One of the most difficult things to do is maintain energy in a recording session.
Often musicians find it difficult to play along to a metronome/click track without sacrificing some musicality.
Personally, I love playing to a click track, even live.
It just helps “lock” everyone into place musically.
I’m certainly not suggesting that you must use a click track on every recording session, but you may be wondering “Should I use a click track?”
What it a click track?
Very quickly, let’s define a click track.
It’s nothing more than a metronome, a steady “sound” that plays at an exact speed, measured in BPM (beats per minute).
Most DAWs have the ability to create a click track, which normally has a fairly boring “tick…tick…tick…” sound.
Whether you use the boring sound or a more complex drum loop, the part that matters is that the entire song/session is record at the same tempo.
Three Reasons to Use a Click Track
There are some songs/recordings where it makes sense to ditch the click track and let the tempo breathe a little bit.
However, for most of the recording work I do, I always try to use a click track. Here’s why:
1. Protection against recording at the wrong tempo
Does the artist ever play music live? I do regularly. It’s amazing to me how when I’m playing a song on stage, the tempo can feel absolutely perfect.
However, when I go back and listen to the recording, I realize that I was playing the song way too fast.
All the excitement of playing live tends to make me speed up and play too fast.
I would do the same thing in the studio, too. A click track lets me establish the correct tempo, and ensure that all the takes are recorded at that tempo, rather than too fast.