The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Skills > gear
Old 14th October 2013
  #1
Lives for gear
Skills > gear

Gear is kind of overrated, skills are kind of underrated. That's my conclusion at this point in my development process. A few new techniques from the pros can wipe out thousands of USD in investments...

In other words, I'm now taking a few steps back from the focus on gear. Instead, I improve my sound for free based on my audio/music/mixing analysis skills, they help me reverse engineer the techniques the pros TRULY use on records, you know the techniques they never reveil...
Old 14th October 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Hyder boy's Avatar
 

Now you are on to something! If this is true, your use of MS processing, parallel compression, unorthodox EQ'ing, 2-Buss techniques, ect. should reduce exponentially.
Old 14th October 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyder boy View Post
Now you are on to something! If this is true, your use of MS processing, parallel compression, unorthodox EQ'ing, 2-Buss techniques, ect. should reduce exponentially.
Not so fast, in fact the other day it really increased exponentially - my ears loved it.

My point is this, you can craft the mix in many ways - it is not about complex or simple. Guess how Mr. Maserati sometimes applies the delay on vocals. Delay 1: the L synced up to 1/8 with a LPF, the R synced up to 1/16 with no LPF. Delay 2: the L synced up to 1/16 with no LPF, the R synced up to 1/8 with LPF. Besides this I think he was fine tuning it with custom panning too.. That's NOT simple in my books... And just because the name is Maserati it doesn't now all of a sudden turn simple... This is simply a complex technique...
Old 14th October 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Hyder boy's Avatar
 

Delays are a little different than the above. Go ahead, get crazy with delay. But all the other nonsense, is penny smart, dollar stupid...
Old 14th October 2013
  #5
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
I love this thumbs down thing
Old 14th October 2013
  #6
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothVibe View Post
I improve my sound for free based on my audio/music/mixing analysis skills
your analysis "skills" are misleading you
they have led you to conclusions that are way off the mark

you continue your "analysis to the point of paralysis" probably for the sole purpose of distracting yourself from the real issues.


Quote:
they help me reverse engineer the techniques the pros TRULY use on records, you know the techniques they never reveil...

This is exactly what I am talking about. Until you stop trying to 'reverse engineer' "secret" techniques that do not really exist your skills will remain exactly at the level that they are at.

The people whose mixes you admire do not make multiple copies of each track and apply ridiculous levels of parallel this and mid-side that. They simply do not. This is a fantasy generated by your own mind. They never said they do, no one else says they do, either. Only you say this. Your misguided attempts at "analysis" have led you down this dead-end path.

In Eastern philosophy, it is called "putting legs on a snake".

At least with money 'wasted' on gear, the gear will still be there when you finally learn how to use it. Or you could sell it and get Some return on your investment.

But the time wasted on your over-complex nonsense you will never get back.
Old 14th October 2013
  #7
Thank god for this "revelation"!

And a big fat +1 to everything joeq said.

There's no "secrets" - unless the secret is being able to hear what you're doing (ie working in a good room) and knowing what you're doing.
Old 14th October 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
 
RedTuxedo's Avatar
I've assisted this Maserati you speak of.

Trust me, his skills>gear.

Neat to see his skills put down in his plug-ins. They made perfect sense when you have seen him work.
Old 14th October 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Vintageidiot's Avatar
You'll need tools and techniques, I am certain......
Old 14th October 2013
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I think the headline "skills>gear" is spot on. But the conclusions reached under that headline are a bit weird.

I don't think it's about these super well hidden complex secrets, that's basically distractions. The "secrets" that make the difference are not really secrets, but they can almost be perceived as such because they are extremely hard to just copy from someone.

That would be taste, attention to detail, and the ability to hear what you're doing, so you can actually apply it, to make your taste and attention to details materialize in the final product.
Old 14th October 2013
  #11
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
spot on, top gear, thumbs up
Old 14th October 2013
  #12
Lives for gear
 
RedTuxedo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Topgear View Post
I think the headline "skills>gear" is spot on. But the conclusions reached under that headline are a bit weird.

