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Why most recording engineers suck... Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 2nd August 2008
  #31
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUElightCory View Post
I call troll. Don't feed him you guys.
+1 thumbsupthumbsup
Old 2nd August 2008
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spookym15 View Post
I think it is interesting that someone with 2 posts can post something like this.
Dude, it's just someone who created a new account just to post something that would get a rise out of everyone.

It's like walking into a Texas rodeo and saying, "you guys are all gay."
Old 2nd August 2008
  #33
I don't know a single engineer that is a failed musician. More often than not, the individual was quite good at both and had to choose a preference; my own career as a musician has taken a back seat (although not come to a halt by any means) to my engineering because, for me and many others, there simply isn't enough time to work as a professional doing both. That said, all the engineers I know that manage to make time to also work as musicians are quite successful at both, typically working seasonally or engineering by day and gigging at night.

I also know a lot more working professional musicians that utterly suck than working professional engineers that utterly suck.

Either way, when I'm working on the musician's side of the glass, I'd much rather have a failed musician engineering my record than an engineer with no musical background at all...


Blackened - The title of the thread was intriguing - if not obviously inflammatory - to say the least, although I'm not sure you've explained WHY you think recording engineers suck. You've simply stated that they do. I'd love some further analysis.

As for the issue of musicians feeling their record doesn't sound up to par, there's a simple answer to that: musicians are cheap, or at least, poor judges of finance. Plus they're incapable of realistic self-judgement. It gives them the confidence to perform on stage, but really ****s them (and guys like me!) in the studio. They rarely book themselves enough time to make a proper record; they often expect that either they are more capable than they are (ie - they don't realize they can't play worth a damn) or they expect that everything can be fixed by the engineer. They book inferior studios to save a measly hundred bucks a day, skimp on mix time, and have their buddy "master" it in his apartment.

This is why hiring a producer is so important. Of course, producers cost money...

Come to think of it, the only times I've ever had a client complain about ANY of the records I've worked on - be it tracking, mixing, or producing - is when the material has left my hands and landed in the hands of an amateur or a band member's friend or some such nonsense to save a few bucks. The reality is that quality costs. It costs the time of the musicians practicing to be able to play their parts, it costs the band in booking a realistic amount of studio time, and it costs to hire the right mix engineer and the right mix room. Not to mention a proper mastering job and even replication.

Again, this is why hiring a producer is so important. Of course, producers cost money...

And it seems to me that the only musicians that don't understand that are the complete and utter amateur rookies, and the miserable old failed ones.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
Interesting thoughts Blackened.

Unfortunately I spend most of my day correcting bad musicians.
If more musicians would practice more and learn their instruments better, my job would be a helluva lot easier.

Drummers that can't play in time.
Bass players with bad tone and no bottom end.
Guitar players that can't tune properly.
String players with bad intonation.

If you are going to be a pro on either side of the glass, you've got to step up and bring your A Game.
Some of this is very true . . . BUT at the same time, engineers / producers who auto correct / auto tune / put everything on the beat / copy and paste / sound replace etc etc . . . have created an atmosphere for many to NOT woodshed with their instruments. They don't HAVE to practice anymore!

If people can't play, or they want me to do all that crap, I tell them not to come here. Personally I track mostly to tape though I also have a PT HD2 Accel (is that how I am suppose to say it?) . . but I feel this is one of the issues, people are so used to having engineers / producers correct everything in a computer. Sure we splice some tape in the old days (still do), but all this computer editing has created a scenario of half assed musicians. PLUS, many engineers producers correct things when they shouldn't. Let it move and breathe! Let there be some humanness.

The days of guys making records who do not know where middle C is on a keyboard started with sequencers / samplers and computers (for the most part). And the producers / engineers soon followed. Now it is out of hand. Don't forget videos turned the business away from musicians and gave us so called 'stars'. Pretty sad to think some A&R guy may not sign Joplin or Hendrix today because they may not be "video ready".

I'm amazed at how many people call here looking for a job who say they have years of experience as a producer / engineer who have never mic'd a drum kit or piano. They are midi and computer or PTs technicians, not a recording engineers per se. So all this 'ease of use' and computers has created some real half assed stuff all around in many areas. The 1000s of guys who open up little basement studios would must likely not have done so if they had to buy a console, a 2 inch machine, outboard gear, a piano, amps etc etc and have some abilities as a musician. But amp farm or sound replacer or sampled instruments etc etc rather then getting the real things and learning how to use them. So I understand 'somewhat' what the original poster is saying.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
Dude, it's just someone who created a new account just to post something that would get a rise out of everyone.

It's like walking into a Texas rodeo and saying, "you guys are all gay."
"Hey, wanna fight?"

"Them's fightin' words!"

*brawl ensues*

hehBest Simpsons gag ever.heh
Old 2nd August 2008
  #36
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
I think someone just wants to see us freaking out.
Anyway maybe it is the best not to answer anymore....

I have to learn to stay more cool if arrogant people like this post here.
Bad reaction what i wrote there ....the best is to show NO reaction.thumbsup
Old 2nd August 2008
  #37
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I credit my band director and my years of playing trombone for helping me develop not only my ears, but my understanding of what great performances feel like...

Ken Paul
kengineering
KENGINEERING.COM
myspace.com/kengineeringchicago
Old 2nd August 2008
  #38
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Quote:
It's like walking into a Texas rodeo and saying, "you guys are all gay."
You mean they aren't? My world lays shattered.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #39
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winvbass's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackened View Post
Most recording engineers are failed musicians. As a musician, I have very little respect for recording engineers. The field of audio engineering is a field that should have no ego. That is a job for musicians. A matter of fact, engineering is a job well suited for a musician. I am both an engineer and musician, and being a musician gives my ear the musical training that most engineers would only dream to have.

The problem here is that engineers charge a lot of money merely to do something they enjoy, and most engineers deliver less than satisfactory results. This is the reason for the explosion of everybody and their mother having a Pro Tools rig. What musician would want to deal with some screwball engineer when for the most part, we would be better off just doing it ourselves?

The job of the engineer is to record the musician, and in the mixdown, enhance the vision of the musician in the recorded medium. As a musician, dealing with audio engineers is almost always a waste of time and money. The prices studios charge are outrageous. If most studios could deliver a great product at a reasonable price, then that would be one thing, but the truth is most studios can't.

I offer up a scenario. Band X goes into Studio Waste A Lot to record said album. Band X spends five thousand dollars in studio time tracking, and after mixdown they are unhappy with the results. Studio Waste A Lot says the mix is great, and the recording is great. What recourse does band X have. Court? Na probably not.

So, bands need to be very weary of all studios and flakey engineers. Most engineers suffer from extreme OCD. I'm saying that seriously. Also, I believe that after all is said and done, musicians should never assume that just because a studio has an SSL or Neve that they will get good results. Why do I say this? Well let's just say i've lived it.

Blackened
Wow Blackened. You're so right. I am just a failed musician. Who am i trying to kid. I'll sell all my kit now and quit. Thank you for clearing this up for me man, you are my hero.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winvbass View Post
Wow Blackened. You're so right. I am just a failed musician. Who am i trying to kid. I'll sell all my kit now and quit. Thank you for clearing this up for me man, you are my hero.
LOL!
Old 2nd August 2008
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackened View Post
Most recording engineers are failed musicians. As a musician, I have very little respect for recording engineers. The field of audio engineering is a field that should have no ego. That is a job for musicians. A matter of fact, engineering is a job well suited for a musician. I am both an engineer and musician, and being a musician gives my ear the musical training that most engineers would only dream to have.

The problem here is that engineers charge a lot of money merely to do something they enjoy, and most engineers deliver less than satisfactory results. This is the reason for the explosion of everybody and their mother having a Pro Tools rig. What musician would want to deal with some screwball engineer when for the most part, we would be better off just doing it ourselves?

The job of the engineer is to record the musician, and in the mixdown, enhance the vision of the musician in the recorded medium. As a musician, dealing with audio engineers is almost always a waste of time and money. The prices studios charge are outrageous. If most studios could deliver a great product at a reasonable price, then that would be one thing, but the truth is most studios can't.

I offer up a scenario. Band X goes into Studio Waste A Lot to record said album. Band X spends five thousand dollars in studio time tracking, and after mixdown they are unhappy with the results. Studio Waste A Lot says the mix is great, and the recording is great. What recourse does band X have. Court? Na probably not.

So, bands need to be very weary of all studios and flakey engineers. Most engineers suffer from extreme OCD. I'm saying that seriously. Also, I believe that after all is said and done, musicians should never assume that just because a studio has an SSL or Neve that they will get good results. Why do I say this? Well let's just say i've lived it.

Blackened
Most musicians are failed musicians. And usually the ones who try to blame their failure on engineers are the most failed ones of all.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #42
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Sk106's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by colinmiller View Post
Most musicians are failed musicians. And usually the ones who try to blame their failure on engineers are the most failed ones of all.
Sounds about right, but what kinda nutcase would blame the engineer if all he did was to make a true recording of the performance?
Old 2nd August 2008
  #43
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I think he makes a few valid points, regarding the unknown. I remember being in high school and spending what to us was a lot of money (I think $800, in 1987) to get a recording that was less than we'd hoped for. But, in the end it was our own fault. We had sort of mediocre gear, we hadn't heard anything the studio had done previously, we tried to do about 15 songs in 2 days. It wasn't that bad for a bunch of 17 year old kids, but your hopes are often higher than your reach, especially when you're young. As a professional, I do everything possible to make sure the band is getting what they want. And so far, at least judging by my client retention rate, I'm doing well. I offer every band a 100% money back guarantee. If at the end of the day, they aren't 100% happy, I delete the tracks, and they go home, no charge. It's never actually happened, but I make that offer. I constantly ask about their vision, what they're going for, how they feel about how it's going. It is the band's record after all, I'll make another one with someone else tomorrow or next week. They may live with it for two years before recording again.

Now regarding the OP; making blanket statements is always a bad idea. But both honey and **** gather flies, I guess.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #44
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It's probably already been said but I didn't feel like reading all of the follow up posts. I find one thing very ironic with this "musician's" post. Recording engineers shouldn't get paid because we're doing something we enjoy or something to that affect. Well I'm here to say that musicians shouldn't get paid for the exact same reason. Good logic there buddy. Stupid trolls.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #45
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Bierce85's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
Interesting thoughts Blackened.
While I suspect you're probably just trolling on a Saturday afternoon, I will say this:

Unfortunately I spend most of my time lately correcting bad musicianship.
If more musicians would practice more and learn their instruments better, my job would be a helluva lot easier.

Drummers that can't play in time.
Bass players with bad tone and no bottom end.
Guitar players that can't tune properly.
String players with bad intonation.

If you are going to be a pro on either side of the glass, you've got to step up and bring your A Game.
well said! (I really look like a Tony Sheppard fanboy here with my signature)


Anyway, to blackened:

your post is completely riddled with stereotypes and generalizations. That alone discredits it in my mind without even going into the numerous other reasons you're wrong.

You pretty much sound like a bitter failed musician yourself, and if that's not the case, you're definitely at least a little immature for starting a thread that appears to have no intention besides pissing off 99% of the gearslutz board.

You're absolutely right about a good portion of the people who are out there recording right now, but those people are just fly by night hacks who will never do anything anyone considers notable. Cream rises and those who actually have talent at this gig wind up recording those who actually have talent musically and there's no denying either side.

Oh and a quick tip:

Joining a large message forum and saying things like "I am both an engineer and musician, and being a musician gives my ear the musical training that most engineers would only dream to have." makes you sound like an unaccomplished headcase with nothing to do all day but try to make yourself out to be great to people you'll never have to actually meet or prove yourself to.

I've got news for you, there's lots of accomplished and talented people on this forum and they don't waste their time **** talking everyone else.

Peace
Old 2nd August 2008
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk106 View Post
I rest my case
That's like a photographer saying that retouching a family photo in photoshop MUST be done, because he thinks the people in the picture are ugly

No, it isn't, because the people Tony is correcting attempted to play it correctly in the first place and failed. They are paying Tony to fix it, not just capture it.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #47
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One point in regard to engineers having to deal with lousy musicians...

the difference is that the musicians are usually PAYING the engineer...(and the OP makes a good point about getting your money back...who here is giving money back if the customer isn't satisfied? EDIT: John Suitcase gives a 100% money back guarantee!! Anybody else?)

if the engineer was PAYING the musicians (and paying for the whole session as opposed to getting payed), I'm sure he would be VERY upset if they didn't do a decent job...

of course, he would probably do his best to find out how good they are BEFORE hiring them...get recommendations, listen to demos or what have you...

still, **** happens....

so buyer beware (or DIY).
Old 2nd August 2008
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk106 View Post
I rest my case
That's like a photographer saying that retouching a family photo in photoshop MUST be done, because he thinks the people in the picture are ugly
I love how people think making up an analogy makes them right. Fixing a noticeably bad performance makes sure that nothing jumps out at the listener as "wrong" when they hear it. That's why we do it. I'm pretty sure most families are well aware of what everyone in their family looks like.

And go ahead and try to make the point about getting it right in tracking.. see how well that works when you've got a drummer who is hellbent on getting everything done quickly then blames you after the recording is done for the audible mistakes. Hmm... all the sudden beat detective doesn't seem so bad, does it?
Old 2nd August 2008
  #49
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I have to agree.
When I was in bands in the early 80's and recorded a lot Maybe 2 out of 10 engineers had a clue.

But to be fair maybe, the 8 that sucked just didn't have a clue about the type of music I played. Which of course was metal back then.

In Boston back then, not one engineer had a clue about metal/punk/hardcore. But nowadays I think it's the opposite. I think there are plenty of great metal/underground/heavy rock engineers. But now it's tough to find someone who really knows how to make a huge melodic record. It's all alternative, pop and metal crap here now.

So I don't actually think all engineers suck I just think all engineers suck at 'something'. Just hope your music is not that something. So do your research. Most Engineers have blinders on. They only excel at what THEY like. If you are into huge production like me and you go to an engineer who likes 'the killers' or 'radiohead' your **** out of luck. There is a 75% change he will not do your stuff justice and it will sound thin and boring.

I used to have engineers fill out a questionnaire before I would work with them back then. I used to ask them if they heard of labels like Combat and Metal Blade and producers like Brian Slagel or Alex Perialas. If they said no I would move on and find someone who was on the same page. Unfortunately
I had to go out of state to find competent engineers back then.

But again to be fair. If you came into my studio and your band sounded cheezy like coldplay or some other crap like rascall flatts you can bet I wouldn't do your type of music justice cuz I wouldn't be in to it or even want to produce something with no substance. Though I could if the $$$ was right and I wasn't too turned off that day.

So find an engineer who respects you and your musical vision and hire them and then they won't suck.
Let's face it, you're not gonna hire Trevor Horn or Eddie Offford to produce/engineer a Slayer record. But on the flipside you're not gonna hire Rick Rubin or Brian Slagel to produce a Yes record.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #50
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
I have to agree.
When I was in bands in the early 80's and recorded a lot Maybe 2 out of 10 engineers had a clue.

But to be fair maybe the 8 that sucked just didn't have a clue about the type of music I played. Which of course was metal back then.

In Boston back then not one engineer had a clue about metal/punk/hardcore.
But nowadays I think it's the opposite. I think there are plenty of great
metal/heavy rock engineers. But now it's tough to find someone who really knows how to make a huge melodic record. It's all alternative and metal crap here now.

So I don't actually think all engineers suck I just think all engineers suck at 'something'. Just hope your music is not that something. So do your research. Most Engineers have blinders on. They only excel at what THEY like. If you are into huge production like me and you go to an engineers who like 'the killers' or 'radiohead' your **** out of luck. there is a 75% change they will not do your stuff justice and it will sound thin and boring.

I used to have engineers fill out a questionnaire before I would work with them
back then. I used to ask them if they heard of labels like Combat and Metal Blade.
and producers like Brian Slagel or Alex Perialas. If they said no I would move on
Thats what I meant with speaking first with the engineer before beginning with the work. If the engineer is not having a single PUNK/HARDOCRE/METAL experience in his career why would you going to work with him?

So I would pick one who is great at it....what are booklets for?.
True engineers show you their references and that gives you a picture what they like and have done in the past.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #51
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I Guess Blackend got tired of poking the animals at the zoo with a pointy stick. I have an old girlfriend I like to piss off. I'll send you her number..

Great read though. I haven't laughed that much in awhile...
Old 2nd August 2008
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colinmiller View Post
Most musicians are failed musicians. And usually the ones who try to blame their failure on engineers are the most failed ones of all.
Well said.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plexisys View Post
You mean they aren't? My world lays shattered.
So this isn't the gay rodeo.

Uh. Then. Ignore the assless chaps!

Rawhide!
Old 2nd August 2008
  #54
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While the OP was a bit clumsy perhaps, I don't know why anyone would be offended (unless what he says applies to them).

There are threads day in and day out with generalizations about how musicians and music these days suck (I bet there are as many musicians who could take offense on these boards as there are engineers).

And, also, people (engineers) not only blame the musicians but also blame digital and other tools for the lousy sound of today's music.

There's a lot of blame going 'round!
Old 3rd August 2008
  #55
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And finally some people see the light. This post was not meant to offend anyone, and if it did offend you, which obviously was like 99% fo you, then you most likely are one of those talentless engineers i'm talking about.

As proven by this thread, most engineers think they are true Mozart's of their time, though maybe just not recognized yet. Musicians are usually more humble. Engineers think they are the gateway to a band seeing their vision become reality. Unfortunately, this is true in some respects.

As a test, the other day I offered up the master tracks to one of my songs, and from it I received several mixes. Five engineers downloaded the tracks, which I chose a notoriously difficult song and track off my album, which at this point is irrelevant. Not to my surprise, every one of the mixes was out of balance, lacked definition, and though one showed promise, all we're ultimately not useable.

Also, the asshole that moderate's these threads took down the thread, citing that it was not cool to post my own band's tracks to get remixed by our brilliant community of jackass engineers. One ignorant toolbag actually said "It sounds like this guy is trying to get free mixdowns!" Ha if I could be so lucky!

Take it for what it's worth. This just goes to just prove that if you want something done right, just do it yourself. Which is what I did. And I did'nt even get into what I went through with mastering!

Most engineers think they are brilliant for being able to push up some faders, turn some knobs and route audio. Give me a break. It was Eddie Kramers privilege to work with Hendrix, and Martin's to work with The Beatles!

Blackened

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/images/smilies/piss2.gif
Old 3rd August 2008
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackened View Post
every one of the mixes was out of balance, lacked definition, and though one showed promise, all we're ultimately not useable.

This just goes to just prove that if you want something done right, just do it yourself. Which is what I did. And I did'nt even get into what I went through with mastering!
Are you for real?

Tracking , Mix and Mastering engineers suck now?

Be happy with your mixes bro' - unless you can afford Sterling, the Alge's or Michael Brauer, - I've a feeling they would probably mess up too though eh.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackened View Post
This post was not meant to offend anyone,
Riiiight.

Quote:
As proven by this thread, most engineers think they are true Mozart's of their time,
I was unaware this thread proved most engineers consider themselves a mozart of their time.

Quote:
Also, the asshole that moderate's these threads took down the thread, citing that it was not cool to post my own band's tracks to get remixed by our brilliant community of jackass engineers. One ignorant toolbag actually said "It sounds like this guy is trying to get free mixdowns!" Ha if I could be so lucky!
There we go! The grudge comes out. But you didn't mean to offend any of us, right?

Quote:
This just goes to just prove that if you want something done right, just do it yourself.
You're right, I should just let the metal band down the street use their USB microphone to make that demo they want to show to the record label...

Quote:
And I did'nt even get into what I went through with mastering!
Awww... did the mastering guy tell you your **** sounded terrible?

Quote:
Most engineers think they are brilliant for being able to push up some faders, turn some knobs and route audio. Give me a break. It was Eddie Kramers privilege to work with Hendrix, and Martin's to work with The Beatles!
Sounds like someone's never worked with a real pro. Big surprise... Like I said earlier, talent attracts talent.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #58
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I believe that its mostly in the world of rap and hip hop where this phenomenon exists.
Most of them really dont know the terminology associated with proper engineering and they usually have extremely inflated and unfounded egos.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randall View Post
Waters! You got a new IP address we have missed you around here
You mean Walters? Sure sounds like him.
Old 3rd August 2008
  #60
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Jackie Moon's Avatar
This either is a bored GS, or a guy that expect the "black album" sound or whatever when they book a week of studio time...
either way that truly was an amazing post with way too much food for my thoughts...

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