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hi end: $$ = peace of mind?
Old 13th August 2005
  #1
Lives for gear
 
soultrane's Avatar
hi end: $$ = peace of mind?

re: the other 2 threads that closed down, i'll add this perspective from a producer / label owner / (and hobbyist wannabee engineer)

when i pay for a mixing, or mastering, engineer, i'm not paying for his gear. i'm paying for what i think he/she can do for me based on his/her track record / demo reel.

if, for instance, bobmix and i agreed on a price, and i delivered the trax to his pad, and found out he was working an 02r and an mbox, am i suddenly going to turn around because the gear is lowly and whack by some standards?

no, i'm going to say "how about that?" go out for some coffee, and come back when he's ready for me.

then, when i hear the final mix, i'll make some suggestions, but generally rely on his ears / experience because a) i liked the way his records sounded and more importantly b) so did millions of other people. THAT'S what i'm paying him for.

now, if i go to another cat who says, "i can get u the same sounds out of my lowly gear as a cat w. an ssl9000j or an 80 series neve," i say, "great, let's hear it." if the cat then says, "don't go by credits, the record industry is b.s. anyway, major label stuff sounds awful" he/she may or may not be right, but, i'm alot less inclined to move in that direction.

and that's why some cats get $1.5k + per song, and some guys are lucky to get $1.5k per album.

most label owners / check writers in the world realize that this game is a krapshoot, more or less. since tone loc sold 8 million on $16, and probably before, we've realized there is no accounting for the public's taste in hi fidelity.

but, that doesn't stop investors from trying to minimize variables.

if i invest in an artist, and get bobmix to mix it and tom coyne to master it, and it doesn't sell, then, at least i know it wasn't the mixing or mastering that held up the project.

is there, somewhere out there, a mastering engineer as good as tom coyne (for example) for 2/3rds less money? mathematics says it seems like there must be.

but, what's cheaper? trying to find that guy thru trial and error, or shelling out the $400 an hour to sterling sound?

so, arguing that "my mixes sound better than x engineer's platinum seller" is not really the way to get higher rates, imo. and boasting that you have x board, y monitors, and z mixdown deck doesn't do much to inspire confidence, either.

we who are paying are paying, silly as it may seem, for peace of mind, i.e., that you who are *pro* know what sounds ring the cash register, and can, and have, delivered them in the past.

it may not be right, but that's the way it seems to be;
Old 13th August 2005
  #2
Yes, peace of mind. But I also love working on sounds, and that's where the gear gets really satisfying. I want to make money, but that's not my deepest motivation. It's the art and craft of it, and the gear has it's place (both expensive and inexpensive, depending on what's needed).
Old 13th August 2005
  #3
Lives for gear
 

I think most guys like a sound of certain albums, or want a certain sound, and go with the guys that did them. If your a nobody, your facility helps legitimize your seriousness. But nothing beats the "taste test" for getting work.
Old 14th August 2005
  #4
If you are in business as a studio - or are a engineer / producer / programmer - GO GET EM TIGER!

Get the work!

Never look back!

Dont worry about the other studios!

Serve your clients the best you can!

Old 14th August 2005
  #5
Lives for gear
 

In the end...the only thing that matters if it the artist is smiling about the record...

And I can tell you this...

The ones who truly have skill, soul, talent, substance and heart...don't have the need to boast about it.

They have no need to 'defend' thier work...and never do you hear them say they are 'better' than anybody.

Anybody who has worked in this business or any passionate career for any length of time realizes that it is all about the individual situation and each song, album, artist, studio, mix engineer, mic, room, pre, compressor etc...is all different.

There is no recipe for success except perserverance..

There is no recipe for greatness, there is no guarantee for anything...and nobody is better than somebody else at everything.

This 'business' isn't easy for anybody...having a career as an artist / producer /studio owner can be truly disturbing and shaky...But we still love it and we still do it.

I feel sorry for those whio 'know' everything....It must be hard going through life with nothing exciting to look forward to!

Peace and Respect
Old 14th August 2005
  #6
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soultrane

if i invest in an artist, and get bobmix to mix it and tom coyne to master it, and it doesn't sell, then, at least i know it wasn't the mixing or mastering that held up the project.

Bingo, bingo and bingo. This is true in all areas of production, as far as I've witnessed. Print, film, video, etc. etc... Especially in advertising where the media buy is orders of magnitude higher in cost than the production.
Old 14th August 2005
  #7
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
In the end...the only thing that matters if it the artist is smiling about the record...

