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Can we all stop pretending that Graham Cochrane isn't selling something? Dynamics Plugins
Old 14th November 2015
  #1
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Thread Starter
Can we all stop pretending that Graham Cochrane isn't selling something?

Part of me is awed that he has turned his advice into such a lucrative business. The other part is shocked that so many people are willing to listen to the advice of an engineer who (to my knowledge) doesn't work with any known artists and (again to my knowledge) has never produced an album that any of us has heard of.

People really want to believe his message, I guess. And when you have a blog, your job is to say whatever generates the "hits." In this case, I mean the web kind...

How a former musician earns up to $75,000 a month - Business Insider
Old 14th November 2015
  #2
I'd never heard of him. But you can't judge by me, I stopped paying attention long ago.

However, a search on his name in Discogs turned up nothing and a search on AllMusic turned up an album from 2004 with a 4/5 star rating from a single user.

Maybe he's inspirational or something.
Old 14th November 2015
  #3
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Never heard of him either. Who is he?
Old 14th November 2015
  #4
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Thread Starter
He's the blogger behind The Recording Revolution. He sells mix tutorials and a service called dueling mixes where he and someone else mix the same raw tracks and subscribers get a copy of the tracks to try to compete as well.

His message is that you don't need more gear; you need more skills. You can use stock plugs and a cheap interface to get a pro sound.

It's a tempting message that has just enough truth behind it to be dangerous. I certainly agree that for many new recordists recording their own bands and whatnot, he's 100% right: Skills will be the limiting factor. It just bothers me that he pretends the same message applies to engineers and producers aiming to be the very best. Which, as far as I can tell, isn't even his own aspiration.
Old 14th November 2015
  #5
Lives for gear
He's totally a huckster and his message is totally reasonable. he's steven slate without the celebrity friends


It's all about political economy. To the extent that major labels still exist, there is still a declining demand for the old big studio/famous mixer model, and there probably always will be. He's never going to have famous acts on his list of credits, because the path to Taylor Swifthood still involves people like Jimmy Iovine and large amounts of capital, and part of how the large amounts of capital controls the market is money for big studio production.


But he's totally right about the miracle wrought by digital media and inexpensive gear. If you have taste and skill you can do things in a home/project studio that were unthinkable even five years ago. If you can get past the hucksterism, it seems to me it's important that he emphasizes taste and skill rather then expensive gear. Does anyone disagree that those are more important? But that makes him kind of anathema to a forum called "gearslutz.

He's never going to have famous names/major acts, but he's going to have a large influence on the next generation

Last edited by PB+J; 14th November 2015 at 02:11 PM..
Old 14th November 2015
  #6
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Thread Starter
Ah PB+J, we meet again.

I'm not asking that he have Taylor Swift on his credits, just that he have someone of the caliber that some of our fellow forum members here have. I'm just asking that he have artists that proves he's trying to be a great producer. Because I don't think he is trying. I think he is content to be a blogger. And bloggers sell words. And no words sell better than those that tell a story that sounds true whether it is or not.
Old 14th November 2015
  #7
Lives for gear
IMO the biggest shortcoming of the recording revolution is the isolationist mentality. To me one of the greatest things about music has always been that it is one of, if not the most shared of all the arts.

But more than ever the 'recording revolution', not just the website but the multimillion dollar business of selling gear, is killing that. Now every songwriter not only can but should be putting all his effort into creating entirely by himself.

And the whole thing is incredibly dogmatic. The prothleziation here isn't at all balanced. These guys don't say, "tour studios in your area and see if a hybrid approach might make sense for you". Instead they say "just pay me for the exclusive lessons and I can show you the secret to making great records". And meanwhile nobody pauses to ask, has this guy actually made a great record?
Old 14th November 2015
  #8
Just to play devil's advocate, I'll point out that we often remember the great teachers for their pupils, not their own works.

