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How do you manage people's feelings? Condenser Microphones
Old 6th December 2017
  #1
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How do you manage people's feelings?

Let's face it, we're a bunch of overly-sensitive artists emoting feelings through music. Sometimes we reject someone's ideas or vocals or guitar riffs. Sometimes we're the ones being rejected for the same stuff.

How often do you have to deal with this and what was some of your strategies to manage all of these feewings?
Old 6th December 2017
  #2
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jwh1192's Avatar
be Open to any and all Performances by yourself and others ... try and see things from the other persons perspective before you draw any conculsions in your own mind .. and be sensitive to others feelings as you wish others to be sensitive to your feelings ..

and thebig one is "Grow a Tough Skin" because there are some folks that will never see things in any light but They Are Right and You Are Wrong !!!
Old 6th December 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
"Grow a Tough Skin"
What does that exactly mean? Ignore your feelings? Push it down into your stomach?

Not being argumentative, but just curious. It's an often used phrase.
Old 6th December 2017
  #4
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jwh1192's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by goom View Post
What does that exactly mean? Ignore your feelings? Push it down into your stomach?

Not being argumentative, but just curious. It's an often used phrase.
kinda like "Grow a Pair" ... 2 things .. learn to take criticism and not talk back or try to justifiy your position .. just Suck it UP !!! and play it again, better if you can .. and then let it go - or it will eat you alive

and don't be surprised by what people say about your performances ... live or studio .. you know what you did ..
Old 6th December 2017
  #5
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goom View Post
Sometimes we reject someone's ideas or vocals or guitar riffs...
This is very general and catchall, but you might try to find things that you do like, and say "let's concentrate on this first, and maybe later on we'll come back to that other thing." That way you lead with the positive, the supportive, and you communicate that you're not crazy about certain other things without having to say it outright.
Old 6th December 2017
  #6
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boombapdame's Avatar
@goom it means don't be so in your feelings that you forget that criticism can either build or destroy you.
Old 6th December 2017
  #7
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Butt-hurt babies, needing a diaper change have no place in a professional enviorment.

Their are Cheifs and Braves, a chain of comand, and a vision to serve, not somones ego.

Figure out whether you are a chief or a brave in your current project, know your role, and make sure everybody else knows there's

I cannot recomend this strongly enough: Fire the type of person you are talking about early and often, get them FAAAAAR away from you and what you are doing.

I failed to do this on two ocasions and let someone enter into post signing record deal phases of projects. At this point, when you are being scrutinized by the label on everymove and at constant risk of being in the "Drop-box" people like this will destroy you.

If I ever find myself working with a Mick Jagger type, fine, then I'll allow for some ego, but everyone else.....

YOOOOUUUR FIIIIERD!!!!!!

Don't make the same mistakes I did, start firing motherf**kers, early and often
Old 7th December 2017
  #8
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Learning to accept 'constructive' criticism, or honest feedback, is a huge important step in growing in any task.

That said, I do think it's always best to be as gentle as possible when having these sorts of discussions.
Old 7th December 2017
  #9
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Learn to pick your battles wisely. Many hills are not worth dying on.
Old 7th December 2017
  #10
When on the receiving end: You need thick skin. Usually, when you take a step back there's something of value in there.

When dishing it out: Don't be a dick. In my head, "WTF was that garbage." What I say, "That first part was really cool. I'm wondering if on the second part we might try something different. The overall feel is great." Sandwich with good stuff and say thing like, Maybe or I'm wondering..
Old 7th December 2017
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robby in WA View Post
Sandwich with good stuff
Sandwich does make everything better, doesn't it.
Old 7th December 2017
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
zero64's Avatar
 

Depends on the person and how well I know them. There are people I know well enough that I can just tell them -- "Hey man, that second chorus sucked, do it again."

With others I have to be nicer, say things like "I think you can improve on that second chorus, let's try another take."
Old 7th December 2017
  #13
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Mertmo's Avatar
 

Some good advice so far. Pick your battles for sure...

