I once sent the guitar and the snare drum through the same group output of the desk and forgot to pan them L & R to pro tools. Didn't realise until a few hours after, when just by curiosity soloed the snare and Ta-da! the guitar was also in the snare's track tutt
Another bad one was when a reggae singer came in the studio with some tapes he had recorded about 7 years ago with his band back in Jamaica. He wanted to overdub some vocals. A bad drop out led to recording on top of the backing vocals that his band mates had recorded then. He nearly broke my neck
Embarrassing... But just because bands/labels spend a lot of money on recording their music doesn't mean sound engineers are perfect! I wish I was:-)
When I was an intern in the early to mid 90's the owner / engineer didn't format the ADAT tapes...! So we've got a band mic'd up, staring at us through the glass...and the engineer starts cussing himself about how he screwed up and slams his fists on the console...which blasts a huge KRCCHKK to their headphones which freaks them out and makes them jump.
So he tells me to go out there and adjust the microphones (or act like it) while he formats the tapes. I don't know the exact time frame, but it was ridiculous how long I kept getting up and going in there to act like I was adjusting a tom mic...of course without really moving it at all...going back into the control room...waiting a minute...still formatting...going back out and adjusting the freakin' guitar cab mic...without really making a difference in position...
The engineer should have just told those guys the truth! It really made us look like assholes cause these guys stood there for what seemed like forever. I felt like a dick. They just kept staring at us.
I'm trying for the life of me to think of something screwy that went wrong in my personal studio since then and thankfully cannot come up with any whoppers! Maybe one will hit me.
EDIT: Last year I recorded maybe 10 or 12 songs for a group and somehow didn't send audio from the right overhead to the DAW on a song. So I ended up with one overhead track...that I had pointed pretty hard left. I ended up sending it pretty much straight up the middle to see if it was workable, it wasn't anything great...so I asked them if they thought they could do better and they agreed and re-tracked it!
This one is rather long-winded and geeky, but I'm rather proud of how it turned out in the end, so here's the whole deal:
I was tracking a large jazz ensemble to PT. We cut the first two of three songs (two takes each) in one session, then I decide to open another session for the third. Welp, back before session data import, I would open the first session, remove all references to audio save-as and start new. This time, however, I accidentally "deleted" instead of "removed".
Now these were SDII files, which are notorious for being un-unerasable. And they sure were! Neither Ontrack nor Disksavers were able to recover anything. So I learned the trick on the DUC where you start a new session and disk allocate to the drive with the missing data. Now however much free space is left, divide by 2 gigs (the max file size in PT) and whatever number you get, create that many tracks in the new session. Set PT to allocate entire disk, armed all tracks, dropped it into record, then unplugged the computer.
When it booted back up, I had 3 SDII files taking up the entire disk, which I then imported into PT and started cutting! Luckily, being a live session, there was plenty of bleed to help line things up visually, but sorting all that stuff again was a royal pain in the ass. Took a full day (these guys were good... very difficult to distinguish between takes), but I ended up being the savior where I was once the destroyer of a session. Let's not do that again.
Recorded a rock band. They came in to do back up vocals, even brought girlfriends. Big chorus sound.
On the mix, I had two tracks of the chorus, L & R. Someone, most likely myself, accidently pressed one of the Mix LR buttons on one of the tracks, removing the left side of the chorus from the mix. No one realized this untill a week later when I listened to the mix and smacked my forehead.
How about recording 6 hours-worth of background vocal stacks on a session that came from another studio at 48k (of course I was clocked at 44.1). Really wish PT warned of external clock discrepencies between 44.1 and 48k. It's okay, the freebie session was much improved anyway.
How's about doing this for an orchestra score - assistant never got the info as to when freq they were working inso I asked for an update when they got in - Not call and I forget bout the whole thing. Producer requested only the click track be opened for the session and the asst doesn't check things. So who's at fault? Me, assistant or producer? The studio paid for the whole thing to be done again the following week.
