Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

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ashcat_lt
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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by ashcat_lt » Wed Dec 02, 2020 7:49 pm

floid wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 7:05 am
Ha. Yeah I had a very similar experience a couple years ago...
I tracked, mixed, and mastered a whole split record for a pair of bands, and they dubbed the distribution cassettes by playing it from a computer into a guitar amp and capturing it on tape recorders they'd got from Goodwill. Was grindcore, anyway, though... They tell me the tapes sound great!

The one I actually regret was waaaayyy back in the day when I thought it would be a good idea to use suction-cup "contact mics" on toms. It was not a good idea, and while one of those bands was trashy punk/grunge where it was almost appropriate, the other really could have been something great. Actually, it was really good, up until the tom fills hit.

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by vvv » Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:27 pm

Spent days re-mixing drum tracks to please a drummer. The kick was especially problematic.

Emailed the mixes (yousendit).

Come to find out he was listening to the mixes on a $100 bookshelf stereo, often with the "loudness" switch on.

Nice guy - musical moron.
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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by Scodiddly » Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:45 am

vvv wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:27 pm
Come to find out he was listening to the mixes on a $100 bookshelf stereo, often with the "loudness" switch on.

Nice guy - musical moron.
To some extent you have to figure that your customer isn't that different from their customers, and mix accordingly.

Dumb stuff I've done? Plenty off the list of common mistakes, so many that I can't think of one in particular. Most of my biggest mistakes have been in the human interaction department, though.

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by winky dinglehoffer » Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:36 am

(Speaking about myself even though I wrote this in the 2nd person. Not trying to assume anyone screwed up the way I did):

I think the big general error made starting out is thinking that some technique you read about (whether you fully understand it or not), or some amazing piece of gear you had to have (whether you fully know how to use it or not) is going to make everything sound better, and you try to convince yourself of that, or maybe don't bother to hit the Bypass button to see if the original is better, or A/B the "gotta have" signal chain against whatever it was you were using before. Sometimes bowing to the knowledge of marketing hype and "experts" (whether you fully understand them or not) gets in the way of just using your ears and making everything sound as good as you can make it.
Sometimes the limitation is your own ignorance--maybe you really don't understand that compressor you just bought, or maybe your gain-staging is flawed. Sometimes it's the stubborn belief that this miracle piece of gear you bought just has to sound better than what you were using before.

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:50 am

vvv wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:27 pm
Spent days re-mixing drum tracks to please a drummer. The kick was especially problematic.

Emailed the mixes (yousendit).

Come to find out he was listening to the mixes on a $100 bookshelf stereo, often with the "loudness" switch on.

Nice guy - musical moron.
I mixed a Christmas album once (I know... the horror the horror ;) ), and the artist kept telling me the mixes sounded like shit
on her home system. I asked her nicely to let me go and listen at her home. She kept saying no. Three days of this later, and sure enough, her boombox was one that had EQ presets. It was set to HIP HOP. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Once I reset it to NOTHING / NEUTRAL, suddenly my mixes sounded as they should.

But oh we did lose three days of mixing. Thankfully, I purposefully ignored all changes, unless she was in the mix room
with me, which she was most of the time. Cause screw making changes to a system I cannot listen to. No way.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by losthighway » Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:03 pm

winky dinglehoffer wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:36 am
(Speaking about myself even though I wrote this in the 2nd person. Not trying to assume anyone screwed up the way I did):

I think the big general error made starting out is thinking that some technique you read about (whether you fully understand it or not), or some amazing piece of gear you had to have (whether you fully know how to use it or not) is going to make everything sound better, and you try to convince yourself of that, or maybe don't bother to hit the Bypass button to see if the original is better, or A/B the "gotta have" signal chain against whatever it was you were using before. Sometimes bowing to the knowledge of marketing hype and "experts" (whether you fully understand them or not) gets in the way of just using your ears and making everything sound as good as you can make it.
Sometimes the limitation is your own ignorance--maybe you really don't understand that compressor you just bought, or maybe your gain-staging is flawed. Sometimes it's the stubborn belief that this miracle piece of gear you bought just has to sound better than what you were using before.
Absolutely. I could do a better job now serving clients on the crap setup I had in my first year, than a novice version of me might do with all of my fancy toys.

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by vvv » Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:10 pm

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:50 am
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Once I reset it to NOTHING / NEUTRAL, suddenly my mixes sounded as they should.
:D


:lol: now but I sure was :evil:
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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by TapeOpLarry » Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:31 pm

started Tape Op Magazine....
Larry Crane, Editor/Founder Tape Op Magazine
please visit www.tapeop.com for contact information
(do not send private messages via this board!)
www.larry-crane.com

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by vvv » Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:32 pm

TapeOpLarry wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:31 pm
started Tape Op Magazine....
:lol:

For the win! :worthy:
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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by losthighway » Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:06 pm

TapeOpLarry wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:31 pm
started Tape Op Magazine....
Lock the thread. It has reached perfection!

