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Producing "from the couch" & band members as "stand in producers" ?
Old 20th October 2002
Producing "from the couch" & band members as "stand in producers" ?

So there are all sorts of ways of producing, head between the nearfields with a finger on the talkback, chilling out in the back of the room on the couch.

What do folks think of producers that "couch it"? I used to resent it somewhat as an engineer, especially if a newspaper was being read!

See, I recently had a situation where, the main musician in the band (a 19 year old) was CLEARLY a talent as vocal producer for getting the singers vocals down. I had thrown my assistant (21) in the hot seat 2 weeks ago as I figured he was ready to start driving the desk - so I left the two of them 'up front' and chilled out back on the couch while they got the vocals down. Quietly I was able to, send emails, go into another room to make important calls, open mail and address envelopes etc yet keep an overview on the proceedings.

It was a GOOD team!

If you are the designated producer - isn't it smart to make use of production talents WITHIN the band?

Do you ever give up control on some sessions and let it freewheel in 'self drive' mode for a while?

Also - producing from the couch? Your view?


Old 20th October 2002
Gear Maniac
Don's Avatar

As a player, I never liked the producer to have a "couch" type of demeaner..Killed the energy for me .But as a producer every dynamic is different ,you gotta sus that out for each situation I guess
Old 20th October 2002
Lives for gear
Ol' Betsey's Avatar
Again, I believe this is a good example of team work.

Although I tend to engineer the records I work on as well as produce (and don't always have the luxury of an assistant) I find myself at the controls more often than not but genuinely appreciate it if another DEDICATED member of the band gets involved in vocals and overdubs.

This might contradict what I've said on the other poll/post but I feel that there are definitelty times when a particular artist within a band can have a much better idea about they're after than I do. Particularly when I haven't had the time in pre-production to really suss out what the band want.

Some artists are very confident about what they want and have a much better idea of what constitutes a good performance within their band than I do especially if I haven't had the opportunity to get to know them properly.

Who am I to argue? (Unless of course it sounds absolutely dreadful!)

In these instances I find the couch (if I have the chance to relax in one) very comfortable...

Old 20th October 2002
Lives for gear
e-cue's Avatar

Some couch guys are good: quiet, but when they make a suggestion, it's a good one, and they don't eff up what ain't broke. Some are bad: worthless individuals that are a complete waste of hair and flesh.
Old 20th October 2002
High End Moderator
mwagener's Avatar
In my opinion, amongst other things, the job of a producer is to

a) get the best performance out of the band
b) help the band staying true to their direction (sometimes against the opinion of the label)
c) make sure the sound is as good as it can get.

Whatever the producer has to do to reach those goals, is fair game. If I have to stay out of it, because the band is going the right way and the creative juices are flowing, I will (back on the couch). If they're about to jump off the the track, I do whatever it takes to get them back on the right track. I'm always at the controls when getting sounds, even if I'm "only" producing. The one time when everybody gets kicked out of the control room is when i am recording lead vocals. Of course there are exceptions to those rules depending on what the situation demands (some singers need lots of groupies around when singing heh .

In genereal I find it easier to concentrate on the music, when I don't have to run the board and punch in during takes and I can sit back on the couch with my eyes closed (not sleeping!), and sometimes it's even beneficial to read the newspaper, because I can hear weird stuff better when I DON'T concentrate as much on the music. Other times its better to be in the trenches, even in the live room with the band while tracking, to get a certain mood going.

IMO there is no single "right" way to handle every project or every situation, it depends totally on the particular track being recorded, how actively a producer should get involved with the process.

now back to the couch.
Old 20th October 2002
Gear Guru

Normally I too produce with my "head between the Nearfields" and my fingers on the buttons - the producer/engineer thing.

But one time my studio went down with a deadline approaching so I dragged my stuff to a nearby studio and booked some time to mix. The engineer there knew I was an engineer myself and kindly offered me The Chair. However this guy won a Grammy for engineering so I figured why not let him fly the board and I'll try producing the mix "from the couch"

I have to say I really enjoyed the experience and was able to concentrate on things that I might have missed or a least wouldn't have heard until later.

Not having to deal with the buttons frees up a certain amount of brain power for better listening, I am sure. There is also something about the perspective of getting your head out from "between the nearfields" and sitting a few feet back.

Of course it helps to have a first rate person at the controls. Normally I can't afford to hire people to engineer for me.

Still I now regularly make the time to listen to mix playback from the "bench" (I don't have a couch)
Old 20th October 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Most of the sessions I do I'm engineering and co-producing, sometimes just engineering. Yet, when I've had the chance to just produce I like being able to chill out on the couch. I've never been too hands-on in the creative process, I'd rather make suggestions and kind of steer things along. A lot of times when I'm tracking or mixing I'll also close my eyes at the board, being able to do that from the couch is nice.
Old 21st October 2002
Lives for gear
3rdpath's Avatar
it just depends on the session. if everythings going well sometimes the best thing for me to do is stay the hell out of the way...and the couch is as good a place as any.

just as long as the artist realizes i'm happy with the momentum and not merely disinterested- i don't talk on the phone or read the paper...

and during vocal sessions i usually cover the glass... so they don't know where i am anyway.
Old 21st October 2002
Lives for gear
Ol' Betsey's Avatar
I like the the term "the couch". It's kind of like the womb within the womb!

"i don't talk on the phone or read the paper..."

If I'm on the couch, I do both. Because generally the fact that your on the couch means that the session is running smoothly enough for you to take a little break. Have a coffee. Read a paper. Talk to the girlfriend.

I would NEVER be reading the paper while I'm at the desk. Or answering the phone while in the middle of an important take. And I would never be on the couch if I felt like I needed to be "in the thick of it" but the couch is for relaxing and so relax I do.

And anyway, where are we supposed to read the new editions of Audio Media and Studio Sound?

Old 21st October 2002
Moderator emeritus

Originally posted by Ol' Betsey

And anyway, where are we supposed to read the new editions of Audio Media and Studio Sound?
In the loo...
Old 21st October 2002
Gear Maniac
wurly's Avatar

Slightly off topic but related....when I'm in a slow session and it seems that nothing I can do will get the band to pick up the pace I read manuals. The band thinks I'm pursuing a great idea to help them, but I'm really just killing time and getting a little smarter.

I often have band members do punches, if they know the stuff better than me, especially if they haven't done their homework and didn't provide me with a lyric sheet to write times down on. "Just punch me on the 2nd verse"..... WTF is the second verse? Then I can go to the bathroom without stopping the session.

my son is 17 tomorrow
Old 21st October 2002
Here for the gear
6X2's Avatar

I reckon it's an art form in itself to know when to stick to the magazine on the couch and - especially - when not to. A bored-looking producer with a mid-eighties reader's digest is the last thing anybody would want in the studio (or anywhere else)...

6X 2
Old 21st October 2002
Lives for gear

OT t u t tut tuht

Hey Jules or another moderator,

I'm voting for changing t-u-t to "tuht", as it consitutes a more logical substitute because it would probably never be spelled out. What do you think? Can this change be instituted?


Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Originally posted by Ol' Betsey
Some artists are very confident about what they want and have a much better idea of what constitutes a good performance within their band than I do especially if I haven't had the opportunity to get to know them properly.
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