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"Its all about the engineer, not the equipment"
Old 11th August 2020
  #1
"Its all about the engineer, not the equipment"

Hi Slutz

I'd like us to discuss what I believe to be a massive grey area in digital recording that sits somewhere between our ears and a large format recording console.

For years now I've recorded my band and other artists with my trusty Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 interface, its great and to some extent its given me some good results, I mean why wouldn't it? There's no hiss, noise floor is low, it picks up faithfully what I recorded into it and I suppose considering what it is, you can't really ask for much more? ... as so many of us say, "When it comes to recording, kids these days don't know how good they've got it".

This may be true, but I've always felt painfully aware that no matter how much time (and I've spent years and years) I spend mixing and improving my recording techniques I always end up just coloring my music in a different shade of ****, and there's something incredibly important that's missing.

So what do you do? You trowel through forums and youtube videos and EVERYONE seems to say (sitting in front of their thousands of pounds of expensive gear), "ITS NOT YOUR EQUIPMENT THAT'S THE PROBLEM, ITS YOU!"

Now I have NO DOUBT that the operator will always be more important than the gear, and it is crucial that an engineer knows their s**t in order to achieve an intelligible mix, of course, of course. But if you want your mix these days to contend with commercial releases SURELY you have to invest in some analog hardware mojo and I feel like we just need to admit that.

I've recently started using the Nebula Plugin from Acustica Audio which as I'm sure alot of you are aware, can emulate an analog signal chain to get you as close as your likely to get without the hardware to high end mix.

I may we waffling here, but for F**K sake, just using this thing (without even touching an EQ, compressor or saturator) makes my tracks sit better in the mix, does alot of the EQ work for me and on the whole has saved me hours and hours more of tweaking my settings which just give me a different shade of the same problem.

People really need to get their head out their ass and just admit that if the average Joe producer could get his hands on a say - a large format console with a basic understanding of it, the production process would be much easier, and ultimately more rewarding.

Peace.
Old 11th August 2020
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
I think it's some of both.

I came up in a big New York joint where I'd be in The Chair most of the time, but I'd also assist outside freelancers. On the same gear, with more or less the same familiarity with the room, the range of skill levels was astonishing. Same stuff, different guys and gals.

As for my own skills, I'd sometimes freelance around town. Certain combos of gear and room would make me struggle, others would make my job really easy. Same guy, different stuff.

But over time, you do get better and that also counts for a lot.
Old 11th August 2020
  #3
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlamacintyre95 View Post
I've recently started using the Nebula Plugin from Acustica Audio which as I'm sure alot of you are aware, can emulate an analog signal chain to get you as close as your likely to get without the hardware to high end mix.
this is an opinion, not some fact that a "lot" of people should be "aware" of. You can say that hardware works "best" at getting a certain sound. It works best at getting the sound of hardware? Well, duh.

Quote:
I may we waffling here, but for F**K sake, just using this thing (without even touching an EQ, compressor or saturator) makes my tracks sit better in the mix, does alot of the EQ work for me and on the whole has saved me hours and hours more of tweaking my settings
You have found a tool that gets you closer to what you want. I don't think you have, as you seem to be implying, found a tool that gets everybody else closer to what they want.

Furthermore, you are using an emulation, and then drawing a conclusion about the thing being emulated, without ever actually using that thing itself. You may be right, but jeez...Isn't that the number one problem with 'forum knowledge'?

Quote:
People really need to get their head out their ass and just admit that if the average Joe producer could get his hands on a say - a large format console
Why is it then that so many skilled engineers can get great sounds without this or that specific piece of hardware? Or without some specific brand of plugin whose fans insist is 'the best' emulation of that hardware? Finding some tool that has what you are looking for 'baked in' is good for you. But maybe not so good for someone who is not looking for that same thing.

Quote:
with a basic understanding of it
What's to understand? The knobs do the same things. You just said it was the sonic character of the hardware that was making your job easier. Or the sonic character of the hardware as emulated by Acoustica plugins, anyway.

Professional engineers are often called upon to achieve more than one sonic goal. If they had you for a client, maybe they would reach for "Acoustica", but being a pro means understanding that there is more than one kind of sound that someone might consider "good". This broader experience probably enables them to achieve their goals with many different tools.
Old 11th August 2020
  #4
Quote:
People really need to get their head out their ass and just admit that if the average Joe producer could get his hands on a say - a large format console with a basic understanding of it, the production process would be much easier, and ultimately more rewarding.
It would make it more complicated. Just because someone can get there hands on a large console doesn't mean there songs will automatically become better.

