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Everybody's an engineer!
Old 6th October 2011
  #1
Registered User
 

Everybody's an engineer!

Ahhh...the moan zone...exactly where I belong.

Seems like the transition here on GS is almost complete- the studio owners are gone and the home recordists have taken over. Why moan?

Because it means that either no one can HEAR the difference between a pro mix and an amateur mix, or that no one cares. I'm not talking about the myriad of excuses why someone would not go to a real studio, or the very apparent and rampant misunderstanding that all studios are posh and cost prohibitive, but just the skill to hear HOW FAR OFF (or how abused!) most of these home recordings are.

Perhaps no one is actually comparing their mixes to pro mixes.

And as much as I love excuses, the simple fact is that the overall sound quality of recorded music will suffer.

Now...here comes the flood of defensive amateur recordists to say WHY they do it. I know why you do it- I know ALL of the reasons...I've heard them time and time again.

The fact remains that the sonics are not there, despite whatever it is that you think you're gaining.

Told you I belonged in the moan zone...
Old 6th October 2011
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
roman manlord's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
Because it means that either no one can HEAR the difference between a pro mix and an amateur mix, or that no one cares.

Count me as someone who doesn't care. Some of my favorite recordings, though recorded by pros at the time, are pretty far from what would be considered pro today. Those recordings are now considered legendary. And what's great is we can now spend less than a grand and buy everything we need to make recordings that, sound quality wise, are superior to those legendary recordings.

Now, the only limitation is talent.
Old 6th October 2011
  #3
Ok, now let's hear some of your work.
Old 6th October 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by roman manlord View Post
Count me as someone who doesn't care. Some of my favorite recordings, though recorded by pros at the time, are pretty far from what would be considered pro today.
+1000. There were bad recordings in the past, and will be bad recordings in the future but music is powerful and will always transcend the documentation. Certainly strive for the best record of a performance, but don't worry that the sky is falling.
Old 6th October 2011
  #5
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roman manlord View Post
Count me as someone who doesn't care.
Now, the only limitation is talent.
Well, obviously everybody cares to a degree.

Take the song at the end of your post- that could be super cool with an upright bass and clarinet, and more of a live feel with some guidance on the vocal delivery. But you settled for what you were able to do at home (by yourself, I assume). You got it done...but it could be so much better. Doesn't that matter?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveE View Post
Ok, now let's hear some of your work.
I'm not an engineer.
Old 6th October 2011
  #6
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral View Post
Certainly strive for the best record of a performance, but don't worry that the sky is falling.
There's the contradiction- the first part spoken like a good engineer- striving for the best, the second part spoken like a musician who doesn't quite have the engineering skills to make that happen.
Old 6th October 2011
  #7
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Sinewave's Avatar
 

Quote:
Because it means that either no one can HEAR the difference between a pro mix and an amateur mix
You would have to give me an example of what to you is a pro mix and what is amateur.
Old 6th October 2011
  #8
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinewave View Post
You would have to give me an example of what to you is a pro mix and what is amateur.
one of many:
Amazon.com: N'Awlinz: Dis Dat Or D'Udda: Dr John: Music

Compare that to anything in the 'post your mix' section of GS
Old 6th October 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Music is art. And as such, there is no restriction on how you record it. If it sounds the way you envisaged it, your art is perfected. Even if you mic a 1970s Ludwig snare with a U67 in Abbey Road and get the finest snare sound ever, if it's not the sound you envisaged in your art, you have failed.

I will moan about the 'engineer' thing though. I do a job that IS 'Engineering'. We hang heavy stuff off of structural beams and we do a myriad of complex calculations to ensure that in doing so, we're not dropping either our load or indeed the whole roof onto peoples' heads. And we're proud of that. Of course, you can be an engineer of sound. But I do rather think you need to reach a standard before you can claim you are an engineer of sound. Until then, you are an operator of a computer.
Old 6th October 2011
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
one of many:
Amazon.com: N'Awlinz: Dis Dat Or D'Udda: Dr John: Music

