I want to design a new plugin called EXPERIENCE

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Thomas W. Bethel, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I have been reading recent posts here and elsewhere on the WWW. It seems like people are asking more and more for a plug in or a piece of equipment that they can use which will give them the right sound or THAT sound or make them a million dollars with their next recording project.

    So my idea is we design a plug in or a piece of equipment that will give them the years and year of experience that they seem to want to learn in a weekend or as they are doing their first project.

    I recently saw some musicians at Guitar Center purchasing equipment for their "studio". They wanted to be able to record themselves and make CDs. The sales people at GC were more than happy to take their money and provide them with equipment. This was on a Friday. I asked them when they were going to start on their project and they told me "tonight" and we will have our CD ready to press by Monday. I asked them what experience they had in recording and they said "none" "but we are going to get it all set up and start recording and we will learn as we go" I guess I am from the older generation and learning as you go and trying to get a CD finished in a weekend seems a bit beyond what is possible but these guys seem confident that they would be able to pull it off.

    So my idea is that I could design a box or software that you feed your recorded information though and it makes it sound GREAT and there is no extra work involved kinda like a Finalizer on steroids. We could call it a EXPERIENCIZER or JACKOFFALL. It could go up on the web with HARBAL and all the other Swiss Army Knife processors that promise you instant sound modifying with NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED. Whata think?

  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I think you should design an entire SUITE of these tools, Tom. I often tell clients I've added a "Talent Enhancer" Plug in for the session, and everyone laughs and enjoys the concept. (Don't we all WISH!)

    Then there's the "No Suck" plug-in, and the "More Me" monitor filter, and so on.

    I'm sure there's many more possibilities out there.
  3. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I think your ch'i is seriously outa' whack, dewd.
    I agree, it would be a hot seller, and a lot of folks would probably be thrilled if it did nothing more than widen the image and limit the #&@% out of it. You could just lie about the rest of the features.
  4. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I personally think this kind of purchase is great. A few guys go out and buy a ton of gear (great for the economy) they dive in and record their CD. After they record their CD they listen to it. Needless to say the value of the experienced engineer goes up at this point. What better way to put a value on experience. They have their CD, they compare it to their friends CD who used someone who knew what they were doing.

    Everyone knows the industry is in a bad way. The engineers that are still working are the ones that use their experience to their benifit. They don't do the whole project, they work on parts of the project that they are needed for. Then they end up wearing the producer hat. They teach their clients to do the mundane stuff, it saves their clients money, they make more CD's. The client has bought all of the gear so they don't have to. Eventually the client sells all the gear to another band because it's too time consuming to learn everything, and they recommend the engineer to the new band.

    How is this a bad thing?
  5. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    It is not a bad thing at all.

    Too bad a lot of people don't read this forum before they go out and spend a butt load for a bunch of equipment that they either 1) don't know or want to take the time to learn how to use or 2) will use badly and wonder why everything they do sounds like S**T.

    We have become a multiple use operation and will help people with what ever part of their project we can help them with. From simple listening to producing, to mastering, to restoration. We have always been client centered and it has helped us weather the current "problems" with the audio industry in general.

    It has been my experience that a lot of musicians start their own studios to "save money" or "to have artistic control" over their material. They play around with it for a couple of months then their significant other says "you have all that junk sitting around and it costs a lot of money so either start a REAL studio and charge people for your time or sell it" So the person does what their significant other tells them to and you see FOR SALE complete studio or you see a new studio open up which lasts for about 6 months max and then a FOR SALE complete studio ads go up.

    I was in a studio in Kentucky. It was one of the best home studios I had ever seen. The acoustics were fantastic. The equipment was all nicely racked and the whole place looked (and that is the operative word) great but there was ONE small problem and that was that none of the equipment was hooked up to anything and all the wall plates in the studio had not been wired and there were no cables from the amplifier to the speakers. Turns out that the person who owned the studio in his house was doing this so he could go down and lay down some tracks when he wanted to but never got around to wiring up anything or using the studio. So here was a very nice studio completely useless and very beautiful to look at. According to him he had about 40K invested in the studio and the equipment and it all had a layer of dust on it.

