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Mid-Way through 2002

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by RecorderMan, Jun 10, 2002.

  1. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2001
    OK , now that the year is about half over...how's it going out there?

    Buisness up/down/same?
     
  2. spp

    spp Guest

    Funny you should post this question at this time. I've been evaluating my prospects of staying in the studio business recently. So, to answer your question...

    It's disappointing, disheartening, discouraging, and every other "dis" you can think of. And for one reason -- people don't care about quality anymore.

    I have a high end studio a little west of Cleveland, OH. I'm in this location for a couple reasons out of my control. I've previously lived and worked in the music business in Boston, NYC, and LA. I'm a very competent producer and engineer. I offer the best equipment and instruments that anyone could want. And at a VERY reasonable rate. I'm friendly and very customer-satisfaction oriented (I'm stating this pat-on-the-back crap so you can rule out me being a talentless asshole in this equation). But increasingly, people are thinking "why should they spend money in a professional studio" when they can buy Cool Edit Pro for their existing home PC and a Shure 57 and make their own CD. Like RecorderMan said in another post -- where he urged the aspiring engineer to "Run as far away as you can" -- everyone's an engineer and producer now. And quality doesn't matter. Sure, the clients can tell a huge difference when I play projects I've recorded versus some of my competition in the area, but do they want to PAY for it??? Hell no. And keep in mind, I'm only $35 an hour!!! People who do work here are extremely satisfied and successful with their projects, but increasingly I'm hearing how bands are recording things themselves and then bringing them to me to "master". I don't even make ANY claims about myself as a mastering engineer. I tell them there are only about 10 legitimate mastering engineers in the US anyway and that any other studio that says they can master their project is full of $*^t. I explain that I can do what I call "pseudo-mastering" and that it will be good enough for local purposes. Anyway, you can just imagine the crap that they bring in for "mastering"!

    I'm certain that none of this is news to RecorderMan, or to many others of you, but it feels good to get it off my chest. I guess I was about 10 years too late in opening my "dream studio" (in all ways but the geographic location). Now, if I worked primarily with independent or major labels, "maybe" the situation would be different -- RecorderMan can advise me on that -- but out here in the hinterlands, it's bleak and "dis"-everything.
     
  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Dear SPP,

    I hear you!

    I am going to intergrate our conversations so all can share the vibe..

    I hope you will be entertaining and understand how I feel about everything as well!

    SPP:
    It's disappointing, disheartening, discouraging, and every other "dis" you can think of. And for one reason -- people don't care about quality anymore.

    Bill:

    One listen to Britney..and you will understand why!!

    SPP:
    I have a high end studio a little west of Cleveland, OH. I'm in this location for a couple reasons out of my control.

    Bill:

    Having engineered for a shade over a quarter century, I use to engineer in NY.NY., N.Ville, New Orleans, Texas, Up and down the Eastern Seaboard, Europe, Asia..and many places unmentionable.... for Professional boxers' tracks, high end Jazz, Classical, symphonic...etc...etc..Rap to Gap from Swing to zing, form House to Louse..done it all.

    Location is important. I got Married in 1998 and moved from the Gulf coast to Middle (1 year)...then Northwestern Arkansas(2 years)...talking about location..I hear you..took 2 years to get the project roster cooking...then I got a divorce and moved away..funny thing..I booked 58 hours of time the last 3 days I was in Ark. It got Busy!!! Damn good talent as well!! I remember clearly...having a loaded Ryder out front...and still tracking...the last thing I did (tracking from 9AM until 5AM....was to have everything loaded that day and drive 700 miles that night...(Know how heavy a G+ is??? and did the mix weeks later. It seems when you are unavalable..is when they all come out of the woodwork and need you.

    SPP:

    And keep in mind, I'm only $35 an hour!!! People who do work here are extremely satisfied and successful with their projects, but increasingly I'm hearing how bands are recording things themselves and then bringing them to me to "master". I don't even make ANY claims about myself as a mastering engineer. I tell them there are only about 10 legitimate mastering engineers in the US anyway and that any other studio that says they can master their project is(are) full of $*^t. I explain that can do what I call "pseudo-mastering" and that it will be good enough for local purposes. Anyway, you can just imagine the crap that they bring in for "mastering"!

    Bill:

    I hear you again. This is your chance to retrack the thing over..point out and educate. One of my Microphones cost about what 3 days at Criteria costs. (I got 5 of them). As predominantly a mastering engineer..(I do a running hour for $850.00)... Many mastering houses (they screw up decent work) will not put their soul into a project..or listen to it on 6 different systems. This is Dirt Cheap compared to Bernie..and I will be the first to say..I have salvaged some of their projects. Hard thing to say..but when an artist pays the huge bucks..and I take over and get it better by a factor of noticability..well, somebody out there is clock punching..and has lost passion for the art..at the level I perform anyway. If the Bux are right..I am sure you will get all the stops brought out by the big houses..but why pay 12 grand?? 850.00 Dare to compare.