Compare that to anything in the 'post your mix' section of GS
That's not really fair though. The entire point of the "post your mix" section is so that newer people can ask for help from the community.
Old 6th October 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
There's the contradiction- the first part spoken like a good engineer- striving for the best, the second part spoken like a musician who doesn't quite have the engineering skills to make that happen.
I'm passionate about both and a professional at neither. I would hope as an engineer you would love music too.
Old 6th October 2011
  #12
TRA
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TRA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
Because it means that either no one can HEAR the difference between a pro mix and an amateur mix, or that no one cares. I'm not talking about the myriad of excuses why someone would not go to a real studio, or the very apparent and rampant misunderstanding that all studios are posh and cost prohibitive, but just the skill to hear HOW FAR OFF (or how abused!) most of these home recordings are.
Who cares? I've heard a bunch of "amateur" recordings and mixes around here done on budget gear that sound great. Meanwhile, some of my favorite "pro" albums that were recorded in great studios on great gear by big names are crap (sonically) in comparison. System of a Down's first album comes to mind. Sonically...a train wreck, but it's one of my favorites. Either way it's all subjective in the end. So really...who cares?

The underlying stroking of your own ego begs the question...

Who are you and what have you done?
Old 6th October 2011
  #13
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRA View Post
Who cares?
The underlying stroking of your own ego begs the question...
Who are you and what have you done?
Umm...I'm just someone who can hear the difference.

I have nothing to stroke.

But I'm amazed by the people who say they don't care. It is a lie and an excuse. They do care. That's why they are here- chasing sound, trying to get better. How do they know what better is? They listen to frickin' professionally produced releases!
Old 6th October 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Sinewave's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
one of many:
Amazon.com: N'Awlinz: Dis Dat Or D'Udda: Dr John: Music

Compare that to anything in the 'post your mix' section of GS
You seem to forget that people are learning and getting better in time, everybody has a different vision for their music, this newer affordable technology has made it possible.
The people that has been doing "pro" work today are mostly the same that has been doing pro work 10 yrs ago, so pro work will always be around ,but now we are getting a bit more variety , which is good in my opinion.
I'm a bit tired of some of those polished "pro" mixes, different is nice also.
Old 6th October 2011
  #15
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinewave View Post

The people that has been doing "pro" work today are mostly the same that has been doing pro work 10 yrs ago...
Ummm..no. Not at all.

Quote:
so pro work will always be around
Not if everyone is recording at home.

Quote:
I'm a bit tired of some of those polished "pro" mixes, different is nice also.
There's a difference between going for a well defined, powerful mix, and not being able to create one.
Old 6th October 2011
  #16
TRA
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TRA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
Umm...I'm just someone who can hear the difference.

I have nothing to stroke.

But I'm amazed by the people who say they don't care. It is a lie and an excuse. They do care. That's why they are here- chasing sound, trying to get better. How do they know what better is? They listen to frickin' professionally produced releases!
You are stroking your ego. You are implying that you are better than the rest because you can discern which recording was worked on by a pro and which was worked on by an amateur. Congratulations! You are also implying that good work can't be done by someone working within an area zoned as residential versus an area zoned as commercial. Again...you're amazing!

Who cares? Why are YOU so defensive?

Just as an aside. I do work for a commercial facility and in other areas of the pro audio industry. I just want to know why you care so much when the perceived quality of music is so subjective. Some say the Beatles reached sonic perfection while others say Metallica's black album was sonic perfection. Sonically, they couldn't be further apart, but who cares?

What this boils down to is you've established your threshold for what sounds good and are pooping on those that like sonics below your threshold.
Old 7th October 2011
  #17
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRA View Post
You are stroking your ego. You are implying that you are better than the rest because you can discern which recording was worked on by a pro and which was worked on by an amateur.
Goodness- I would hope that I'm not the only one who can hear where some mixes fail and others shine! And then notice the trend of where those mixes originate.

You have the gift of not being able to hear the difference- cherish it.
Old 7th October 2011
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
Goodness- I would hope that I'm not the only one who can hear where some mixes fail and others shine! And then notice the trend of where those mixes originate.

You have the gift of not being able to hear the difference- cherish it.
I get you - you're just bemoaning the good records full of great music that could have been outstanding had someone competent recorded it.

