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Weeding out the Crappy Engineers
Old 23rd November 2009
  #31
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Mix Master's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Out mix/engineer 'em. Crush every project that you get and keep building your discog. Yeah?
Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #32
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memphisindie's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Consistent, dependably great results makes someone a pro.

Spotty ignorance and luck makes one an amateur.

Pros generate luck, amateurs stumble over it, sometimes.

Amateurs don't prepare to succeed, pros do.
Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #33
Gear Addict
 
beanface's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmec ➑️
We should strike hard at the core of the problem, Hunt down the music tech
lecturers from your local college that themselves have failed to gain proper rem-unary posts within the the very industry they purport to educate people to join.
They more than any are the real core enemy of the professional recording studio here in the UK.
Local authority run schemes are putting together government grants and the most incompetent posers, normally IT teaching professionals with no experience or track record.
Regards Fairfax
Bang on. (most) Music Tech teachers are truly monkeys.
Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #34
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
Remember, anyone can pick up a pencil, but that doesn't make him a great artist.
Good point. Just like any swinging d*ck can make a kid, but not all can be good fathers. This certainly hasn't changed for centuries and nor will it anytime soon. I guess this battle will continue...
Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #35
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigToe ➑️
Good point. Just like any swinging d*ck can make a kid, but not all can be good fathers. This certainly hasn't changed for centuries and nor will it anytime soon. I guess this battle will continue...
Why think of it as a battle?

In my day-to-day goings-on, I'd never consider a Craigslist producer working on an mbox with a bunch of plugins in a padded closet my competition. That's not the kind of producer/engineer that attracts my clients, nor do they typically work at the level my clients expect (technically-, artistically-, or professionally-speaking).

In other words, if you're not a "crappy engineer", then the aforementioned "crappy engineers" are none of your concern, so stop wasting your energy worrying/thinking about 'em and make a great (and great-sounding!) record!
Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #36
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
That's not the kind of producer/engineer that attracts my clients, nor do they typically work at the level my clients expect
...but before you established your rolodex, there had to have been some lessons learned (?). You probably have clients that got burned before coming to you.

My point is that it is not that easy to weed out good from bad in this industry when you simply haven't been around it. My approach has always been reading suggestions from forums and looking at websites, but there are alot of good salesmen out there... not all who can come correct on the boards. In fact, I would be willing to bet that some of the greatest engineers are in fact not great salesmen or the 'people person' type

Anyway, this is purely from an artist's perspective (who can do a pretty good job tracking, but not much else). if I could find that one pair of sick mixing and mastering engineers...
Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #37
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Empty Planet's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst ➑️
Wait, there's a difference?

Lol. heh





Old 23rd November 2009 | Show parent
  #38
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigToe ➑️
...but before you established your rolodex, there had to have been some lessons learned (?). You probably have clients that got burned before coming to you.

My point is that it is not that easy to weed out good from bad in this industry when you simply haven't been around it. My approach has always been reading suggestions from forums and looking at websites, but there are alot of good salesmen out there... not all who can come correct on the boards. In fact, I would be willing to bet that some of the greatest engineers are in fact not great salesmen or the 'people person' type

Anyway, this is purely from an artist's perspective (who can do a pretty good job tracking, but not much else). if I could find that one pair of sick mixing and mastering engineers...
Before I established my rolodex, I worked as a runner, intern, and assistant in commercial studios. I networked my ass off, eventually found a studio I could settle into as an intern/assistant, eventually landed an occasional gig here and there through the studio owner/manager, and began building a reputation (and thus, a client base). Eventually, I outgrew the studio and moved on to freelancing for a bit around multiple studio (which helped further my professional network), until I found a studio I liked best. I took all my freelance gigs there for a while, and when a position to become house engineer opened up, I jumped on it.

Once there, I continued to essentially work as intern/assistant/runner while simultaneously working as head engineer, meaning, if a freelancer (producer or engineer) booked the place, I stuck around and busted my ass some more (without pay, just like the earlier days!) to help out with everything from set up to food runs. I hooked up with some pretty cool producers that way, and it further expanded the gigs I got, further improved my reputation, and further (and most important) taught me a ****load!

