Originally Posted by joelpatterson
Even if you meant "improve your game," I wonder if this is true at all.
Little tips that improve your game seem like the essential "non-transferable" item-- they're always the result (in my world) of slogging through challenging circumstances and gradually realizing that with your gear, your habits, your approach, and your goals, there are indeed certain reliable shortcuts or processes that just work, whatever the reason why-- things that work brilliantly for Eddie Kramer are for him alone, probably, in the larger context.
Now-- if these workshops slogged you through challenging circumstances where the results mattered, where if your production didn't cut the mustard and you'd be buried alive and there ain't no bail-- maybe they'd be worthwhile! Casually hanging out and shooting the breeze with even the most exalted practitioners with long lists of credits... sounds more like darts in the pub instead of a learning experience.
I disagree a little here... I'm certainly no EK, but I've done a few "masterclasses" (I use the term with a little disrespect!) to students of varying levels of ability. Some of the misconceptions and bad working practices are quite astounding (although I probably make all the same mistakes editing video!). Even if they only remember a few tips, you can improve recordings and mixes vastly.
For example - checking phase on a kit (most colleges don't seem to emphasise this), or reverb use ( how many students like to bury their sound in big hall verbs? Even just saying something like "if you're not sure, stuck to a chamber or plate instead of hall for vox; the faster the song the shorter the reverb; darker rather than brighter" can make a huge difference). Use of filtering and shelving.
With a few small tips, you CAN correct a load of basic errors and make a difference in an afternoon. It'll still mean further work on the student's behalf, but it's worthwhile.
Another personal example - I spent a few hours 1 on 1 with an assistant I work with sometimes, helping her with one of her mixes. The difference between what she sent me initially, and what she produced after our run-through was astounding - and most of what I'd done was just nudges in the right direction, she did the hard work.
You can't turn someone into an expert overnight, but you can shepherd them along what you see as the right path.
So yeah - I'm biased I guess, and part of the fun of these things IS the hobnobbing and the "wow, it's xx the big time mixer". But I'd love to attend a masterclass with one of those guys, and I'm sure it would benefit my work.