Pre Production :
Live or overdubs?

First its important to determine how your music needs to be recorded: Either as a multitrack live ensemble recording session in the studio or using overdubs. There are both pros and cons for each approach - Its not easy to get completely comfortable in the studio’s controlled sonic environment. Often the players are located in different isolation booths and need to be using headphones which some find hard getting used to. A band needs to be well rehearsed and experienced in recording live in the studio to be able to create the vibe and interaction that make up that magical take. Using Overdubs gives you the option of recording the instruments separately. Allowing a band to first concentrate on recording the rhythm section and making sure the performance satisfying It also makes it easier for the producer and musicians to focus on one element at a time and make sure they get their tracks to sound the way they want before moving to the next instrument. So recording based on overdubs increases focus and control over the quality sound and the performance and reduces the pressure and stress in a live recording. But overdubbing one instruments at a time can also harm the overall dynamics and feel of a track and the result can end up sounding lifeless and disjointed.

Obviously a professional live ensemble recording requires the facilities that most home recording can not provide such as substantially more hardware, multiple acoustically treated and isolated spaces and other costly resources.

Start with a sketch :
Its best to prepare a sketch for testing the arrangement this can help you determine if your parts are working well and allows you to optimize the final tempo and structure. Recording a 4 track demo like in the old analog days is obsolete. Today using the current technologies you can either chose making a midi mock up which is a demo of a recording project using midi driven instruments that emulate the acoustic instruments. or even better is using a modern day notation software that besides providing the notation of your entire score can also export a general midi file containing the entire composition’s properties including tempo & meter map and all the instrument parts as midi tracks.

Having the meter and tempo map and all the instrument parts of the score implemented in your recording session as midi tracks means sharing the same timeline / bar count as the score which helps communication between the engineer and musicians immensely. It also provides you with the option of altering and fine tuning the tempo while you are tracking the initial rhythm section parts. Additionally working this way will be extremely beneficial for many of the later tasks such as editing tuning and even augmenting and doubling live parts with samples or other midi driven instruments.

When Programing your midi file make sure you leave 2 bars of count in at the top and have the music start at bar number 3 ( for ease of counting and later for editing etc.) So to conclude Importing and using a general midi file in your recording session can make a huge difference and is highly recommended. .