The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
the hi end studio vs. prosumer gear and DAW dead horse
Old 12th August 2005
  #1
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
the hi end studio vs. prosumer gear and DAW dead horse

Because it got off topic, Lambrechts closed another thread and rightfully so. But we were getting into a discussion, that although it's been had a million times, I think is useful, because we have a mid level engineer with a prosumer rig, Alpha Jerk, giving examples of his stuff and saying that it is on par or exceeding major label releases, and me disagreeing. He also said that recording is not "rocket surgery", and implied that anybody with a DAW should be able to do what a pro in a pro room can do.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...t=39330&page=4

To that I say, well if it's a JJP mix, I think that you might be on par, because the first song posted is overly crowded with too many instruments fighting for the same space in the mix. That's something I can't stand about some JJP mixes that I call "(DELETED BY MODERATOR)". (Correct. I'm not a fan.)

Alpha, I honestly can't believe that you think that the sounds you recorded sound as good as even an indy record done in a hi end studio, like say an Albini project. And saying that you don't fix mistakes, etc or use plug-ins like SR or AT really doesn't explain the dull vocal sound, lack of fullness to the drums or lack of separation of the six guitar tracks. Listen to Elvis Costello's last record The Delivery Man. That whole album was cut live, including vocals. Are you really unable to hear the difference in depth and wamth between his recording and yours? That Sabbath stuff on my homepage was all done to tape and never saw a DAW. There are no overdubs and the B3 was never punched. We left mistakes in there, yet I think it sounds a LOT different than your tracks. Even the track "Desire" was a vocal done with an SM57 into a DA88, but using a Neve 1073 and an 1176 when I mixed gave it sparkle and intimacy that I don't hear in any of your mixes. "Diamond In the Rough" is a rough mix in PT of a live track, except for the vox. And even if they had my C12 and Vac Rac that I used, I don't see many people being able to get a vocal sound that killer. That's something that experience and ears can only get. My second engineer graduated from LARW, uses the exact same gear I do, and his recordings don't sound anywhere as good as mine. So, do you honestly mean to tell me that those of us who charge expensive rates for our rooms and services are nothing more than a bunch of charlatans who have bamboozled people into falsely believing that our product is superior to yours? I'd have to say that assertion is bereft of any semblance of reality, based on what I'm hearing. You imply that when I say that no emulation can compare to the real thing, as I do on my studio webpage, that I'm perpetuating some elitist line of bull$hit. But listen to your fake Hammond against mine, and tell me I'm wrong.

I'm not trying to put down mid level studios. They are valuable and have a place in this business. But the only myth I can detect is the assertion that DAWs have leveled the playing field sonically. If you have a master carpenter and an apprentice using the same tools, yet the master has better quality wood, do you still think the apprentice is going to make a product equal to the master, just because he has the same tools? That notion is absurd, and so is any parallel relating to recording.
Old 12th August 2005
  #2
Gear Nut
 
jkshort's Avatar
 

I think that the most important thing (after the material being recorded and the quality of the performance of that material) is the skill level of the engineer and not the gear. good gear (and rooms!) makes it easier to get a good sound and gives you way more sonic options.

A great engineer may bemoan prosumer gear if he's forced to use it but would most likely get a very good result if he's familiar the gear being used.

You are more likely to find a good engineer in a more 'pro' facility as the cost of ownership is higher and tends to weed out those who don't have skills (whether they own the shop or work for someone else)

i have heard some remarkably good stuff out of prosumer setups but this is the exception not the rule. The gear industry does really try to sell the 'pro results at home' line as the prosumer and smaller poject sutdio market is huge in comparison to traditional 'pro' facilities.

