do you know what you're doing?

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rwc
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do you know what you're doing?

Post by rwc » Fri May 02, 2008 12:20 pm

A few days ago, I was recording this guitar overdub with an AMAZING guitarist for a production that I've been working on since December.

He has this effects box with a line level output. I plugged it into the low impedance input of the amp, and it sounded good. I tried the high impedance one meant for the guitar, and it sounded much weirder, but much better. Every note smacked you in the face instead of just protruding out of the amp, without an obnoxious, or even noticeable distortion.

The producer was so happy with the sound I got a tip at the end of the session!

I wish I could have said "yeah, that's my super awesome trick, I knew that would happen." I really had no idea.

Everyday I do something that makes me wonder if I have a clue what I'm doing.. but that contributes to an eccentric knowledge bank of weird tidbits that are very useful. anyone here feel the same way?
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Smitty
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Post by Smitty » Fri May 02, 2008 12:42 pm

as a self-taught amateur, i frequently have the feeling that my recording knowledge is comprised mostly of such odd tricks and tactics, and of far less solid recording theory.

more fun, though? :D
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Post by Professor » Fri May 02, 2008 2:15 pm

It's been said around here many times that mixing is not something that can be taught, it can only be learned.
You've found an example of why that is.
There are lots of things we discover in weird ways, sometimes because we're intentionally trying something different and sometimes just because we mess up and plug things in wrong. Sometimes we learn a new trick that gets a fantastic sound, and sometimes we discover how absolutely horrible we can make things sound.
Hopefully all of those little ideas get filed away (like you said) so they can be called up when they are needed next. You may not get to use that guitar trick for another 10 years, but you may use it again next week... just make sure to only use it when it does work.
And most important, keep experimenting and cataloging away those results.

-Jeremy

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Post by Anthony Caruso » Fri May 02, 2008 3:05 pm

I think recording has so much technical ego and black magic surrounding it and some people want to believe it's ALL methodical. Nothing against methodical, it's the only way to troubleshoot, use gear as a "tool" to solve a problem, get things done efficiently when needed, etc. But there is that creative side to it, too, and that side is subject to those Ethereal Laws of Art. You know, those laws that aren't written down anywhere and change from moment to moment and work one way once and then never that same way again. Except sometimes.

It's not that you don't know what you're doing, it's a turf war between your left/right brain where one side is saying, "DANGER! Errr, IMPEDANCE MISMATCH! PLEASE CONSULT YAMAHA SOUND REENFORCEMENT HANDBOOK!" and the other side is saying, "Hm, what if...". In my case, I will listen to the Paranoid Robot side long enough to know if I am about to fry gear/myself, or if I am going to create more problems down the road by ignoring some technical detail. Then I light some incense and consult the Crusty Hippie side of my brain, who has already managed use 3 Radio Shack adaptors to get an out-of-tune 3-stringed guitar plugged into the mic input of an early 90's Aiwa stereo system (Rock EQ setting, of course). Somewhere in the middle is love. Dirty, unnatural, Robot/Hippie love, but love nonetheless.

And I think that feeling of "Do I actually know what I'm doing?" is the bastard child of that union. That feeling must be ignored like the freak of nature that it is.

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Fri May 02, 2008 3:10 pm

All good art is 50-60% accidental. The secret is to be open to the accidents and recognize the magic when it happens.

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Post by aitikin » Fri May 02, 2008 3:33 pm

Anthony Caruso wrote:I think recording has so much technical ego and black magic surrounding it and some people want to believe it's ALL methodical. Nothing against methodical, it's the only way to troubleshoot, use gear as a "tool" to solve a problem, get things done efficiently when needed, etc. But there is that creative side to it, too, and that side is subject to those Ethereal Laws of Art. You know, those laws that aren't written down anywhere and change from moment to moment and work one way once and then never that same way again. Except sometimes.

It's not that you don't know what you're doing, it's a turf war between your left/right brain where one side is saying, "DANGER! Errr, IMPEDANCE MISMATCH! PLEASE CONSULT YAMAHA SOUND REENFORCEMENT HANDBOOK!" and the other side is saying, "Hm, what if...". In my case, I will listen to the Paranoid Robot side long enough to know if I am about to fry gear/myself, or if I am going to create more problems down the road by ignoring some technical detail. Then I light some incense and consult the Crusty Hippie side of my brain, who has already managed use 3 Radio Shack adaptors to get an out-of-tune 3-stringed guitar plugged into the mic input of an early 90's Aiwa stereo system (Rock EQ setting, of course). Somewhere in the middle is love. Dirty, unnatural, Robot/Hippie love, but love nonetheless.

And I think that feeling of "Do I actually know what I'm doing?" is the bastard child of that union. That feeling must be ignored like the freak of nature that it is.
Whoa, what are you on and why aren't you sharing!?
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Post by kinger » Fri May 02, 2008 3:52 pm

I haven't stumbled across the power button for my new DAW yet, but when I do, look out! Magic time!

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Post by RefD » Fri May 02, 2008 7:59 pm

i never knew what i was doing.

if i did then i wouldn't have started doing this...whatever this is.

*tunes 12-string to open E major and applies a pyrex slide to it*
?What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.? -- Seneca

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fossiltooth
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Post by fossiltooth » Fri May 02, 2008 11:42 pm

rwc wrote:do you know what you're doing?
No. Not really.

Like everyone else in the world, I'm just guessing.

With any luck, i've been doing it long enough, and I have enough taste that my best guesses sound pretty good.

When it come to sound, no on really knows what they're doing.

In the end, it's about sound, not numbers. Sometimes the "wrong way" can sound the coolest. Nothing "wrong" there.

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Post by joelpatterson » Sat May 03, 2008 7:00 am

Is that your daughter, Reffie? She's grown up quick!
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mjau
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Post by mjau » Sat May 03, 2008 7:45 am

fossiltooth wrote:
rwc wrote:do you know what you're doing?
No. Not really.

Like everyone else in the world, I'm just guessing.

With any luck, i've been doing it long enough, and I have enough taste that my best guesses sound pretty good.

When it come to sound, no on really knows what they're doing.

In the end, it's about sound, not numbers. Sometimes the "wrong way" can sound the coolest. Nothing "wrong" there.
+1 to all that. Totally agree.

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Post by SoulOfJonas » Sat May 03, 2008 9:03 am

a producer once told "you're just fooling yourself if you don't think this all just a bunch of happy accidents." i've thought about that almost sessions since.

-JV
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Post by hobbycore » Sat May 03, 2008 9:07 am

SoulOfJonas wrote:a producer once told "you're just fooling yourself if you don't think this all just a bunch of happy accidents." i've thought about that almost sessions since.

-JV
That fellow sounds arrogant and close-minded. :evil:

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Post by cgarges » Sat May 03, 2008 9:17 am

I spend half my time on sessions (especially the good ones with really good, experienced players) just wondering when everyone is going to stand up and bust me for being completely incompetent. It's like, "Ha ha, we know you don't know what you're doing!"

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

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Post by aaronburr » Sat May 03, 2008 9:53 am

no, not at all.
but i know what sounds good
and i know what sounds bad
(to me, at least)
so i can get pretty alright results if i keep at it

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