By James Pew

1. Monitoring too loud in your headphones. An overly loud playback mix will distort what you should be hearing clearly, and damage your hearing. Duh!

2. Not listening to your instrument with, and without, your headphones. If it doesn’t sound good in the room…its not going to sound good in your headphones. So start with the room, then move on to the cans.

3.  Breaking into a guitar solo while the engineer is setting up the headphone mix for your band mates.

4. Not sound checking at the same dynamic level you will be performing at. ┬áPlucking quietly on a guitar is useless during sound check, if you start hammering the strings after the producer hits record. Same goes for drummers….engineers want to hear your hardest attack when sound checking.

5. Playing a damaged or poorly set up instrument. Guitar players should absolutely have their guitars set-up (intonation) by a pro guitar tech, drums should not have old dull sounding skins (unless your going for an old dull skin sound…but honestly how often is that?), and an acoustic piano needs to be tuned by a professional before you record it.

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