And I can tell you this...

The ones who truly have skill, soul, talent, substance and heart...don't have the need to boast about it.

They have no need to 'defend' thier work...and never do you hear them say they are 'better' than anybody.

Anybody who has worked in this business or any passionate career for any length of time realizes that it is all about the individual situation and each song, album, artist, studio, mix engineer, mic, room, pre, compressor etc...is all different.

There is no recipe for success except perserverance..

There is no recipe for greatness, there is no guarantee for anything...and nobody is better than somebody else at everything.

This 'business' isn't easy for anybody...having a career as an artist / producer /studio owner can be truly disturbing and shaky...But we still love it and we still do it.

I feel sorry for those whio 'know' everything....It must be hard going through life with nothing exciting to look forward to!

Peace and Respect
Amen!!!
Old 14th August 2005
  #8
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Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene

The ones who truly have skill, soul, talent, substance and heart...don't have the need to boast about it.

They have no need to 'defend' thier work...and never do you hear them say they are 'better' than anybody.
Double "Amen" to that!! thumbsup
Old 14th August 2005
  #9
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jjblair's Avatar
BTW, my apologies to the forum for bringing down the level of conversation with what seemed like a dick swinging contest. That usually isn't my style, and I got caught feeding the troll.

And for the record, I agree wholeheartedly with Rodney Gene.
Old 14th August 2005
  #10
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djui5's Avatar
 

Nice thread.

I'm on the other side of the fence. I do good work (I've been told many times, I'm not bragging), but don't have a mile long list of album credits. Not only that, I'm not a producer, I'm just an Engineer. It's hard to get respect a lot of times. I fight with it every day.

I'm getting to a point where it's becoming very very hard to deal with it. I can't keep working like this for long.

So what do I do when I know I can deliver great records and please clients (Every client I've worked with has been more than happy with the results), but don't have some mile list of commecial records or am working for a label.
Old 14th August 2005
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5
So what do I do when I know I can deliver great records and please clients (Every client I've worked with has been more than happy with the results), but don't have some mile list of commecial records or am working for a label.
you have to find your peace in the process itself, and the end result. you can't (always) count on other people involved to provide a sense of satisfaction and pride.
Old 14th August 2005
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5
I'm on the other side of the fence. I do good work (I've been told many times, I'm not bragging), but don't have a mile long list of album credits.
What about the records you engineered?...Those credits count.
Stack em' up and you have a list...

Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5
Not only that, I'm not a producer, I'm just an Engineer. It's hard to get respect a lot of times. I fight with it every day.
It is hard for anybody to FEEL respected...but I would think you have the respect of your peers bro...I know I value your input. I almost fell off my seat my when I saw your photo!! I expected an older due with a bigger cup of coffee!...Trust me your career is still in its first quarter! Rejoice!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5
I'm getting to a point where it's becoming very very hard to deal with it. I can't keep working like this for long.
The 'disturbing' life and career. I think this is an absolute common thread amongst high quality people who don't feel they have the opportunity to show it.
Either way it is nothing but a battle with your perspective...Not an easy one.
You ain't alone..

Quote:
Originally Posted by djui
So what do I do when I know I can deliver great records and please clients (Every client I've worked with has been more than happy with the results), but don't have some mile list of commecial records or am working for a label.
You keep doing it...what choice have you?

Seriously...you don't know 'how close or far you are from the single engineering gig that helps excel your career...you don't know who you will meet today, tommorow or in a 2 years. It isn't possible to forsee anything.

Besides...Engineering, like music itself...can not be a means to an end or it will be diluted.

Keep your intent alive....and
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar Ranch
find your peace in the process itself, and the end result.
Just keep at it....Too many people give up and they had no idea how close to success they were.

Peace and Respect,
Old 14th August 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Kestral's Avatar
 

Rodney, great post! Thanks for adding a little soul on a quiet Sunday morning thumbsup
Old 14th August 2005
  #14
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair
BTW, my apologies to the forum for bringing down the level of conversation with what seemed like a dick swinging contest. That usually isn't my style, and I got caught feeding the troll.
no, you WERE the troll... and still are.