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by drumsound » Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:05 pm

losthighway wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:06 pm
TapeOpLarry wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:31 pm
started Tape Op Magazine....
Lock the thread. It has reached perfection!
I actually thought of that immediately.

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:38 pm

TapeOpLarry wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:31 pm
started Tape Op Magazine....
You win the internet for today. :lol:
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by TapeOpLarry » Thu Dec 10, 2020 9:47 am

Thanks all! Really, if I'd wanted to be a known recording engineer, starting this magazine eclipsed all that. It's sucked up 1/2 my time and confused people as to what I "really" do. But.... I'm certainly at a higher profile than I would have been. Trade off....
Larry Crane, Editor/Founder Tape Op Magazine
please visit www.tapeop.com for contact information
(do not send private messages via this board!)
www.larry-crane.com

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by Theo_Karon » Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:28 pm

Around 2006 / 2007. Borrowed a 421 from a friend to use on vocals, recording a touring band live to 8-track 1/2" in my Chicago basement "studio." This was a Good, Expensive Microphone. Also not an SM57. Also a Real Touring Band. VERY exciting. I think I was 19 -

I ask the singer to sing a little so that I can get a level into this "fancy" microphone we've borrowed specifically for this session (no talkback, the "control room" walls didn't extend all the way to the ceiling, so... I recently archived a bunch of reels from that era - virtually every song starts with 19 year old me bellowing "ROLLING" at the top of my lungs from the next room :shock: ) and the sound is strange and thin. Hmmmm... must be singing into the back of the capsule. I run out into the room and flip the mic around so that the other side of the basket faces the singer. Same thing. Does it need phantom power? No, still sounds totally fucked up. Maybe some compression? Nope. Different channel on the M-320? Nope.

"this thing's broken"

:roll: :roll: :roll:

On an unrelated and less fun / no fun / super serious note - dealing with mix recalls in the digital era (console summing, faders at 0, digital levels & pans with analog processing printed back in rather than inserted works for me most days - still mix on the faders sometimes - analog group / master inserts are pretty easy to recall too - point is it's, like, '5 minutes at most' instead of 'two hours and still never quite right') - I decided years ago to never put up any resistance and just do the notes to the best of my ability. I haven't looked back and my life and mixes both have gotten easier and better. Counter to some of the sentiments expressed here, the one thing I will insist on is that artist not approve mixes until they've listened to them back at home where they're comfortable - I don't care if they've got three EQs chained together into a stereo widener, if that's what they're used to, that's what they're used to! The reality is that it's rarely that bad: most skilled musicians have a good deal of ear training under their belt whether they know it or not. It also opens the door for people with a persistent and bizarre vision that might not strike me as 'right' the first time I hear it: if I think I have a better idea of how their record should sound than they do, I'm never going to give that vision a chance, and I need to recalibrate my own thought process.

So I've found that really leaning into those notes that grate on me the most, as a challenge, as though they're the most exciting thing I've ever heard in my life, yields much better results. Say I love the dry, detailed, richly textured vocal sound I've got in my mix and the artist writes back - 'hall reverb on vocal please.' My first kneejerk might be - what about all that detail! Why does this idiot want to drown the vocal in reverb and swamp the mix? It's so stark and striking the way it is - what the fuck! Why is this idiot trying to ruin my beautiful mix? With a steady-state bland vocal reverb sound that everyone uses, and worse, it just occupies the same place for the entire song, smearing everything and removing the impact of each transition.

But wait - did they ask me to drown the vocal in reverb? Or for a muddy mix? Did they say they hated the clarity or the aspects of the vocal that my treatment highlights? No! They want reverb. They're hearing it differently than I am. What if I can find a way to give them their reverb without diminishing any of the things that I like about the vocal mix? A reverb that runs with the spirit of whatever made them want to feel like the vocal was in a 'hall' but has some exciting texture and life and evolves over the course of the mix to suit and emphasize section changes? Now we're getting somewhere!

Also, total novices have fucking amazing ideas sometimes, if you can remember to just try them and see what happens instead of dismissing them before they have a chance.

Really addressing my know-it-all younger self here more than anyone else, so I hope no one takes offense! I bet even the very best of us can use the occasional reminder to stay open to strangeness <3

Cheers

Theo
Everything is going to be OK.

https://www.theokaron.com/

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Re: Truth time- incredibly dumb things you did when you didn't know any better

Post by drumsound » Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:46 pm

Great post Theo. I'm with you on the mix notes thing. It's hard to give up your idea, but their name is on the front of the record.

On the 421, I remember an ad in Modern Drummer that has 421 set up as side address overheads once. :roll:

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