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What the hell is "boutique" DAW Software
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
What the hell is "boutique"

I've seen this numerous times to describe a certain sound, or a pre, or whatever.

Does this have an actual and consistent meaning, or is it just more marketing nonsense?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Usually high-quality, smaller companies. Like Gordon preamps:
Gordon Microphone Preamplifier System

Not all small companies use the boutique label. And it's nothing to get worked up about.

btw- your disDain for expensive, high-end gear is palpable.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by americanbison View Post
btw- your distain for expensive, high-end gear is palpable.
I like it. Disdain with a blotch.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by americanbison View Post
Usually high-quality, smaller companies. Like Gordon preamps:
Gordon Microphone Preamplifier System
Translation: marketing BS. Got it.

Quote:
Not all small companies use the boutique label. And it's nothing to get worked up about.
Thx but I'm not "worked up." It was a simple question.

Quote:
btw- your distain for expensive, high-end gear is palpable.
Pretending for a sec that's relevant, I have nothing against such stuff. I just rarely think it's worth the extra coin. To each their own.

PS: I think "disdain" was the word you were reaching for.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
I've seen this numerous times to describe a certain sound, or a pre, or whatever.

Does this have an actual and consistent meaning, or is it just more marketing nonsense?
I've always assumed it was hand built gear that is unique in some way, and hopefully of higher quality.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Dan Popp's Avatar
From dictionary.com:

adjective 4. of, designating, or characteristic of a small, exclusive producer or business:
"one of California's best boutique wineries."
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Popp View Post
From dictionary.com:

adjective 4. of, designating, or characteristic of a small, exclusive producer or business:
"one of California's best boutique wineries."
Thx but I wasn't looking for a generic definition, which I could have easily looked up. This is unique to the music world. To repeat: I've seen this numerous times to describe a certain sound or pre (etc). Not about a business.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I like it. Disdain with a blotch.
Indeed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Translation: marketing BS. Got it.
I guess. But if you like words, then it might mean more than BS.
Quote:
Pretending for a sec that's relevant, I have nothing against such stuff. I just rarely think it's worth the extra coin. To each their own.
It is relevant when you call BS on small batch, high quality gear that might want to label their product as special. And Gordon preamps are not worth your coin, because you are likely not making a living with them, right?

Quote:
PS: I think "disdain" was the word you were reaching for.
I was reaching for that. Good thing I'm a better songwriter than forum 'poster.'
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Dan Popp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Thx but I wasn't looking for a generic definition, which I could have easily looked up. This is unique to the music world. To repeat: I've seen this numerous times to describe a certain sound or pre (etc). Not about a business.
If you don't know what the word means when used in a way "unique to the music world," how do you know this usage is unique to the music world? Perhaps the common definition is all that is meant.

I use this word to describe my business, and I mean the common definition. Anyone who reads my website and infers some kind of special definition or attempt at marketing hype is going to be baffled by his own false assumptions.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Yoski's Avatar
 

@bill5 Seriously, how on earth someone can feel offended by your opening post???

But to answer your (very clear) question. Recently I had a nice talk with a recording engineer and studio owner who started his business in the analogue era. According to his statements ‘boutique sound’ is just a modern fancy term for ‘vintage sound’. But who, since when and for what reason started to call ‘vintage’ ‘boutique’, I can’t tell you.

So basically nothing has changed, things stay as vague as they were, because what the heck is vintage sound??? There were the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and the ‘90s and every decade had its own sound signature (more or less) so which one of these decades represents the vintage sound???

Cheers!
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I run a boutique recording studio. What boutique means to me is, the guy who tracks your vocals is the guy who takes out the garbage.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Yoski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I run a boutique recording studio. What boutique means to me is, the guy who tracks your vocals is the guy who takes out the garbage.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Boutique is a recent addition to the audio business. It originally came from Boutique shops which were usually small but sold expensive and artsy stuff to those who could afford it.

Its only be recently used in audio to describe companies that sold expensive gear in limited supplies. Making any more than that out of it is a complete waste of time because the word is generic and only describes a small sector of the business. You could just as well call it a one man business or an owner operator. It has nothing to do with the product itself.

Boutique products may be unique but it normally describes clones of existing gear that either have been modified by the builder to make them slightly unique or possibly a piece or gear that's no longer manufactured. Some builders see how expensive classic pieces of vintage gear sell for and take the designs and modify them to avoid copyright infringements the slap their own name on it.

