What’s next? . . .
1) Levels: Make sure the level going to disk is conservative. This is something a lot of people struggle with because they think the levels have to be just shy of the red zone. Aim for peaks around -20 and -12 dBFS. For more info on this, grab a coffee and read this awesome article.
2) Always have the “tape rolling”: Once you’ve got everything set-up and ready to go, hit “record” even if the band / artists isn’t “ready”. The first performance could be the best and that initial noodling may be the beginnings of a great song or hook.
3) Set it and Leave it: After everything is set-up, you’ve hit record and the performance is on, don’t make any changes, especially for vocalists. Any changes you’re making that you can hear are changes they can hear and will very quickly pull them “out of the zone”.
4) Ask the Artist: Once the artist or band has laid down the first take, ask them how it sounds and if there are any changes that they would like.
5) Mute the Click: Not right away, obviously! What I mean is sometimes at the end of the song there’s what classical musicians call a “ritardando”, or ritard for short. It’ll be written on sheet music as rit. At this point mute the click and let the musician(s) create a natural slowing of the tempo without the relentless sound of the click hammering in their ears. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll shatter their preconception that engineers are Neanderthals with zero musicality.