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Iknow this is blasphemy on GS but... Condenser Microphones
Old 16th December 2010
  #1
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

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Iknow this is blasphemy on GS but...

Is too much importance being put on equipment and plug-ins today?

It seems to me that more should be said about how experienced the engineer is and how many releases he or she has mastered and less about the latest and greatest "must have" pieces of equipment they own.

In advertising their studios shouldn't it should be more about the person doing the mastering and less about all the gear they have amassed? Anyone can buy gear. Only a few really good mastering engineers know how to take that gear and make it do something GREAT to the music.

It seems like a lot of places today are pimping their studio websites with lots of hard to find and esoteric gear and less and less is being said about the engineers qualifications and experience.

Is this the way the "big guys" are trying to differentiate themselves and their studios from everyone else? or is this the way the mid level engineers are trying to prove to everyone that they have arrived?

Just wondering...
Old 16th December 2010
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Gear seems to be a measure for how seriously you're involved.
If you're willing to invest, you're confident to earn it back by doing what you're doing,
so you must be good (or at least be confident you are) (misconception #1).

About references: reference <> guarantee ..
But, the fact you throw in experience (result of a long-term learning process) increases the chance of success.

Collecting €100k gear can be seen as the result of a long-term process too.
So someone collecting all this stuff for such a long time must be experienced. (misconception #2)

However, experience doesn't show from pictures ..
Old 16th December 2010
  #3
I actually agree completely. At this point many tools are "good enough" and the real differences emerge in application.

Obviously on a forum named "Gearslutz" there's an emphasis on tools. But I think some of the outrageously contrasting opinions here make your point; some of these strong, but mutually exclusive arguments between respected and reputable engineers prove that one engineers trash can deliver treasured mixes in another's chain. For example, the ITB vs outboard debate is pretty meaningless in the music marketplace - examples of both approaches fill the charts and our collections, and many (most?) times the listener has no clue or care regarding tools. Objectively speaking it's a non-issue since successful projects exist at both extremes by nearly any definition (aside from religious ones, where opinions are reserved until method is known).

I believe we see gear listed on websites for studios and mixers because more artists are aware of the market. 20 years ago, most artists had never heard of Neumann, even if they used them in studios. DAWs and home studios create new experience that raises new questions. Today small to mid sized studios compete with Sweetwater and Guitar Center, NOT one another. Look at the ads in Guitar Player, Keyboard. Same as the ads in Mix and EM. This warps editorial content (towards DIY as an aesthetic as well as process). This warps demand and perception of value. When every article in every magazine suggests you're just one "key piece" of gear away from Bob Clearmountain the novice values gear. Especially gear he/she lacks. In this environment, where the holy grails are sold with overly simplistic "Feature Grids", a list of gear the artist cannot afford to buy is quite appealing. But in fairness, access to an actual Neumann U67 vs Shure SM57s or AT4050s really is a difference, not differentiation. So it's not entirely or always bs.

-d-
Old 16th December 2010
  #4
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I agree Thomas.
An expensive gearlist does not make a good engineer or guarantee any kind of standard of results.
I see people who brag "on and on" about their gear as pretty insecure. Of course tools are relevant, but it is not necessarily the most important factor. I'll gladly listen to or record Tom Jones through an SM58 any day of the week!

Even experience does not necessarily mean great results. I've personally known some established heads to get quite lazy in their work (especially with underground releases) and I hear stories from my scene about how x or y 'name' engineer has disappointed them. But of course experience is relevant.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that a strong, passionate work ethic, up-to-date knowledge of the genres involved, and a desire to provide the best possible service to a client should never be underestimated. One can have a gear list and discography as long as War & Peace - but if the engineer doesn't care about 'your' job or understand the needs of the specific genre then it's really not worth much.

Likewise, you cannot expect a great master on good intentions alone.

It's no surprise to me though that the longest serving engineers here are generally the most humble and open minded, and will willingly talk about ethos and technique but rarely start going on about their specific bits of kit unless it is totally relevant to the topic.
Old 16th December 2010
  #5
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Gear talk bores the crap out of me. I didn't see the carpenters who built my new room talking about their saws & hammers.

Sometimes I see customers who are so deeply into gear talk that the project at hand is almost forgotten.

It's amusing to watch a hip thing released and everyone getting it. When I was a kid in the late 80's, I remember I got myself a Koosh ball because my friends had one, too.



