1. Preproduction: The preparation for the actual recording. This step can be very detailed or quite simple. It can involve arranging music, preparing tempo maps, proofreading lyrics or many other tasks, depending on the complexity of the project. It is a good idea to discuss the project with your recording engineer before entering the studio so you can maximize your productiveness.
2. Tracking: This step is the actual recording of the instruments/voices. “Laying down tracks” can be done in a number of different ways. The entire band can record at the same time, or instruments can be recorded one at a time. The can also be recorded with or without a click track (metronome). You should discuss the best process for recording your project with your engineer before recording.
3. Mixing: Once all the instruments have been recorded, the project will need to be mixed. Mixing is combining the several individual tracks into one stereo track. This is the part of the process where effects such as reverb, delays, compression, EQ, panning, etc. will be added.
4. Mastering: This is the final step for the recording process. It involves putting your songs in the correct order and putting any fades ins/fade outs on the songs. It also involves matching the volume of your songs, so that there is a cohesive sound to your album, and finally “sprinkling the fairy dust” on the songs to make them pop.