    Whatever floats your boat.....
  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Same thing happens in photography, video, web design, books, bike riding, sailing, scuba diving, etc...

    Everyone I know has grand dreams and goes out and buys the whole kit thinking they are going to be the next... whatever. I've done it, you've done it, they've done it. I've got so much junk that I don't even know what to start with when the weekend comes around. I'm sure a professional diver would come over to my house and slap me around for not using my dive gear like it should be used. It's great stuff, but I only get to use it maybe once a year and in my mind i'm going to find a treasure chest of silver coins at the bottom of the ocean.

    It's a hobby. Sure at the time i've had many big dreams of making money at my hobbies but they end up fading away after a couple of years. I still have a ton of fun trying though. For a lot of people, music is their hobby. If they have talent, I try to encourage it. If they make something, great. If not, who cares. They made the money, they have the right to spend it.

    Oh by the way, I have some great dive gear for sale if anyone is interested.
  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Slight difference.....

    You are talking about hobbies.

    I am talking about people trying to make money with their "investment" either by doing their own work (thereby not spending money at a studios that would normally supply that service) or going into direct competition with someone who does this for a living even though they have nary a clue to what it is that they are doing.

    Sailing, Scuba diving, biking are not MONEY making endeavors nor were they ever designed to be unless you are doing them to make money like Lance Armstrong.

    Today EVERYONE wants to do everything themselves. Watch TV for a while and see how many programs are designed for the DIY person. I am surprised that there is no channel for audio recording, mastering and music.

    I have a camera, I take pictures I have won some awards and had by stuff on UPI and API do I consider myself a professional photographer? NO

    I have Photoshop. I know how to do some basic work in it. Do I list myself as a Graphic Designer NO

    I have a lathe and a drill press and can do most things in metal or wood. Do not consider myself a machinist or a carpenter both of which are professions that take YEARS to master? NO

    I have a video camera that I use for doing work for clients. Am I a pro? - YES. Do I get paid for what I do? YES.

    I am a mastering engineer. I do mastering for people. I get paid to do that mastering. Am I a professional? YES.

    There are things that I can do. There are things that I cannot do and have to hire done for me. It is NO DIFFERENT in audio. You should do what you can and do it as well as you can and either take the time to learn how to do other things OR hire someone who is an expert to do them FOR YOU. There is NO substitute for experience and their is no plug in or piece of equipment that is the holy grail when it comes to making things sound good. It takes time, talent and LOTS and LOTS of EXPERIENCE!

    This is something that the current generation does not seem to want to understand or care about. It is all about NOW. What can I do NOW. How can I make it work for me NOW? Why can't someone on some list serve tell me what it is that I am doing wrong NOW? "Why can't I have everything I want NOW!

    What ever floats your boat!
  9. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Almost every single band that I know that makes their living recording and performing music, hires professionals for all aspects. Every single one hires a professional for most aspects. The ones that don't, don't make money, at least not enough to hire anyone with. But they still want to try to make something. So they buy the basic tools and give it a go, maybe charge a small fee to help pay for the gear from a few smaller bands that can't afford any gear. These are not professionals, no one is making enough to come close to living on. Therefore it's a hobbie.
  10. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I'd love to see some photos sometime if you wouldn't mind sharing.
  11. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Oh, yeah. don't forget to toss all those pots and pans out because every meal you cook yourself, you're taking money out of a chefs pocket. throw that plunger out too, hire a pro. Bug spray, shame on you, hire an exterminator.
  12. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    well they have it in some artists respect. its called auto tune!
  13. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member


    I do hire an exterminator when I have a hive of yellow jackets in my wall. I do go out for lunch at the local restaurants and if my sewer line gets plugged I call in a plumber. If I need to kill a fly I use a fly swatter, if I want to cook myself I heat something up in the microwave (no threats to any chef) and if a washer on a faucet needs changing I do it myself. If you want to take the analogy further. I can cut a strait line with a hand saw but if I want a wall built for my studio I hire a carpenter. If I need a part made for a tape deck I go to a professional but if I need a spacer washer with a bigger hole diameter I do it on my own lathe. I have nothing against do it yourself.