I don't think it's about these super well hidden complex secrets, that's basically distractions. The "secrets" that make the difference are not really secrets, but they can almost be perceived as such because they are extremely hard to just copy from someone.

That would be taste, attention to detail, and the ability to hear what you're doing, so you can actually apply it, to make your taste and attention to details materialize in the final product.
And if I may paraphrase...

Skills>gear

Skills=experience
Old 14th October 2013
  #13
Lives for gear
 
GJ999x's Avatar
very interesting thread. subscribed

Sent from my GT-I9100P
Old 14th October 2013
  #14
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothVibe View Post
Instead, I improve my sound for free based on my audio/music/mixing analysis skills, they help me reverse engineer the techniques the pros TRULY use on records, you know the techniques they never reveil...
No conspiracies afoot. No secret meetings to hide info from the rabble.

Skill>Gear?
No doubt, a skilled engineer and talented artist can make a great record with an iMac, Audiodesk and a Motu.
A crap engineer and crap artist can't make one at Abbey Road.

That's no secret!
Old 14th October 2013
  #15
Lives for gear
I was talking with a freind the other day and he said. " Why do you think Pensado gives away all his secrets ".

I said . Because just knowing his method for individual treatments isn't really giving you the taste to know when,where and how to apply it in context. That is mostly learned through trial and error over time. You will come up with your own methods in that same time span and they will be methods that you know at a gut level.

Not much substitute for time.

I heard a man say this once " the long way IS the shortcut ".

I didn't understand at the time but now that I am older I do. I think he meant that people often lose years in certain endeavours trying to re-invent the process only to either give up or come to the conclusion that the foundation for that discipline is well known and that we must walk that path first to come to a place where we can bend or break some of it's traditions . Even then we only bend a little and break rarely.

However...in defence of Smoothvibe, Jason Joshua said in a recent Pensado interview that he duplicates, mults and parallel processes a lot.

Plus you gotta give Smoothy credit...he's got big shoulders and tons of passion
Old 14th October 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Boschen's Avatar
 

I applaud your conclusions, and agree wholeheartedly!

Learn the rules, then break them... it's worked for lots of artists; quite a tradition of this in painting...

Great post above by Targa2


Oh, and there are no secrets in audio engineering; anyone who claims to have a secret probably isn't worth listening to... Or has the misguided impression they're on to something new, when in fact it's old hat. Or they want to sell you something you already know...
Old 14th October 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
A crap engineer and crap artist can't make one at Abbey Road.


How could anyone make a crap record there? seriously. Let's be realistic, you could pick up any recording book prior to your tracking day, do everything verbatim, and it would sound awesome. Just because of the room and the equipment. It may not be the best it could be, but it would still be good.

The problem with your analogy is you are expected to make a good record at abbey road regardless of skill level, no one is expected to make a great record with garage band a behringer ada8000 and a dozen 57s.

There is no experienced engineer that would make a record on the gear you describe if they also had a choice to record at abbey. This is the problem with these comparisons.
They are not realistic. Therfore skill vs gear is sort of left to the poor few who can only afford Audiodesk and a Motu.

This being said, sure the ultimate test is to make a record on the gear you describe and succeed. (an iMac, Audiodesk and a Motu). But haven't we all done that?? Its not that bad really. It's like you said it depends on the artist. Do you really think micing up Rage Against the machine or Zeppelin with a bunch of 57s through an MOTU is not going to sound good? Be serious. Countless roadies have done this at gigs , a tap off the monitor boards or FOH will sound great. Just get on YT and listen to boots. So while I have to agree "the artist" part has to be in there. The worse the band the harder it is to make a good product. But the better the band the easier it is regardless of equipment. As long as their playing and equipment is good.

People tend to forget that the artists gear and interaction with it is sooo important. All your job is is to capture that. Is that really that complex? Vocals aside, no not at all. Does anyone think micing up a Ludwig black beauty kit in the middle of abbey road Studio with textbook mic placement with a great player is not going to sound great?
How could that not sound incredible by default? You could even screw up and it would probably sound good. What skill is required putting a u87 on a hiwatt at abbey road? or plugging a bass di into that TG board they have? I don't see any challenge in that.