My point is, through hard work and a LOT of hours of swallowing my pride, shutting up, and busting ass, I got my proverbial foot in the door, and have built my career so far entirely within the professional commercial studio infrastructure. Have I taken the occasional mix home? Of course. Have I recorded bands in their rehearsal space for little-to-no money, just for the experience? Of course. But I never saw those things as professional opportunities, but as a means to an end to learn more, gain more experience, and hone my craft. I certainly never referred to my work as "professional"...Heh...come to think of it, I'm more insecure about what I do now than I ever have been; the more I know, the better I hear, the more I am astounded that anyone would hire me! To paraphrase something Sean over at Mercenary said to me a few weeks ago, "if my clients could hear what I hear in my work, they'd never hire me". I love that!

Anyway, I realize that not everyone has the immediate opportunity to intern at a studio, whether it be due to financial, geographical, or experience limitations. But I do believe that such an education is a much more sound (pun intended) base from which to launch a career, not just because of what you learn, but because of the networking and interpersonal opportunities.

EDIT: a final note I meant to mention: for me, the biggest factor in separating a "professional", whether he works at home or at Ocean Way, is attitude and etiquette. And that's a tough one to learn locked in your bedroom mixing songs by yourself, no matter how great-sounding the end product is.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #39
Gear Guru
 
Sqye's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw ➑️
[snip]

not all men are created equal
.

and on top of that - some men are women...etc.

heh

.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #40
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Bassmec's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye ➑️
.

and on top of that - some men are women...etc.

heh

.
Yes!. I bet he comes from Brazil donch'a you know!.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #41
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Eganmedia's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst ➑️
Wait, there's a difference?
Yeah. the gate has the squeaky hinges that need replacing as soon as you finish white washing the fence,young man. The compressor is the Joe Walsh Tune with the cool guitar intro.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #42
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mikethedrummer's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Half of my publicity is word of mouth. I don't act like Brittany Spears just walked out before they got in. I don't act like my equipment is the best because it isn't.
Kids these days appreciate honesty and want to know that the music is more important than the dollar to you.
I just had an experience at a studio that is supposed to be as good as it gets, to the point that the local community college brings students there to show it off. Long story short, the engineer was awfully cocky and stubborn. He refused to accept any opinions on anything. He tracked guitars with distortion so thin that it sounded like it had an AM filter on it.

For $65 an hour and probably what you would call a "professional," maybe you should give us kids charging less than half as much as you some credit when we produce guitar tones mixes that keep up if not sound better than yours WITHOUT your u87s and neve councils and HD rigs and huge rooms and lynx converters etc.

Seems to me the high end engineers are getting scared that the big racks with the shiny lights aren't drawing in the clients like they used to. Maybe engineering is more about having heart than 48 inputs these days...
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #43
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memphisindie's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikethedrummer ➑️
Half of my publicity is word of mouth. I don't act like Brittany Spears just walked out before they got in. I don't act like my equipment is the best because it isn't.
Kids these days appreciate honesty and want to know that the music is more important than the dollar to you.
I just had an experience at a studio that is supposed to be as good as it gets, to the point that the local community college brings students there to show it off. Long story short, the engineer was awfully cocky and stubborn. He refused to accept any opinions on anything. He tracked guitars with distortion so thin that it sounded like it had an AM filter on it.

For $65 an hour and probably what you would call a "professional," maybe you should give us kids charging less than half as much as you some credit when we produce guitar tones mixes that keep up if not sound better than yours WITHOUT your u87s and neve councils and HD rigs and huge rooms and lynx converters etc.

Seems to me the high end engineers are getting scared that the big racks with the shiny lights aren't drawing in the clients like they used to. Maybe engineering is more about having heart than 48 inputs these days...
I guarantee you the kids don't think that. If they could get into a big room for peanuts they would, they're extremely budget minded and since they don't really have a handle on the jargon of quality studio and recording work, they don't know how to create a quality product for the most part. That's not even an issue in a studio where a pro is working,
BUT,
If they aren't ready to record, it's an exercise in taking money only. If they come up with more money, it' an editing auto tuning drum sound replacing exercise.