"""The 'disturbing' life and career. I think this is an absolute common thread amongst high quality people who don't feel they have the opportunity to show it.
Either way it is nothing but a battle with your perspective...Not an easy one."""

i kinda of agree with that, but in another way just think you just got to do what you do, do it well... and not worry about "showing it off", or proving yourself... much less think you even need [or automatically deserve] "respect" from your peers [after all, they are in a sense your competition].... its the artist/client is ALL that matters, well them and their audience. but definately i agree with your other point. everything you do is "credit" [although some projects we wish we didnt have to take credit for sometimes]
Old 14th August 2005
  #15
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

oh and what you get charged has LITTLE to do with gauranteed quality... it just manes you spent more money.
Old 14th August 2005
  #16
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I would tend to disagree AJ. My experience has tought me that I generally get what I pay for. Supposed bargains have nearly always wound up costing more in the end. Do bargains exist? Sure, but they're few and far between.
Old 14th August 2005
  #17
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robmix's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphajerk
oh and what you get charged has LITTLE to do with gauranteed quality... it just manes you spent more money.

There are no guarantees. But a big studio will comp the day if all goes wrong. I also think it depends on how educated you are about the process and the equipment needed to do the job. If I get charged $1500 a day to work with an MBox and someone who just graduated from recording school I'm getting overcharged.
Old 14th August 2005
  #18
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

I just landed an album project with a local band who plays all over the southeast. They hired an engineer / "producer" to do their last album and it cost them over $10,000. It was recorded with a lot of high end gear, in a couple of different higher end studios, mixed on a Neve blah blah blah, and they don't like the album. I heard it and I don't like it either, and I'm not one to trash anyone else's work for the sake of trashing it...if it sucks it sucks.

The gear didn't add up in that situation, the band never had a good vibe and were disappointed that the guy never "produced" anything and just pressed the red button and chose the studios.

The album they heard that turned them my way was partially tracked on a Behringer mixer (drums, at the time it's what I had so I used it!) and for some ungodly reason when choosing vocal mics that band chose that RODE NT2000 over the rest (better IMO) of the mics I had in here. I spent time with the band and took the time to acheive their sound at every turn and it paid off.

You can do more with time on a project than more expensive gear in many instances.

War
Old 14th August 2005
  #19
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robmix's Avatar
or they just hired the wrong guy to begin with . . . .
Old 14th August 2005
  #20
no ssl yet
Guest
Perception

Hate to go all ""marketing " on you guys but "PERCEPTION IS REALITY"

You allways get what you pay for. If you believe you were overcharged, then you were
Old 14th August 2005
  #21
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robmix
or they just hired the wrong guy to begin with . . . .
The guy definitely knows what he's doing, it just turned out sub standard. But it was done on high end gear and it didn't make a lick of difference. They would have been better suited with more time spent than gear selection, my opinion as a sort of outsider looking in on the project and its results.

They even spent a day in a real nice local studio tracking the drums to 2" and ended up using the tracks that went straight to RADAR because it sounded better. Another huge waste of their money in search for gear that's going to give them a "sound". It wasn't delivered in this case.

War
Old 14th August 2005
  #22
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Kestral's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by no ssl yet
Hate to go all ""marketing " on you guys but "PERCEPTION IS REALITY"

You allways get what you pay for. If you believe you were overcharged, then you were
+10000000000 thumbsup
Old 14th August 2005
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robmix
or they just hired the wrong guy to begin with . . . .
I was thinking the same thing Rob.

You seem to be saying the same thing War. In this case the match between the band and the engineer wasn't a good one, all the rest of it is just incidental. This happens all the time even on big budget records with big name engineer and producers.

There are no guarantees in this regard. You can however, hedge your bets.
Old 14th August 2005
  #24
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joaquin's Avatar
 

The only thing that matters afterwards is the final results...The CD. How you got there....most people will never know.
The process of making an Album, is made of thousands of little details that add up to conform it's whole. The Vibe of the people involved in the task is most important. Their willingness to pull the project regardless of the limitations is what make Great Albums.
I did one, in the top of the food chain studio...top ****e, and one with ADATS and an Alesis Mixer...the last one is the only one that I still hear....Peace
Old 14th August 2005
  #25
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cdog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead

You can do more with time on a project than more expensive gear in many instances.

War
The more I read your posts, the more I want to read more of them.


Old 14th August 2005
  #26
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jjblair's Avatar
Somebody brought me an album to mix a couple of years ago. The thing was tracked on an Neve 8038 to tape, and they used lot of nice Neumann tube mics, etc. First off, the clown who tracked the thing didn't print tones. Him telling me +6 didn't help either, because he tracked on an Otari which has a different reponse curve than my Studer. And then on top of it, I think the guy have never heard of line attentuators. I have vocal tracks that had run out of headroom all over the place and had mic pre distortion on a lot of loud moments. Same thing with the B3 tracks. I was very lucky that I was able to use my BSS DPR 901 to hide the vocal distortion.

