-Be well practiced. When you are recording your tracks, you should feel like avoiding mistakes is less important than finding the right sound or capturing a meaningful performance.


-Don't rush the setup! The better the tracking, the less challenges you will have mixing, and the less challenges I will have mastering. Theoretically, a perfectly tracked album should eliminate the need for mixing entirely.  Theoretically.


-Room Choice: make sure you are recording in a room that does not introduce unwanted reverberations or frequency cancellations. Look up acoustic treatment on the internet; there is much to learn and it’s all very important. This is a complicated issue, but do as much as you can to eliminate primary reflections returning to the microphone. If you don’t know what I mean by that, it’s probably the first thing to learn about acoustics.


-Mic Placement: You should be experimenting with mic placement until the recorded instrument sounds how you want it to sound WITHOUT EQ and compression. As close as possible.


-Phase issues: any time more than one mic will be used to capture an instrument (i.e. drums) the mic may pick up the sound waves at slightly different positions, and these discrepancies will cause cancellations and other phase related artifacts. More microphones could mean more problems. Apart from drums and maybe acoustic guitar, most instruments are well served by single microphones. Phase aligning tracks is relatively easy and can be done in the mix (more homework). BUT once you understand phase issues, it’s easier to fix it with the mic placement once than to do it over and over again on every song and take.


-Never say "we will fix it in the mix" unless you absolutely must. Even if it’s an easy fix. Bandaids are easy to put on, but it is better to avoid a cut altogether. Out of phase mics, as mentioned above, is a great example of this.


-It is very important for you to leave your instruments mic'd the same way and track the instruments with the exact same settings (from the mic to the recorder) between sessions and tracks. This will make mixing so much easier. Any different sounds you are looking for should be done at the instrument/amp only. If you track consistently, it will sound like an “album.” If you tinker too much it will sound like a compilation and headaches will abound for mix and mastering engineer alike. Bands with a budget and time constraints will find this hard. Logging mic positions and channel strip settings as accurately as possible will be crucial.