    Very important to have that "sit down session" with your client and find out what will utimately be planned for the project after it leaves your hands. Hook them into your production of their vocals, your investment..etc.. Give them a Block deal...they all are scared by the clock..have that "sit down" find out if you are going to waste time for them to rehearse..or if they are ready. I did a Whole album live in 5 hours...tracking, mixing. Mastering took a week. It was..Let me hear you first. One band member was an engineer (full sail and all) had his own studio...but where did they go?? To me. Why? They used their studio to fine tune their performance..then it was just a live run through (after 2 hour set up) 70 mins of tracking..and since it was less than 20 tracks..the mix was..first song sonuds great like this..all of them will. Totally live dude. Killer as well. Got to find some live venues and infiltrate them. It works.

    SPP:

    I'm certain that none of this is news to RecorderMan, or to many others of you, but it feels good to get it off my chest. I guess I was about 10 years too late in opening my "dream studio" (in all ways but the geographic location). Now, if I worked primarily with independent or major labels, "maybe" the situation would be different -- RecorderMan can advise me on that -- but out here in the hinterlands, it's bleak and "dis"-everything.

    Bill :

    If live venues just "are not happening" in your area...go where they are for a day or so.

    Also....
    Time to work on your own projects...hire a few local good pickers and beaters...and see what THEY are doing. You can do some trade off and get some gigs. As per Biz Here...Could be better..but you got to get out and scope any talent in your area..and offer them a deal and a demo...get out there. BTW..If you need anything from me..you get a big price break..and charge what you want to.

    BTW..sorry for any typos..I did not proof read...
     
  4. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2001
    I fell you spp. My sentiments pretty much exactly. Computers have F$%@'d us all. 10 (or 20) years too late is true...but only if you'd made some change and got out. Don't get me wrong, I still love this stuff...but I'm having a hell of a time. Nobody does demos. I've put my heart & soul into stuff - like a record I did last year....where Andy Johns was duelly impressed, and everyone invloved was blown away by my tones (no small feat...lots of experianced/jaded people involved). And for what? The album was supposed to come out last year...I don't thnk it'll ever get out. And it took me 6 to 9 months to get paid.

    There's alot of people out there that have built their home studios (professional types with money to burn) and they think they're makin' "great stuff", and they point to comments like mine and argue "sour grapes" "adapt or die" "dinosaur" ect.....these same people ( alot but not all Gen X'rs & Gen Y'rs) compain about the "industry" how bad it is, ho there's no good music..except for underground...how Idealistic they are...how cool and rebelious they are....I got news for all of those types...if they think it's bad now it's because they and their peers are making the music now. If you think there's an underground scene now...you should have seen it in thr '70's...you had to PLAY then. I mean, compare any record made today...on any level to a record (that thecritics of the time hated) 'Houses of the Holy' to name one record. It's not us old farts who are responsible for the state of things...it's computers putting recording within the reach of the masses...and today's talent just not there. It's not really they're falt though...they do not know any better and have no reference to judge it by. I do...I was there (as were many of us). Don't tell the boommers about coolness, rebellion or music...we defined the indusrty that is becoming no more.

    Now if I could just get one "Lottery" I'd be out of here, and spend my time raising my children...I keep dreamin', and schemin'....but If I one the lottery I think I'd be outa here...Of course the lottery would probablt change my perspective and I'd buy a bunch of gear (not)!

    So I do say to the youth....if you want into this buisness...good luck. It's always been tough, but now you need luck and a lottery WAY more than when I started. And...if Bowie is any seer...then in time it'll be useless.

    Now, that doesn't relly count for post, film, ect.
    but the ax is coming there too. I'm a 2nd generation hollywood brat and what with canada and all it's not much better there. My younger brother was the smart lucky one...is a transportation coordinator/captain. Rents allof the vehicles, runs all the drivers, and he's locked into one of the biggets directors on the planet.

    But I wanted to make records...silly me...

    so dispair or not....that is the question. I know ALOT of guys with MAJOR names/credits...and it sucks fot them as well. Anybody who says differrent is either Lying or very very lucky.

    JL said. I qouted it. And I'll repeat it.

    "The Dream is Over"

    and I'll also leave you with a paraphase of a great line in "Harry Potter".....something about "men who waste there lives in dreaming...neglecting to live their lives" or something like that.

    Did I bum you out yet? Or are you Laughing at me.....Let me know. (Also sorry for sny typos...it's midnight and I've got the stomach flu....so I'm not going to check it).
     
  5. stedel

    stedel Guest

    No it's not. I just had one at my place.
    A Fairlight "Dream" system, courtesy of Fairlight who let me play with it for a week (but they took it back...hmm...gonna have to work on that). I know this might seem like a shameless plug for Fairlight, 'specially as I'm the Fairlight Forum Moderator here, but....

    It's nice to see a company who put quality first. You think you've got problems where you are? London, New York, Tokyo....Wombarra?

    This Great Urban Myth (ie. you can get professional results for $150 and you having no experience also), is currently a bit of a bane in the industry here also.