As far as the OP goes, your parallel compression interests and use of effects is very common and can make things sound good. Read this

MHB Productions - Q&A
Old 15th October 2013
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

The people whose mixes you admire do not make multiple copies of each track and apply ridiculous levels of parallel this and mid-side that. They simply do not.
but they do though. you should try it, it will step up you mixes

http://www.sonicscoop.com/2011/06/23...el-processing/
MHB Productions - Q&A
Old 15th October 2013
  #19
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by targa2 View Post
However...in defence of Smoothvibe, Jason Joshua said in a recent Pensado interview that he duplicates, mults and parallel processes a lot.
I think you should look up some of Smoothvibe's posts where he describes some of his "reverse-engineered techniques" in painful detail. IMO, they go far beyond "multing and parallel processing a lot".

Not even beginning to mention the absurd quantifications - "30% energy and 40% emotions". As if.

Quote:
Plus you gotta give Smoothy credit...he's got big shoulders and tons of passion
Neither of which justify his presentation of his "insight of the week" as Established Fact. I object to the trumped-up Air Of Certainty with which he presents each of his harebrained schemes to the group, misleading the newbies and irritating the pros. Especially since he is prone to reverse himself on many of these exact points a week or two later.
Old 15th October 2013
  #20
Gear Head
 
D2therJ's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I think you should look up some of Smoothvibe's posts where he describes some of his "reverse-engineered techniques" in painful detail. IMO, they go far beyond "multing and parallel processing a lot".

Not even beginning to mention the absurd quantifications - "30% energy and 40% emotions". As if.



Neither of which justify his presentation of his "insight of the week" as Established Fact. I object to the trumped-up Air Of Certainty with which he presents each of his harebrained schemes to the group, misleading the newbies and irritating the pros. Especially since he is prone to reverse himself on many of these exact points a week or two later.
Some of these people spend all their time trying emulate someone else's methods instead of developing their own.
Old 15th October 2013
  #21
Lives for gear
 
popmann's Avatar
Parallel processing is mostly an overreaction to Brauer's rather odd techniques, his being very open and vocal about them, and noobs not knowing how to set a compressor properly (and not having access to forgiving musical ones). You can set it WAY horribly wrong and then blend in some unaffected signal and it sort of acts as a forgiving upward expander.

It's NOT a normal mix technique in the perspective of 50+ years of multitracked recording mixing. It's a fringe technique that some have used sometimes. If you'd like to skin the cat that way--cool, but don't pretend like THAT is the secret to good mixing.
Old 15th October 2013
  #22
MHB has found a method of working that works exceedingly well for him.

However, his isn't the only way - many other mixers get equally good results without this level of complication.

Smoothvibe's techniques are even more complicated though......and even Mr Brauer says it's near impossible to replicate his techniques ITB without phase issues.

Smoothvibe finds phase problems all the time...his solution is usually more complication rather than stripping it back, despite the suggestions. He could probably do with reading the attached article.

And all the while...of the things I've heard he's uploaded, there's glaring problems not being addressed, like significant unmusical distortion, and simple balance and EQ issues. Hence my pleas for him to learn the basics first..but it falls on deaf ears (not implying Smoothvibe is deaf, although he could do with listening rather than reasoning his way through mixes).

I know you like to be a little controversial, fight the opposing view and be a little contrary...as well as make sweeping statements without thinking too much in depth about them! but comparing Smoothvibe's philosophy to MHB is kind of insulting to one of the world's top mix engineers!
Old 15th October 2013
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
And all the while...of the things I've heard he's uploaded, there's glaring problems not being addressed, like significant unmusical distortion, and simple balance and EQ issues. Hence my pleas for him to learn the basics first..but it falls on deaf ears (not implying Smoothvibe is deaf, although he could do with listening rather than reasoning his way through mixes).
I'm not really in a position to judge someone else though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I know you like to be a little controversial, fight the opposing view and be a little contrary...as well as make sweeping statements without thinking too much in depth about them! but comparing Smoothvibe's philosophy to MHB is kind of insulting to one of the world's top mix engineers!
I'm not comparing Smoothvibe to Michael Brauer, I was sort of implying that joeq could be wrong about parallel compression not being useful. Parallel is a powerful tool to really make a mix sound better/bigger/punchier. It can be a magic bullet as long as the fundamentals of your tracks are there. I think he sort of made bold statement implying it's not a valid tool.

