Preparing for a School CD or Digital Recording

Recording Gear

We have written a few articles giving advice on how schools should best prepare for their recording session with Recordings 4 Schools.  So this time, I thought I’d give you a little insight into how we prepare for your recording day.

For most of our school customers, the first time we meet is on the morning of the recording day when our engineers arrive at the school around 07.30am.   Depending on the time of year, it is often still dark and we have usually driven for 2 or more hours in order to be at the school on time.   But what else do we have to prepare before we come along to your school to record your CD?  We like making lists here at Recordings 4 Schools so here is a list of the main preparations which we make in advance of coming to record with you.

1 – Confirming the Recording Date

Starting from the beginning of the process, the first thing we do when a new customer (or existing customer) books a recording session with us is send written confirmation.  The electronic confirmation also triggers our online booking calendar which means the day is reserved for you.

2 – Setting up the Recording Rig

During the booking process we will discuss your recording with you to make sure we understand what we are aiming to record.  For the majority of school albums this will be year groups or choirs singing to either piano or backing tracks.  But sometimes we are also asked to record bands, or instrumental groups.   Once we know roughly the setup we are going to use we can prepare the project in advance.  Technically we could do all this on site, but the more we can pre prepare the quicker our setup will be on the day.

3 – Selecting the Microphones / Recording Gear

There is one argument for bringing every single piece of recording gear we own to every recording.  But sometimes this is actually counter productive and also slows us down.  The more we bring, the more we have to carry from the van to the school hall.  And given we don’t always know how far the car park is from the school hall, the fewer trips we have to make the easier, and quicker the set up will be.

Invariably we do always bring more than we need – we always have a spare laptop, we carry a spare pre amp and we bring around 20 microphones at any given time even though we probably only use 8 for the average school recording.  But for school recordings, we tend to only bring the requisite number of microphone stands.   We need to be prepared for unexpected solos, and as with all the gear have some spare / contingency in place, but there is no point in bringing our full armoury of microphone stands unless we are recording a double choir, orchestra and organ etc in a large concert hall!

4 – Planning the route

In the majority of cases we are recording a fair distance from our Bath based studio and often a 2 or 3 hour drive.  Timing is crucial as regardless of whether we are travelling up early morning or staying over night somewhere near the recording venue, we need to ensure we always arrive just before 07.30am as that is our usual time of arrival.   Luckily Google maps is very useful for this purpose and helps tell us what time to set the morning alarm for!  04.00 is a common alarm time to set….  Anything earlier than that, and we tend to organised a hotel the night before!


To find out more and book a recording at your School, please give us a call on 01225 302143 or click here to email us
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