Now, I have never disagreed with the statement: "It's not the car. It's the driver." I also agree with the concept that it's a poor carpenter that blames his tools. I've never said anything to the contrary. However, here we have a situation where a lack of experience made for substandard basic tracks and experience and gear were able to salvage the project. My point has always been that you can't discount experience and quality hardware.

BTW, as for the band that spent $10k, that is not a large sum of money at all for a record, and definitely not large enough to guarantee results. Maybe it was a large sum for them, and I feel for them, but that's a small budget. Regardless, if you pick the wrong guy, that just happens sometimes, and it might not have completely been his fault. Sometimes the artist themselves have a hand in not letting an engineer or producer do what they do to get things to sound good.

But basically, when it comes to personel, I'll say that there is no way to guarantee the outcome based on price. As I mentioned in a previous thread, if you want to judge somebody, listen to what they've done and make sure they did it themselves. But as far as a studio goes, I really believe you get what you pay for. I had something go terribly wrong (a highly qualified second screwed up) on a session I booked at Capitol and they never charged me for that day.
Old 14th August 2005
  #27
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
Oh, and on the topic of taking time: I find that at least in LA, where you have a serious professional market, the guys that make more money can do **** faster. Whether it be an engineer or a session musician, these are guys who get good results fast. Where see people taking lot of time are indecisive producers (even really big name ones), and unprepared artists (big name ones, too).
Old 14th August 2005
  #28
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soultrane's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair
Oh, and on the topic of taking time: I find that at least in LA, where you have a serious professional market, the guys that make more money can do **** faster. Whether it be an engineer or a session musician, these are guys who get good results fast. Where see people taking lot of time are indecisive producers (even really big name ones), and unprepared artists (big name ones, too).

this is very true...

a great session player can play the first time what a lesser musician cannot master in 2 weeks.

the other day, i was working with a fantastic session singer w. major credits;

gave her the hook of the track, and proceeded to watch, in amazement, as she built a 16 part arrangement w. counter melodies, inner movement, etc. all on the spot... took about a half hour.

then she wrote a bridge and a verse... took a break for some salad and bottled water, and multi tracked the rest... total studio time 2 hrs... on to the next session... that's how you get paid.

oh btw... when it comes to session musicians at least

the ones who are really making money, in addition to being talented and fast....

usually look really good too...

and smell nice.
Old 14th August 2005
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Kestral's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soultrane
this is very true...

a great session player can play the first time what a lesser musician cannot master in 2 weeks.

the other day, i was working with a fantastic session singer w. major credits;

gave her the hook of the track, and proceeded to watch, in amazement, as she built a 16 part arrangement w. counter melodies, inner movement, etc. all on the spot... took about a half hour.

then she wrote a bridge and a verse... took a break for some salad and bottled water, and multi tracked the rest... total studio time 2 hrs... on to the next session... that's how you get paid.

oh btw... when it comes to session musicians at least

the ones who are really making money, in addition to being talented and fast....

usually look really good too...

and smell nice.
I worked with someone like that recently in Toronto as well. THAT is how it's done, I'd rather pay top dollar for these folks than to have it done free and for it to take a whole day thumbsup
Old 14th August 2005
  #30
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair
I have vocal tracks that had run out of headroom all over the place and had mic pre distortion on a lot of loud moments. Same thing with the B3 tracks. I was very lucky that I was able to use my BSS DPR 901 to hide the vocal distortion.
Idjits not withstanding, what if the distortion and "bad" tones were intentional? The worst thing we can do is assume that the sounds are bad and unintentional. Sometimes that isn't the case and bad is just bad, but what if they wanted to do something different then the norm? I engineered one record that several of my peers didn't like, saying "It doesn't sound like a modern rekkid" and the band and I just said "Thanks!!!"

Quote:
Regardless, if you pick the wrong guy, that just happens sometimes, and it might not have completely been his fault. Sometimes the artist themselves have a hand in not letting an engineer or producer do what they do to get things to sound good.
Truth. I've had artists force me to make things a certain way when it comes to sounds or mixing...something that goes against my better judgement and just plain sucks. But at those times I need to put my ego aside, after all it's their name on the record...not mine.

Also, how many bands really know how to pick a producer or engineer? Are they picking someone based on just a name and past works? Or are they actually sitting down with the guy for an hour or three to talk about the direction of the record? IME, we'll have a better record every time the latter path is chosen.
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