A lot of vocalists use pre-recorded music and overdub their vocals, harmonies, adlibs to a pre-recorded instrumental. If you are a punk band on a budget and need a demo, you might want to record live. Groups that need a more "radio ready" sound may want to focus on each instrument independently... a lot of overdubs after the initial basic tracks.
Such as hip hop, rap, R&B, dance... It's common for vocalists to have pre-recorded music and just need vocals recorded. Keep in mind when you are dealing with audio formats the .wav file is a superior format to .mp3s. Mp3s are great for sharing your music quickly but their lower quality is not the best way to start your song.
All band members should agree upon the song structure before you enter the studio. Record your rehearsals with a simple cassette recorder and evaluate the feel of your songs. Try rehearsing without the vocals to make sure the musicians know the songs well and are not just following the singer. Work out any solos ahead of time. Memorize your lyrics. Whenever possible practice with a click or metronome.
You Are What You Practice
Pre-production is extremely important to the end result and WILL make the difference between your recordings sounding like a demo or a professional quality recording. You have heard the old saying, practice makes perfect... have your songs prepared.
Tuning is one of the little things that can end up making a huge difference in the final quality of your recordings. Check and re-check the tuning of your instrument throughout the session. Drummers: check this site for information on tuning - Drum Tuning Bible
Don't Get Frustrated
If someone does make a mistake don't get frustrated. Remember: It's all practice... until it's right. Listen to playback before moving forward to record another track or instrument. To avoid wasting time, make sure that the track that was just recorded is perfect.
A recording engineer will push the faders, twist the knobs and click the computer mouse as the musicians lay down the music for their songs. A good engineer will strive to make recordings that are both of high in technical quality but also pleasing to the ear. The engineer should be considered your team member. The more the engineer understands what the artist wants, the better the engineer can prepare for the technical considerations of the session.
Trident Series 65
Computer & Software
Digidesign Pro Tools LE
Bias Peak CD Mastering
Behringer Multigate XR1400
Yamaha NS-10m Studio
Auratone 5C Super Sound Cubes
Lewitt Audio LCT 340 DC Pair
Electro Voice RE-20
AKG D12 VR
Rode Microphones NT3