A big one for me is making sure I point out the things the artist is absolutely nailing, or something that they've done right. Make sure they know that I have noticed the places and moments when they're just crushing it. As long as I notice this stuff, point it out and basically be generally encouraging, I can get away with being way more honest about what isn't working and what they need to do better. This is the "real" record production when it comes down to it... much more so than tweaking knobs and working on tone etc.
Old 7th December 2017
  #14
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bitman's Avatar
I just work alone anymore.
The thought of dealing with others feelings aside from my wife well.... y'all have fun in your little band now.
Old 7th December 2017
  #15
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Nick Stedman's Avatar
Telling them in a more private one on one setting than in front of everyone. Like off to the side. Sometimes confronting someone about something they may have an insecurity about in front of others isn't really conducive to helping them or you in the long run. You're just asking for them to get defensive because you're putting that insecurity out in the open for everyone to see. You can't take someone into a separate room every time a situation like this arises obviously lol, but when you can just say something to them off to the side it makes things easier on both parties. They'll respect that you are at least trying to be conscientious, and in the future might not take the criticism as harshly.

Theres also a fine line there. Because a 7 year old can tell when you're being genuine or not. and just BSing to make them feel better can work against you if they realize that's what you're actually doing. I could always read that and preferred a straight shooter but some don't like that.
Old 7th December 2017
  #16
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cavern's Avatar
 

Honesty IS the best policy next to being humble. Simple as that.

Take a punch but don't be a punching bag.
Grow a pair but don't brag about it.
Give credit where credit is due even if it doesn't favor you.
Try to be as nice as possible but say what you think.
Old 7th December 2017
  #17
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is critique yourself, to know when you need to edit down a guitar phrase, restructure a chorus or just restart the whole thing from scratch.
Old 7th December 2017
  #18
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12tone's Avatar
 

Be nice, be honest...no more, no less.
Old 7th December 2017
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by goom View Post
Sandwich does make everything better, doesn't it.
I firmly believe there are few foods that can't be improved by putting them in a sandwich.

But seriously - it comes down to trust and respect.

If you know your collaborator respects you, and only has the best interests of the project at heart, criticism (however bluntly delivered) is generally accepted in the right way.

Yes, there's always people who are so insecure (and it's almost always insecurity) which means you have to praise the positive and encourage more than criticise.
Old 7th December 2017
  #20
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robby in WA View Post
What I say, "That first part was really cool. I'm wondering if on the second part we might try something different. The overall feel is great." Sandwich with good stuff and say thing like, Maybe or I'm wondering..
I spend a lot of time listening and critiquing home grown music. That whole sandwich approach is always a good one.

Always be humble, friendly and kind but at the same time be honest.
Old 7th December 2017
  #21
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goom View Post
Let's face it, we're a bunch of overly-sensitive artists emoting feelings through music. Sometimes we reject someone's ideas or vocals or guitar riffs. Sometimes we're the ones being rejected for the same stuff.

How often do you have to deal with this and what was some of your strategies to manage all of these feewings?
I think it largely depends on your role in the situation

are you an equal member of a democratic "band"?
are you the producer?
are you the engineer?

if you are an equal member of the band, try the Golden Rule!

If you are the Producer, you are nominally The Boss, but in greater likelihood you are more like the Team Leader, so tread lightly. A coach who only criticizes his players will be a losing coach.

If you are the engineer, it is not your place to "reject" someones vocal or guitar riff. Your job is to record that guitar riff. Even if you are asked, it is still not open season.

My sandwich analogy: It's like someone offering you half of his sandwich... the first two times he offers, he doesn't really want you to take half his sandwich! The third time you are invited to make a criticism, maybe they really mean it. Nothing can ruin a working relationship faster that such criticism if it is unsolicited.

As an engineer, I would find the gentlest way possible to guide the artist out of whatever trap he has made for himself. You are walking through a minefield, IMO. Be grateful if you merely survive. Getting your way is beside the point. It's their record! I would say the same applies to any 'hired' person. A session guitarist, for example.

The other pitfall for engineers is that, unless you observe strict neutrality, the members of a band will try to draw you into their Band Politics. Individuals will try and get you to 'vote' with them for their pet ideas. If two people want a 10 minute drum solo and two people don't, you may be asked to 'break the tie'. Whatever power relationships exist within the band, they should be the same in the studio as they are before and after. Let them battle it out the way they do.



Along these lines, I remember a tip I learned from a fellow engineer: "It will take less time to try it than it will to argue about it." I have witnessed half-hour arguments about an idea that would have taken five minutes to try.