For instance, Nadia Boulanger was a pioneering figure, leading the way for women as professionals in classical music. She was an arranger, composer, pianist, and organist. But she is certainly best remembered for the impressive list of her proteges and students, among them: Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Quincy Jones, John Eliot Gardiner, Elliott Carter, Dinu Lipatti, Igor Markevitch, Virgil Thomson, David Diamond, Idil Biret, Daniel Barenboim, Philip Glass, Ástor Piazzolla, Egberto Gismonti -- and even Burt Bacharach.

(Longer list. [scroll up a little])
Old 14th November 2015
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Just to play devil's advocate, I'll point out that we often remember the great teachers for their pupils, not their own works.

For instance, Nadia Boulanger was a pioneering figure, leading the way for women as professionals in classical music. She was an arranger, composer, pianist, and organist. But she is certainly best remembered for the impressive list of her proteges and students, among them: Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Quincy Jones, John Eliot Gardiner, Elliott Carter, Dinu Lipatti, Igor Markevitch, Virgil Thomson, David Diamond, Idil Biret, Daniel Barenboim, Philip Glass, Ástor Piazzolla, Egberto Gismonti -- and even Burt Bacharach.

(Longer list. [scroll up a little])
No doubt. Nadia is a legend. She also had very deep, particular, and all-encompassing philosophy of music and pedagogy.

In LA, guitarists Bruce Foreman and another late legendary teacher whose name I can't remember have also produced more big-time touring/recording guitarists than you can shake a stick at, while themselves somehow remaining humbly anonymous.

I don't disagree with your point at all; I just don't think it can be applied to the blogger in question.
Old 14th November 2015
  #10
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Mixerman's Avatar
 

My favorite was the time that he wrote a full length article refuting the benefits of analog summing. When pressed, he admitted that he'd never actually tried it.

Let me repeat that. He never actually tried it.

What's more, that admission didn't matter to the large majority of the commenters. Somehow, writing an article out of complete ignorance didn't disqualify his advice. For many, it only bolstered it!

Wow.

Wow, wow, wow.

Mixerman

Last edited by Mixerman; 14th November 2015 at 06:31 PM..
Old 14th November 2015
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Just to play devil's advocate, I'll point out that we often remember the great teachers for their pupils, not their own works.

For instance, Nadia Boulanger
Certainly, but Nadia didn't preach that people should forgo working with others at the top of their craft in favor of completely isolated mediocrity, and then use the relatively low bar of a herd of mediocrity to define success.

One of her specific exercises that she taught was to transcribe full scores into different keys. The idea behind it being to really try to get into the head of a great composer.

The Graham Cochrane equivalent is to only learn the beginner piano reduction of only the main theme and then claim that the rest of the composition was just the opulent trimmings of feudal oligopoly.

"A great work is made out of a combination of obedience and liberty"- Nadia Boulanger
Old 14th November 2015
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
IMO the biggest shortcoming of the recording revolution is the isolationist mentality. To me one of the greatest things about music has always been that it is one of, if not the most shared of all the arts.

But more than ever the 'recording revolution', not just the website but the multimillion dollar business of selling gear, is killing that. Now every songwriter not only can but should be putting all his effort into creating entirely by himself.