Didn't make me any less of a geek though.
Old 16th December 2010
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

A man is only as good as his tools.
"You can drive a nail with a screw driver................"

Look at the post from the "mastering engineer" who wants to know
what gear he should buy with 100K. I'm sure he'll be turning out
top notch work in no time.
(once he gets someone to wire it up and show him what knobs to turn)
Old 16th December 2010
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtalahde View Post
I didn't see the carpenters who built my new room talking about their saws & hammers.
Yea, but I bet they're wives hear all the complaining and moaning all night about their jammed up nail guns and faulty handles. Well, if you paid real contractors, the chances are that they had good quality tools and did quality work. I used to work in Auto repair shops. Those guys have +100K invested in their tools. They talk about them to each other all the time. They might not go online and post about wrench polish, and the latest lube job treatment [actually they do] but if you're going put +100K into your career or business, you may want to see what you're peers are liking or disliking.
Old 16th December 2010
  #8
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do you think m. schumacher would have won any GP in a punto ..
or valentino rossi any GP on a low-rider ...

Old 16th December 2010
  #9
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Such a promising start!

I tell you, this is going to be one of those excellent topics that eventually get locked. Mark my words.
Old 16th December 2010
  #10
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All the best threads get locked.
Old 16th December 2010
  #11
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I'm a machinist by trade, and we do talk about our tools. It irks the hell out of some of them that I'm still using a cheap set of Chinese wrenches I bought when I was starting out that cost 1/10th of Snap-On, but work just fine.

Not that I'm comparing wrenches to audio gear, just that all craftsmen talk about their gear.
Old 16th December 2010
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
do you think m. schumacher would have won any GP in a punto ..
Apparently he can't win without a McLaren, Ferarri or Red Bull! I think only Force India's beat the big 3. So maybe there IS something with tools...
Old 16th December 2010
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
or valentino rossi any GP on a low-rider ...
Do you think Rossi will do worse now that he's switching to Ducati for the 2011 season?
Old 16th December 2010
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupo View Post
Do you think Rossi will do worse now that he's switching to Ducati for the 2011 season?
I ride ducati ... so I'm very biased ..... heh
it will all go crazy if they build the right machine for that guy .....
do you think he is gay ? ... I never see him with a girl, accept the paddock girls ..

BOTP please ...
Old 16th December 2010
  #15
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Nordenstam's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
I ride ducati ... so I'm very biased ..... heh
it will all go crazy if they build the right machine for that guy .....

do you think he is gay ? ... I never see him with a girl, accept the paddock girls ..
Hehe.. I'm well aware of what you're riding. Looking forward to see how that goes! Blue? Bah! Red IS faster..

I think he loves his bikes:

Old 16th December 2010
  #16
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macc's Avatar
 

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Posts 9 + 10 thumbsup heh

As for the topic itself... sex sells.

To lots of music-types, knobs/lights/buttons are sexy. Why else do you get people ripping off other sites' studio/gear pictures?
Old 16th December 2010
  #17
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Gear is so tangible, makes it easy to talk about, & post pics.

When someone gets juicy new gear, they naturally want to brag about it.

Experience and technique are harder to describe via Internet without interactive real time audio.

So I think it's just the nature of Internet forums in general, lots of opinions & posturing, newbies looking for a quick fix, word games, etc...

JT
Old 16th December 2010
  #18
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Scott Anthony's Avatar
 

Every client's perceived needs are different, and the client knowing those needs will be met takes a unique combination of information, including personal references, equipment, experience of the engineer, and the prospective client's experience during the initial introduction/bid.

I think the websites that can accomplish this will outperform a pimped gear list.
Old 16th December 2010
  #19
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jayfrigo's Avatar
 

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The engineer and the room with monitoring should come before the gear, but if you don't have that, you sell what you can. Esoteric isn't so much necessary as just having a reasonable setup. As long as you have a few pro pieces, more than a Mackie channel EQ and a cheap plug-in or two, one assumes that a good engineer will be able to do the job.

Anybody can buy gear. Many of these new websites list the gear because they don't have experience to tout, or a nice room to show. The gear is their only selling point, and at least implies that they have a greater commitment than a kid with a few (cracked) plug-ins on his computer, which we also sometimes see advertised these days.

