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?


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