I come at this as one of the 'prosumer' users. I have done the odd thing that I think is up to 'pro' standards (often not even a whole song but say a guitar or vocal sound here or there). Due to my day job I get access to some real slutty gear and often I find that if I'm having trouble getting the 'pro' sound it's due to my lack of engineering chops. I run into alot of people who know way more than me and when I seek advice i often find it wasn't my preamp or mic choice that was wrong but it was mic placement, limitaitons of my recording environment or even that i didn't know when to stop dicking around with sounds and get the performance down while it's still fresh.

That being said years of working in a pro facility after interning and assisting in that environment is probably one of the few ways to get a really good grounding in all the skills needed to be a top flight enginner.

Pro out of prosumer I think is unlikely but definately possible.

Jeff
Old 12th August 2005
  #3
Seems like the same old argument...

Do you want Alphajerk on his knees saying "OK your studio is better, can I get back to making a living from my studio now"?

Would that give you a warm "glow", some satisfaction?

Walk smiling to your car? Or perhaps whistling a merry tune?

Whats the point of this thread already entitled a "dead horse"?

What new are you bringing to the GS table?

Or are you a large studio owner wanting to pee on the small studio campfire?

You might get / need future business with smaller studios in future years, why not be more positve / nurturing?

Old 12th August 2005
  #4
Lives for gear
 
DirkB's Avatar
JJ, what's your problem?

You have posted some of your stuff, Alpha has posted some, I'm sure that has put some perspective to the whole argument. So you think you're the better engineer? Again, you posted what you think is some of your best stuff and people can make up their minds.

You started of being a cool contributor to the GS forums (at least that is my opinion), don't let your frustration get the better half...

Greetings,
Dirk

P.S. I liked your drumtones over at the other forum, sounded cool.
Old 12th August 2005
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Kestral's Avatar
 

I still consider myself between a somewhere "prosumer" and a "pro" in the sense that I've garnered national award nominations but it's music isn't my full time job, and I don't really care if it becomes that. I'm just enjoying the process and find it fulfilling.

I graduated from a Summit MPC-100A preamp/compressor, a prosumer piece of gear. It was a great preamp to learn from because it was simply laid out, easy to use and for the money, sounds great.

Notice I said for the money.

I'm just finally getting my new home setup sorted out. As mentioned many times (sorry guys but I'm just so excited about it) recently, I got an AMS Neve 1073 and a rev B 1176. Finally got the tails and cables soldered together and the first thing I did was plug a good old Shure SM57 into it. It's a mic I've used with my Summit for a very long time so I know it, and I haven't changed my space otherwise in any way.

Anyways, with just a little high pass on the 1073 (otherwise no EQ) and the 1176 in Dr. Pepper setting, I couldn't believe it. That sound completely and utterly destroyed anything I came up with on the Summit.

The Summit was a great piece to learn from but you know what? If I had to do it all over again, I wish I bought the pro piece in the first place and got it right the first time. There's going to be some learning curve to really get the most out of my new setup. Gain staging imo is a very important aspect of getting great recordings and I really mastered the gain staging of my Summit but it took time. It's going to take time before I master this but I am really excited.

Knowing now what I know, simply put, pros need pro gear to get pro results. You can't do surgery with a butter knife, and a cook is only as good as the ingredients.

After all, if you put a cordon bleu chef with moldy ingredients up against an amateur cook (like myself) with fresh organic ingredients, with all due respect, I'm going to kick the cordon bleu chef's ass. Of course, the idea is to become as skilled as a cordon bleu chef AND work with the best and freshest ingredients. That's when something truely special happens.

As great as Bruce Swedien is as an engineer (imo he's GOD), I'd be willing to bet that I could get better recordings with a U47/1073/1176 and if he had an SM58/Mackie pre/Alesis 3630.

In short, you need both great gear and great skills. Either one missing is no good.
Old 12th August 2005
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

I always prefer these forums when we don't hear each other's music.

Sounds a little crazy but I try to make a point of not posting my own music or listening to others. (at least on the boards)

These forums are about communicating ideas. Who cares if they're good engineers. You don't have to be a great engineer to discuss gear.