Certainly parallel compression won't make pitchy vocals, out of tune guitars and sloppy drums sound good, but parallel has a way of hiding things especially in the digital domain. Hence its widespread (perhaps over-) use these days. Anytime you smash something ITB it has the potential to mask things despite the belief that it is used to actually showcasing things. This is good or bad depending on your perspective, regardless it seems to be a trend these days. With that I agree with smoothvibe. It's only from the point of view that such things have become popular recording techniques. I'm not necessarily a proponent of them personally, however they are widely used in the industry with great successes by many.

One thing is for sure a mix with no compression is a very scary place for majority of engineers. It's barren cold frightening place that many guys fear. They fear natural dynamics and dry natural sounds. It exposes not only the vulnerable performer, but it challenges engineers in to go to places they are not comfortable in. Because it's so revealing without compression, it's a great masking vice and controls things the engineer is not capable of controlling without a lot of extra required work. The first thing most engineers do is patch in a comp. record.... and then comp it again on a buss or an insert. I never understood it. But it's the norm and it is because it makes things sound better to many peoples' ears quickly and easily. It's like taking a diet pill instead of utilizing willpower. Or maybe more like wearing a girdle instead of getting off your butt and going to the gym. Comps keep the flab hidden I guess is what I'm trying to say. Delays and other digital effects do the same. It's a quick easy fix even though the problems are still there.

People talk about being different and doing your own thing?? Hmmmm that is a scary place too. Taking chances is too much work. Play it safe and do what you know will work.
At least in the beginning until the person has enough experience to determine what really is not working in a particular situation. With that I 100% agree about that Brauer is the best of the best, but if you copy someone it might as well be the best. that's all I was referring to. In other words I think smoothvibe should model himself after Brauer because Brauer is great.
Old 15th October 2013
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
No conspiracies afoot. No secret meetings to hide info from the rabble.
Except that one behringer piece that does that thing to your speakers that nobody else knows how to do.
Old 15th October 2013
  #25
shhhh - the brotherhood already warned you once!
Old 15th October 2013
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post


How could anyone make a crap record there? seriously. Let's be realistic, you could pick up any recording book prior to your tracking day, do everything verbatim, and it would sound awesome. Just because of the room and the equipment. It may not be the best it could be, but it would still be good.
I don't think so. There's a myriad of errors that you could make with good gear that would result in an unlistenable recording. The rooms sound great (I was a runner there for 6 months back in the early 2000s) but you could still make a poor recording in them if you don't know what you're doing. You might not even be able to get a mic running through the desk if you don't know what you're doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post
The problem with your analogy is you are expected to make a good record at abbey road regardless of skill level, no one is expected to make a great record with garage band a behringer ada8000 and a dozen 57s.
I couldn't get a hi-fi rock or orchestral recording out of one. I hope I'd be able to get a cool lofi recording out of that set up with the right artist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post
Does anyone think micing up a Ludwig black beauty kit in the middle of abbey road Studio with textbook mic placement with a great player is not going to sound great?
How could that not sound incredible by default? You could even screw up and it would probably sound good. What skill is required putting a u87 on a hiwatt at abbey road? or plugging a bass di into that TG board they have? I don't see any challenge in that.
Bearing in mind I've worked marking student recordings. Some colleges have amazing equipment. The best students do well, the worst students still manage to make a hash of it. You can still put an 87 on a hiwatt and get a bad sound, or clip the preamp, or clip the converter, or get it back to front...it's possible!

Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post
As far as the OP goes, your parallel compression interests and use of effects is very common and can make things sound good. Read this

MHB Productions - Q&A
Really...the techniques he frequently describes are NOT common at all, and nothing like MHB. Nor is his terminology. Nor is his understanding of the mixing process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post
I'm not really in a position to judge someone else though.
Why not? you've already just said that his use of effects is "really common" so presumably you've got a fair amount of experience working with top end guys, and how they work

I wouldn't normally judge. But when someone makes a big deal about how great this or that new technique is, especially with a slightly lecturing tone as joeq points out, and how this massive complicated chain makes such a great improvement...and then demonstrates it with a recording that not only doesn't stand out as amazing, but has some fairly glaringly basic errors like a vocal that ducks around inconsistently, and dynamic distortion in the louder sections...apologies, but I'm judging! I'm judging that that person hasn't learned the basics of what to listen for, and should really learn that before developing the techniques further. Otherwise - he's never going to improve. And I say that as constructive criticism - not as in "you're awful, give up". Just "you're not helping yourself - learn the basics, then get complicated".

Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post
I'm not comparing Smoothvibe to Michael Brauer, I was sort of implying that joeq could be wrong about parallel compression not being useful. Parallel is a powerful tool to really make a mix sound better/bigger/punchier. It can be a magic bullet as long as the fundamentals of your tracks are there. I think he sort of made bold statement implying it's not a valid tool.
I don't think anyone is saying parallel anything isn't useful, and you kind of are making the comparison whether you intend to or not. But have a read of some other SV posts - he's not talking simple parallel compression, he's talking parallel EQ, M/S processing, lots of fancy techniques...and then he has problems with delay compensation and phasing, losing signal, and wonders why. But instead of tracking back and fixing the core issues, he heaps MORE parallel processing into the mix. Surely you don't think this is a great idea?

Bear in mind we've tried to help, provide solutions, and it just gets ignored in favour of more confusion and extra processing. And all this from a guy who I'm guessing hasn't actually spent a great deal of time in a real studio, which would probably open his eyes more than anything else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by therock View Post
With that I agree with smoothvibe. It's only from the point of view that such things have become popular recording techniques. I'm not necessarily a proponent of them personally, however they are widely used in the industry with great successes by many.
The way he describes - no, they're really not!
Old 15th October 2013
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by targa2 View Post
Plus you gotta give Smoothy credit...he's got big shoulders and tons of passion
That I certainly do - I know it probably reads like I'm bagging on him a lot, but I'd just like to SEE him get better - and it won't happen the way he's going IMO. As well as the big shoulders, an open mind (to match the inquiring one he already has) would be good.
Old 15th October 2013
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
tharemedy's Avatar
 

Skills are indeed > Gear. However I came up under completely different mindset. I was under the impression that one could create a professional polished product using the bare minimum of equipment and that it was purely skills. Which isn't true. I did spend years chasing a sound that just wasn't possible on the gear that I had. During those years I did learn a lot and gain a ton of skills/experience that contributed to my satisfaction once I did finally invest in quality gear. I think it would be much more accurate to say something like 85% skills - 15% gear.
Old 15th October 2013
  #29
Lives for gear
This thread is hot, I think I was able to provoke some thoughts - that is my writing style here at GS, to make bold statements and provoke thoughts, in that way you get passion into the discussion. I want to clearify a few things. First of all, my points about mixing secrets is not really about mixing secrets, it's more that there are techniques out there that engineers tend to repeat over and over because they work so well and that you rarely read about in books or magazines, and keep to themselves or within limited circles because they help shape their signature sound and/or business, it's kind of understandable. I like Pensado's attitude more though - sharing as much as possible, always staying a step ahead in the game. So I'm not saying that all you have to do is to reverse engineer the mixing techniques and strategies that are used by others, but it widens your register of sound in a more profound way than just focusing on gear. That explains why skills > gear, skills are simply more significant. When I mix these days I look at what each piece of gear allows me to do, if it allows me to go complex, fine I don't care, but when I find creative uses of new knobs and like the sound, then I feel good...
Old 15th October 2013
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Johnny Favorite's Avatar
 

Quote:
This thread is hot, I think I was able to provoke some thoughts - that is my writing style here at GS, to make bold statements and provoke thoughts, in that way you get passion into the discussion.
hehheh
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump