The Value in Turd Polishing

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wedge
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The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by wedge » Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:54 pm

I've in the midst of a major turd-polishing mixing project -- that just happens to be my own band -- and even though frustration levels are exceedingly high, what with all of the eq'ing and plugins and things just not sitting right, I've come to realize that I've learned more about the value of recording everything correctly, from the outset, by having to haggle with my poorly produced tracks (for the most part) than I would have otherwise. I've read it a million times on this board, about how important it is to get great sounds going in, and that if you do, mixing can be as simple as volume levels and panning. With these tracks, I'm faced with three separate home studios, two different drummers, and all engineered by amateurs. I think the tunes are great and the vibe is happening, so initially I was searching for an audio holy grail that would pull the whole thing together as a sonic unit, but it hit me 'tween the eyes but days ago that it'll never have that sense about it, and the only thing that would give it that sense would be to re-record the whole thing in a good sounding studio with engineers who know what the fuck they're doing. Man, what a great record we could make if we did that. Anyway, just wanted to point out that turd polishing actually has benefits; at least for me it's been an eye-opening learning experience, to say the least...

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by Rigsby » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:13 pm

You're right of course, the advice about 'best sound in' stems from experiences of having to do exactly what you're doing now i'm sure.

Me, i've done a lot of turd polishing and always ended up frustrated, i may've got a decent enough sound in the end, but it's not been what i was after. The last however long i've been concentrating more on the sound before it hits the mic and then how the mic represents it and i'm really pleased with the outcome. There was a time i'd just stick a mic in front of something and hope for the best, i think this stems from my 4-track days when i'd just have to get as close as possible to the instrument to beat the hiss (especially as i did a lot of bouncing), but that's not necessary anymore and i think it took me years to alter my perception.

I also can't believe i used to record everything with a 58, what was i thinking?
The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by JGriffin » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:32 pm

From my point of view--and I'm in a similar situation, working on a record that has a bunch of different quality tracks (all are good but I don't think the record will ever sound consistent as almost every tune was cut in a different studio with different approaches)--you could either wait until you have the time and money to go into the real studio, and then try to nail those grooves again, or you could finish the record and put it out!
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by cgarges » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:41 pm

That's an awesome post.

Don't get discouraged. Remember that the likelihood is that this isn't the last thing you'll ever do, especially not if you've got your own recording setup. Work on it until you can't anymore and put it to rest. Look at each project as a learning experience and know that the next one will be better because of what you've learned this time. I'd hate to do a project that turned ot SO good I knew I could never top it.

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by trodden » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:44 pm

with all the variables you have listed... i feel ya, but you know, when you are met with all those variables working against you.. and you pull through, not only does it sound and feel fucking great, but more than likely you'll for sure have a return client.

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by Rigsby » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:50 pm

dwlb wrote:you could either wait until you have the time and money to go into the real studio, and then try to nail those grooves again, or you could finish the record and put it out!
That's actually a question i have found difficult to answer, i know what i'd like the answer to be, but my perfectionist side kicks in all the time.
The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.

rigsbysmith.com

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by JGriffin » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:14 pm

Rigsby wrote:
dwlb wrote:you could either wait until you have the time and money to go into the real studio, and then try to nail those grooves again, or you could finish the record and put it out!
That's actually a question i have found difficult to answer, i know what i'd like the answer to be, but my perfectionist side kicks in all the time.
yeah, that's why I'm still working on my CD after three and a half years.
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by Slider » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:24 pm

Yeah. It's rough but we've all been through it.
Good luck. It's sounds like you have good perspective.

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by Rigsby » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:29 pm

dwlb wrote:
Rigsby wrote:
dwlb wrote:you could either wait until you have the time and money to go into the real studio, and then try to nail those grooves again, or you could finish the record and put it out!
That's actually a question i have found difficult to answer, i know what i'd like the answer to be, but my perfectionist side kicks in all the time.
yeah, that's why I'm still working on my CD after three and a half years.
Wow, i've taken about ten months since the first inking i was going to make this record, and i thought that was a long time.
The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.

rigsbysmith.com

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by Mr. Dipity » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:35 pm

dwlb wrote:
Rigsby wrote:
dwlb wrote:you could either wait until you have the time and money to go into the real studio, and then try to nail those grooves again, or you could finish the record and put it out!
That's actually a question i have found difficult to answer, i know what i'd like the answer to be, but my perfectionist side kicks in all the time.
yeah, that's why I'm still working on my CD after three and a half years.
Perfectionism is not an excuse - it's short-sightedness.

