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Great engineer in an "good" room, or "good" engineer in a great room?
Old 25th September 2012
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Great engineer in an "good" room, or "good" engineer in a great room?

This is weird, but I woke up with this on my mind this morning, as if I were dreaming about the question...

How do you feel about which would produce better results? By the term "good" I mean:

-An engineer with maybe 8-10 years experience, producing good professional work, but maybe not the top tier or anything that blows your mind.
-A room with less than ideal measurements, DIY sound treatment, not professionally tested, etc...doesn't sound bad, but not "great."

So, how do you feel about it? Can a "good" engineer in a "great" studio produce similar or better results than a "great" engineer in a "good" studio, or worse off, a bad sounding studio?

Me personally, I'll take the great engineer in a good room, or even a not so good room. I've heard great productions come out of basements with the right guy manning the wheel. I've also heard recordings/mixes come out of large commercial studios, that do not sound very professional to me...or at least not worth what they charge.

What's your take on this? Should be a fun discussion/debate..
Old 25th September 2012
  #2
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Great room, I hate hearing a bad room. That has always been my issue, I want a 20 foot ceiling and 20x20 at least......and no road nearby.
Old 25th September 2012
  #3
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
If the room's good enough, you don't even need an engineer.
Old 25th September 2012
  #4
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drBill's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Given the two options, great engineer - good room would be my choice.
Old 25th September 2012
  #5
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cinealta's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The room is everything. Even a production assistant can set up a mic array.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
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Granny Gremlin's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot ➑️
I want a 20 foot ceiling and 20x20 at least......and no road nearby.
LOL!
Old 25th September 2012
  #7
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'll go with a great engineer in a good room any time.
Old 25th September 2012
  #8
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crying1986's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'd put my money with a great engineer. I've heard a lot of bad recordings from amazing studios. If you don't know what you're doing, no room can save you.
Old 25th September 2012
  #9
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KRStudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Great engineer, good room. Not even a question in my thinking.
Old 25th September 2012
  #10
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
After having worked on a record with an excellent engineer in a house space and another with a meh engineer in the best of the local studios, I must say, great engineer, alright room is the way to go by far. Better experience for everyone all around.
Old 25th September 2012
  #11
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fastlanestoner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It's kind of a vague question, but I'd go with a great room.
Old 25th September 2012
  #12
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rockstar_josh's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
From experience, great engineer in a good room.
Old 25th September 2012
  #13
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Great engineer can do an amazing job in a good room! Making good decisions is the key!
Old 25th September 2012
  #14
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ejbragg's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill ➑️
Given the two options, great engineer - good room would be my choice.
Agreed. The power of the human mind trumps the inanimate. Philosophically speaking, it was the great mind who provided a great or "good" room in the first place. How can the created object be greater than the creator, anyway? (unless a lessor engineer bought out a great engineer's room). A great engineer can make a good room sound great via great decisions. Conversely, a lesser engineer could still have trouble in a great room.

Last edited by ejbragg; 26th September 2012 at 04:09 AM.. Reason: misspelling edit
Old 25th September 2012
  #15
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extendedplay's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think that it is only part of the equation. The band and producer need to be figured in.
And for every example of great room, good engineer producing great results you will be able to find great engineer, good room coming out with stellar results.
But it will always come down to the song, crappy song = no one cares.
Old 25th September 2012
  #16
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Brett 123's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Good engineer ,

It's like having an amazing guitarist make a ok guitar sing and a bad guitarist making the best guitar in the world sound bad .

A good engineer can work any room . Or know how to get found the limitations .
Old 25th September 2012
  #17
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta ➑️
The room is everything. Even a production assistant can set up a mic array.
nope

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill ➑️
Given the two options, great engineer - good room would be my choice.
Yup