So it's a dumb idea? Put up the mic and try it anyway. If it IS a dumb idea, it will be obvious to everyone, and you can move on. If instead, you talked them out of the dumb idea, they will spend the rest of the day resenting you and thinking maybe their idea would have been great!

And of course there is always the possibility that you are wrong and it is a cool idea.
Old 9th December 2017
  #22
People are often the most sensitive when they perceive a threat to their competence, significance, or likability. Keep that in mind and structure your feedback accordingly.
Old 10th December 2017
  #23
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I had to tell a kid last night that he doesn't sound good as a rapper at all. I am tired of always being the nice guy and trying to find a way of going around someone who doesn't have any musical skill what so ever or trying to justify that the garbage they are recording sounds like music. I usually just tell them to keep at it and work on their craft but when it sounds worse then a two year old mumbling their 1st words I had to be brutally honest... And for the 1st time I feel that I did justice on either they learn some way or some how to create something that sounds like a song with some kind of melody or they don't waste their time anymore and move on in life.!

I've had my feeling hurt when I began composing my 1st tracks and even though it hurt slightly I learned to move forward on either trying hard or giving up & since I didn't give up I only got better establishing my production placements within 3 years of starting. Sometimes people need a little harshness in life on criticism in order of succeeding.
Old 12th December 2017
  #24
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Sigma's Avatar
i have a jumbo sized baby bottle bank in the studio.. i tell people you whine like a baby? you contribute to the beer pot ..

Last edited by Sigma; 13th December 2017 at 04:27 PM..
Old 12th December 2017
  #25
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Much of this may seem highly unprofessional, and even dishonest, but I'm not a professional engineer/producer. In 40 year of recording/producing local stuff with amateur musicians , I'd say that the most useful things I've learned are:

[1] Everyone had different priorities. Hence, things will never go as efficiently as any one involved individual thinks they should.

[2] it is often necessary to do what appear to YOU to be stupid or useless time-wasting things in order to placate someone who has a completely different set of priorities. (What I refer to as the 'third tom" syndrome - drummer spends 50 minutes of session trying to get the tone of the third rack tom just right, although it is almost completely irreverent to the success of the session).

[3] Many bands are already a seething mass of internal grievance and resentment before you start to work with them. It's a good idea to stay pretty quiet until you figure out how the internal dynamic of the band works.

[4] If you can fix it in the mix, don't try and fix it at the source. Compressing /limiting/re-triggering the kick or fixing the bassist's bad eq choices on mix down is far less likely to cause a major incident then telling the drummer his hits are inconsistent or asking the bassist to take out the 300hz boost on the amp.

[5] Everyone says they want "constructive criticism" but very few people actually do. Everyone want to hear praise. Give it whenever it is remotely justified. ( "That one was quite an improvement on the last one") Although an engineer /producer can offer suggestions that sometimes really improve a track, You cannot make a good player out of a bad one by criticism during a recording session . Try to minimize the damage and polish the turd.

[6] Ask to hear the material before you record, and try and start with the track that you think can nail a good take and sound on very quickly. A good start puts everyone in a good mood. I'm constantly amazed by bands that want to start a session with the one song they have not rehearsed and worked up properly.

[7] Keep a pair of big crappy speakers with hyped up bass and a mid dip handy. Flip them on LOUD when the bass player/drummer complains that the is not enough bottom end ("it will probably sound more like THIS on your system")

[8] If you make edits/tweaks, tune the occasional background vocal, edit the occasional bad note, etc, don't tell the musicians unless they specifically ask. Otherwise someone will start a debate about "authenticity" and "studio tricks". The last thing a barely competent local group needs is a "totally authentic" recording of their performance.

[9] I used to ask bands to provide an commercial example of what they wanted to sound like. What this taught me is that bands seldom actually want to sound like the recording they pick . A number of young punk bands who that told me they wanted to sound like the early Ramones albums hated the results if I actually make them sound like the early Ramones albums. They are describing a romantic ideal, not an actual sound.

[10] Cut solos/vocals in a separate session with only the vocalist and the guitarist. Most amateurs get bored if they are not personally playing for more than 10-15 minutes, and you have two or three bored guys messing around and generally being unhelpful while the guitarist is having a crisis .

[11] Possibly the best simple thing you can do to improve most amateur bands is to get the kick drum and bass to sync together more than they were.

