Prepare your instruments:
If you have the time and budget, have the setup on your guitars and basses checked out: fine-tune the intonation & repair bad jacks, pots and switches. Double-check bass guitar setups to reduce fret buzz. We highly recommend Portland's Buckdancer's Choice music store for this sort of work. New strings are always a good idea unless you're going for a dead effect. Experience leads us to recommend Elixir brand guitar strings for acoustic guitars: they substantially reduce string squeaks, sound terrific and last forever.
Similarly, fresh drum heads make for better recordings. Check drum hardware for squeaks and rattles. Bring extra sticks!
Click tracks and countoffs:
If click tracks are under consideration for your project, be sure your drummer has experience working with a click track (perhaps in your rehearsal space). This is a tough thing to work out in the studio. If you work out your songs' tempos ("I Love Coleslaw is at 90 beats per minute.") before coming in, you'll save studio time.
Sometimes a nice alternative to full-song click tracks is to let us generate the countoff (as a short click track) at the tempo you've worked out. At least you'll start at the tempo you intended, and you'll be much less apt to cut your masterpiece 20% fast without noticing that fact until the next day. It happens.
Bring along some words!
It will be a big help if you can provide the engineer copies of your songs' lyrics before vocal work commences. (This also applies if you're planning to read any text or other spoken-word material.)
We always recommend that your band’s setup* work takes place perhaps a day before you plan to start recording. Setup work takes time and burns up energy and inspiration. If you set up Friday night and come in fresh on Saturday to start tracking, everyone will feel much better about things, and your engineer will get a chance to review and fine-tune the recording setup before you start.
*Setup: loading in, setting up instruments, micing, patching, getting levels and setting headphone mixes
Here are a few notes we recently assembled to aid clients who are planning to record at Studio Dual. This material is also included in our General Information .pdf file, available by clicking here.