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Crap Session Experience -- what would you do?

 
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JES
tinnitus


Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 1183
Location: Montreal, PQ

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:45 pm    Post subject: Crap Session Experience -- what would you do? Reply with quote

I'm writing as an amateur audio engineer but also a musician with decades of experience going into studios with independent bands. I have also recorded records on my own, taken recording classes, and even written for this august magazine back in the day.

But I've had a shit session as a musician, the whole band feels bad, and I'm not sure what to do.

We chose a studio where the drummer had a previous good experience, with the owner as engineer. The studio's owner was gone, and they subcontracted to a "second" engineer. He knew how to mic things, but he bullshitted us about multiple things--I called him ahead of time to explain our needs and he said accommodating us would be no problem.

We got there, he didn't know how to do some pretty basic things in Protools, had trouble setting up a workable talkback solution (and it never worked right), made some rookie mistakes about monitoring and latency (i.e., monitoring through PT instead of through the free software that comes with the convertor), and clearly had no idea about the type of music we were recording. There was more but I'll stop. He wasn't outright rude but I wouldn't call telling me to simply have the keyboardist reply all the MIDI parts at home exactly professional.

We have a bunch of different instruments but are are not an unusual client: we played our songs over and over, overdubbed some parts, did a few edits, and that was that.

In spite of it all, we got some good performances. The end product sounds good enough for me to mix it at home (which was the plan) but it's been several days since he gave me the AAF export from Protools and I'm still waiting for him to email me the text file exports so I can have notes from the first day tracks that didn't have MIDI on them.He'd said he'd get me it by Monday night. The whole band has a bad taste in our mouths and feels ripped off. Two of us have good jobs, two of us do not and so the cost is a little more meaningful.

It's a small scene here. Do we just suck it up and not credit him on the record? Do we say something and if so, what and to whom?
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Magnetic Services
gettin' sounds


Joined: 17 Apr 2012
Posts: 128
Location: Milwaukee

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Crap Session Experience -- what would you do? Reply with quote

That's a bummer to hear. You should still credit the guy, but definitely don't recommend him to others. You just gotta hope that those people either learn from their mistakes and get better or lose work and find something else to do.

Tell the owner that you weren't satisfied with the experience and hopefully they'll never call that person again! Maybe you can get a discount or partial refund. Depends how you worked out the money. Did you pay for the studio and and engineer seperately?

Also be honest with the engineer; hopefully he'll realize he fucked up and become better at it.
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JES
tinnitus


Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 1183
Location: Montreal, PQ

PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Crap Session Experience -- what would you do? Reply with quote

Thanks. My concern with the engineer is that he's been at it a long time and seems quite set in his ways and satisfied with his own limits--somehow his inability to deal with MIDI was our problem, despite the blazingly simple request.

My sense is he mostly does live sound and band management, and for someone running a Protools setup, he didn't know much about Protools. Middle aged and immature is a tough combination.
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kslight
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Joined: 13 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Crap Session Experience -- what would you do? Reply with quote

If you're not happy with how it transpired, I'd have a chat with the owner, at least. I kind of have to assume that you shouldn't be paying the same rate for a second engineer as the head engineer (?). Perhaps you can get some more studio time out of the deal, or at least a fire under the engineer's butt to give you the files you need.

Whether or not you credit is up to you guys, depending on the scale and format of the release, it may be fairly inconsequential either way...there's no law that says you have to print the engineer's name on the record...I think its the right thing to do if you are happy with the work, but if you're not, you paid for it, its your record.
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vvv
zen recordist


Joined: 13 May 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Crap Session Experience -- what would you do? Reply with quote

You described the situation very well - condolences.

You might consider getting your above posts to him for response.
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A.David.MacKinnon
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Joined: 07 May 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:20 am    Post subject: Re: Crap Session Experience -- what would you do? Reply with quote

Definitely talk to the owner. I've done sessions as an engineer in someone else's studio where I've hit technical glitches, software or hardware related and it can be tough. I still strive to have everybody walk away happy and satisfied and will make up any time lost to tech issues.
Sounds like the guy didn't know the room and software that well,or he just needs to be replaced with a hot shot 20 year old. They make new engineers every day. There's no reason to put up with old, complacent, lazy ones.
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markjazzbassist
steve albini likes it


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: Crap Session Experience -- what would you do? Reply with quote

kslight wrote:
If you're not happy with how it transpired, I'd have a chat with the owner, at least. I kind of have to assume that you shouldn't be paying the same rate for a second engineer as the head engineer (?). Perhaps you can get some more studio time out of the deal, or at least a fire under the engineer's butt to give you the files you need.

Whether or not you credit is up to you guys, depending on the scale and format of the release, it may be fairly inconsequential either way...there's no law that says you have to print the engineer's name on the record...I think its the right thing to do if you are happy with the work, but if you're not, you paid for it, its your record.


i second this, great advice.
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JES
tinnitus


Joined: 19 May 2003
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Location: Montreal, PQ

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:28 am    Post subject: Re: Crap Session Experience -- what would you do? Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies. I think we'll maybe talk with the owner once we have what we need.

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
I've done sessions as an engineer in someone else's studio where I've hit technical glitches, software or hardware related and it can be tough.


This is one reason why I asked. Back in the late 80s/early 90s I was in a band that had a sound engineer as a full member, but every other studio I've used has come with the main engineer, so it wasn't even clear to me what was reasonable to expect from the second. I don't think I've ever been through a 3-day session that didn't have some kind of technical problem--that's the nature of a room full of stuff that plugs into other stuff. It's a mix of what went down, how many problems there were and his attitude.
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roscoenyc
george martin


Joined: 03 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Crap Session Experience -- what would you do? Reply with quote

Your first call should be to the owner. He doesn't want anyone having a bad experience in his place. It's not good for his business.

You explained yourself very well here. I'd do the same with him. From the trouble on the session to the difficulty getting your files from the engineer.

Ultimately it's the owner's problem. Speak with him directly.
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