I know of two regular posters on here that can't lick my boots sonically but raise some rather great points. So I read their posts religiously.

A few others have more Platinum records on the wall than me but puzzle me with their methodology.

All ideas have some merit and are worthwhile. Who would come to a board where only the Heavy's are listened too.

Check your ego's at the door.

(Do you believe I just posted that?)

Peace
Old 12th August 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 
DirkB's Avatar
Well put Kenny.

Greetings,
Dirk
Old 12th August 2005
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestral
Knowing now what I know, simply put, pros need pro gear to get pro results. You can't do surgery with a butter knife, and a cook is only as good as the ingredients.

I respectfully disagree. My wife is a chef and her food comes out pretty consistant regardless of what ingredients she finds laying about.

It's the nut behind the wheel.

If someone is doing sub-par work in their bedroom, I guarantee it will be sub-par in a big studio.

If someone is doing great work in a big studio, I guarantee that if forced to work in a bedroom, the work would still be damn good.
Old 12th August 2005
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Produceher
I always prefer these forums when we don't hear each other's music.
I agree 100 percent...

Are we suffering a AOR - Alt Rock skizim here? (scuse spelling)
Old 12th August 2005
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
dtucker's Avatar
 

A Summit MPC-100a "prosumer"? I don't think so. When that thing first came out it had a list price of $2400...hardly a prosumer price. Even now it still lists at $2290.

And while I certainly wouldn't say that it sounds anywhere near a Neve...it is certainly WAY better than any prosumer gear I've used.
Old 12th August 2005
  #11
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
Believe it or not, this thread is not about whether or not I'm a better engineer than Alpha or if my studio is better. This is about trying to, through concrete examples, dispell a statement that was made:

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphajerk
there are lots and lots of people i am hearing all the time with DAWs putting out some killer sounding music...

i think it just "threatens" the bigger names because suddenly the curtain has been taken off and the wizard of oz has been exposed.

...recording isnt rocket surgery, and the "control/secrecy" that was so heavily maintained for so long is coming apart. hell, its in your 'about us' page to an extent.... but taken even further.
The quote in my "about us" that he was referring to is where I ask if you have ever noticed that samples or emulations of instruments or pieces of gear from your favorite records don't match up to the real thing, and that part of the philosphy here in my studio is to use the real gear and real techniques that are on your favorite records.

The statement alpha made was pertinent to the discussion as to why rates have plummeted ever since everybody and his brother has a DAW, a Marshall mic and a Presonus box. You have engineers with years and years of experience, and studios with hunderds of thousand or even millions of dollars in gear having to slash their rates because of the perception that you can get the same results at home. I think it is important to smash this perception as early as possible. It's a line of crap that is detrimental to everybody except for the people selling computers and rack gear, and it is responsible for music sounding worse and wirse. And I agree whole heartedly, it's not the car, it's the driver. But that is half of my argument, if you listen to alpha's material. I'm sure Bruce Swedien could work in alpha's room and get better sounding recordings, but I bet you it would sound even better if you had Swedien recording at Oceanway.

BTW, Jules, with all due respect, I think it's overly paternalistic to have erased my term. This isn't a born again christian or twelve year old's forum.
Old 12th August 2005
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Kestral's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtucker
A Summit MPC-100a "prosumer"? I don't think so. When that thing first came out it had a list price of $2400...hardly a prosumer price. Even now it still lists at $2290.

And while I certainly wouldn't say that it sounds anywhere near a Neve...it is certainly WAY better than any prosumer gear I've used.
You can buy them on eBay for ~$1000 USD. In fact, the lucky SOB who bought mine on eBay got it for $950 USD heh But I agree with you, imo it blows away an Avalon VT737, which is why it puzzles me that Avalons are so widely hyped and the Summit is not.
Old 12th August 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
BTW, I think hearing what somebody of capable of is absolutely relevant to understanding their level of expertise. Now, if alpha had posted some stuff that blew me away, I'd give his opinion more weight, because there is obviously some experience behind that opinion. As my quote suggests, an opinion without experience to back it up is practically worthless.