Yes some amateurs product great music. Some have pro level settle and produce great work, some have ok setups and produce ok versions of great music. Generally speaking though, if a pro guy produces a record that doesn't beat a home made record, he wasn't the right person for the job. A pro guy should know if a bedroom recording or a slightly ropey mix is right for the project!

Unfortunately the availability of home recordings means some releases that should have been tracked or mixed properly make it to release, where money would have been better spent in a studio. Similarly, a large percentage of pro mixers spend tome trying to make dodgy home recordings better. Most non-properly tracked material I mix is harder to work with than things tracked in a studio, either by me or someone else. That's not being snobby, and not to say the home tracking doesn't produce a good product, it's just harder!
Old 7th October 2011
  #19
Gear Nut
 

i thought most people claimed to be a producer... i've yet to hear someone say they're an engineer (excluding those who actually are)
Old 7th October 2011
  #20
Here for the gear
 

I'm just waiting for the waves bundle that will make my mbox tracks sound like CLA. Oh wait? Can you at least agree that professional recordings see better commercial success than home recordings? Or how fun would it be to mix Bieber in a garage studio w/ no AC, watch that little f#$ker sweat.
Old 7th October 2011
  #21
Registered User
 

Well, after a little more thought, I'll say that most amateurs can't pull it off when the music requires nice separation, balance, punch, space and GREAT sounding clear, rich vocals that just sit beautifully in a mix.

But if the music does not call for these things, then maybe anyone can mix it. After all, there seems to be plenty of genres that are perfectly content without any of the above traits that I've mentioned.

The question is are those mixes the result of artistic vision or simply lack of skill and experience?
Old 7th October 2011
  #22
I don't see how an amateur (amateur in this case meaning someone who hasn't been doing it for very long) can properly mix an album. There is so much to learn not only from a technical level, but an experiential level. I started recording other peoples music in 1994 (to 8 tracks). It took me about 7-8 years (and was 32 tracks at that point on a mix of high end and mid level gear) before I felt very secure in my mixing skills (specifically). I still continued to improve after that. Tracking is a different thing, and I feel is much easier. I never fooled myself into thinking my mixes were great, you just know when you arrive. When your mastering engineer says that they had to do very little to your mix, then you know you've come to the point that is needed for real quality IMHO.
Old 7th October 2011
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
GILFOIL's Avatar
 

I'm so glad there are people out there, that aren't engineers, but can not only indefinitely tell us the sonic difference between "pro" and "amateur" mixes, but go on to remind us that if we are cool with a mix not meeting "pro standards" as defined by them, we are lying scum bags only making excuses to mask our inability to measure up to the expectations of all powerful, all knowing, grand wizards of sonic knowledge (that aren't engineers)

Thanks pal, I salute you.
Old 7th October 2011
  #24
Lives for gear
 
T'Mershi Duween's Avatar
 

When I grow up I plan on becoming an engineer too!

But remember, if you're gonna be a real engineer, you gotta use hardware!heh


Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Old 7th October 2011
  #25
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILFOIL View Post
I'm so glad there are people out there, that aren't engineers, but can not only indefinitely tell us the sonic difference between "pro" and "amateur" mixes, but go on to remind us that if we are cool with a mix not meeting "pro standards" as defined by them, we are lying scum bags only making excuses to mask our inability to measure up to the expectations of all powerful, all knowing, grand wizards of sonic knowledge (that aren't engineers)

Thanks pal, I salute you.
You are quite welcome. I too, salute you and your creative use of quotes. I am of course, sorry that you cannot hear the difference between a mix crafted by an experienced engineer and one put together by anyone else.

Could it be your monitors?
Old 7th October 2011
  #26
You left out "gramming award winning" engineer.

Gets on my nerves when engineers do not make the distinction between grammy award winning engineeer and engineer who work on a artist's record who won a grammy.
Old 7th October 2011
  #27
Gear Head
 
tekkentool's Avatar
 

What you are saying would at all be passable if you didn't basically say that every home studio recorded album won't be as good. My favourite mixed/Mastered metal album (periphery self titled debut) is a wholly originally and sonically perfect record mixed/recorded and tracked in the guitarists actual bedroom that sounds Just ****ing perfect.

You should only give a **** about the quality of the record, the quality of the output. Not some bull**** that dictates unless it's been "pro" mixed it's going to inferior. That's crap, judge by the record only.

Periphery - 'Icarus Lives (EP Version)' [HQ] - YouTube I don't know about you but that sounds damn fine to me.

Oh wait sorry, I forgot. It was made in a home studio, I guess it's crap.
Old 7th October 2011
  #28
TRA
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TRA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tekkentool View Post
What you are saying would at all be passable if you didn't basically say that every home studio recorded album. My favourite mixed/Mastered metal album (periphery self titled debut) is a wholly originally and sonically perfect record mixed/recorded and tracked in the guitarists actual bedroom that sounds Just ****ing perfect.

You should only give a **** about the quality of the record, the quality of the output. Not some bull**** that dictates unless it's been "pro" mixed it's going to inferior. That's crap, judge by the record only.

Periphery - 'Icarus Lives (EP Version)' [HQ] - YouTube I don't know about you but that sounds damn fine to me.

Oh wait sorry, I forgot. It was made in a home studio, I guess it's crap.
It doesn't make any sense to me either. It's like judging the quality of a product based on it's country of origin and not the product itself. We do that one a lot around here too.

This just feels like a self serving rant. Before any arguments can be made we need to define "pro" and "amateur" because they can be used pretty loosely.

Does pro mean someone who makes part or all of their sustaining living from doing it? (Hey that's me!) Can you be a pro without Top 40 credits? Is an amateur considered the beginner that advertises his "studio" for $10/hour or a musician with a private project studio?

The OP is making broad statements that seem ridiculous to get butt hurt about. This is all subjective stuff. I think a lot of punk recordings are garbage, and if they were done by a "pro" the OP's argument falls flat the second I hear a hobbyist put out a recording that sounds "better". Better is subjective.

I'll let this be my final two cents. My old band recorded at one of the largest studios in the area known for putting out top 40 stuff and owned by a top 40 artist. Sonically, everything was great, but the mix was crap. We were kids and the whole thing was rushed because we didn't matter to them. Put in the hands of professionals...they farted all over it. Going to home studios after that we were treated like gold and effort was put into it...the home studio guys were hungrier.
Old 7th October 2011
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinewave View Post
You seem to forget that people are learning and getting better in time, everybody has a different vision for their music, this newer affordable technology has made it possible.
The people that has been doing "pro" work today are mostly the same that has been doing pro work 10 yrs ago, so pro work will always be around ,but now we are getting a bit more variety , which is good in my opinion.
I'm a bit tired of some of those polished "pro" mixes, different is nice also.

Not so sure this is the way things are. Maybe people's standards have slipped. In the past three months I have had people bring mixes in for mastering. Some of the problems these mixes had were

1> Tracks over compressed and over limited so the result was a brick on the screen of my DAW.

2> Singers singing off pitch or singing behind the music.

3> Drummers who could not play a strait beat if their lives depended on it.

4> Distorted tracks that were distorted from the get go due to overloaded mic preamps and mix buss.

5> Clicks, pops, random noises including someone passing gas (farting) and someone yelling from afar "keep that damn noise down" in the middle of a track. (not noticed by the artist until they heard it while I was mastering the track) decided to "keep both in for fun".

6> Vocals recorded so they sounded like the vocalist was in a another room with the door shut.

7> Guitar tracks with so many effects on them that it no longer sounded like a guitar.

8> Overdubs done with the monitor speakers left on in the studio so the resulting tracks were not only the overdubs but the original mixed in and this was done multiple times.

9> Audio that was so over-processed it sounded like it was a recording of a 3.5" speaker in an AM transistor radio tuned off station a bit.

10> Music that was so badly mixed the instruments kept jumping from side to side and everything was so muddy you could not differentiate which instruments were playing.

Maybe this is where "music" is headed but I think it comes more from not knowing what the f%^K you are doing than from "artistic freedom to do your own thing"

I can take a can of paint and toss it a canvas but that does not make it art.

A lot of people seem to equate badly done recording and mixing (and even playing their instrument) with artistic freedom and self expression but what it really means is that the person does not have the chops to do what they want to do and are hiding behind "their art".

Maybe things will get better 10 years from now - I certainly hope so.
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