i quit

Discussion on new albums, developing listening skills, critical listening to others' work, as well as TOMB members' MP3 links, online recording critiques

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leftoverking
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i quit

Post by leftoverking » Thu May 09, 2013 6:03 pm

i bought my first four track back in 1983, and have been recording projects for myself and friends ever since. recently i did a demo recording for a group of friends here in eureka. we recorded 15 songs in two nights. kind of quick and dirty. i made a rough mix of each song for them from the takes they chose. after they listened to the mixes, they asked for the hard disk with all the tracks on it. they are going to have someone else mix it, which i am ok with. but i must say i am disappointed that they made no attempt whatsoever to work with me on the mixes. so my question to anyone out there on the t.o.m.b. does this mix sound so abysmall that it's not even worth working on? if so i think i am going to sell all of my gear and never make another recording again. i just wish i knew what i have been doing wrong all these years. if anyone has any kind of input, i would be glad to hear it. here is a rough mix of one of the songs.
https://soundcloud.com/the-leftoverking/lips-of-red

chris harris
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Post by chris harris » Thu May 09, 2013 6:13 pm

It sounds fine. Don't take it personally. Say that you're fine with it, and mean it.

Maybe they just want a different perspective.

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leftoverking
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thanks chris

Post by leftoverking » Thu May 09, 2013 6:31 pm

you're right, i guess i am not ok with it. :D i just wish i could have got a chance to work on these songs more. a rough mix is, well... rough. i just handed them the hard drive yesterday, and have been dwelling on it all day... i appreciate the input, and the listen. cheers.

kslight
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Post by kslight » Thu May 09, 2013 7:12 pm

I had a similar situation, though not for a mix problem, supposedly. I recorded some friends (well one friend and his band) for a couple days at an all analog studio to do some live recordings for not very much money, mixed all the songs then waited... And waited.. Sometimes I'd hear back with various conflicting statements from band members (for suggestions). Finally made a "final" mix in January 2012 based on their last set of suggestions....open-ended though, that I could continue to work on them if they wanted to get everyone to agree so I wasn't reworking when someone disagreed. Then in April of this year, they get a wild bug up their butt that one of the guitar player wants to redo his parts...because his amp wasn't up loud enough or whatever...and they want stems so they can do it with some buddy of theirs, so they can get some CDs made for a small tour they were doing two weeks later. Which is like...okay....you've had this for HOW LONG and now you want to do something with it? I don't care that I didn't get the rework...the kid they had do it is local, I am 200 miles away, and I am head deep in other projects so I frankly couldn't commit the time to them anyway. But I don't normally hand out stems or any kind of project files if its not agreed to beforehand. It was 4 or 5 songs, so I billed them 2 hours of work at the friend rate (because the bassist is still my friend) to make very detailed stems and upload to their FTP... Win win situation...sort of...or at least I made the best out of it I could given the time frame. They got stems so they could "record with a louder amp with some other friend of theirs" and I got beer money. Except, oh wait...I didn't. They haven't paid yet. How hard is it for five guys to come up with $50? The guy is a friend and I'm not counting on him screwing me, they have paid me for various other work also over the years...its just kind of depressing that I rushed out to do stems for them that night so I could help their deadline, and I bumped another project in order to do it, so yes I needed to get paid...and they agreed on it beforehand....but they are dragging their feet. Or maybe just forgetful. I don't know, it doesn't really matter, its not much money but I guess this is why I normally take payment up front. I don't know why I thought for a second I wouldn't have to do that with a friend and such a small amount of money.

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leftoverking
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Post by leftoverking » Thu May 09, 2013 10:54 pm

that is a bummer. well, these ladies did pay me for the time spent tracking, so i have no complaints there. i did not plan to charge them for the time spent mixing so nothing lost, other than the time i did spend rough mixing, and cleaning up their tracks. still, i can't help but feel invested in the project, only to have it taken out of my hands. i guess the experience has filled me with self doubt. i was ready to throw all my gear up on craigslist. i really do enjoy recording though...

kslight
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Post by kslight » Fri May 10, 2013 4:49 am

Oh I forgot to mention that these guys released my final mixes on Bandcamp a few months prior to contacting me for stems...

