Keyboards

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  • Make sure you take a little notepad and write down the bank/patch numbers of all the sounds you are using on each song. Nobody likes it when you go through all your soundbanks at full volume in the studio, especially since some sounds are going to be way louder than the level you were just playing at.
  • If you do need to search for a new sound, ask the engineer to turn you down or turn down your main output and listen to the sounds in headphones until you’ve found the one you’re looking for. If the band wants to hear the sounds as you search, make a note of where your main volume is and turn it way down from there. Don’t forget to turn it back up when you’re ready to record.
  • Make sure you know your keyboard well enough to know how to adjust things like global tuning. There may be a spot where you need to tune to the band. If you have a global tuning setting that you usually play with the band, let the engineer know so he can (hopefully) make a note in case of any future overdubs, like real piano, etc.
  • Make sure BOTH of your outputs work! Don’t make the engineer chase down and replace cables and DI boxes only to discover that only one side of your stereo outputs are working. That will not make you a new friend.
  • Another thing you should know on your keyboard is how to change/turn off the effects. Most of the time the engineer will want to bring your sounds in as dry as you can send them out or at least dryer than normal. This is studio speak for less effects, be it reverb, delay, chorus, or what have you. This way the engineer is able to add studio effects which are often of much better quality and might sit in the track better. Also things like delay can be timed to the tempo of the song with studio outboard effects (or plugins).
  • Once you have the sound up that you are going to use and the engineer has set the level, DON’T change your main output level. If you feel you have to change it or you find you accidentally bumped it, alert the engineer so he can check his recording levels.
  • If you are able to cooperate in the studio you should have a quick time of it because (in theory) tuning is less of an issue with keyboards, so you only need to concentrate on playing your parts well and getting your groove in time. If you’re well prepared, you will have the best time in the studio of all the band members! ;-)

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