[12] always record a direct line off instruments as well as a miked sound. Sometimes truly dreadful tone choices can be helped out by mixing a re-amped signal with the original. Again, don't tell unless they ask. Many guitarists who have complemented the "great job I did with the guitar tone" would be horrified if I told them it wasn't actually their amp.

Last edited by norfolk martin; 12th December 2017 at 07:36 PM.. Reason: spelling mistake
Old 13th December 2017
  #26
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
[5] , You cannot make a good player out of a bad one by criticism during a recording session .

this is so true it hurts
it is important to remind yourself that for most bands, today is the day. You will be there tomorrow with a different band. But if they don't have it together today, it's not going to be on their record. You can ask a pro, who plays many different styles, for a different interpretation. But you can't ask an amateur to learn a whole new technique today. Truly constructive criticism for them generally takes the form of: "go home and practice more".

Quote:
[12] always record a direct line off instruments as well as a miked sound. Sometimes truly dreadful tone choices can be helped out by mixing a re-amped signal with the original. Again, don't tell unless they ask. Many guitarists who have complemented the "great job I did with the guitar tone" would be horrified if I told them it wasn't actually their amp.
I have done that myself many many times
I can't help but wonder, however, if at some point they would be better off knowing. Like once the record is in the can. Otherwise, they may go through life thinking their tone needs no improvement!
Old 13th December 2017
  #27
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RightOnRome's Avatar
you know how the saying goes..."It aint over until the guy with OCD on brain meds says so!" ...or in other words ...mix/take 100
Old 13th December 2017
  #28
Not a lot wrong with any of that! Whilst we try not to "fix it in the mix" if there's something that is EASILY fixed in the mix as you say - it's often easier to move on and do so, rather than waste hours trying to sort it out. Not always. But often!

Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
Much of this may seem highly unprofessional, and even dishonest, but I'm not a professional engineer/producer. In 40 year of recording/producing local stuff with amateur musicians , I'd say that the most useful things I've learned are:

[1] Everyone had different priorities. Hence, things will never go as efficiently as any one involved individual thinks they should.

[2] it is often necessary to do what appear to YOU to be stupid or useless time-wasting things in order to placate someone who has a completely different set of priorities. (What I refer to as the 'third tom" syndrome - drummer spends 50 minutes of session trying to get the tone of the third rack tom just right, although it is almost completely irreverent to the success of the session).

[3] Many bands are already a seething mass of internal grievance and resentment before you start to work with them. It's a good idea to stay pretty quiet until you figure out how the internal dynamic of the band works.

[4] If you can fix it in the mix, don't try and fix it at the source. Compressing /limiting/re-triggering the kick or fixing the bassist's bad eq choices on mix down is far less likely to cause a major incident then telling the drummer his hits are inconsistent or asking the bassist to take out the 300hz boost on the amp.

[5] Everyone says they want "constructive criticism" but very few people actually do. Everyone want to hear praise. Give it whenever it is remotely justified. ( "That one was quite an improvement on the last one") Although an engineer /producer can offer suggestions that sometimes really improve a track, You cannot make a good player out of a bad one by criticism during a recording session . Try to minimize the damage and polish the turd.

[6] Ask to hear the material before you record, and try and start with the track that you think can nail a good take and sound on very quickly. A good start puts everyone in a good mood. I'm constantly amazed by bands that want to start a session with the one song they have not rehearsed and worked up properly.

[7] Keep a pair of big crappy speakers with hyped up bass and a mid dip handy. Flip them on LOUD when the bass player/drummer complains that the is not enough bottom end ("it will probably sound more like THIS on your system")

[8] If you make edits/tweaks, tune the occasional background vocal, edit the occasional bad note, etc, don't tell the musicians unless they specifically ask. Otherwise someone will start a debate about "authenticity" and "studio tricks". The last thing a barely competent local group needs is a "totally authentic" recording of their performance.

[9] I used to ask bands to provide an commercial example of what they wanted to sound like. What this taught me is that bands seldom actually want to sound like the recording they pick . A number of young punk bands who that told me they wanted to sound like the early Ramones albums hated the results if I actually make them sound like the early Ramones albums. They are describing a romantic ideal, not an actual sound.

