Kim Lajoie's blog

A closer relationship with your client (or: The Unlikely Advantages of Recording in Your Control Room)

by Kim Lajoie on July 17, 2013

Björgvin Benediktsson:

Even if you don’t produce music yourself, recording an artist in the same room as you can create a more intimate relationship if you are trying to get a good performance from them.
I’m not saying you should breathe down the singer’s neck, but being in the same room creates easier communication. It’s simpler to just stop and discuss a take or a performance when you are both in the same room. You won’t have to set up a talk-back system, or god forbid, constantly keep running into the other room to make a comment.

All the points in that article are on the mark, but this one is key. I’ve always preferred to record in the control room when I can – especially vocals. It’s probably not a huge benefit if you just see yourself as an engineer (and there’s another producer on board, or the artist is self-produced), because then your role is more focussed on operating the equipment. However, if you’re responsible for making the musician feel comfortable and getting the best emotional performance then you’ll be better off in the same room as your musician.

In addition to being able to provide better direction, it allows you to more easily read he musician’s nonverbal cues. When you’re trying to help them deliver their best performance, the appropriate directions will differ depending on whether s/he is nervous, excited, tired or disconnected. And – unless you’ve got an excellent relationship – most musicians will try to hide or subdue their actual emotional state. Yes, they’ll actually try to make it more difficult for you to give effective directions. This can be for a number of reasons – usually some combination of trying to be strong or trying to impress or trying to maintain self-control. Either way, the nonverbal cues can be subtle, and you’ve got a much better chance to reading them correctly when you’re in the same room together.





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