This isn't about a technique that somebody is using, and whether or not we should try it because they don't have a hit record. This is about an idea that is assumed by somebody as a matter of fact. This is about a perception. It is absluetly relevant to understand if this is the perception of an expert or a wannabe. If alpha said that the AT4060 sounds as good as a C12 (he didn't) and Klaus Heyne said he's wrong, are we to ignore Klaus' expertise and experience and accept alpha's opinion as matter of fact, ignoring his lack of experience and expertise? That's insane.
Old 12th August 2005
  #14
Lives for gear
 

I've been dealing with these issues my whole life in one way or another as an investor in the arts and technology - myself coming from a music background. I've learned one thing that I am 100% convinced about.

Firstly, you gotto know your chops - your technique. But ANYONE can be taught this (unless they have some handcap that prevents them to do so). But if you have no talent - your finished. You have it or you don't - I'm sorry to say.

You bring up the analogy of Chefs. I own two restaurants and am in the bar business. 90% of the work in the kitchen is done by $12.00/hour guys. You know what the $80k chef does? He/she sticker their finger in the sauce and says hmmmm just a little pinch of this or that more. That's it. They get paid because they have good taste. They learned their "chops" in the first year of cooking school - the rest is the taste/talent/creativity that people are either born with or develop that way as a child for reasons I have no clue. (oh and ps, alot of these "chefs" have no talent at all - that's why they end up in chain Hotel restaurants) You can't buy talent, and degrees or "papers" don't prove much.

Experience is another thing - but I think experience allows you to get from point A to B faster with less experimentation. It also helps in trouble shooting IE making something good from bad. But even the less experienced will find their way because their talent steers them.

Now I'm no recording afficiando, I'm a hobbiest/investor in this game. But I laugh sometimes when guys (for eg) ask for eq settings on this or that and some "smartass" comes on the board and says "just turn the knobs until it sounds right" heh But you know, I doubt the guys is trying to be a smart ass - he's serious. It's probably the way he works. I'm sure they have "go to" starting points that come from experience - but in the end there's only 6 or 8 knobs on the damn eq - turn the buggers!

Anyhow, sorry for the long winded posts lately....I'm on R&R
Old 12th August 2005
  #15
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Produceher
If someone is doing sub-par work in their bedroom, I guarantee it will be sub-par in a big studio.

That's what She said!
Old 12th August 2005
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Oh PS - your dead without good monitors though heh
Old 12th August 2005
  #17
Gear Head
 
soundeslutz's Avatar
 

a worthless opinion huh? why you strike me as a fool. sorry. wouldnt it be "nicer" to give him advice, after all because YOUR opinioins are so amazing you must have some strking words of wisdom oh great one. we all share the same love, shouldnt we be supportive of each other. oh and i thought everyone one was entitled ot their own opinion....FEEL free to ignore this jjblair since i dont own a huge studio and i dont think i am any god at the console, so obviosly my words are ****
Old 12th August 2005
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Kestral's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kats
Oh PS - your dead without good monitors though heh
That's not true. Give me a pair of sh!tty NS-10's and I can mix anything! heh
Old 12th August 2005
  #19
Gear Head
 

While there is certainly merit in great gear, sometimes people do the most creative things, either misusing great gear, or abusing cheap gear. If you are creative you will make anything work. Also people put way too much weight on fidelity. Who the hell cares, when dealing with rock? (I realize that not everyone is recording rock). In the end everything is a compromise. If you want to record in a big studio, time and money are the compromise. If you would rather do it at home, there are other compromises. For me, I would prefer to take my time, and save my money, and learn through trial and error how to do things. I could care less if someone is a better engineer than I am, this is not a contest. Also, it is dangerous to simply listen to someone else's work and claim that your sonics are better, without having any idea what the other person was going for. I look at production as being completely contextual. I love Bee Thousand by Guided By Voices. Can anyone achieve better sonics? Of course. Does it matter? absolutely not. That album woulbe be amazing no matter how it was recorded. This is somewhat pf an interesting topic, but it seems to me that the only thing anyone can really say about it is: to each his own.

