Technical preparation is the most mundane of all the tasks.
So mundane, in fact, that many A-listers either hire someone or have their assistant do all of this work.
That being said, the technical prep may be the most important time you spend on some projects, because it’s where you tighten up the individual performances and take them to new level.
1) Make A Copy Of The Session
The first thing is to make a copy of your session and label it in such a fashion that you can tell what it’s for.
Something like “songname edits 4-4-11” or “songname voc comp” tells you exactly what’s happening at a glance. I like to put the date in the name as well.
If you have multiple versions of the session in one day, I’ll differentiate one from another with letters of the alphabet at the end like “songname edits 4-4-11a”, “songname edits 4-4-11b” and so on.
While you’re at it, make a copy of the session file on another hard drive, flash drive, online backup, or any place that you can easily grab it if for some reason you find the file you’re working on is suddenly corrupted.
2) Tweak The Timing
No matter how great the players on the session are, there’s always some portion of a player’s recording that doesn’t feel quite right. The exception being that you have enough time to have the musician play their part until it’s perfect, or you punch in all the suspect parts as you go along. (Some of the intricacies of tweaking the timing of a track were in this post – 6 Tips For Editing Your Timing.)
Usually, the timing of the basic tracks will be tweaked right after your tracking session so you have a solid rhythm section to overdub against, but if you’ve not done that or you’re just now discovering some sections that don’t feel right (which happens a lot), prepare for the joys of slipping and sliding time.
Of course, if you’re using loops or MIDI instruments, you’ve probably quantized things to the track by now. If you haven’t, now’s the time.