Sniff sniff tear.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #44
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by memphisindie ➑️
I guarantee you the kids don't think that. If they could get into a big room for peanuts they would, they're extremely budget minded and since they don't really have a handle on the jargon of quality studio and recording work, they don't know how to create a quality product for the most part. That's not even an issue in a studio where a pro is working,
BUT,
If they aren't ready to record, it's an exercise in taking money only. If they come up with more money, it' an editing auto tuning drum sound replacing exercise.

Sniff sniff tear.
Well (if not antagonistically, though I can't say I disagreeheh) put.

mikethedrummer - the big racks and shiny lights will ALWAYS attract clients, whether they're "the kids" or the seasoned vet. The former are seduced by the classic, timeless coolness of it all, the latter are familiar with and indeed accustomed to the sonic superiority it offers.

I've yet to meet a band - especially of younger musicians - who wasn't blown away by all the big racks and shiny lights my studio has. It's fun, it's exciting, and it lends a sense of "legitimacy" to the process. Not all of them can afford it, unfortunately, so they don't all get to come work with me (or the scores of other engineers and/or studios offering similar facilities), and those are the kinds of clients that trickle down to those who don't have the same kind of overhead I do (who aren't, in any way, shape or form, less talented, skilled, or capable than I; they simply don't have access to the same facilities).

Indeed, great records are frequently made in less-than-ideal situations, on gear that isn't nearly as fancy as the goodies on offer in your typical higher-end commercial studio. But that's down to the engineer; again, if he's a professional, he's a professional, and will get the job done on whatever gear gets thrown at him. Those folks are NOT the subject of this thread, and that has nothing to do with what you posted (which, frankly, kinda comes off [to me, at least] as the rant of an angry dude with an axe to grind).

However, great gear means faster results; give me a great studio and I'll turn a good-sounding record around in minimal time. Give me a Mackie and some 57s, and I'll make it work, but it's gonna take me a helluva lot longer. The results may ultimately be comparable (or even identical) in quality, but it turns out that those big racks and shiny lights actually do a lot more than just impress the impressionable.

And, sonics aside, I've yet to see a musician become INSPIRED by a plugin; all the great-sounding hardware emulation plugs in the world won't replace that visceral response or excitement a musician feels when he's playing his bass tracks in a great-sounding control room surrounded by gear he's been reading about for decades. And that translates to a better performance and ultimately, a better record. No, "the high end engineers" have nothing to fear from the bedroom guys...if anything, those fancy goodies are EXACTLY what separate (and indeed pull in business for) the commercial studio from the bedroom guy, at least in the mind of the artist.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #45
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dabigfrog's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
crappy producers engineers

Its not the arrow, Its the Indian

crappy is as crappy does.

anyone can buy a bunch of gear they learned so in so used for whatever record, but it takes someone with that special something to make it happen.
not so long ago, in a town far far away, a very technical minded tech type rich engineer bought the big million dollar studio..... for 2 million.... big ssl, neves, pultecs, La2's, lots of badass microphones, expensive "tuned" big room and control room......but he had no "bedside" manner , was very condesending and had that snide snarky air about him and everything he would say.... the studio seemed cold and vibe-less... and the work suffered. With all the gear, million dollar studio and a competent engineer, yet no one wants to work there because they don't like the vibe of the place, or the vibe of the dude that comes with the place.
we ran across a "producer" and "engineer" with credits a mile long, after he ripped off the band and stole the masters , we look and all the big projects on his reseme and all the big ticket names he said he produced - he just had an instrument credit (don't wanna say which instrament) no production, and all the production credits he did have , were, well , bands we never heard of.

life weeds out the crappy naturally.... you get what you got, if you ain't happy after all the fixes, you find another guy.
also good to talk to other musicians who work in studios around town, some insight into styles/ ethics/ final product.