Take a paint brush. There are $1 paint brushes and $100 pain brushes. Now give someone who paints great the $1 paint brush and then give someone who paints ok the $100 paint brush. Who will paint a better painting? You still need to know how to paint. Gear doesn't give you more skills and talent.
Old 11th August 2020
  #5
Lives for gear
My opinion is largely irrelevant after you’ve heard from the first two posters here.
The “magic equipment” for you is whatever equipment you end up using when your mixes and tracks start to sound satisfactory to you and get consistent positive response from others.
Sometimes the magic stuff is simply LESS stuff than you were piling on earlier.
Sometimes (often, I think) the real magic stuff is effective room treatment. I came up in major studios where the acoustics had been thoroughly sorted before I got there. After leaving that level, it has taken me decades (no kidding, DECADES) to learn enough to get my home studio to a point where my mixes didn’t have major flaws that I couldn’t hear in my room.
And note that THE ROOM AND NOT THE SPEAKERS was the problem... but of course I got to my fourth set of monitors before realizing that.
Old 11th August 2020
  #6
Thanks for your replies guys,

I think i'm just venting my frustrations that I've had for years, feeling that I'm an inadequate engineer when it was actually my equipment that was holding me back (contrary to what everyone and what it seems everyone is still telling me.) my mixing skills are good and now that I've got some creamy analog saturation that isn't based off an algorithmic plugin. my workflow seems to reflect that and I'm happy with the results. If you put a world class engineer in my garage with my interface I'm sure they could make something better than I could, but at the end of the day that saturation and analog vibe of real analog gear will always be missing and at the end of the day if that's missing the cold digital signal will always turn our ears off a recording, because even if it was mixed by great engineer, the blanket of digital is always there and is alot of the difference between amateur and pro.

All the best guys, Karla.
Old 11th August 2020
  #7
Quote:
he cold digital signal will always turn our ears off a recording,
You would be surprised to hear songs recorded digitally.
Digital doesn't equal cold and doesn't turn our ears off. If your outcome is cold, it is not because its was recorded and mixed digitally. Bad sounding mixes turn our ears off. The medium on which it was recorded doesn't determine that
Old 11th August 2020
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by karlamacintyre95 View Post
the blanket of digital is always there
That seems to be backwards. Compared to analog capture or processing, digital capture is extremely accurate and does not put a blanket or anything else over the source material.
I think I understand what you are looking for, but that “thing” is not accuracy. You want reality plus glitter, or fire, or some enhancement, but you are not removing a blanket to reveal reality, you are adding some unreality that you like.
Old 11th August 2020
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
You would be surprised to hear songs recorded digitally.
Digital doesn't equal cold and doesn't turn our ears off. If your outcome is cold, it is not because its was recorded and mixed digitally. Bad sounding mixes turn our ears off. The medium on which it was recorded doesn't determine that
Dude come the **** on. I've got some really nice mics and everything I record through my scarlett sounds like there's a blanket over the sound, no matter where the mics are how nice sources are or how acustically treated the room is everything sounds dull and lifeless, no matter how I change the sound using software compressors and EQs its just a different shade of **** that ultimately leaves me frustrated and unable to get ANYTHING CLOSE to a commerical recording. Then I put an impulse console emulater on it and it gives me a much better starting point. I'm not making this up, as every in Nebula manual the creators say exactly the same thing.

Come on mate, if you had just a ****ty interface like me, you'd get annoyed and you'd want all your fancy gear, because lets face it, if you didn't need it, you wouldn't have it.
Old 11th August 2020
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
That seems to be backwards. Compared to analog capture or processing, digital capture is extremely accurate and does not put a blanket or anything else over the source material.
I think I understand what you are looking for, but that “thing” is not accuracy. You want reality plus glitter, or fire, or some enhancement, but you are not removing a blanket to reveal reality, you are adding some unreality that you like.
I'm sure the technical term isn't "blanket" its just the best way I have to describe what I'm hearing.
Old 11th August 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
So, if the interface is the “blanket”, why isn’t your first priority an interface with a sound you like? I’m not a huge fan of the Scarlett preamps, but maybe a Daking or some other brand with a reputation for vibey preamps, or an outboard preamp would give you more of what you want.
Also, you’ve said nothing about mics. Generally, mics contribute more to capture sound than preamps (or most outboard).
Old 12th August 2020
  #12
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlamacintyre95 View Post
I've got some really nice mics and everything I record through my scarlett sounds like there's a blanket over the sound, .
So you jump to the conclusion that that "digital" is to blame? How can you just ignore the possibility that it is the sound of your interface? Specifically the analog stages of your interface.