As for myself, I tried loading a Mitsu X-880 onto it's cart for transportation across town by myself. Lined it up against the wall so the cart wouldn't move out (the cart had wheels also). Ramp all set up.. One big push and it's up, all good. OH, WAIT, it's rolling off center, NO, PLEASE, STOP, it's gonna fall off the cart... CRASH!!! and I pulled my leg out just in time to get a nasty bruise but not a broken leg. What a tough call that was to tell Barry Bongiovi I dropped one of our X-880s. Thought I was gone, but apparently I had been doing such a good job my first 4 months, they gave me another chance - a few years later I was running the shop. That situation often reminds me that we all do stupid things and should always get a 2nd chance.
i went into a studio with a christian rock band. While tracking I use to wear cans and sort of "energize" the take by projecting my feelings into it and grooving along. The door to the womb was behind me.
The take was great and I was vivdly singing along and chair-dansing intensly. When the song ended I cried out "Yes, there it was. And farted. Loud. REALLY loud. The ventilation was good so I didn't expect any problems from that. While turning around to greet the band while coming in I stared into three immaculate looking teenager christian girls with terrified looks on their faces that had been sneaking in during the take.
my old studio was in the basement of a bar and a tattoo shop. you can imagine the things that would happen during latenight sessions. i have the telefunken tattoo on my chest and gradually failing liver to prove it.
other than that kind of stuff, i've had morning sessions (hungover) when i'd be screaming and wailing at the top of my lungs "I'M NOT GETTING ANY ****ING SIGNAL! I BOUGHT A $5,000 MICROPHONE AND IT'S BROKEN FOR NO REASON". the guitarist of the band i was recording, laughing hysterically, plugged it in, solving the problem. i felt like an idiot. an idiot with a headache.
I was doing a mix on a big Trident 80C and rolling my Herman Miller chair back and forth between the console and the gear racks off to the side of the board as I tweaked outboard, and on one pass knocked my $400 pair of glasses off the padded armrest and right under a caster, crushing the frame and both lenses. Now I keep my glasses on a leash.
Leaving 15 rapers and there sound tech alone in the studio for 30 minutes
Next day where reported missing : beta 52, sm57 and 58
Good thing I keep the expensive mics in another place
a couple years ago to help out a young sound tech and to make the most profit I accepted to let him record night sessions with local bands after he brought me a couple good demos he did, this lasted 2 months, Today I still suffer from the bad reputation he gave to the studio because of he's terrible work
You had rapers in your studio?? Is that what happened to the cat in your avatar?!??!
I once embezzled money from sixteen gangsta rapper hedgehogs during a blue grass session (they thought I was doing some PT edits, but I'd hacked into their online banking accounts, and was busy transferring away) - needless to say, they beat the snot outta me a few weeks later
pfft... if you had gotten into NCID and given them records for illegal relations with domesticated livestock I'd be impessed
I'll settle for understand cellular networks well enough to turn someone's mobile number into the designation for a pay phone.
Ahh, how I miss my misspent college youth (the things they teach you are really interesting sometimes)
As for the rappers stealing the mic, I got to witness a similar incident many moons ago, though this one was caught trying to take a Senn shotgun (which fell out of his pants while declaring his "innocence" to the sound engineer ). Our future master criminal then proceeded to play the race card to the local police but forgot one minor, but critical fact.
He, the cop, and the sound engineer (who filed the complaint) were all the same ethnicity.
1) Forgot to disarm the conga track I'd JUST overdubbed when I switched to punch another adjacent track. The conga player had not yet even gotten into the control room, so when he got in I simply told him I needed to punch one more time and he walked right back out there without question.
2) As a second I was working on a tracking session for a local artist. We were working on tape and the studio was out of leader tape. So I left as significant an amount of time between songs as I possible could, about 15-20 seconds... The day after basic tracks with hired session musicians, the producer returns with programmed tracks he'd sequenced the night before, synced to a rough mix to Pro Tools I'd slaved to the 2". As I'm transfering the second tunes' programmed parts to tape I started looking working at the other end of the board, and not watching the locator or listening much to playback. Suddenly I was snapped back to reality by the sound of the the next song's drum fill intro blaring from the right room mic, over the continuing programmed tracks. (He'd simply looped out the outro for a while, past the end of the tune...)
As I slammed the stop button I immediately realized what I'd done and damned near shit myself. Fortunately, the only thing that probably saved my job (and kept me working with the same guys for some time) was that the only thing that had been recorded over was the drums tracks (!!), save for the right room mic, so I spit the rough mix out of the PT session to the console and we performed an automated crossfade on the desk right before the band kicked in.
As for others' dumb moves in situations where I've been involved (but not at fault):
1) A young engineer I'd worked with had been put in charge of mixing a series of live concerts recorded to ADATs. He transfered the ADATs digitally into a Pro Tools HD and mixed in the box. After countless days of mixing, he told me that several others had listened to the mixes and thought they sounded "dull" and the drums lacked "snap". I listed and immediately asked what session he was running at. "44.1," he responded. I then asked what sample rate the ADATs were formatted for. His response... "What?"
We imported the files into a 48k session and he started over.
2) On another session several years ago, a five piece vocal group came in with orchestral tracks that had been recorded in New Orleans with a full orchestra. All they brought with them was CD-Rs, and one was scratched and unreadable. A few minor tracks were lost, we moved on, and kinda chewed them out for there not being ANY other backup of the data. Shortly later, the group flew back to New Orleans to record a bunch more tracks, at the cost of thousands.
When they returned they brought a hard drive. We hooked it up, loaded up the tracks to verify everything was there, put away the drive and moved back to working on the other tracks. The very next morning we hook the drive up and the folder that held the new tracks was MISSING. Everything else, there. That folder, GONE. We called the engineer to find out if there were any backups and he said since there was so much data "he didn't want to have to charge them the money for spending the whole night making backups." They spend close to $2000 with a variety of recovery firms to no avail, nothing was recovered. They spent thousands more again to go back and record it again, with the same engineer. At least they made him keep a copy on his hard drive until they got it back here.
in the same session while recording the audio book of 5 People You Meet in Heaven,
I got caught reffering to Mitch as "Miatch" and talking about how I should start a band call Five Billys you Touch in Heaven..
once I almost got caught calling Aretha, urethra..
Man, I've done a lot of stupid stuff, I just can't think of any!!!
Oh, when upgrading to OSX from OS9, I copied a folder called " .rhae songs " to an osx drive, then wiped out that drive and booted to OSX...
luckily I'm a unix geek, but I wasn't thinking and forgot that anything with a . infront of it it hidden.. that client spent $50,000 with us and I thought I deleted all her songs...
needless to say I had a minute where I completely freaked..
Don't run a "down-and-out" pass pattern when it takes you near the 2-inch machine and your quarterback has less than perfect accuracy (and Brett Favre velocity) - especially when the machine is in high-speed rewind and the football lodges between the reels and the meter bridge acting as a crude mechanical brake, launching your master tape throughout the control room...
This wasn't me; I read a post from the poor guy it happened to years ago.
This guy was having a rodent problem in the ceiling of his studio. After several failed attempts at fixing the problem he had a "great" idea. He did some research online and found the frequencies that these store bought contraptions use to ward off rodents.
After dialing in a signal generator at a very high frequency and running it through his monitors, he split to go to the store. So...as he's opening his door, while returning from the store, he can smell something burning. Upon entering his control room he discovers where the smell is coming from...
I just spent a year building my studio from the ground up.
Of course it wasn't close to being finished but it was going to be useable.
Two days before the first session, I bring my Ampex MM1200 to the new studio and hook it up. They are notorious for needing tension adjustments, so I put in the extender card and fire it up. The sweet smell of electronic smoke fills the air. I wasn't paying attention and I put the extender card in backwards!
I couldn't postpone the session, so I had to rent a 2" 24 track for 10 days.
I had to keep working on the studio, so i couldn't get it myself. I sent a friend to NYC to pick it up and on the way back, he was stopped by the NJ police and busted for coke! They impounded his van and the 24 track 12 hours before the session was suppose to start. I sent someone else to the police station and they were able to talk the police into releasing the 24 track.