And the whole thing is incredibly dogmatic. The prothleziation here isn't at all balanced. These guys don't say, "tour studios in your area and see if a hybrid approach might make sense for you". Instead they say "just pay me for the exclusive lessons and I can show you the secret to making great records". And meanwhile nobody pauses to ask, has this guy actually made a great record?
I like this point. All of the best work I have done (as well as all of the best learning) has come from collaborating with talented artists and talented producers. Working with others keeps me firmly planted in the world of "what will make this recording great?" It helps me forget about all of the noise out there of "you only need x-y-z" Graham Cochrane bull**** or "buy a-b-c before you can sound good" Gearslutz bull****. It's all about experimentation and finding what makes the difference for the recordings. Which, incidentally, costs more than $300 (as Cochrane claims) but doesn't require that I own more than a fraction of the slutty gear out there. Especially with rentals being as inexpensive as they often are. Actually, a good indicator of how much "real" music I'm making might be how much I've spent on rentals. Is there a session I'm excited about coming up? I'm likely renting something. A mix I want to really nail? I'm renting. Or paying someone better than I am...
Old 14th November 2015
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by PB+J View Post
It's all about political economy. To the extent that major labels still exist, there is still a declining demand for the old big studio/famous mixer model, and there probably always will be. He's never going to have famous acts on his list of credits, because the path to Taylor Swifthood still involves people like Jimmy Iovine and large amounts of capital, and part of how the large amounts of capital controls the market is money for big studio production.
Do you honestly believe that the only scenario where someone hires a professional producer/engineer or uses high end gear is the "path to Taylor Swiftdom"?

Let's see we have charismatic leader, check.
Flock who makes charismatic leader wealthy, check.
Proselytization of and "us vs them" absolute world, check.
Push to isolates oneself from the "others" that may corrupt you, check.
Leader who doesn't seem to be able to practice what he preaches, check.
Leader who pushes disciples to believe the true power is "in them", check.

Starting to sound familiar?
Old 14th November 2015
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeblues View Post
No doubt. Nadia is a legend. She also had very deep, particular, and all-encompassing philosophy of music and pedagogy.

In LA, guitarists Bruce Foreman and another late legendary teacher whose name I can't remember have also produced more big-time touring/recording guitarists than you can shake a stick at, while themselves somehow remaining humbly anonymous.

I don't disagree with your point at all; I just don't think it can be applied to the blogger in question.
I suspect you're right. I'm not at all familiar with this guy; I was, you know, just doing the devil's advocate thing, since my earlier post had been heavy on cynical snark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixerman View Post
My favorite was the time that he wrote a full length article refuting the benefits of analog summing. When pressed, he admitted that he'd never actually tried it.

Let me repeat that. He never actually tried it.

What's more, that admission didn't matter to the large majority of the commenters. Somehow, writing an article out of complete ignorance didn't disqualify his advice. For many, it only bolstered it!

Wow.

Wow, wow, wow.

Mixerman
[bold added] LOL. That's pretty good. Sounds like the cynicism around here with re this guy is pretty well warranted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
Certainly, but Nadia didn't preach that people should forgo working with others at the top of their craft in favor of completely isolated mediocrity, and then use the relatively low bar of a herd of mediocrity to define success.

One of her specific exercises that she taught was to transcribe full scores into different keys. The idea behind it being to really try to get into the head of a great composer.

The Graham Cochrane equivalent is to only learn the beginner piano reduction of only the main theme and then claim that the rest of the composition was just the opulent trimmings of feudal oligopoly.

"A great work is made out of a combination of obedience and liberty"- Nadia Boulanger
Good stuff! As I noted, devil's advocate and all that. But I'm glad I brought it up because you guys responded with some nicely on point observations.
Old 14th November 2015
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeblues View Post
I like this point. All of the best work I have done (as well as all of the best learning) has come from collaborating with talented artists and talented producers. Working with others keeps me firmly planted in the world of "what will make this recording great?" It helps me forget about all of the noise out there of "you only need x-y-z" Graham Cochrane bull**** or "buy a-b-c before you can sound good" Gearslutz bull****. It's all about experimentation and finding what makes the difference for the recordings. Which, incidentally, costs more than $300 (as Cochrane claims) but doesn't require that I own more than a fraction of the slutty gear out there. Especially with rentals being as inexpensive as they often are. Actually, a good indicator of how much "real" music I'm making might be how much I've spent on rentals. Is there a session I'm excited about coming up? I'm likely renting something. A mix I want to really nail? I'm renting. Or paying someone better than I am...