you live, you learn, but in the end you want to work with someone you want to work with and wants to work with you, in a space that you want to be in and walk away with the best thing you've ever done and you don't want to pay too much.... but remember you also get what you pay for.. it's you that decides what is good and what is great price for what you got.
Happy is priceless.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #46
teo
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
EDIT: a final note I meant to mention: for me, the biggest factor in separating a "professional", whether he works at home or at Ocean Way, is attitude and etiquette. And that's a tough one to learn locked in your bedroom mixing songs by yourself, no matter how great-sounding the end product is.
And that is really something that will catch you out in a professional situation, no matter how good a "bedroom engineer" you are. It's not the sound you get, it's the attitude that is so obvious when you are not a pro (or not trying hard enough to be one).
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #47
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
the biggest factor in separating a "professional", whether he works at home or at Ocean Way, is attitude and etiquette. [...] no matter how great-sounding the end product is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by teo ➑️
It's not the sound you get, it's the attitude
Disagree. It is about the sound. I mean, your criteria comes in handy for hiring, say, a new executive VP in your tech start-up, but for me as an artist, it's completely and uncomprimisingly about the sound of the end-product. I'll take the biggest, most introverted prick with a crap attitude and no business sense IF they can give me that big fat sound I am after.

At the end of the day, I'm walking out of any studio with a measly 16bit/44K CD....so f*ck the experience, I want a massive fat wide sound that I can bump, that I can sell, and that represents my vision.

That being said, several excellent points have been made by you guys and by others in this thread. I really appreciate the insight on this important topic!
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #48
teo
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teo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigToe ➑️
Disagree. It is about the sound. I mean, your criteria comes in handy for hiring, say, a new executive VP in your tech start-up, but for me as an artist, it's completely and uncomprimisingly about the sound of the end-product. I'll take the biggest, most introverted prick with a crap attitude and no business sense IF they can give me that big fat sound I am after.

At the end of the day, I'm walking out of any studio with a measly 16bit/44K CD....so f*ck the experience, I want a massive fat wide sound that I can bump, that I can sell, and that represents my vision.

That being said, several excellent points have been made by you guys and by others in this thread. I really appreciate the insight on this important topic!
Of course you are correct, the sound does matter! But living at a certain level (and I'm definitely not recording or mixing hit singles!) sound should be a given (to a degree). Most often than not, people would hire an eng. because "his sessions run really smooth, no problems, no hicups, just nice work". Obviously the sound has to be there, but I reckon that a nice, easy to work with, perfect ethic eng. (meaning that sessions run on time, everything is in perfect working order, everything has been planned ahead and all energies go into making music) will get more repeat business that a cocky,unprofessional eng. with a slightly better sound, but whose sessions turn out much more "fatiguing".
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #49
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I love the fact that crappy engineers can get work, because before the digital home studio, there was only commercial studios..

and all those people who work regular jobs and are not that good at music can find an engineer who is of the same amateur capabilities of the musician.

also, if an engineer that sucks is charging a lot, they won't get any work....

you will get clientelle only if you are good at what you do and if your priced according to your work........

this is a business where the crappy are naturally weeded out, no one has to do this, it is the NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #50
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tapehiss ➑️
I love the fact that crappy engineers can get work, because before the digital home studio, there was only commercial studios..

and all those people who work regular jobs and are not that good at music can find an engineer who is of the same amateur capabilities of the musician.

also, if an engineer that sucks is charging a lot, they won't get any work....

you will get clientelle only if you are good at what you do and if your priced according to your work........

