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Make Your Recording a Success!

I started hanging around recording studios in 1984. Earlier, during my teen years, I spent thousands of hours making my own multi-track recordings by using portable cassette tape recorders, and bouncing between them to achieve overdubbing. Audio production has been a never-ending journey for me, and I'd like to pass on some of my discoveries to you, so that you can achieve optimal results on your recordings:

  • Make sure all instruments are in tune! Would you be surprised to learn that studio guitarists often tune between each take on a recording? It's true! That's because nothing will ruin a recording like out of tune instruments - especially guitars. If you hear an out of tune chord here and there, stop and fix it. Replacing strings and having your guitars set up regularly will make it easier to stay in tune.


  • Record with a click track or other percussion pattern. Timing is the foundation of any recording. If you send me a track that speeds up and slows down, it will be nearly impossible for me to give you a good guitar track. You wouldn't build a house on a rickety foundation. Don't try to build your recording on one either.


  • .mp3 is NOT a professional audio format! Don't record to .mp3 format and expect your recording to sound professional. Hey, I love having my music library in my phone. mp3 is great if you're going for a walk and you want to listen to some tunes. However, recording should be done at the highest resolution possible in your workstation. That means you should set your project resolution to at least 24 bit/44.1 kHz or better. It makes a difference.


  • Compare your music to others in your genre. Be honest - is your song good enough to warrant the expense and time of recording and releasing it? How does your song compare to the best in your genre? Only release your very best work. Your reputation as an artist depends on it.


  • Does your song's form and phrasing make sense? Does your pop tune have a two minute intro? That's about 1:55 too long. Does verse one have six lines, but verse two has seven? Why? Is that typical for your style of music? If not, fix it. 90% of writing music is re-writing and editing.


  • If your song has lyrics, make sure the opening lines are amazing! The opening lines of a tune should draw the listener in. Spend extra time editing and re-writing those lines until they're as good as they can possibly be.


  • Don't try to "fix it in the mix". If something doesn't sound right while you're tracking it, stop and fix it right then. If something is out of tune, out of time, making rattling noises, the phone is ringing, a plane flies by etc., abort the mission and take it again. Fixing it in the mix just makes mixing take forever.


  • Don't play instruments you can't play. If you need piano on your song and your piano chops are lacking, get someone to play it for you. Incompetent playing will distract the listener from your awesome song. It pays to hire professionals!


  • I hope these tips will help you improve your recordings. Best of luck to you!
    ~Dan Palladino


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