What you aren't seeing that the process is what needs perfecting, not the end product. What you create is only the stepping stone to what you create next.

You need to strive for the moment where everything you create comes out perfectly, rather than strive to make every moment of creation perfect.

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by jmligt » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:36 pm

It's funny, my band recorded a CD in my living room this past summer. We were all excited and got some copies made to hand out at shows and what not.....now all we do is say how much it sucks. It was fun, and it has some redeeming qualities, but I think we learned a lot about what NOT to do while recording....

-Lig

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by Rigsby » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:03 pm

jmligt wrote:It's funny, my band recorded a CD in my living room this past summer. We were all excited and got some copies made to hand out at shows and what not.....now all we do is say how much it sucks. It was fun, and it has some redeeming qualities, but I think we learned a lot about what NOT to do while recording....

-Lig
It's good really, it means you're progressing.

It's frustating too though eh?
The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.

rigsbysmith.com

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by jmligt » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:22 pm

Rigsby wrote:
jmligt wrote:It's funny, my band recorded a CD in my living room this past summer. We were all excited and got some copies made to hand out at shows and what not.....now all we do is say how much it sucks. It was fun, and it has some redeeming qualities, but I think we learned a lot about what NOT to do while recording....

-Lig
It's good really, it means you're progressing.

It's frustating too though eh?
I don't how many times we'd redo a part in the span of a few hours, finally say "fuck it, it's good enough" only to spend the same amount of time the very next day, and the next, and the next, etc.

I think we probably spent close to 10-15 hours on the vocals in one song that we ended up not even using.

Lewis Black once said something like "In New York "fuck" isn't a word, it's a comma" I think the same goes for recording sometimes.......but, hey, that's what makes it "fun"

-Lig

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by JGriffin » Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:02 pm

Rigsby wrote:
dwlb wrote:
Rigsby wrote:
dwlb wrote:you could either wait until you have the time and money to go into the real studio, and then try to nail those grooves again, or you could finish the record and put it out!
That's actually a question i have found difficult to answer, i know what i'd like the answer to be, but my perfectionist side kicks in all the time.
yeah, that's why I'm still working on my CD after three and a half years.
Wow, i've taken about ten months since the first inking i was going to make this record, and i thought that was a long time.
Well, part of that is I keep taking on other projects that take time away from the CD...I go whole months without working on it. I don't think I did any work on it at all during the 6 months I spent doing the "Alice" sound design.
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

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Re: The Value in Turd Polishing

Post by joel hamilton » Wed Feb 02, 2005 11:17 pm

wedge wrote:I've in the midst of a major turd-polishing mixing project -- that just happens to be my own band -- and even though frustration levels are exceedingly high, what with all of the eq'ing and plugins and things just not sitting right, I've come to realize that I've learned more about the value of recording everything correctly, from the outset, by having to haggle with my poorly produced tracks (for the most part) than I would have otherwise. I've read it a million times on this board, about how important it is to get great sounds going in, and that if you do, mixing can be as simple as volume levels and panning. With these tracks, I'm faced with three separate home studios, two different drummers, and all engineered by amateurs. I think the tunes are great and the vibe is happening, so initially I was searching for an audio holy grail that would pull the whole thing together as a sonic unit, but it hit me 'tween the eyes but days ago that it'll never have that sense about it, and the only thing that would give it that sense would be to re-record the whole thing in a good sounding studio with engineers who know what the fuck they're doing. Man, what a great record we could make if we did that. Anyway, just wanted to point out that turd polishing actually has benefits; at least for me it's been an eye-opening learning experience, to say the least...
EVERY time you put up a mix, this should be the way to look at it. I NEVER walk away from a mix and feel like I DIDNT learn something.
If you always keep that attitude intact, even in the face of horribly tracked projects presented to you to mix, you will feel great about what you were able to accomplish. Catalog the results, and use the same tricks to make good sounds LEAP out at you, or make already good sounding tracks really sit, and breathe with life. If you can make shitty tracks even sound decent, those same tricks wil go with you wherever you go and whatever you mix. Catalogging the results of all the stupid shit you have to do to make it work is the key. Repeat for life....

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