Lot's of people ask, (and many who should, don't) so here is an overview of how to be decent in the studio and make the most out of your time together with your engineer.
The following is intended to help YOU get the most value from the time spent here, not to cramp your style!
Arrival: Being an hourly business, the clock starts running at the scheduled session appointment time. Showing up 30, 60, or 90 minutes late is a waste of money for you, the client, as well as a waste of time for the engineer ready and waiting for you to work.
On the other side of the coin, please do not show up more than 5 minutes early for your scheduled time as it is likely the time the engineer has slated for readying the studio for your project.
Set up: Loading in your gear and the time it takes to set it all up for playing is on the clock as much as your playing time, so in the interest of the best value for you, the client, please work efficiently to get yourself set up as soon as possible. Mic placement (especially in the case of drum sets) can't happen until all of your equipment is 'placed' and 'right' for you to play. Placing mics takes time to do right - time for which few people have patience, so let's get everything set up as soon as possible and save the epic stories and catching up with each other for the lunch or dinner break.
Load out: The session clock runs until all gear and every member of the client entourage have left the building. Hanging out, solving the worlds problems with excellent conversation, or noodling on studio instruments (while all fun things to do!) require staff to be paid and utilities to flow.
If your don't wish to add this time to your bill, there are some really great local establishments about a mile from the studio in the heart of downtown that are great for keeping the vibe going. Why not do it there and enjoy a drink more elaborate than what our water cooler has to offer?
Finally, for your convenience, invoices will be emailed to you and are payable online, by mail, or in person if you wish.
Whether it be instruments, outboard gear, microphones or any other item, please use care in handling and using equipment. One of the best reasons to use a professional studio is to have access to things you normally don't at home. We hope to offer that service as inexpensively as possible, but can't afford to do so if everyone breaks everything. Respect for the building and it's contents is greatly appreciated.
Pianos: Please treat these as you would your guitars or drums. Don't throw your keys on them, place drinks (hot, cold or otherwise) on them, or use them as a table for racing your matchbox cars. If you require a table, please ask for one, or use a flattened music stand.
You've hired an engineer to record you. This means this person is extensively using their ears to listen to every little nuance being captured by the microphones and constantly making judgment calls on what to (or not to) do in the way of adjustments in the computer or on the gear in the control room.
Talking in the control room severely diminishes the ability of an engineer to do this work efficiently or effectively. It will take longer to accomplish a myriad of recording and mixing tasks if your engineer is forced to fight through the din of your conversations to hear. Don't do it. Seriously. Don't chatter/talk in the control room. Like, ... at all.
Closely related to talking in the control room is talking to the engineer while they are trying to work on your material. We love to answer questions and talk about what we do and how we do it, but if it's constant, it will only take longer for your project to be completed which takes a bigger chomp out of your budget. If you are fine with this, so are we - so ask away! Just be aware of the time involved.
In larger group scenarios, there is often an organizational flow worked out ahead of time that keeps some members working on their parts while others rest, eat, use the restroom, or take a walk to regroup. This is a great way to maximize recording time and get more done in less time. Unfortunately, what is usually never considered in these plans is the fact that the engineer has been on the job since before you arrived at the studio and needs an occasional leg stretch, bathroom usage and something to eat or drink as well. Communicating your schedule/plan at the beginning of the session is much appreciated, so everyone knows when there is time to 'take 5'.