You have "really nice mics"? Where's the preamp that a really nice mic deserves? If you are looking for an upgrade to your sonic bottom line, I would say seeking "saturation" at mixdown is barking up the wrong tree.

Mics, preamps, and of course room. That's where it's at. If you want to throw money at your audio problems, at least start where it will actually make a difference.

You have been on this site for over a year. You have heard everyone say: "it's not the gear". But when they do talk about the gear, surely you have also heard them say: "treat your room" and "mics matter most" and "get at least one great preamp".

Quote:
its great and to some extent its given me some good results, I mean why wouldn't it?
Why wouldn't it?
Let's see... $553 ÷ 8 = $69.12.

So if Focusrite was selling a box with 8 preamps in it, those preamps would need to cost them less than $69 each. But of course Focusrite needs to also include an actual audio interface, Converters, headphone amps, input and output jacks, S/PDIF, ADAT, MIDI, word clock, and metering. And of course the 8 preamps.

My guess is that leaves somewhat less per preamp than $69! Maybe more like $10?

A good outboard preamp can cost more per channel than your whole interface with 8 preamps. Not saying your interface is "bad". It actually has a decent reputation for entry-level gear. But Diminishing rReturns says that if you want that "extra 5%" you will have to pay for it.

Quote:
I'm not making this up, as every in Nebula manual the creators say exactly the same thing.
The people who created the product say it's very good? They put it into their own manual? Well that certainly clinches it for me! But wait, isn't this emulator product 100% digital?

Quote:
Come on mate, if you had just a ****ty interface like me, you'd get annoyed and you'd want all your fancy gear, because lets face it, if you didn't need it, you wouldn't have it
I got rid of my console because I decided I didn't need it. I have continued to invest in mics and preamps, however.

So you are now admitting it's your interface - and not "digital" - that is to blame? Instead of spending a lot of money on a console or analog processors, in order to fix it in the mix, why not focus on capturing tracks that need less "fixing"?

Even one or two channels of great preamp can be used again and again if you are overdubbing. Same with great mics. Very cost effective. If you want to spend money on gear, you should look to spend it where it will have the greatest impact on your sonic bottom line. That would almost certainly be mics and preamps. And you don't need 48 channels worth.

Front end will almost always give you better bang for the buck than whatever pixie dust the emulators are selling today.

That's assuming your room is well-treated. If it's not, then that comes first. Number one on the money-to-sound quality ratio.
Old 12th August 2020
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
So you jump to the conclusion that that "digital" is to blame? How can you just ignore the possibility that it is the sound of your interface? Specifically the analog stages of your interface.

You have "really nice mics"? Where's the preamp that a really nice mic deserves? If you are looking for an upgrade to your sonic bottom line, I would say seeking "saturation" at mixdown is barking up the wrong tree.

Mics, preamps, and of course room. That's where it's at. If you want to throw money at your audio problems, at least start where it will actually make a difference.

You have been on this site for over a year. You have heard everyone say: "it's not the gear". But when they do talk about the gear, surely you have also heard them say: "treat your room" and "mics matter most" and "get at least one great preamp".



Why wouldn't it?
Let's see... $553 ÷ 8 = $69.12.

So if Focusrite was selling a box with 8 preamps in it, those preamps would need to cost them less than $69 each. But of course Focusrite needs to also include an actual audio interface, Converters, headphone amps, input and output jacks, S/PDIF, ADAT, MIDI, word clock, and metering. And of course the 8 preamps.

My guess is that leaves somewhat less per preamp than $69! Maybe more like $10?

A good outboard preamp can cost more per channel than your whole interface with 8 preamps. Not saying your interface is "bad". It actually has a decent reputation for entry-level gear. But Diminishing rReturns says that if you want that "extra 5%" you will have to pay for it.


The people who created the product say it's very good? They put it into their own manual? Well that certainly clinches it for me! But wait, isn't this emulator product 100% digital?



I got rid of my console because I decided I didn't need it. I have continued to invest in mics and preamps, however.

So you are now admitting it's your interface - and not "digital" - that is to blame? Instead of spending a lot of money on a console or analog processors, in order to fix it in the mix, why not focus on capturing tracks that need less "fixing"?

Even one or two channels of great preamp can be used again and again if you are overdubbing. Same with great mics. Very cost effective. If you want to spend money on gear, you should look to spend it where it will have the greatest impact on your sonic bottom line. That would almost certainly be mics and preamps. And you don't need 48 channels worth.

Front end will almost always give you better bang for the buck than whatever pixie dust the emulators are selling today.

That's assuming your room is well-treated. If it's not, then that comes first. Number one on the money-to-sound quality ratio.
Wow dude, you could pretty much of boiled all that down to "Yeah mate, your right" XD
Old 12th August 2020
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
So, if the interface is the “blanket”, why isn’t your first priority an interface with a sound you like? I’m not a huge fan of the Scarlett preamps, but maybe a Daking or some other brand with a reputation for vibey preamps, or an outboard preamp would give you more of what you want.
Also, you’ve said nothing about mics. Generally, mics contribute more to capture sound than preamps (or most outboard).
Yes, I'm sure your right, but the point I'm trying to make here is you can't make commercial quality record with just a £300 interface with preamps.
Old 12th August 2020
  #15
Lives for gear
It’s hard to figure what is the point or the problem. You have avoided saying anything specific about your mics. Several posters have mentioned mics as more important than interfaces or preamps. For example, an NT1a is going to sound like an NT1a, with a little plus or minus, through any preamp. If you don’t like that sound, swapping preamps or piling on analog or digital processing doesn’t transform that NT1a into a Neumann 87 or an RCA ribbon. Nor does it turn an awful recording room into Abbey Road.
Old 12th August 2020
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlamacintyre95 View Post
Yes, I'm sure your right, but the point I'm trying to make here is you can't make commercial quality record with just a £300 interface with preamps.
I'm prepared to bet you can if you know what you're doing, if the performance is up to snuff and if the room is good.

Yes, the job might be easier if you have better gear, but even a cheap and cheerful modern interface is far more capable of clear and accurate recordings than any number of things that have been used to record commercial quality releases before.

It's the oldest of cliches, but bad workmen blame their tools. Good workmen learn to work with the tools they have until they are in a position to identify and afford something better.
Old 12th August 2020
  #17
Lives for gear
I agree with adrianww. Give me the choice of talent, room, and mics; running everything through your Scarlett (recording and mixing). I could deliver audio that would compare with whatever you want to compare it to. If I could pick the engineer and producer to replace me, I’d definitely take whatever money you want to bet.

Notice that in this scenario, the engineer/producer may be the weakest link. The interface is not making mix decisions or deciding which mic sounds best on the singer. It is, even if it is near-budget, invisible in the final product.
Old 12th August 2020
  #18
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlamacintyre95 View Post
Wow dude, you could pretty much of boiled all that down to "Yeah mate, your right" XD
Actually I do not think you are "right" on a number of your points:

Quote:
I'm sure they could make something better than I could, but at the end of the day that saturation and analog vibe of real analog gear will always be missing
The preamps in your interface are "real analog gear". If the 'vibe' is missing, it's not because "digital is cold". Your preamps are 100% analog - as are all preamps everywhere. So this kind of thinking is wrong.

Is your digital Acoustica saturation plugin "cold"? If yes, why are you using it? Your extrapolation from the emulation to a real thing that you have not used is also incorrect, because you assume that you are hearing the "analog", when actually all you are hearing is the saturation. I bet I could find some clean analog gear that you would hate. I bet I could find some emulations that would fool you. Nothing wrong with gooping saturation all over everything if that is your taste. But that is not what "analog" is.

Quote:
But if you want your mix these days to contend with commercial releases SURELY you have to invest in some analog hardware mojo and I feel like we just need to admit that.
What's "wrong" here is your OP where you proposed that you should want hardware boxes or a console to insert into your tracks while you are mixing. To add some mojo after the fact onto tracks that were recorded rather plainly.

While I do sincerely believe that an improved front end will make your mixes easier, I have not heard your mixes and I have only your word for it that:
Quote:
my mixing skills are good
Everybody says that. They can't all be correct. And maybe you need to be more than just good to "compete with commercial releases". I could say my tennis skills are "good". That does not mean I can compete in a Grand Slam event.

Take your best set of tracks and send it off to a professional mix engineer. Find one who is totally ITB, which should not be that difficult these days. See what he comes back with before you say your gear is what is limiting your mixes. I know a several super-talented young musicians who are brilliant at songwriting, performing on a number of instruments and arranging. Oddly enough, most of them do not do their "own mixing".

Why? Because:

1. mixing is a specialized skill that takes a long time to develop.
2. they are ambitious young musicians who want to make their mark in the industry before they have grey hair

They have wisely decided to focus their skill set on the stuff that only they can do (music stuff) and farm out the stuff that can be farmed out (engineering stuff)

Whatever your excuses for not doing this exercise, it would put your Moan into a different perspective, IMO.
Old 13th August 2020
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by karlamacintyre95 View Post
Thanks for your replies guys,

I think i'm just venting my frustrations that I've had for years, feeling that I'm an inadequate engineer when it was actually my equipment that was holding me back (contrary to what everyone and what it seems everyone is still telling me.) my mixing skills are good and now that I've got some creamy analog saturation that isn't based off an algorithmic plugin. my workflow seems to reflect that and I'm happy with the results. If you put a world class engineer in my garage with my interface I'm sure they could make something better than I could, but at the end of the day that saturation and analog vibe of real analog gear will always be missing and at the end of the day if that's missing the cold digital signal will always turn our ears off a recording, because even if it was mixed by great engineer, the blanket of digital is always there and is alot of the difference between amateur and pro.

All the best guys, Karla.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
You would be surprised to hear songs recorded digitally.
Digital doesn't equal cold and doesn't turn our ears off. If your outcome is cold, it is not because its was recorded and mixed digitally. Bad sounding mixes turn our ears off. The medium on which it was recorded doesn't determine that
Amen

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlamacintyre95 View Post
Dude come the **** on. I've got some really nice mics and everything I record through my scarlett sounds like there's a blanket over the sound, no matter where the mics are how nice sources are or how acustically treated the room is everything sounds dull and lifeless, no matter how I change the sound using software compressors and EQs its just a different shade of **** that ultimately leaves me frustrated and unable to get ANYTHING CLOSE to a commerical recording. Then I put an impulse console emulater on it and it gives me a much better starting point. I'm not making this up, as every in Nebula manual the creators say exactly the same thing.

Come on mate, if you had just a ****ty interface like me, you'd get annoyed and you'd want all your fancy gear, because lets face it, if you didn't need it, you wouldn't have it.
If I had a good sounding control room, I’d happily mix on a cheap Focusrite interface. They’re still way better than the 888s all the 2000s pro tools records were made on!



Quote:
Originally Posted by karlamacintyre95 View Post
Yes, I'm sure your right, but the point I'm trying to make here is you can't make commercial quality record with just a £300 interface with preamps.
The UAD Twin is the #1 most popular interfaces for traveling producers.

I could show you very successful records recorded and mixed 100% on those interfaces. Sure - the people making them might be doing music you don’t like or want to make, but if you’re not recording music that requires 16+ inputs - sure you can do it on a Focusrite.

The most important thing for the engineer is the room and mics. The next is the monitoring environment (obviously the most important thing for the mixing process). Everything else, including conversion and preamps, comes after.

Personally - you’re welcome to check out my links below. I mix 100% ITB - sure, I get to record in spaces with great gear, but even when I’m mixing stuff others have recorded, I’m still mixing ITB. Tell me if you feel there’s a layer of cardboard or whatever in front of your speakers there.

Now - of course, given the choice I’d RATHER have great preamps and a high quality interface. It can make things easier. But it’s more a case of fixing the weakest link - you don’t invest tens of thousands in rooms and monitoring and then not get a comparable interface or preamps or mics or whatever.

Of course gear makes a difference - but the best can do it with anything.
Old 13th August 2020
  #20
Lives for gear
 
JayTee4303's Avatar
Four minutes for a distantly related observation.

Back in the day, bands who always heard themselves thru a noisy road desk, battered wedges and a coupla HDH stacks got themselves wowed, and amped up, stepping into a commercial room with a high end desk and a decade or so worth of noise abatement effort.

"Groove trumps gear"... and how better to achieve groove that by making musicians sound better, to themselves, than ever before?