    I do have something against someone with cracked software, a computer and a couple of computer speakers with NO (make that ZERO) experience and or knowledge calling him or her self a MASTERING ENGINEER and taking business away from me and many others because many people are too stupid to know the difference between a mastering engineer with 38 years of experience and some newbie. They are only going by the PRICE and you know what - they get exactly what they pay for.

    Things are definitely different in NY than the are in the Midwest. One of my really good friends near here was doing 4 mastering jobs a week a year ago now he is doing zero mastering job and he is a real pro. if he were in New York he would have a line from 42nd street to the Village waiting to get in to use his services. He is now into print media.

    I really don't know how to convince people from the coasts that it is really different in the heartland. We have lots of basement studios not many pro studios and the pro studios that are here are selling SSL time for $35.00 per hour (off peak) and still can't find clients.

    Most "professional" bands here still try and do most things themselves. They keep saying that they are saving money or do it to have creative control over the project or they want to record "when we want to" and not have to book time in a studio. In reality they are not making much money themselves and don't want to spend any of it if they can help it.

    Don't forget that Cleveland, Ohio for the last three or four years has been ranked the poorest city in the US. The county I live in has 45% of its residents on welfare or Title 8. Not a very good environment for making money in audio or anything else for that matter.

    I am NOT complaining just stating some things that I feel strongly about.

  14. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    If you will send me your email address I will get them off to you.
  15. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    You obviously don't know too many Midwest bands. Not the same here, There are LOTS of bands, not many venues and the bar owners know this and in some cases are either making the bands pay to play or making them bring in 50 friends before the get paid. In the old days a good band would make $500 a night playing today they are luckly to be making $40.00 per member and that is for 6 to 8 hours of playing. Not even minimum wage.
  16. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    It is strange that kids who know full well that it will take them a month to get through Halo 3 think that they will learn a DAW in a weekend.

    Anyway, I think that you are missing one of the valid motivations for know-nothing DIY recording. There are so few venues now for performing that recording is a much easier and more available way of developing material than it was in the past. As you point out, a lot of bands have a hard time getting a dozen hours of live play per month. They simply don't have anything ready for a pro studio. Someone who has been playing live every night for years knows what works and can walk into a studio and lay it down in a short time. A band that never gets out of the basement might be better off messing around with recorded tracks and handing them to their friends or putting them on myspace for reactions.

    The days of the Beatles playing live for 50 hours a week for 2 years in Hamburg and then spending 12 hours to record a "live in the studio" album consisting of the best 10 of the 300 songs they knew are long gone.
  17. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    very nice idea, if you need some good software testers let me know, lol
  18. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Thomas, I do know a lot of midwest bands. A good 35% of the work I do comes from the midwest. Heck, I had 3 projects this month from Idaho. It's not really known for their music scene. NYC is no different from Ohio. The only difference is most of bands here can't afford a car much less parking.
  19. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    :p How true, How true... The Beatles paid their dues and really got great in Hamburg. Thats why they captured the spirits on those recordings. When I hear those tracks my mind is like a child again, every time. Hard to believe John Lennon had a nasty cold on the vox on twist n shout. He had only one take to get it right. Thats flipping crazy huh? Furthermore, all the sound engineers looked more like scientists in todays world. The amount of artistry is the most valuable plugin. Just think w/ out that plugin we would'nt need plugins....
  20. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    There are so many ways to look at this, and so many lessons to be learned here....

    Tom, I feel your pain, and nothing aggravates me more than seeing untrained people doing things they have no business doing. Unfortunately, with today's proliferation of faster, quicker, cheaper, "easier" to use gadgets, we see it in every walk of life. It is happening in every business, though, and so the bar gets raised - or moved or simply rendered useless - and the affected industries have to adapt.