IMO making great music, rather it's writing it, playing it, or making records is not a skillset. It's a culture.
Old 14th November 2015
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixerman View Post
My favorite was the time that he wrote a full length article refuting the benefits of analog summing. When pressed, he admitted that he'd never actually tried it.

Let me repeat that. He never actually tried it.

What's more, that admission didn't matter to the large majority of the commenters. Somehow, writing an article out of complete ignorance didn't disqualify his advice. For many, it only bolstered it!

Wow.

Wow, wow, wow.

Mixerman
Here's a link to that article.

Analog Summing And Why You Shouldn’t Care | The Recording Revolution

In the article, he doesn't refute the benefits of analog summing so much as he says you can make a good mix without it. Entirely in keeping with his "skills trump gear" mantra. He cites well-known mixers who work entirely ITB, and others including you who like analog summing. He calls you one of his "favorite mixers." He calls you "incredible." He includes a link to your book.

If this is what you're like toward people who openly admire you, I can't imagine how you are with people who don't.
Old 14th November 2015
  #17
Hmmm... I've decided I officially have no position on this guy since I have no direct familiarity with his materials. In this case, I'm going to do the ignorance-is-bliss thing and bail before I get caught up in another teacup contro.
Old 14th November 2015
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
Do you honestly believe that the only scenario where someone hires a professional producer/engineer or uses high end gear is the "path to Taylor Swiftdom"?

Let's see we have charismatic leader, check.
Flock who makes charismatic leader wealthy, check.
Proselytization of and "us vs them" absolute world, check.
Push to isolates oneself from the "others" that may corrupt you, check.
Leader who doesn't seem to be able to practice what he preaches, check.
Leader who pushes disciples to believe the true power is "in them", check.

Starting to sound familiar?
No actually, I don't know what you mean here. I think maybe you misread me. I'm hoping you aren't comparing the guy to Hitler, because it's early in the thread for Godwin's law!

The guy never says gear doesn't matter, he just says "gear matters less than skill," which seems like a reasonable point even if it comes wrapped in Slate-esque levels of hype.
Old 14th November 2015
  #19
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Mixerman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Here's a link to that article.

Analog Summing And Why You Shouldn’t Care | The Recording Revolution

In the article, he doesn't refute the benefits of analog summing so much as he says you can make a good mix without it. Entirely in keeping with his "skills trump gear" mantra. He cites well-known mixers who work entirely ITB, and others including you who like analog summing. He calls you one of his "favorite mixers." He calls you "incredible." He includes a link to your book.

If this is what you're like toward people who openly admire you, I can't imagine how you are with people who don't.
In the words of Rick Perry: "Even a broken clock is right once a day."

Last edited by Mixerman; 14th November 2015 at 08:41 PM..
Old 14th November 2015
  #20
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixerman View Post
In the words of Rick Perry: "Even a clock is right once a day."
I believe it's "Even a broken clock is right twice a day," but I like it the way you said it. More meta that way.

Edit: Rick Perry is the one who is more meta. Mixerman is just reporting the truth.

Last edited by jakeblues; 14th November 2015 at 08:41 PM..
Old 14th November 2015
  #21
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Mixerman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeblues View Post
I believe it's "Even a broken clock is right twice a day," but I like it the way you said it. More meta that way.
I shouldnt try to post from my phone. Words go awol. It is indeed broken. Rick Perry decided to limit it to being right once a day.

Mixerman
Old 14th November 2015
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

The sales pitch gets a bit tiresome, but his YouTube channel and blog have more free information than you can shake a stick at. His advice really helped me out when i was getting started. It reinforced what i knew deep down but hated to admit, that my limitations weren't as much from a lack of gear but a lack of skill. He also constantly preaches advice i see here, things like a good recording starts with a good performance, and spend more time trying to capture that performance well and less time trying to fix in the mix. I never assumed my humble home studio would compete with the top dogs in the industry, but i have learned how to make recordings i'm a lot happier with overall.

