Months of writing, rehearsing, and individual practice go into creating your first album, but the hardest thing to prepare for might just be the setup and recreating your songs in the studio to match what's been played live and in the practice room. Over- and under-preparation are the two biggest actions that waste studio time, and with some studios charging a hundred dollars or more per hour, time is of the essence when you enter the foam-walled rooms.
Know whether or not you'll be recording with a click track.
Using a click track will allow you to only record a chorus once in some situations but can make more improvisational music sound rigid and cold. For example, a clock track can be useful for technical death metal, which relies on precision, However, blues and country groups that rely more on feel than timing can sound awkward when recording with a click.
Meet with your band the week before, once or twice.
This meeting should involve some light rehearsing, but should mainly be focused on figuring out which songs will go where on the recordings and the exact makeup of the songs themselves. If you're planning on doing a brand new, never-before-played song for the album, make sure everyone is on the same page as to whose parts go where. An outline of the entire album (including breaking down songs into chorus, interlude, verses, etc.) is a great way to make sure everyone knows how the process will go.
Try to precisely tune your instruments the night before.
While making sure your guitars and bass are properly strung is important, doing fine-tuning the night before is a futile effort. This is because the humidity and temperature unique to the recording studio will change the tuning of your instruments enough to be noticed on recordings. To make sure you're perfectly in tune, open your instrument's case in the studio while you're setting everything else up so the instrument can get acclimated. Once this happens, you'll be able to dial in the perfect tunings and tone.
Record with equipment you're unfamiliar with.
One big mistake musicians make when recording in a well-furnished studio is using more expensive equipment thinking that high end gear will improve their sound. The truth is that having to completely reenter your tone into a new guitar, bass, or amp will take valuable time, and the result is rarely as good as the tried-and-true setup you use onstage.
For more information, contact Poll Sound or a similar company.