To me they are just cloners and the term Boutique is way of sanitizing pirating which is ramped in electronics now. You could say by the company being small they are having little impact on the original manufacturer but that would be morally and likely legally incorrect. The problem is many of the circuit designs were borrowed from earlier designs and fighting the copyright in court may not be financially profitable with a small one man operation making clones. (many of which are in china where there is no way of enforcing copyright laws besides bribing them to stop pirating designs)

In summary, Boutique is simply a fluff word to mask cloning or pirating. Nothing new about that its been going on since Bell sued Pan-Electric Telephone Company for a patent infringement. Luckily the patent office issues patents to those who first invent a device, not to those who file for the patent first and Bell won that lawsuit.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Yoski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
...
Its only be recently used in audio to describe companies that sold expensive gear in limited supplies...
Your explanation applies to gear, not to sound, which was the original question. People do indeed use lately the term 'boutique sound'. Does 'expensive gear in limited supplies' sound so different that it deserves a distinct classification sound-wise? I don't think so.

As I mentioned above, 'boutique sound' seems to be just a new fancy term for 'vintage sound'.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
I've seen this numerous times to describe a certain sound, or a pre, or whatever.

Does this have an actual and consistent meaning, or is it just more marketing nonsense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoski View Post
Your explanation applies to gear, not to sound, which was the original question.
The original question included gear- AND it was answered right off the bat! with an example of a preamp that might be considered 'boutique.'

Point me to any example of the phrase 'boutique sound' that doesn't refer to a piece of gear.

As stated above, the OP thinks the use of the phrase 'boutique' gear is marketing BS, even for those companies that build small batches of the highest quality gear. It's just a word that get that point across- a GORDON preamp is not a mass produced, cheaply built product. It's special.. Use whatever other words mean that, if you don't like 'boutique!'
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Yoski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by americanbison View Post
...
Question: can we have a decent conversation, without you getting to emotional about this stuff? If yes am on board. It's not about who is right or wrong, it's about clarifying a word usage.

Of course this issue is gear related, but there can be no doubt, that the original question was about the meaning of 'boutique sound', whether in respect to a preamp or to a song or to a recording, is secondary.

Your definition is a valid one, no doubt, but it applies not to 'how something sounds' but to the way how something has been produced, namely as 'highest quality gear in small batches'.

As I described it in my post #12 someone who is long in the business told me once that it is just another way to say 'vintage sound'. I don't know if it's true but this is what the guy told me.

Maybe someone like drBill could chime in and clarify the phrase for us. But I guess he is rather a seldom guest in a newbie subforum
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoski View Post
Question: can we have a decent conversation, without you getting to emotional about this stuff?
I'll try. It's just that I had a very bad experience in a boutique when I was a kid, and to this day, I struggle with all of the images and memories that word conveys.

In fact, I should probably just leave this one be...I already feel a unique boutique attack coming on.


Old 1 week ago
  #20
I have no idea what "boutique" sounds like. this word only describes a niche of builders.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
I've seen this numerous times to describe a certain sound, or a pre, or whatever.

Does this have an actual and consistent meaning, or is it just more marketing nonsense?
Its just a very fancy name for small. That's about it. I tend to stray away from business that describe themselves as boutique. Thats just me....
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
Boutique is a recent addition to the audio business. It originally came from Boutique shops which were usually small but sold expensive and artsy stuff to those who could afford it.

Its only be recently used in audio to describe companies that sold expensive gear in limited supplies. Making any more than that out of it is a complete waste of time because the word is generic and only describes a small sector of the business. You could just as well call it a one man business or an owner operator. It has nothing to do with the product itself.

Boutique products may be unique but it normally describes clones of existing gear that either have been modified by the builder to make them slightly unique or possibly a piece or gear that's no longer manufactured. Some builders see how expensive classic pieces of vintage gear sell for and take the designs and modify them to avoid copyright infringements the slap their own name on it.