Bart
Old 12th August 2005
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Cause your cheating...and referencing them on your car, your home stereo, your ipod

I know what you mean though
Old 12th August 2005
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestral
. . .Knowing now what I know, simply put, pros need pro gear to get pro results. You can't do surgery with a butter knife, and a cook is only as good as the ingredients.
. . .
As great as Bruce Swedien is as an engineer (imo he's GOD), I'd be willing to bet that I could get better recordings with a U47/1073/1176 and if he had an SM58/Mackie pre/Alesis 3630.

In short, you need both great gear and great skills. Either one missing is no good.
I agree that missing either is no good, of course. But they certainly don't share the same importance. Skills/experience is what this art is all about, IMHO... no, let me rephrase that. Experience is what allows engineering to become art.

A teacher/mentor of mine used to say he could make a better recording with a Mr. Microphone than I could with all the fancy $$$$$ gear in the studio! And at the time, he was certainly right. It's similar to another conversation going in the guitar tone thread... Put Keith Jarrett on a crappy upright piano and he is STILL going to make beautiful music.
Old 12th August 2005
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Experience is what allows engineering to become art.
You can have all the experience in the world. But if you have no talent, mediocraty is the best you could hope for.
Old 12th August 2005
  #23
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kats
You can have all the experience in the world. But if you have no talent, mediocraty is the best you could hope for.

Kats, I definitely agree with you... and I hate to reply with such a cliche and vague statement, but... Talent only gets you so far! ...let me add to that... You HAVE to have the edge experience gives you to take your work to a "higher level," beyond what pure talent will do for you... to make it art.
Old 12th August 2005
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robobo1
Kats, I definitely agree with you... and I hate to reply with such a cliche and vague statement, but... Talent only gets you so far!
Hmmm sure, I can agree with that. But how long can you bluff before getting called on it.

Quote:
You HAVE to have the edge experience gives you to take your work to a "higher level," beyond what pure talent will do for you... to make it art.
Missed that part. Of course your right on - if you have talent, you just get better with experience. Kind of like how great wines age well, but it has to be a great wine to begin with. Poor wine get's bitter with age heh
Old 12th August 2005
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Igotsoul4u's Avatar
JJblair. Your mixes sound f*cking great. I have made up my mind. JJ mixes are definetly on a different level then Alphajerks. I can relate to JJ and his frustrations. He has obviously spent years mastering his craft and thats something you can't buy from guitar center. Home recording is cool. Example : Everyone knows the James Taylor "Hourglass" story. It was recorded on a dinky 02r in a bedroom; conditions anyone in the world could setup with relative ease BUTTTTTT, Frank Filipetti was there. He is good enough to pull it off. He's been mixing a long time and is a good musician. Average Joe? Sorry your not gonna be able to do it like filipetti. You don't have the ears or the gears. I would love for someone to prove me wrong. You may make a living recording bands in your basement and that's fine with me, but don't put your mixes up against the masters of the industry and say it sounds just as good because it doesn't. Not even close. All this may come off as uppity and condescending but on the flip side, alot of the comments on here sound just as ignorant.
Old 12th August 2005
  #26
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
As I already said, this is not a contest. Soundeslutz has his panties in a bunch without reason. I'm not saying that if alpha or anybody said "try a (fill in the blank) on the snare" that I would dismiss it, because of their level of expertise. I'm saying that if somebody is going to make a qualitative statement, especially one that cuts to the very fabric of what some of us do for an actual full time living, not as a hobby or a second income, they need to be judged on their merit for making such statements. Soundeslutz, think about that for a minute before you get all riled up. Don't be so reactionary, because you are going to miss a lot of good information.

