Does anyone take the time anymore?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Thomas W. Bethel, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Judging by what is coming to be mastered lately I am wondering if anyone takes the time to properly write, perform, record and mix a song anymore or is everyone in such a hurry that they don't have time to do anything well.

    Lately we have been getting a lot of songs that are really not ready for mastering. They have mistakes in them, the vocals are off key, the instruments are out of tune, the vocals are distorted and the whole mix sounds muddy and, in some cases, just plain BAD. The clients, when asked, say they need to get the CD out for their CD release party or they are going on tour and need the CDs to sell or they are getting ready for a really big record contract deal and the label needs the songs to make the final decision. I can understand the need for quick turnarounds but aren't these people forgetting that someone has to buy the material or pass judgment on it and they should be putting their best foot forward and not sacrificing quality for speed.

    It is so refreshing to get in well done, well thought out songs that are well played, well recorded and well mixed. But these seem to be further and further from the norm. The norm seems to be the songs are, as one client put it, good enough for the purpose they need.

    I was always brought up with the idea that if you published something it should be your best work but I guess that is no longer the rule.

    Is this a regional thing here abouts or is this a general trend throughout the industry?
  2. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    I think it boils down to this:

    They are "self-producing" when they don't have the personality, habits, and ultimately, the skills to do so. Many new artists don't realize the immortance of a record producer. People even stumble over the word "record," as if we're talking only vinyl. We are talking recording mediums, period.

    Many of these artists need a MadTiger to keep them on their grind, to get them to stick to their schedule, etc.

    I know I have niche I can fill. I just need to get my foot in the door.

    Good topic.
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    Schedules, release dates? 9/10 times when it really boils down to it, they can be moved and are moved. Most people are just impatient, the deadline isn't real. I can't tell you how many times I've been told it's a rush only to find out that 3 weeks later, after it's been sitting on the A&R's desk or after the band listens to it, that they decide to add a song or take a song off or rerecord something. I just do what I have to do to make it as good as I can, make some suggestions if they want. Some don't know what mastering can and can't do and are hoping for the best when it comes back. Lots of people say it will sound better after it's mastered, the problem is that the new band isn't quite sure what better entails. So they want to get it in their hands as quick as possible to see if they can live with the final disc. It's also just excitement to get the final product in their hands so they can pass it around. The next go around they take more time to get it right.
  4. More and more artists/bands are self-producing with limited DAW setups. In some cases, managers/investors or small labels are just giving the group a few grand to get a software DAW and some basic equipment and people are recording stuff whilst looking at a manual, having never done this kind of thing before - they don't know what good levels are, how to use FX and dynamics processing appropriately and because they don't have a producer pushing them to do more takes and get things right and contribute artistic ideas.

    I think that this is becoming the norm, so better get used to it - you can justify as a professional that there is a limit to how much you can enhance such work, because crap in = (polished slightly but nonetheless) crap out, no matter what you try to do.
  5. lantiss

    lantiss Guest

    The problem is always the same, band manager always rent the hall for advertise their new CD's project before the band even play a note in studio, than everybody get rush in the production process to get the product ready for that date. Promotion seem way more important to them than the artistic side of the product they have to promote.
  6. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    just north of NYC
    Home Page:
    Maybe leedsquietman has the correct answer. It's so easy to record these days that people don't see the details that go into a truely superior recording.

    When there were producers, staff engineers, A&R people, etc. at least someone was watching to make sure the "i's" were dotted & "t's" were crossed. I'm NOT saying that we should go back to the day of the monolithic record company, but that all artists should give their projects the attention they deserve to make them timeless & able to stand up to repeted listening over the years.

    You will be happier in the long run if you do not rush through a project just to conform to a release date. The release party should be planned AFTER the discs are done & checked out & really ready to go.

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