Actually if you made the options

1. Great room/bad engineer or
2. Great engineer/bad room.

It would be harder to decide.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
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cinealta's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanmisner ➑️
nope
Lot of self importance here to discount a great room. With respect, please consider the question with an unbiased view. The whole point of audio recording is to *capture the performance*. Deficiencies in room acoustics will do more to tarnish the accurate capturing of the performance than a great engineer can do to save it (with mic positioning, gear etc). It all starts with the room. I'm sure even Lanois, Plush, Ohlsson, Swedien & Sides would agree.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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drBill's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta ➑️
Lot of self importance here to discount a great room. With respect, please consider the question with an unbiased view. The whole point of audio recording is to *capture the performance*. Deficiencies in room acoustics will do more to tarnish the accurate capturing of the performance than a great engineer can do to save it (with mic positioning, gear etc). It all starts with the room. I'm sure even Lanois, Plush, Ohlsson, Swedien & Sides would agree.
No one would disagree that a great room is important and desirable. But I know I can make a better record in a "OK" room with great engineer than I can in a great room with substandard engineer. Hell, I've recorded in the dead of summer in un-air conditioned living rooms with windows open and gardeners outside. You make adjustments and get-r-done. I've also had the dis-pleasure of working in great rooms with incompetent (IMO at least) engineers. No fun.
Old 25th September 2012
  #20
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KRStudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A great engineer can minimize the room issues. A good engineer might not know how to push the great qualities the room has and make the most of it.
Old 26th September 2012
  #21
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 ➑️
This is weird, but I woke up with this on my mind this morning, as if I were dreaming about the question...
Hehe, funny comment, like it! In my view none of the options make sense to choose from, because it makes more sense to place a great engineer in a great room. Great engineers work in great rooms, that's why both the engineers as well as their rooms are great to begin with. Good engineers work in good rooms, that's why both the engineers as well as the rooms are good. As a manager you can hire a great engineer to work in a good room and the other way around, but if that works in practice you could argue that either the engineer or the room is not good, which is going to be true, because that was your view on good and great.
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta ➑️
Lot of self importance here to discount a great room. With respect, please consider the question with an unbiased view.
huh?


The question was two fold. My answer is unbiased. My answer is my answer.

I have worked in so many bad rooms it makes my head spin. As Db mentioned, you learn to make it work. maybe you don't end up using room or even Overhead tracks, but you get it done anyway.


OP was asking about our preference given a certain set of circumstances.
Old 26th September 2012
  #23
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jtienhaara's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This is GearSlutz, someone has to ignore the original question, so...

Great band, great producer.

A great engineer can work with close mic'ing and gobos to make a garbage record sound like polished garbage.

A good engineer can get all the character out of a great room to make a garbage record sound like ambient airy garbage.

But in the end engineers and rooms are all SISO (garbage in garbage out).

What about a great engineer in a great room with great gear and a great website and a really great awesome avatar and 100% EBay feedback?

Personally I'd rather hear music with soul, recorded by amateurs with bad equipment (IMHO Tales From the Punchbowl classifies, YMMV).
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #24
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta ➑️
... The whole point of audio recording is ....
The whole point-- or say either half of the whole point-- has come a long way in a very short time. It wasn't *that* long ago that the Room was Destiny-- you were stuck with its imprint on the source material, obviously this was why 'great' rooms were fetishized in such an exalted way for so long.

These days, with all the manipulation you can do to digital data, the "auras" and "overtones" and "ambiances" that once were part of the room, lock/stock/barrel, now can be implemented out of the thinnest air-- I'm not just talking about artificial reverbs, but artificial heightenings and vague, impressionistic characteristics and "enthusiasm triggers" and balances of light and dark, shade and brightness, riptide and undertow-- it all is controllable because you can control the audio down to the subatomic level, to the spaces between the atoms. To misquote my friend Kennybro... if the engineer's good enough, you don't even need a room!
Old 26th September 2012
  #25
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
If you are trying to make a go of a studio today, I would have to say that your room is your LIFE.

Establishing the ability to capture properly in the first place efficiently will set you way apart from the rest of the field. But that ability would make you a great engineer in a great room

Imagine not HAVING to use amp sims on every thing, more than two verbs and delays and not having to find ways to excite tracks ad nauseum. You could get a mix down fairly quick not having to fight for excitement and space.

You roughs would be much better too. Clients feeling satisfied everyday rather than feeling like it'll be fixed in the mix.

Imagine not being stressed about having a pile of work to do come mixtime. No magic tricks, just musical.

I wouldn't underestimate the power of a good sounding room ever. It's just that that wasn't the question.
Old 26th September 2012
  #26
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Ntk drummer's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
This discussion makes me wonder. Would a great producer with a good engineer produce a better result than a good producer with a great engineer. Ie which role has the greatest affect on the final result?
Old 26th September 2012
  #27
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
The producer hopefully. Their job is to get the most out of all the personnel involved.
Old 26th September 2012
  #28
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Solar's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Great Engineer anytime, anywhere. As they say you can have all the extra goodies (they are a must if you can have best of both world for sure) but a great engineer will always come up with great results. Reason they are great is because they know their way around and know their tools.

Its like giving an amazing Les Paul Elect. Gt to a good Gt player and give a Yamaha Elect Gt to a Great Player. Same goes for everything else.
Old 26th September 2012
  #29
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
I don't think a great engineer always comes up with great results. I think they are ABLE to come up with great results and often do on a consistent basis. There are definitely situations that nothing great can come from.
Old 26th September 2012
  #30
Gear Nut
 
Sample Seven's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
If you don't know what you're doing, no room can save you.
Amen. No gear can save you either.
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