Bart, I got all excited for a second thinking you were Earl Slick, to whom I have not spoken in ten years, and then I saw "Bart" at the bottom. Psych! Regardless, I am not begrudging anybody the ability to experiment and take time to learn this art/science. Anybody who has followed my posts in other forums knows that I try to help everybody learn to do this better, regardless of their level or commitment. All I am saying is, let's not give the bros too much credit and the pros not enough.
Old 12th August 2005
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Sui_City's Avatar
 

I think the point JJ is making is that Alpha is making vast generalizations that he is unable to backup with work that sounds as good as an expert's. And i have to agree with this.

Part of the problem is we are largely dealing in a subjective realm and there are too many kids floating around with an idea of what is good. I support JJ for calling it what it is: bull****!

If you are going to make statements that say: "my cock is longer than yours", you better be able to back it up with the inches.

So expertise is an absolute must. That however is not to say that i think some of the mastering mafia are not doing an atrocious job. There are also mixes i hear on coming from high-end studios that suck.

The other factor is this: Technology is not the key, but it helps.

Protools has been out for years. And the fact is that without the skills, it doesn't matter how good the tech is, a newb can still make it sound like ass.

Now take some other gear, and i will use a ribbon mic as an example:

I recently got some ribbons for myself. Prior to that condensors and dynamics all the way. And on first hearing a ribbon i was rather underwhelmed. It sounded dull and lifeless. But, once i had re-evaluated my prejudices i realised that they were way more true to the source than any of the mics i had previously used.

No, i am not saying that "Ribbons are the only way", as i know that there is a time and place for any and everything. But using better tech opened my ears to what was really going on.

Not one of us at any point shoud ever stop and say "I'm the ****". That just leads to a lack of growth.
Old 12th August 2005
  #28
Gear Head
 

What we have to keep in mind when we're having these discussions is that the difference between to prosumer and progear, relative to an experienced pro is completely different than that of any given listener. I am not a pro, but feel that I have a good ear, however, When I listen to something, I don't listen to it as someone who records, or as a musician, I simply listen. I don't think someone who doesn't have those perspectives is any less able to judge. However for some it is a constant struggle to get your sonics to 100%. Those of us less concerned about the engineering may bet our sonics up to 85-90%, which may be in the reach of a tight budget set up, but that last 10% percent is expensive as hell, and it takes time to get there. I personally am ok ok with 85%, I just want my music well represented, and I think that may be where alpha and others are coming from. I hope this adds some perspective politely and respectfully.

Bart
Old 12th August 2005
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Sui_City's Avatar
 

Addition:

JJ, sorry man. I was typing while you were posting.

I also want to say that JJ's posts hav been invaluable to my learning.
Old 12th August 2005
  #30
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
Do you want Alphajerk on his knees saying "OK your studio is better, can I get back to making a living from my studio now"?
now THAT wont ever happen.... i think while jj's mixes were okay, they were nothing special to write home about. i found them to be bland and boring. shall i pick apart your songs which would be very easy to do....

the song you are picking on in a rough tracked vox of which the singer didnt really care for the take, yet i happened to really like the song... so i kinda put his vox back a little in hopes of encouraging him to retrack the vox. so i didnt spend a whole lot of time on a vocal take in that situation, i wanted him to hear the groove and retrack it.

i happen to feel my stuff slaughters albinis crap. i put his stuff on at times just to laugh at the difference. and A/Bing mine against yours last night left yours in the dust.... and you got a LOT more gear than i have. my mixes have vibe and character... yours... well, homogenized milk springs to mind.

i think by posting this thread you are feeling threatened bigtime. and hearing your mixes gives your opinion absolutely NO weight, and by trying to blast me in this thread makes you look like an idiot.
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump