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Why most recording engineers suck... Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 2nd August 2008
  #1
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Why most recording engineers suck...

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
Old 2nd August 2008
  #2
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tracktension's Avatar
 

most recording engineers suck!

LOL !!!

And this is why i dont think i have the right to charge anyone that wants me to record them.i used to play , but my new job made me move to savannah georgia and i cant find anyone to play with , so i hook up with whoever i can find to record and at least stay in the music scene.otherwise i'de go nuts.so with my lack of experience people get a o.k. recording of a song they dont want to pay for anyway and most of the time the musicians and the song sucks.so , they play crap , i record like crap , they get a free crap demo...everyone wins.

other then that , i'm very new at this and have very little equipment or experience .i went to school at the dallas sound lab , but that was not very detailed teaching in my opinion.i left feeling that i SHOULD know more. i havent been able to find any kind of intern type positions around here to get anymore knowledge.

soooo....yes , i cannot be a musician at the moment and i like to record , i hope one day i'll get better at both .
Old 2nd August 2008
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Oh, I get it. So your band can't play or write good songs and your instruments sound like crap, so you're blaming your awful sounding record on the engineer!

Nothing new here.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #4
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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
Lotsa bluff and bluster! The mid to high and high end studios continue to make all the great records you and your friends consume, if you have little experience with them it's probably because you're running with the turkeys, not that there's anything wrong with that, there's obviously way more amateurs out there than pros and low end pros (yes even those with Neve/SSL) may indeed not offer much more than a talented home guy, but can still offer something useful to those less talented than yourself.

No offense, but you come across like an amateur musician/engineer so it would be prudent to be aware of your place in the food chain, you never know, maybe one day your music will be good enough that someone will provide the "outrageous" funds it takes to make you "outrageously" rich and famous ....... c'mon, that's what you dream about right?
Old 2nd August 2008
  #5
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JordanA's Avatar
 

Quote:
being a musician gives my ear the musical training that most engineers would only dream to have.
I have been a musician my whole life. I play many instruments (not just guitar, bass and drums like everyone else). Being an engineer has actually made my ear far advanced in hearing music than playing 8 instruments fluently has ever made me.

I do agree people should know that just because there is a Neve that they won't get great results. After all recording is capturing. If it sounds like crap while being played it will sound like crap on the recording.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #6
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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
Thank you for the "warning". Go immediately to my ignore list. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #7
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ah, good....i needed a bit of entertainment this afternoon.

carry on with the thread....i expect some amusing stuff.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #8
I call troll. Don't feed him you guys.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #9
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Sk106's Avatar
 

I think audio/media engineering really is serious technical profession that requires specific skills that takes years, sometimes decades, to develop. A skillset and an art that I respect very much and that no musician, only partially into recording, can even touch.

I once had an engineering guy listen to a song through a couple of earplugs from an MP3 player, and his comment was to try and adjust this like that and that like this – some of the comments were about the deep bass, which cannot be heard through small earplugs. Back home, I tried his suggestions, and it was like opening up a window to the music. I asked him later how he could possibly have detected and known that, listening through $5 earplugs. He couldn’t explain it at first, he said you got to practice your listening just like you train an instrument, or reading music, or your scent and taste to be a chief blender at a respected brandy distillery. It takes about 5 years of intense training to be able to detect the incredibly subtle nuances of scent and taste for that.

But after thinking about it, he said he heard it from listening to what he did hear. He told me astronomers can see if a really distant star has planets orbiting around it, even though they cannot see the planets themselves. They do this, by looking at the light of the star itself. If it’s got planets orbiting, those planets gravity sort of wobbles the star around just a slight bit and that causes the light from the star to fluctuate, pulsate in a regular frequency. Similarly, he couldn’t hear the deep bass, but he knew the effects a misused deep bass of a certain kind had on the phase, and upper frequencies etc. So, when he listened, he knew that what sounded a bit strange or odd with the sound, was caused by something he couldn’t hear through the earplugs.

I’ve used this guy as an engineer quite a bit through the years. He’s got the hearing of a dog, like when he listened - through bad speakers - to a song I made using the VSL orchestra sampling library and told me all of VSL's asmples has got an aliasing problem 14-16 khz due to bad downsampling. He has the understanding of what causes the desired and undesired and knows all the principles, gear, trends and standards of the times. It’s a god’s gift. And most of all, he knows to never ever step in over the musician’s area of things. The most he does is to drop quick and swift suggestions and impressions, and leaves it at that without expecting a response back. He knows he's there to record that which sounds, not to make it sound different/better.

I can definitely relate to “Most recording engineers are failed musicians. As a musician, I have very little respect for recording engineers”. At times, you walk into a studio, and suddenly you find yourself in kindof someone else's territory, where they are going to use your music to make THEIR recording and mix from. At worst, they barely look at you, just shove you in the room and don’t communicate, assuming that you have absolutely no idea about anything at all. They told you they want you to set up your instrument in the studio 2 days in advance (so they can tweak it to save themselves from your lame efforts) and tell you to remember to bring fresh drumheads and oil you pedals. Well, duh! At times you sit there behinds your instrument, rolling your thumbs waiting for 10-20 mins, watching them being hyperactive behind the glass, trying things, routing things, listening, discussing .. just treat you like they have to make something useful out of you, and if you can’t deliver what they need to make you useful then you’ll be patronized, like you’re a cardigan-wearing farmerboy who just entered a metropolitan super-gay makeover room.

Like I said, I think audio/media engineering really is serious technical profession that requires specific skills that takes years or decades to develop. It’s a pity that there are so few of those who really bother to. They can’t really be interested in developing those skills; they really must be aiming for other goals than engineering skills – perhaps becoming a John Mutt Lange musical producer? Who knows. But as long as engineers butt in on instrumental sound- and musical decisions, there will be social problems. There always has been. I have almost never seen a musician tell an engineer his job, I wish they would do the same for us.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Sounds like you used the wrong guy for your project. Did you not hear his stuff beforehand? The experience you are describing usually does not happen with someone whose work you already know you like.

How many engineers have you worked with to come up with this sweeping generalization that most recording engineers suck?

I don't mean to rush to the defense of the Gearslutz community, but you have chosen a rather provocative, pissy 1st post...perhaps leading people to think you just like to stir **** up to sit back and watch the storm...nobody likes that.

If you actually have something constructive to share, then pardon my intrusion.

Old 2nd August 2008
  #11
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Kronos147's Avatar
Rather than dwell on the negatives and the troll factor...

The relationship between artist and engineer is an important one. I often get callers concerned more with costs than anything else. I usually suggest that they call Studio Referral Service and find another studio.

The same goes for me the other way, I meet many of my extremely talented artists through my other extremely talented friends and my equally talented studio partner. At that point, it is they assessing me and our room.

I am usually willing to give those people a free tracking day or maybe we just set up tracks for fun and they jam for a while. When they hear what I play back, it is then they decide if they like me and my room.

If they didn't like it, I would expect it to end right there. The same should go for the OP or "Band Y" going to "Studio X". You have to be assessing the whole time. If you first tracks sound like ass, say so. If the engineer "has OCD" and argues, leave. If he tries something else and it is worse, give him one more shot. If it still is not right, LEAVE!

Recording is a collaborative process. I don't think it is fair to just say the engineer sucks if the project came out poorly, as there are too many other variables to just blame the engineer, and again, if it sucked, why did the band stay?
Old 2nd August 2008
  #12
Here for the gear
 

This issue is about money just as much as anything else. Don't get me wrong... I have a lot of respect for the big guys that have brought all the great records I know and love into the light. George Martin, Mike Clink, Eddie Kramer, Bob Rock and Flemming Rassmussen are some of my favorites. However, these hokey start up studios that have popped up all over the world are really something else. What I can say as a musician and engineer to up and coming bands is that if it's not a place like Ocean Way or Abbey Road, be afraid... be very affraid! Unless you are in the presence of a producer or someone who has made great records with great bands you love... don't waste your money!
Old 2nd August 2008
  #13
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dhiltonlittle's Avatar
 

moan zoan
Old 2nd August 2008
  #14
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T_R_S's Avatar
Which is better ?
A jack of all trades and a master at none

A specialist at his craft.

The best sessions I have works have included the following...

The Musician
The Producer
The Engineer
The Assistant

If you think one person can do all that tell me,
I have never met one in 30 years of recording.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #15
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plexisys's Avatar
 

aaaahhhhh maybe polishing a turd is a futile effort.

I don't think I've ever heard a band take responsibility for a bad album but it was their sheer genius for a great album. It was always the engineer/producers/labels/my dogs&cats fault.

That being said, at least we will have an entertaining thread for a day or two.


.......lights cigarette and sits back to watch......
Old 2nd August 2008
  #16
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travisbrown's Avatar
This is my new favourite thread

Who do you think created a new account just to post this?
Old 2nd August 2008
  #17
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FreshSkweez's Avatar
 

Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackened View Post
Most recording engineers are failed musicians.
Blackened
Dude! fuuck Most musicians are undereducated engineers! heh

As to egos... You spend your day playing progressions and I do juggling frequencies. You take pride in what you do and so do I.

I'll help you
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackened View Post
in the mixdown, enhance the vision of the musician in the recorded medium
but don't come to me with disrespect or nothing's gonna get 'enhanced'.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #18
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
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.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #19
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stafs's Avatar
 

Dude, if You're an musician AND engineer, how did You let that happen? There's only two ways:

1. You are bad musician, and, believe me - it's impossible to record ok a bad musician.
2. You are bad engineer.

or maybe both?

Old 2nd August 2008
  #20
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Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackened View Post
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.
Yeah Modern times the Beatles have not been both.
So this is a problem musicians today think they can be good engineers too.
In another thread I just claimed I wish I could only concentrate on music because this way I was trained.
The engineering thing came to me with the DAWs thing.

Guess what it holds me away from being a musician but saves me a lot of money.
By the way the eartraining what an engineer does is totally different from the one what a musician does. So you are very wrong with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackened View Post
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 just can tell you that you are wrong again.
The Beatles worked nearly with one egineer togther because they loved what he did.
May the engineers that you have worked with delivered less as something what satisfied you...but may this also is a problem of your arrogant attitude which is going to poison the atmosphere during a session. You have to trust the engineer it s his main job he knows what he does. If you always think you can do it better as he does this would be a serious conflict during a session. But if you trust him you can work together and bring it to an happy end.

Your Job is being the musician and nothing else.....so trust a Studio that they know what they do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackened View Post
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
Before I would go with a band into the Studio I would look and talk with the people which are working there and what they did in the past.
By the way 5000$ for recording and mixing is not much what do you expect for it?

So very arrogant to say that all engineers are faild musicians.
And more arrogant is to think that you can do both better, music and engineering I guess you are the producer too.
I can tell you I am a muscian too and I would be happy if I could have the talent like CLA or Pensado etc...
But you know these guys have been in Studios since their early days and they play the mixing desk like some one his piano.

To think to be an real enginner because you own PT is a big mistake.
Or would you call someone who owns a Steinway "Horowitz"?


BOOM........
Old 2nd August 2008
  #21
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

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.
same here.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #22
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stafs's Avatar
 

P.S. But yes - there are some bad engineers too .
Old 2nd August 2008
  #23
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Spookym15's Avatar
 

I think it is interesting that someone with 2 posts can post something like this. They are probably about 20 years old making beats in their parents basement. I dont think most engineers are failed musicians. I gave up playing live because I don't care for the road trips. I got two record offers back in my last band and we passed on both (for good reason). I love engineering, and sure I have an ego. I need to have one.

Where is this guy from? What life experience can he really weigh in on? I dont think I have ever met a band that is able to mix their own record with no help. Keep thinking what youve been thinking Blackened and I am sure some students right out of full sail or SAE will join ya ( pretty much any school, those are the two on my mind).
Old 2nd August 2008
  #24
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Sk106's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
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.
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
Old 2nd August 2008
  #25
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk106 View Post
I rest my case
thumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
Old 2nd August 2008
  #26
Gear Addict
 

I think SEs definately need to have more musical knowledge/experience than musicians need to have recording/technical knowledge when its studio time.

yup, there are black sheep among both.

Bad engineers are not worth the money and bad musicians are not worth a listen.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #27
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Sk106's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neon Heart View Post
I think SEs definately need to have more musical knowledge/experience than musicians need to have recording/technical knowledge when its studio time.

yup, there are black sheep among both.

Bad engineers are not worth the money and bad musicians are not worth a listen.
thumbsup
Old 2nd August 2008
  #28
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spookym15 View Post
I think it is interesting that someone with 2 posts can post something like this. They are probably about 20 years old making beats in their parents basement. I dont think most engineers are failed musicians. I gave up playing live because I don't care for the road trips. I got two record offers back in my last band and we passed on both (for good reason). I love engineering, and sure I have an ego. I need to have one.

Where is this guy from? What life experience can he really weigh in on? I dont think I have ever met a band that is able to mix their own record with no help. Keep thinking what youve been thinking Blackened and I am sure some students right out of full sail or SAE will join ya ( pretty much any school, those are the two on my mind).
Indeed - but in reality the "engineers" he's referring to don't really make a living out of it! Earnings are a pretty good separator of the men from the boys in this game. cuz if you suck, you won't suck professionally for very long!!
Old 2nd August 2008
  #29
Gear Addict
 

I just read SAE in one of the posts above.

Don't wanna cause trouble but the SAE program takes the **** out of their students. It's a big waste of money and time. at least in Germany.
Old 2nd August 2008
  #30
Moderator
 
narcoman'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.
Blackened

oh - and i just thought I'd add, knobhead. Since you didn't qualify it with "bad recording engineers". You just tarred everyone - and that is why YOU'LL fail.
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