Today... I think the difference between what a gigging act is used to, live and in bedroom studios, and a decent facility, is much smaller.

Now... if you want groove... you're going to have to generate it by methods OTHER than just relying on your great chains and studio build
Old 13th August 2020
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayTee4303 View Post
Back in the day, bands who always heard themselves thru a noisy road desk, battered wedges and a coupla HDH stacks got themselves wowed, and amped up, stepping into a commercial room with a high end desk and a decade or so worth of noise abatement effort.
That is a very interesting thought. I suspect it was sometimes true with really talented people. I think I saw that with some 80s bands.

I think somewhat the opposite effect also happened. If people were reasonably talented (but not exceptionally talented), and impressed themselves and the audience live with deafening stage volume, then the accurate detailed headphone feeds and playback in great studios could intimidate and beat down their egos. Sometimes they propped themselves up with excessive drinking and drugs, which didn’t usually result in better product.... although very rarely perhaps it did.
Old 14th August 2020
  #22
Lives for gear
As a guy who's been using less and less gear, selling gear etc, I can confirm that the producer and engineer is way more important than the gear. There's so much entry level gear and plugins that are great these days.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Head
 
Vivian Jackson's Avatar
 

Lee Perry productions 1976-1980.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vivian Jackson View Post
Lee Perry productions 1976-1980.
Meaning?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlamacintyre95 View Post
Yes, I'm sure your right, but the point I'm trying to make here is you can't make commercial quality record with just a £300 interface with preamps.
Who can't make a commercial quality record with just a £300 interface with preamps?

I can, and so can lots of people. You know, commercial releases with record label catalogue numbers and ISRC codes and listings on the usual streaming services, occasionally vinyl pressings and stuff.

It's 2020. Digital works properly. Has done for ages now. If you can't make a good sounding record with pretty much any USB audio interface and some professional grade microphones, then the problem is not the interface, and it's not likely to be your microphones either.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 
JayTee4303's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
That is a very interesting thought. I suspect it was sometimes true with really talented people. I think I saw that with some 80s bands.

I think somewhat the opposite effect also happened. If people were reasonably talented (but not exceptionally talented), and impressed themselves and the audience live with deafening stage volume, then the accurate detailed headphone feeds and playback in great studios could intimidate and beat down their egos. Sometimes they propped themselves up with excessive drinking and drugs, which didn’t usually result in better product.... although very rarely perhaps it did.
I'm sure you're right about it going the other way, too.

I'm really enjoying producing live music videos these days, which involves muti-track, one pass captures, which I have to then polish... and there's a LOT that gets by on stage that would yield "CUT.... what the hell was THAT?" in a studio.

:-)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave C View Post
Who can't make a commercial quality record with just a £300 interface with preamps?

I can, and so can lots of people.
I think some of that depends on what, exactly, you're recording. Some sources are much more of a challenge than others, and bad recordings of them are more obviously bad.

Billie and Finneas, doing what they do, can make the kind of record they make in their bedrooms. But invite a violinist over and let's see what they come up with.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Brent, I don't disagree with you!

But, I have recorded a lot of violins. Sometimes using cheap equipment. Listening experience and mic choice and placement were always the most important thing. That's probably more true in a less than optimal acoustic space too!

I think that, for example, even an acoustic ensemble can be well recorded with a decent pair of mics and pretty much any 2 input interface. Mic choice, pattern and placement will have the greatest impact on the outcome. Obviously you can't multi mic a drum kit with two inputs - but you can get a good stereo image out of it!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Lives for gear
I have recorded a few violins. I have attempted to track down and destroy those recordings.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
That is a very interesting thought. I suspect it was sometimes true with really talented people. I think I saw that with some 80s bands.

I think somewhat the opposite effect also happened. If people were reasonably talented (but not exceptionally talented), and impressed themselves and the audience live with deafening stage volume, then the accurate detailed headphone feeds and playback in great studios could intimidate and beat down their egos. Sometimes they propped themselves up with excessive drinking and drugs, which didn’t usually result in better product.... although very rarely perhaps it did.
I remember listening to a band in the club and they were super-loud but I thought they were OK. Then I went outside and heard them through the walls - at a much reduced volume - and I was able to hear how badly out of tune the singing was. The sheer volume masked their issues.

I find similar things with drummers tuning (or rather failing to tune) their drums. At rehearsal volumes, it seems fine.
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