His 300 dollar challenge was interesting. He did an entire album with 300 dollars worth of gear just to try and prove his point. On a forum like this i would imagine that folks could be pretty easily distinguish it as a home recorded deal, but it's pretty damn decent and i'd say good enough for the average music consumer. Although, it's probably worth noting i may not have a lot of faith in the tastes of the average consumer so take that as you will.
Old 14th November 2015
  #23
Of course he's selling something - that something is HIMSELF. He is valuable because of his tutorials and online presence and his message which is simply, make great music by improving your skills. One of those ways you can improve your skills is by *buying* his books. It's really no different than other salesman, at least his methods are grounded in some level of reality and his product (himself) is actually helpful and useful.

It's a new branch of the home recording D.I.Y., Youtube celebrity. I'm not mad at him. I've been watching his videos for at least a year.

And why should I be? Because he doesn't work with "real" celebrities? But how many of us do? A great teacher is simply someone who is great at WHAT they teach, and how they are able to relate to their students. Let me be clear, I think Graham is great.

Last edited by Godson; 15th November 2015 at 03:11 AM..
Old 14th November 2015
  #24
Gear Nut
 

I admit, I followed his blog for a bit, even signed up for the mix off stuff (cancelled after month 1 as it was just level balancing well tracked stems), and learned a few good tips. But over time I found that his blog posts would contradict earlier posts, with click-bait-esque narrative to them, and that there was always a cycle.

For example, one blog post would be why you only need stock plugins, then another would be why you need at least one good compressor plugin, or something like that. Oh, and every post has to start with 'I'm just like you, a simple bedroom mixer, but then I had this epiphany...'. Must be very exhausting to be him, having deeply profound epiphanies three times a week.

If he can make $35-75k / month out of this industry though, through tutorials and coaching, it shows why Slate/CLA are teaming up for their own educational series.
Old 14th November 2015
  #25
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
 
Steven Slate's Avatar
 

Graham is an amazing guy, a skilled audio engineer, and a fantastic teacher. The fact that he has created a successful business in this chaotic music industry should be applauded and encouraged.

Cheers,
Steven
Old 15th November 2015
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
Graham is an amazing guy, a skilled audio engineer, and a fantastic teacher. The fact that he has created a successful business in this chaotic music industry should be applauded and encouraged.

Cheers,
Steven
Half of me completely agrees with this sentiment. I've been an entrepreneur in a past life, and to have success like Graham's means that he's at the exact intersection of effortlessly having on hand exactly what the market demands. The growth of audio recording is an interesting cultural phenomenon. You're another guy who seems to have found yourself on the right side of that wave, if you don't mind my mixed metaphors.
Old 15th November 2015
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
Graham is an amazing guy, a skilled audio engineer, and a fantastic teacher. The fact that he has created a successful business in this chaotic music industry should be applauded and encouraged.

Cheers,
Steven
You could say the same about Mixerman. A round of applause for author, producer, sushi connoisseur and famed martini drinker, Mixerman, please.

Old 15th November 2015
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icecoolpool View Post
You could say the same about Mixerman. A round of applause for author, producer, sushi connoisseur and famed martini drinker, Mixerman, please.

Mixerman didn't though--he slagged the guy for something he didn't sday
Old 15th November 2015
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate View Post
Graham is an amazing guy, a skilled audio engineer, and a fantastic teacher. The fact that he has created a successful business in this chaotic music industry should be applauded and encouraged.

Cheers,
Steven
+2
Old 15th November 2015
  #30
Gear Nut
 
juniorexploder's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixerman View Post
In the words of Rick Perry: "Even a broken clock is right once a day."
The first time I heard that phrase was in the 1987 film "Withnail & I"

Along with " We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now! "

As well as " I feel like a pig shat in my head."

...not unlike the way I feel after watching a Graham Cochrane video.
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