Something that deserves to be talked about more... your next album! The idea of pre-production is a missed opportunity for a band or artist to nail down their ideas and save time and money in the studio. Unfortunately, some studios never take the time to help their potential clients maximize their time, and make the best out of their musical ideas.
While it can seem daunting to discuss your thoughts and ideas to a stranger, it is a great practice. This can help you and the engineer get on the same page about your album. It also helps the engineer prepare better for your time spent inside the studio. A lot of up and coming bands don't have the income to hire a producer, or don't have connections to someone who can fill that roll. This usually means it falls to a band member(s), and potentially the studio engineer.
Going into the studio "blind" for lack of a better term, can be a quick and easy way to waste money, and leave you, the artist, unhappy with the results. A studio engineer is there to help your audio ideas become the best they can, but without proper knowledge, this makes their job difficult, and can lead to mis-interpreted ideas and sonic goals. A great studio engineer knows the how to achieve the best out of the studio gear. Knowing the sounds you are searching for ahead of time allows them to tailor pick the easiest way to get you want the sound you're searching for.
Having a pre-production meeting with the studio engineer, can also help you and them get a "feel" for each other. This can help you decide if they are going to be a good fit for you and your musical ideas. Keep in mind, it isn't always about the best gear. A great studio engineer can make a bangin' album on the cheapest of gear. Also, if you and the engineer's personalities don't mesh, this can make for issues down the road. Usually working in close quarters, laying out your intimate ideas and thoughts, you want to feel comfortable with the person capturing your music. Pre-production meetings can help you and the engineer form a friendly relationship, and provide common ground for which to connect.
Take your time when searching for your studio, and get to know the studios and engineers around your area. Even taking different parts of your recording to different studios can be the best option for your music. Drums in one, guitars in another, whatever helps you achieve the best album. Build your relationships, and talk to the engineers before you commit to recording. We are here to make history with your music. In the end, we are historians, documenting a moment in time. Make it the best it can be....