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To reproduce the sound he had heard on the band's demos, Mc Donald had them write down their instruments' settings and test different areas of the studio to determine where he should record each member.

Sim, who played a Precision Bass manufactured in the 1970s, was often recorded in the hallway outside the studio with a Fender Bassman, one of several amplifiers Mc Donald experimented with for xx.

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He also created click tracks for the rest of the band to keep timing when they recorded their individual parts.

After those parts had been recorded, he refined and incorporated his beats into the songs for three to four weeks.

Croft trusted that Smith, who did not want to conceal any imperfections by overproducing xx, would make it practical for them to perform live rather than layer the songs with several guitar or vocal elements.

Most of xx was recorded from late December to late January before Mc Donald and Smith began an exhaustive mixing process, which lasted two weeks.

It was once the head office building's rear garage before Russell transformed it at the beginning of 2008 into a makeshift writing, rehearsal, and demo space for XL's artists.

Mc Donald was assigned in September to manage and properly equip the room, which he liked because it was soundproof and "isolated from the rest of the office, so it wasn't like you were working in the record company's presence." Over the next few months, Mc Donald and Pawson prepared a budget for the label to fund the studio's preliminary setup, which would have recording equipment specifically suited for the xx, including a modestly sized soundboard ideal for recording a small group.

There was a lot of empty space in the xx's music, even then, in the 'Early Demos'.

But we just found that the best stuff was the most sparse." At the behest of XL owner Richard Russell, the xx recorded their debut album at the label's small, in-house recording studio—XL Studio—making them the first act to record there.

Mc Donald believed it was important for the singers be "in sync" and share the same mental state or mood when performing full takes of songs, some of which he said benefited from when they were both "quite tired and emotional".

He had Croft and Sim sing into Neumann microphones on most of the songs in order to make their vocals sound as "intimate" and conversational as possible.

When Qureshi was dismissed from the group shortly after the album's release, the xx continued to play as a trio on a protracted concert tour that helped increase their fanbase, reputation in the press, and confidence as performers.

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