this is a business where the crappy are naturally weeded out, no one has to do this, it is the NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sure, but sometimes "Natural Order" as you put it is chaos. Or to put it another way, water finds it's own level -even in lakes that have sunk a thousand feet below sea level.....
Old 24th November 2009
  #51
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
there are as many bands like this too though. And unfortunately there are some very successful bands and producer/engineers who are just as incapable yet have had success! Mind you some of my worst work has sold millions so.....
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #52
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Prahlad's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey ➑️
A heavily armed band of pissed off, umemployed producers and engineers, with a single mission. To find all poseurs in the industry, and terminate their careers, with extreme predjudice. Living off the land, reborn hard, these militant master music makers are the iron fist of the industry, weeding out the weak, and delivering pink slips by bullet to pretenders and their appologists alike. Trained to a terrible peak of deadliness, they can kill with the hand, the foot and the lava lamp, without remorse or hesitation, if the sanctity of their calling is in jeopardy.
heh LOLOLOL this had me laughing for about 30 mins...great way to start the day, thx!
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #53
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Interesting

For me, I look at myself as a student first because there is always something to learn in the never ending journey of recording/mixing music. I would never call myself a engineer just because I have a mixer and some cool plug ins. it takes much more than that. Determination to learn and a willingness to do the grunt work is ongoing. plus the commitment to yourself to never give up and a passion that insures that commitment. There are soo many things to learn ,understand and to listen. I look at it kinda like a martial art, maybe I have a green belt maybe a blue,or maybe I'm still a white belt. either way my ultimate goal is to have the Gold/Platinum record hanging in my studio and that drives me to learn and learn the right way from the blackbelts in the industry,which I have had the opportunity to learn from. to them I respectfully call Sensei. yes I have a cool studio with about 30k in gear thus far,I have alot of the right tools,but it doesn't mean I know how to use them unless I learn how to. so to me I'm not a pro engineer until I have the gold on the wall from my work.and you are not one unless you have it too, but hey it's just my opinion.

Grasshopper
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #54
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memphisindie's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman ➑️
there are as many bands like this too though. And unfortunately there are some very successful bands and producer/engineers who are just as incapable yet have had success! Mind you some of my worst work has sold millions so.....
Been there, lived that, got a headache.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #55
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bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigToe ➑️
I'll take the biggest, most introverted prick with a crap attitude and no business sense IF they can give me that big fat sound I am after.
Try delivering a great performance knowing that a big, introverted prick with a crap attitude is at the helm. Trust me, I've been on both sides of the glass, and it ain't easy.

Teo is right; at a certain point, a certain level sound quality should be a given. After that, it's all about vibe and attitude.

Of course, ymmv.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #56
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dBeaz ➑️
I look at it kinda like a martial art, maybe I have a green belt maybe a blue,or maybe I'm still a white belt. either way my ultimate goal is to have the Gold/Platinum record hanging in my studio and that drives me to learn and learn the right way from the blackbelts in the industry,which I have had the opportunity to learn from. to them I respectfully call Sensei.
Well there's the answer- we give out belts to audio engineers, that way they can't pretend... for instance, someone wearing a white belt on a black Gi would be your sign to record elsewhere.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #57
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memphisindie's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➑️
Try delivering a great performance knowing that a big, introverted prick with a crap attitude is at the helm. Trust me, I've been on both sides of the glass, and it ain't easy.

Teo is right; at a certain point, a certain level sound quality should be a given. After that, it's all about vibe and attitude.

Of course, ymmv.
True on that. If you're a pro engineer, your attitude shouldn't be in the building.
If you're a pro, you'll be getting the best sounds possible with what you have.
If you can't deliver those things, you aren't a pro.
If you still have hits, then you're still not a dependable pro, but, you got lucky and might get real lucky, might get a buttwhoopin.
Ya never know.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #58
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Killahurts ➑️
Well there's the answer- we give out belts to audio engineers, that way they can't pretend... for instance, someone wearing a white belt on a black Gi would be your sign to record elsewhere.
lol.....so today my son it's time for your rock mix grading. Many steps to the Hakama.....and even more beyond heh
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #59
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Stitch333's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you have skills, you will pay the bills.
Old 24th November 2009 | Show parent
  #60
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taturana's Avatar
 
12 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 ➑️
If you have skills, you will pay the bills.
especially if you have some good marketing skills too! heh
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