Monitors and a proper room are even more of a commitment, but most newcomers are seduced first by the outboard, and it's cheaper than a room and doesn't require much thought to acquire. Experience is something you can't buy. You need to actually put in the time to get that.
Old 16th December 2010
  #20
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fradoca's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
I ride ducati ... so I'm very biased ..... heh
it will all go crazy if they build the right machine for that guy .....
do you think he is gay ? ... I never see him with a girl, accept the paddock girls ..

BOTP please ...

i'm italian and HE'S NOT gay.He is famous for many flirts and affairs
with very beautiful girls....where the heck did you get the idea he's gay?
working at too loud volumes can hurt more brain than ears...
Old 16th December 2010
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

I have ADD too and what's wrong with being gay?
Old 16th December 2010
  #22
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Timothy Lawler's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Goat View Post
I'm a machinist by trade, and we do talk about our tools. It irks the hell out of some of them that I'm still using a cheap set of Chinese wrenches I bought when I was starting out that cost 1/10th of Snap-On, but work just fine.

Not that I'm comparing wrenches to audio gear, just that all craftsmen talk about their gear.
I hear you man. I'm a guitarist. Every guitarist know that it's the player, not the guitar. But we all still talk guitar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Gear is so tangible, makes it easy to talk about, & post pics.

When someone gets juicy new gear, they naturally want to brag about it.

Experience and technique are harder to describe via Internet without interactive real time audio.

So I think it's just the nature of Internet forums in general, lots of opinions & posturing, newbies looking for a quick fix, word games, etc...

JT
Sums it all up IMO.
Old 16th December 2010
  #23
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toneguru's Avatar
#1 Ears

#2 Musical sense

#3 Quality gear

#4 Experience

- Cheers
Old 16th December 2010
  #24
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JakeKalka's Avatar
 

Well in the digital world, Gear is necessary. I dont care how much experience an engineer may have. If you got a ****ty A/D, no technique or level of experience can fix that. Your right its not always about the gear. But sometimes it is.
Old 16th December 2010
  #25
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inlinenl's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fradoca View Post
i'm italian and HE'S NOT gay.He is famous for many flirts and affairs
with very beautiful girls....where the heck did you get the idea he's gay?
working at too loud volumes can hurt more brain than ears...
ha, ha ... just kidding .... like to make fun with my italian clients ...
we all know you italians love the young girls like Silvio Berlusconi ....

Sorry my ducati has race only Termignoni exhaust ... heh
Old 16th December 2010
  #26
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dcollins's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Goat View Post
I'm a machinist by trade, and we do talk about our tools. It irks the hell out of some of them that I'm still using a cheap set of Chinese wrenches I bought when I was starting out that cost 1/10th of Snap-On, but work just fine.
A Hardinge and the Chinese 5-in-1 lathe both will remove material.

Knowing when one is appropriate for the job, well, that's different.


DC
Old 16th December 2010
  #27
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lucey's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
It seems like a lot of places today are pimping their studio websites with lots of hard to find and esoteric gear and less and less is being said about the engineers qualifications and experience.
Why so much time snooping around other people's websites?

Get to work ! Where I should be now ...


In the end it all matters, gear and ears and room and monitors and mix and artists and marketing. They work together. Nothing new in that idea.
Old 16th December 2010
  #28
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Table Of Tone's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabmaster View Post
A man is only as good as his tools.
"You can drive a nail with a screw driver................"

Look at the post from the "mastering engineer" who wants to know
what gear he should buy with 100K. I'm sure he'll be turning out
top notch work in no time.
(once he gets someone to wire it up and show him what knobs to turn)
Tools are only as good as who's using em!

Choice of tools is also a skill in itself though!
Old 17th December 2010
  #29
Gear Addict
 

Good tools are important for any trade IMO.

The issue is when more emphasis is put on the tools than the skills.

I come from a contracting/construction background myself and we always would talk about how a certain tool made a job easier or help us achieve our goals. The tool is the extension of the tradesmen, not the skill.

Its the same with guitar players. Give a good guitar player any amp and he'll sound like himself..."tone is in the hands" - same goes for mastering imo. (tools still being important).

I always say - Skills, then tools. But tools certainly can help facilitate one's goals.
Old 17th December 2010
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleDiSanto View Post
Its the same with guitar players. Give a good guitar player any amp and he'll sound like himself..."tone is in the hands" - same goes for mastering imo. (tools still being important).

I always say - Skills, then tools. But tools certainly can help facilitate one's goals.
Id have to fully agree.
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