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Digital Producer needs Technical Brain?

Member for

21 years 2 months
I used to be blissfully unaware, I used to truncate, work in 16 bit sessions and worse, without a care in the world.
Then I discovered the DUC and I haven't been quite the same since.
Now it's getting to the point where I wonder if I need to understand how digital works in depth a la Nika and Greg to be able to make informed decisions about purchasing, working processes, and basically to get the best possible sound. That would take me a lot time and effort but if I don't I'll always be one step behind..?
Maybe I won't be able to understand like N&G- :)


Member for

19 years 11 months

Ted Nightshade Thu, 03/14/2002 - 16:13
Caveat Emptor!

Two theories:
1) You need to have a pretty thorough understanding to sort through all the sales hype and "rumor theory" and all that, especially when buying gear. However, an imperfect understanding (and whose isn't these days) may lead to bad decisions. So for that matter may just plain bad luck.

2) You don't need to know a blame thing but what sounds good, who cares how it works.

Somewhere in the middle lies the best course, but where?

Personal pet peeve:
Having people "prove" on paper that what I'm hearing is "wrong" because after all it's so subjective. We need hard facts!
It's true 'cause it says so right here.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 03/14/2002 - 21:35
The problem with the "ignorance is bliss" approach when it comes to digital audio is that there are so many places where one can unknowingly compromise and degrade what started out as a perfectly good sounding recording and all these little steps down in quality creep in and add up almost invisibly until by the end you're left wondering why your mix sounds so veiled, harsh, thin, narrow and without any sense of depth whatsoever. That is unless you're constantly evaluating the tortuous path your audio is moving thru and taking every possible step to keep it as sound (pun intended) as possible...

So I would suggest you find a competent and informed engineer to work with you if you don't want to invest too much effort in keeping on top technologically or if you don't want these issues interfering with the intuitive and creative aspects of making music and recording it. :w:

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 03/15/2002 - 02:06
The blissful ignorance bit was a joke really. I did feel unsettled not knowing what was going on and that did affect my creativity and sound quality.
Thanks for the advice on finding an engineer who will know more than me...please send them over!! ;) Trouble is I think it is very hard to find someone who is technically informed, brilliant and up to date, with common sense musical ears and capable of communicating their knowledge. How many Nika's and Greg's are there?? I hope to find more like them until then it will be sifting throught the internet and building on my knowledge gradually...

Member for

20 years 8 months

RecorderMan Sun, 03/17/2002 - 07:16
Originally posted by littledog:
This is only semi-serious, but haven't you ever had the experience when you hear something you did back when you didn't know shit, and didn't have shit for gear... and think: "Damn! How come this stuff sounds better than the stuff I'm doing now?" the stuff I do always sounds better than before...'cause I keep getting better, and better? (yes!)


Member for

19 years 10 months

damster Sun, 03/17/2002 - 10:11
It took me an hour to write this and once finished,I realized it does'nt really do anything for the original question but I put the time in sooooooo.........

Some of my very first works were at one best.I attribute this to the 'ignorance is bliss' shtick.I had not yet caught the tweaking bug and just threw up mics to record the music.Not much effects or dynamic processing.....just music.When I listen back today they sound natural and pleasing.Especially compared to recordings a few months later where I had begun to attempt things like compression,effects,mic techniques etc.There was a point in my development were combining inexperience with theory and experimental behavior(not drugs or sex)ruined a few recordings.I had begun fussing over things in an attempt to make them sound there any other reason to fuss over things?
I have been a one boy operation for some time with no true mentor so alot of my knowledge has come from tweaking as well as reading informed posts from the like of recorder man and others from various forums.During these intense learning processes the 'flow' and 'session vibe'as well as artist relations suffered while battling with technical inadiquacies that stemmed from my ignorance rather than my gear.The MUSIC suffered as well as the sonics.I then went to recording school and produced a piece of shit recording on Neve Capricorn with a Sony 48 track digital machine and all the mics and effects one would ever hope to chose from.I do far better stuff now on my computer with a rode NT1 and some shitty preamps.I am back in the business of working with a smooth flow but with the added benefit of finding the sonics I need.I would'nt trade the experiences in though.Go forth and fuck up.The more mistakes you make.......the more lessons you've learned.........or so the legend goes.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Guest Sun, 03/17/2002 - 11:52
I employ a switched on, bright young engineer, I also have a freelance Mac'spert on call when I need him as well as other "expert friends". Personaly I soak up a small percentage of tech know-how and trust my instinct to remember what I must remember.. However, the following areas of Mac computer operation piss me off as they are a) important, b) confusing to me c) dreary and uniteresting IMHO

Playback buffer settings
Alocating memory
Nusances of hard disc formatting procedure
removing & re installing software
"extensions" (whatever the f**k they are)

I bumble along and hope for the best....

I DO resent the extra 'school work' and struggle to agree with the view that it is 'just a part of engineering these days'. I much prefer to stick with the band, music and hardware.


Member for

20 years 7 months

MadMoose Sun, 03/17/2002 - 19:09
Jules, if working in a DAW and dealing with the computer BS is such a drag why not go to a standalone hard disc recorder like a Radar and a small analog console or digital mixer? I can see a lot of advantages to working in a DAW like cleaning up tracks, comping vocals faster etc. but I can't deal with the BS and 2" sounds better to me.

I've also fought with some of the first recordings I did. Working in a great studio with great gear can make you sound like a genious. When I started freelancing in different rooms I got my ass kicked hard. Oh man, this sucks? Why? Oh, I guess I suck and the gear sucks. That adds to major suckage. At least most of what I'm doing now doesn't suck most of the time.