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Old 4th April 2007
  #8
the standard...

the stage is set:

intro: (bustling in the audience...man thinking aloud)
i wonder if anyone from digidesign has been reading any of my posts. i really hope i'm not pissing anybody off. i realized this when i was writing my last post which is why i wrote the "disclaimer". i must be coming off as a total hater. but like i said, it's only a matter of preference and i'm only expressing why...

act l: (men in white coats bustling about)
normally, clients will ask me how i want the pro tools sessions organized. i tell them to turn off all automation, put all faders to "0" and take all plug-ins off. i usually like to start with a clean pallette. the exceptions are if there's a plug-in effect that i can't recreate and the artist is "married" to the sound. most of the time i can recreate it and make it better with one of my effects. so yes, i do avoid plug-ins because my ears are so used to the quality of the analog version.

interlude: (man in tattered clothing, rantings)
i don't like the sound of digital. my references don't come from the digital world and it doesn't sound natural. so if i have the resources to make it better, to my ears, i will. i don't cut corners when i'm mixing. i'm very meticulous when i'm tweaking an effect. it has to sound just right to me, otherwise it sounds like a gimmick. i spend time with it and make it alive.

act ll: (dark, smokey room, man with scruffy beard and half crazed look turning knobs and pushing buttons)
so with that said: i spend time warming up tracks with tube gear and good eq's. sometimes just filtering the top will help take the harshness out. i'll spend time eq'ing the tracks that are the most bright or brittle. so going back to early postings, i'll group all the percs, for example, to a pair of pultecs in stereo and warm them up as a whole group. and within that group i might also be eq'ing some of them individually. of course digital harshness comes in varying degrees and varies from session to session. and i can tell straight away when the recording has been done on quality equipment or if it's been done with cheap equipment.

act lll: (old equipment scattered about...smoke everywhere)
this brings me to my point: before pro tools, there was a "standard" of quality in recording. there was a method, that's been tried and true. something passed on. you had to know how to get a good sound and get it to tape and you were careful with the alignment, and you check and double check your levels. you check which tracks you have in record, your assistant had a hundred things he was responsible for. you're clients are paying good money for the studio, you had one chance to get it right...you had to be good! the quality of recordings have gone way down. where has the standard gone? instead of getting a tape that had the proper tones and the tracks were all laid out and organized and done in a proper studio with proper gear and technitions, you get a hard drive that came from someone's house, who had an engineer who hadn't come up in a studio and doesn't know what the "standard" is. he has no reference to compare. i'm not saying you can't get a great sound in your bedroom, but the majority can't. it's a sub-standard and below standard should not belong in the professional world. you would think that as more time passed in my career the better the sounds would be that i had to mix. well it's been moving backwards. and that's my point...learn your craft. if you're serious and want to make this your career, then you have to pay your dues. there's no substitute for experience.

monologue: (old man with cane, smoking a pipe, speaking to himself)
i'm speaking purely from my opinion and you should do what you can to make better sounds with whatever means you can. i realize some peoples options are limited, i'm just here to give advice, not to discourage.

yours truly