.

House engineer, Roy Silverstein, was on duty. Drums, scratch guitar, and scratch vocals were recorded to the 2″ MCI tape machine. Overdubs were later added in ProTools and the 4 songs were mixed by Roy on the Toft. Being the first thing recorded at the studio there were a lot of lessons learned about working in the rooms, but overall it came out great. The band recently got a website up and running which you can check out here: http://www.thekillerhz.com . It includes a music player streaming all four songs we recorded. Enjoy!