Over the years I’ve learned that there are a number of very simple items that I must bring to every recording session I go to just to be sure that my time in the studio is productive and comfortable. These items aren’t expensive, and while they may not be quite as important as your favorite mics and preamps, they sure make a long day go faster.
Here are the 6 things that I always bring to a session:
1. Shirt or hoodie – Most of us go to the studio wearing a t-shirt, but most studios with air conditioning are generally on the cold side, especially when the air is cycling. Having a nice warm shirt or even a light hoodie is just what you need to take the chill off. I prefer a a nice flannel shirt myself.
2. Comfy shoes – The studio is no time to break in a new pair of shoes or sneakers. Wear the most comfortable shoes you can because chances are you’ll be on your feet for much of the session.
3. Beverages – If you’re working in an A list studio, this is something that you don’t have to worry about, but now even the B list places are cutting back on free food and beverages thanks to lower recording budgets. Make sure you bring plenty of your favorite drinkable. It’s surprising how much you can go through during a long tracking day. I usually bring my own teabags, since that’s something that many studios don’t regularly have (or what they have will be generic or old).
4. Earplugs – You never know when you might have to go into a room with a heavy hitting drummer or a Marshall cranked to 10. Recording and mixing is all about hearing, and the best way to make sure yours isn’t temporarily damaged is by have a pair of earplugs handy. I love the Etymotic Research ER20’s, but even a pair of the cheap foam jobbies helps.
5. Smartphone/Camera – Under all circumstances, pictures are important these days, not only for social media and promotional purposes, but also for sheer documentation of the event. You can’t believe the number of times I’ve thought about a session from 10 or 20 years ago and wished that there were some pictures of it somewhere. Don’t let that happen to you.
6. Laptop/iPad/Smartphone – Recording is very much like making a movie. There’s a lot of waiting around until the action starts. Depending upon your situation, some people in the session have more time to kill than others (the producer and engineer usually have the least). That’s why it’s important to bring a laptop, iPad or smartphone; anything that will connect you to the online world. It’s the best time killer ever invented.
These are the 6 things that I always bring. Anyone bring something else?
You can read more from The Recording Engineer’s Handbook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.