[10] Cut solos/vocals in a separate session with only the vocalist and the guitarist. Most amateurs get bored if they are not personally playing for more than 10-15 minutes, and you have two or three bored guys messing around and generally being unhelpful while the guitarist is having a crisis .

[11] Possibly the best simple thing you can do to improve most amateur bands is to get the kick drum and bass to sync together more than they were.

[12] always record a direct line off instruments as well as a miked sound. Sometimes truly dreadful tone choices can be helped out by mixing a re-amped signal with the original. Again, don't tell unless they ask. Many guitarists who have complemented the "great job I did with the guitar tone" would be horrified if I told them it wasn't actually their amp.
Old 18th December 2017
  #29
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stevelindsay's Avatar
 

Yes I agree, it's about learning to handle and give criticism. When I studied journalism at uni, the first few semesters spent a lot of time having you write stuff, and then getting your stuff workshopped by the group (i.e. torn apart mostly). It was designed to weed out the folks who couldn't handle having their work criticised. It was very effective, and made you a better writer. I just tell that short anecdote to my music mates before I go on to make suggestions about their compositions. Smooths the way to criticism nicely....
Old 11th January 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
Much of this may seem highly unprofessional, and even dishonest, but I'm not a professional engineer/producer. In 40 year of recording/producing local stuff with amateur musicians , I'd say that the most useful things I've learned are:

[1] Everyone had different priorities. Hence, things will never go as efficiently as any one involved individual thinks they should.

[2] it is often necessary to do what appear to YOU to be stupid or useless time-wasting things in order to placate someone who has a completely different set of priorities. (What I refer to as the 'third tom" syndrome - drummer spends 50 minutes of session trying to get the tone of the third rack tom just right, although it is almost completely irreverent to the success of the session).

[3] Many bands are already a seething mass of internal grievance and resentment before you start to work with them. It's a good idea to stay pretty quiet until you figure out how the internal dynamic of the band works.

[4] If you can fix it in the mix, don't try and fix it at the source. Compressing /limiting/re-triggering the kick or fixing the bassist's bad eq choices on mix down is far less likely to cause a major incident then telling the drummer his hits are inconsistent or asking the bassist to take out the 300hz boost on the amp.

[5] Everyone says they want "constructive criticism" but very few people actually do. Everyone want to hear praise. Give it whenever it is remotely justified. ( "That one was quite an improvement on the last one") Although an engineer /producer can offer suggestions that sometimes really improve a track, You cannot make a good player out of a bad one by criticism during a recording session . Try to minimize the damage and polish the turd.

[6] Ask to hear the material before you record, and try and start with the track that you think can nail a good take and sound on very quickly. A good start puts everyone in a good mood. I'm constantly amazed by bands that want to start a session with the one song they have not rehearsed and worked up properly.

[7] Keep a pair of big crappy speakers with hyped up bass and a mid dip handy. Flip them on LOUD when the bass player/drummer complains that the is not enough bottom end ("it will probably sound more like THIS on your system")

[8] If you make edits/tweaks, tune the occasional background vocal, edit the occasional bad note, etc, don't tell the musicians unless they specifically ask. Otherwise someone will start a debate about "authenticity" and "studio tricks". The last thing a barely competent local group needs is a "totally authentic" recording of their performance.

[9] I used to ask bands to provide an commercial example of what they wanted to sound like. What this taught me is that bands seldom actually want to sound like the recording they pick . A number of young punk bands who that told me they wanted to sound like the early Ramones albums hated the results if I actually make them sound like the early Ramones albums. They are describing a romantic ideal, not an actual sound.

[10] Cut solos/vocals in a separate session with only the vocalist and the guitarist. Most amateurs get bored if they are not personally playing for more than 10-15 minutes, and you have two or three bored guys messing around and generally being unhelpful while the guitarist is having a crisis .

[11] Possibly the best simple thing you can do to improve most amateur bands is to get the kick drum and bass to sync together more than they were.

[12] always record a direct line off instruments as well as a miked sound. Sometimes truly dreadful tone choices can be helped out by mixing a re-amped signal with the original. Again, don't tell unless they ask. Many guitarists who have complemented the "great job I did with the guitar tone" would be horrified if I told them it wasn't actually their amp.
Great stuff! #3 and #5 really stick out to me. Behind every performance, recorded or performed live, there is a unstable ego that does not want to be disappointed. The more inexperienced, the worse it is.
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