    Eventually, this ruse will be shown to be the hollow claim it is. Light will shine again. Do not, I repeat, do not buy that Radio Shack Urei facsimile. These advertising hired guns who'll give you a 160 track count on yer own computer, with a software option that also runs and re-stocks your fridge - they will burn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Er..sorry, just getting carried away. People need music, like oxygen, we will prevail. We are not Borg. Resistance is not futile.

    Dispatch from the trenches:
    Commander Stedel (an officer and a gentleman).

    BTW you guys, Julian used to tell me to shut up on occasions (we had an agreement - I know who I am), I'll be visiting here regularly, so, please...if I push it (erm..I do y'know sometimes...) please...feel free.

    Kind regards

    :cool:
     
  6. Right on, Stedel! I was getting damned depressed until you came along. You are right- talent and knowledge will prevail. It's a learning curve: as home recordists become more knowledgeable, as they come to understand what a good room sounds like, as they come to understand that a good engineer or producer can save time/headaches/sometimes money, as they come to understand that the distance between OK and fantastic is huge, people will come back to the pros. Chers, Doc.
     
  7. spp

    spp Guest

    But aren't you forgetting MONEY in your rationale? *Most* people will always do what's cheapest, so faced with the decision of spending $5-10,000 at a "real" studio to make their album or buying a MOTU 2408 and some mics and speakers for $1000, which do you really think they're going to do? My main argument is that -- in my everyday experience -- low cost wins out over quality ALMOST EVERY time. It's even true with the major labels!
     
  8. stedel

    stedel Guest

    Ah yes, life as a bargain basement vision. The good thing about this argument is that it gets rid of all those unecessary luxuries- like the D minor/major 7th chord. Who needs it? Nobody cares, hey all you need is Cmajor and maybe what? G7? And Dean Markley strings? Nah, BS, bit of fencing wire will do.
    Then there's the English language. How redundant is that? Some people I know can get by using the word "^#$%" in place of 207 different phrases.
    Instead of saying "The quality of the crystals in the new proTools HD systems converters gives a stable sampling process that allows the full quality of a Martin D28 to sound rich and alive" - you get "Yeah fuckin' cool".

    And who needs the American car industry? Buy a Huyundai.

    It's sad. Sensory deprivation as an ideal marketing
    device. "Bring this outstanding lack of quality into your own....life?"
    Paradise for $2.50?
    Another person's hell.
    Read the back of the cornflake packet. Who needs poetry or James Joyce?

    Ah...bring on the instant Popstars. Gene Krupa or the same same same same same same same same 808 kick. Enjoy!!! :cool:
     
  9. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2001
    stedel.........................................................................you're crazy
    :cool: :roll: :w:
     
  10. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2001
    Yep ... agree'd :cool:
     
  11. stedel

    stedel Guest

    Hmm..Sanity...in today's modern world that's a pretty out there concept.

    But a couple of minutes of craziness:

    a. There is no doubt that the last 5 years has seen an amazing growth in the availability of quality recording gear at prices that would be unheard of of - even three years ago.
    This has made it easier for people to do a lot of tracking and mixing at home, and so save $'s - in my own case, where I'm setting up a small but quality tracking facility; well I wouldn't have been able to afford it a couple of years ago. This has also allowed for more creativity and control of things at an Artist's level.

    b. But...to prepare a completed, fully mixed album, that is of professional (ie. people buy it) quality for under $5,000? Starting from zilch?
    Without Bruce Springsteen's reputation?

    Let's see.
    A new G4 Powerbook.
    An Apogee Trak2 (maybe a MOTU 896?)
    Possibly Cubase, Nuendo, DP or Digi's M Box
    Microphones?

    So far cool. But we're not really going to be able to record a live real human drummer, unless we purchase more than one microphone. So, we either stay with samples (sorry drummers - I'm sure there's some re-habilitation re-training you can do). Then I'm not sure that I can use the one microphone for vocals, electric guitar, accoustic guitar, bass, piano, and saxophone. How about you?

    Assuming that the mix bus's of the above mentioned products are OK (Hmm...) we stay with the keyboard and the mouse.No controller or tactile mixing surface.

    Then there's the monitors - unless we do the whole thing on headphones (never seen this as a recommended practice).

    Also a bit concerned about the quality of software EQ's, Compresors and Reverb. Might have to buy additionalplug-ins(some may even need additional on-board DSP's).

    Then - what? I just take an internal stereo feed and burn to CD - if the Power Book has this facility? I don't have to purchase additional mastering software?

    No mic stands (adds to the cost anyway Bono uses a Shure SM58 why shouldn't my female vocalist). But, then is the SM58 a cool mic for accoustic guitar and percussion?

    Oh, and then we assume that the 96kHz thing is propaganda, and we stay at 42 or 48kHz - because even though we'll need additional hardrive space, the amount needed for 96kHz is excessive.

    So how are we doing?

    We haven't mentioned any accoustic treatment of the room - but I guess most stuff is (very) close miced
    or DI'd, or brought in as a sample.

    We also assume that stuff like the 117GLN is a decadent rich kid's plaything. Or the Urei's etc.

    How are we doing? Still under $5000? (although the estimate was $1000).
    :cool:
     

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