    Sometimes they die before they adapt, or the industries (audio and desktop publishing come to mind) change so radically over a few years they're almost unrecognizable when the spinning, errr...."adaptation".... finally stops.

    The availability of cheap/affordable gear has had both good and bad effects on the world of recording: Yes, many more folks can rehearse in their bedrooms, jam in virtual bands, and some - a few small number - can break out and do something productive with it all. I see this is a good thing at its core; it keeps a lot of otherwise dangerous people out of trouble in their "Formative" years. :twisted: In some cases, it gets the smarter ones ready for the big time.

    On the other hand, it gets mucked up when some of this stuff gets passed off as 'polished' or professional or "Mastered" material. We all know what a joke that is. It's as unrealistic as all those impossible movie endings where the one-in-a-zillion talentless (but lots of heart!) guy/gal wins the world series, gets the girl/guy, hits the bullseye, wins the lottery, etc. etc. In reality, most are just over-confident schlubs who don't know mastering from their left foot. Unfortunately, in today's world, far too many of these so called "Mastered" CDs make it out the door and into our ears. It's not pretty. ( I always say: "Just because you can, doesn't always mean you SHOULD." )

    I'll bet though, if you could find a way to run the true numbers, the number of real "Mastering" projects is about the same as it's ever been. There are just too many "Wanna-bee's" out there taking up the low end of the range of available mastering gigs. Think about life in the 60's, 70's or even 80's. There was no internet, no Amazon.com, no ebay, and Sam Ash was mostly still a big store in NYC that was more legend than sales muscle. Everyone else went to their local mom and pop store, and recording gear (what you could find at LRE or Radio Shack) was for nerds and geeks in training. We've got more of EVERYTHING now, and it only stands to reason that people are going to be suckered into the lure of "DIY."

    Perhaps you don't want these clients anyway; no matter how tempting it might seem to try to grab these folks as clients, I'm guessing these fools wouldn't know enough to spend REAL money on one of us, anyway.

    Two recent mastering stories here come to mind:

    1. A classical client that I've been playing "phone tag" with over the last couple of years FINALLY brought in a project to me to be "Mastered." It was nicely performed, and very well recorded. BUT, there were problems, and thankfully, she knew enough to call in a pro when it was obvious.

    We had the multitrack premixed stereo "Stems" to work with, and found several "Left & Right" Pannings were wrong, there was HVAC noise in several quiet movements, and she needed some DSP things done that her friend's starter-set of software didn't have (or he didn't know how to use). I really enjoyed this TRUE "Mastering" session; I fixed her panning issues, I speed (not pitch)-corrected a slow passage for her, I resequenced the tracks in a different order, I removed the HVAC noises, and I showed her the difference between low "Room ambience" between movements and "Digital Black/Absolute Zero" between works. She was thrilled; couldn't wait to pay me for the final master (with full TOC printout for the replicator), and wants to get back in to work on another project ASAP.

    This was all due to my years of experience & better monitors, if nothing else.

    2. As I mentioned in another post here, I'm currently working on a compilation of other folks' tracks for a Promotional CD for a festival, and the sound of the "Mastered" material I've been given ranges from very good to simply awful. (Tom, you'd laugh, cry and probably scream at some of this stuff....) Hearing dozens of tracks done in so many different environments, either by the artists themselves or professional mastering engineers, it's amazing how many ways people can screw even the simplest things up.

    I'm betting the #1 cause of so many problems is bad monitoring, (and #2 is lack of experience) but they're not listening to ME for advice, most are happily oblivious to the problem, which I THINK is the core of that Tom and I and many others are annoyed about.

    I don't think this is ever going to go away, it's just going to raise the bar yet again, and we as recording & mastering engineers have to always be looking for better and more informed customers, and count on their ability to know (and hear) the difference between McDonald's and Ruth's Chris's.

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