To me they are just cloners and the term Boutique is way of sanitizing pirating which is ramped in electronics now. You could say by the company being small they are having little impact on the original manufacturer but that would be morally and likely legally incorrect. The problem is many of the circuit designs were borrowed from earlier designs and fighting the copyright in court may not be financially profitable with a small one man operation making clones. (many of which are in china where there is no way of enforcing copyright laws besides bribing them to stop pirating designs)

In summary, Boutique is simply a fluff word to mask cloning or pirating. Nothing new about that its been going on since Bell sued Pan-Electric Telephone Company for a patent infringement. Luckily the patent office issues patents to those who first invent a device, not to those who file for the patent first and Bell won that lawsuit.
Good summary of how Roland is using the term for their JP-08, JU-06, etc. I think in most cases for the Roland gear it is marketing BS . The only instrument in that line that I think it isn't BS is the SE-02 which is from a, cough, boutique synth manufacturer.
Old 6 days ago
  #23
Gear Guru
 

The one thing I would not associate with the word "boutique" is a specific sound. People who use it in that sense are using the word incorrectly, IMO.

There are plenty of "boutique" units that are quite colored, but there are also several that are super-clean. The Gordon preamp mentioned above is absolutely an example of a "boutique" product. And yet it is not even remotely a "clone" of anything. Nor does it sound anything like a DW Fearn or a Joel Cameron -other boutique products.

It's a connotation of the size of the company and the amount of units they are building and selling and the narrowness of their clientele. It certainly suggests a higher price, if only because economies of scale are not going to apply.

One "boutique" clothing shop might sell dressy formal gowns for middle-class matrons, and another might sell hip, fashion-forward trendy-wear for young people. They would both be equally deserving of being called "boutiques".

Neither one is going to duplicate the offerings at Macy's. That's what "boutique" means.
Old 6 days ago
  #24
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cavern's Avatar
 

Its not pronounced "Bucket" its "Boukay"
Old 6 days ago
  #25
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Dan Popp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
The one thing I would not associate with the word "boutique" is a specific sound. People who use it in that sense are using the word incorrectly, IMO.
joeq, you have made a statement of fact, not a statement of opinion. And your statement is correct. If words have formal definitions, then to use them outside those definitions is to use them incorrectly.

No one on this thread, including the OP, has given any evidence to show that there is a specialized meaning to the word "boutique" within the music industry.
Old 6 days ago
  #26
Gear Nut
 
Yoski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Popp View Post
...If words have formal definitions, then to use them outside those definitions is to use them incorrectly....
This thread was created to clarify it

And I think that joeq could be right. It could be that people for what ever reason erroneously started to use 'boutique' in regard to sound. By doing so they violated the prevailing rules of usage of the word 'boutique' and created a false correspondence (means, false reference to the real world). There is simply no phenomenon in the real world that could be called 'boutique sound'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Popp View Post
No one on this thread, including the OP, has given any evidence to show that there is a specialized meaning to the word "boutique" within the music industry.
Again, this is something we'd like to clarify. Fact is, that some people use the word 'boutique' to describe a certain quality of sound. I've heard people talking about it, and as I mentioned it above, someone even gave me a definition for 'boutique sound'. But I have my doubts now, he new what he was talking about.

Maybe more knowable people could give their opinion on this.
Old 6 days ago
  #27
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Dan Popp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoski View Post
Again, this is something we'd like to clarify. Fact is, that some people use the word 'boutique' to describe a certain quality of sound.
It may not be possible to "clarify" what exists only in one person's head without asking the person what s/he meant.
Old 6 days ago
  #28
Gear Nut
 
Yoski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Popp View Post
It may not be possible to "clarify" what exists only in one person's head without asking the person what s/he meant.
This has been done in the opening post
Old 6 days ago
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoski View Post
... they violated the prevailing rules of usage of the word 'boutique' and created a false correspondence...
I'm not sure there are rules about that. If there were, in the 70's Jordache would have been fined for applying the word "designer" to denim pants and it would be a felony to use it with "drugs."
Old 6 days ago
  #30
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Dan Popp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoski View Post
This has been done in the opening post
No, it has not. Over and over it has been asserted on this thread that there is a different usage for the word "boutique." But no one has yet given us an example. There is no one person to question. You are all just guessing, and guessing without any context, because no examples have been provided.

This is very important, to understand the difference between an assertion (and repeating an assertion) versus evidence of an assertion. So I'll help you out. There is a thread open right now on Gearslutz - I think it regards a new product line by Heritage Audio. In it, the company seems* to use the word "boutique" incorrectly. Now in order to clarify what the writer meant by his faulty usage, you would have to ask that writer of that ad copy. No one else can "clarify" his personal error.

*Edit: I'm hedging here because it's possible that the writer is actually trying to say that the product is "small." Not likely, I know.
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