I wouldn't let one client bring you down. Imagine how many restaurants would be closed if they threw in the towel every time someone said the food/service sucked?

boid
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Post by boid » Fri May 10, 2013 10:48 am

hm.. did you talk to them about it?
I mean you shouldn't ask us when you have the chance to talk to them directly
you'd learn more that way

if stuff like that happens to me I tell them that the time I spend on cleaning up the files and bouncing stems for someone else to mix it will probably take almost as long as me mixing it so they'll have to pay me AND the mixing engineer.

and then they will agree or talk about why they'd want to let someone else mix it
at least you know why then...

kind of sucks yeah,
but listen to kslight, don't worry too much about it
your mix is alright

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Snarl 12/8
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Fri May 10, 2013 1:33 pm

I recorded bands for cheap in Arcata in the early 90's and I quit too. I had a couple great experiences, but mostly it was a bunch of egomaniac stoners trying to get something for nothing.

I wouldn't quit if I were you though. You should raise your rates and work with a better class of people, if you've got the ego for that.

My $0.02.
Carl Keil

Almost forgot: Please steal my drum tracks. and more.

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leftoverking
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Post by leftoverking » Fri May 10, 2013 4:30 pm

boid: i had been communicating with them through email. we had talked about getting everyone together to work on the mixing as a group, and doing any additional overdubs and fixes they felt necessary. then the next email i got was asking for the files. i was so bummed/surprised i just dropped off the hard drive, and did not know what to say. the band member i gave the files to seemed a little sheepish about it, and it was a little awkward, so i just handed it over and said my goodbyes. i guess next time i see them i should ask them why, because i would like to know.

snarl: it's an interesting scene here in humboldt. there are always an abundance of talented bands and musicians here, which is part of the reason i decided to stay here after graduating college back in the early 1990's. i have never charged much, mostly because i am a hobbyist engineer, and when working with friends mostly i want to help them out and enjoy the process too. perhaps i should change that.

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Snarl 12/8
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Fri May 10, 2013 9:37 pm

You said you weren't going to even charge them for the mixes. That could be the problem right there. In a lot of people's minds I think that sounds like you don't give a fuck. I'm not saying that's true, but maybe they didn't think you'd give it your all, or that even if you did it would be worth about what you were charging. There's threads all over the TOMB about this. Do we know each other? I graduated in '94.
Carl Keil

Almost forgot: Please steal my drum tracks. and more.

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leftoverking
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Post by leftoverking » Fri May 10, 2013 10:29 pm

i agreed to do the mixing for free because i knew they would not be able to afford the amount of time i would put into it. we actually worked out a trade for it. they gave me a chihuahua for my daughter in exchange for the mixing. the dog is sweet, and my kid is stoked, so i figured that was cool. it's possible we could know each other. i graduated hsu with a sudio art degree in 93, and played in a few bands around here about that time (grout, and the hitch.)

chris harris
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Post by chris harris » Sat May 11, 2013 9:07 am

Maybe they were so encouraged by the rough mixes from a hobbyist that they wanted to see how much better it could be in the hands of a professional.

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leftoverking
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Post by leftoverking » Sat May 11, 2013 11:37 am

well, that would be a positive way of looking at it.

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: i quit

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sun May 12, 2013 9:44 am

leftoverking wrote:i bought my first four track back in 1983, and have been recording projects for myself and friends ever since. recently i did a demo recording for a group of friends here in eureka. we recorded 15 songs in two nights. kind of quick and dirty. i made a rough mix of each song for them from the takes they chose. after they listened to the mixes, they asked for the hard disk with all the tracks on it. they are going to have someone else mix it, which i am ok with. but i must say i am disappointed that they made no attempt whatsoever to work with me on the mixes. so my question to anyone out there on the t.o.m.b. does this mix sound so abysmall that it's not even worth working on? if so i think i am going to sell all of my gear and never make another recording again. i just wish i knew what i have been doing wrong all these years. if anyone has any kind of input, i would be glad to hear it. here is a rough mix of one of the songs.
https://soundcloud.com/the-leftoverking/lips-of-red
Don't beat yourself up over this. Mixing WELL is HARD.

The first 10 years of my engineering experience was recording exclusively, and having other engineers mix my recorded material. I was actually thankful that a few of them were nice enough to mentor me during the recording process, mainly so they would get what they wanted out of my efforts.

You could use this as a positive learning experience. Ask them for a CD of the mixes when they're done, and listen objectively to the difference between your mixes and the other ones. Then realize what was missing from yours, and learn from that positively.

Cheers
Realizing vibratory excursions from a paper widget.

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leftoverking
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Post by leftoverking » Mon May 13, 2013 10:02 am

thanks for the encouragement nick. i am friends with the guy who will be mixing it, so maybe i'll ask him for some input on how i can improve things at least on the recording side. he is actually the guy who helped me put together my first d.a.w. setup back in 1995, and is super talented.

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