Selecting a studio: thoughts on work flow policy

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by soundfarm1, Jul 19, 2010.

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  1. soundfarm1

    soundfarm1 Active Member

    Dec 30, 2008
    OK, so I was shopping for a studio for my group's next LP. I don't want to get bogged down in the engineering aspect for this one, so we're taking it to a 3rd party. In the studio interview/selection process, I ran across one potential that had a methodology of working that I was hoping you guys could weigh in on. I know how I like to operate, but here are the points of "interest" concerning the studio's policy

    1. No guests in the studio unless it's a producer. (this one I can understand completely)
    2. If you're not recording your part, you shouldn't be there.
    3. None of the band members will be there for the initial mix. A CD will be provided of the initial mix and then feedback can be given for "tweaks" (I see the pros and cons to this argument. Bear in mind we are providing our own producer)
    4. Seemed to balk at the idea of taking final, edited takes to another facility for mixing. (pro tools based studio, so obviously not a technical limitation. I'm thinking this is just an issue of not wanting to lose the revenue. )

  2. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    On the face of it, I take issue with all 4 points.
    But on the other hand, it depends on who's paying for the session.
    On the other other hand, I think these work better as suggestions rather than rules.
    ( if the band knows how to work together in a studio it can make things go faster with better results and everyone has a good time and feeling of a 'group' effort.)
    On the other other other hand, I've worked with people that don't know how to work in a studio in which case the first 3 rules should apply under penalty of deleting their tracks)

    Now, as to Rule #4. This is a hotly debated subject. Frankly, my viewpoint is that if it's not for a major label where tens of thousands of dollars are at stake,then the engineer is just being a petty wus. These are usually the same people that bill for the extra hour if you go 1min over time. they can really kill any kind of vibe in the studio.
  3. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Uhhh... on the face of this, I wouldn't go near this studio... even for free.

    ok... maybe for free... but this assclown should be paying YOU to come into his shop with "rules" like this.

    My rules are simple...

    No deposit, no studio time.
    No final payment, no audio is released.
    Treat others as you wish to be treated.
    No Illegal substances in the open.
    Play your music like you own it.
    Play from the heart.

    After that... I dunno... what "rules" should there be??
  4. soundfarm1

    soundfarm1 Active Member

    Dec 30, 2008
    Thanks for the feedback. In checking out background, references, and samples, it seemed like a viable facility. Upon visiting, the control room was a bit messy (dust all over the console, CD's stacked up all over the argosy desk bridge in front of the LCD and monitors that were resting on the console bridge as well - one of my big pet peaves).

    I think the bottom line is it's our dime and we are not soliciting producer time/resources from him. I think "high pressure" recording enviornments are counterproductive. Seems like he's putting out a "you're gonna record my way" vibe and I just ain't diggin' it. Also, I thought it was rather odd his lounge area was 3 times the size of the the "tracking room", but that's another story.

    BTW, the finished studio and new web site look fantastic, Max. Maybe I can sweet talk the group into a road trip from ATL :)
  5. Shadow_7

    Shadow_7 Active Member

    Mar 22, 2010
    Seems a bit excessive. If you paid for recording, you should at least get a copy of the raw tracks. You paid (per hour probably) for them. They are yours. Now if they want to mute you from saying recorded AT. I can understand that. Raw tracks are not that representative of the final product. That they may or may not be capable of. But if you paid for the time, you should have access to the RAW recordings. Take them where ever, do what ever with them. That's your time on your dime. As long as you supply the transfer media. I don't see how that would be an issue.
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Not trying to spam here... that ain't cool... But gimme a call if you're serious. I think we could be competitive with anything in ATL of similar size.

    The bottom line is that in reality with digital media, you are entitled to the raw files, and (In my opinion) anything edited as far as waveforms.

    There's the reality that several AE's/studios/etc, have sent their final sessions (with automation, plugs and automation) with clients, and another "far less capable" engineer has made a simple fader move or two (for example), then gotten the full credit for mixing the album... which is unethical. So, releasing the ENTIRE complete session is generally not done... but yes, the raw files and edited waveforms are indeed the clients property, when final payment is made.

    This would be the same as bouncing all the FINAL tracks to a spare 2" reel, and giving the client that 2" reel, along with the fader automation on floppy. It just never happened in the analog days, and doesn't usually happen now, with digital.

    The argument is that the client is paying for the knowledge and skillset of the engineer/studio... their "style" if you will. There is nothing that compels the mixer to give his experience away... unless you negotiate a value for that engineer's knowledge and compensate accordingly. Which, from both a musician and engineer's standpoint, I understand, and agree with.

    It would be like taking a plate of food from one restaurant, putting a different garnish on it and serving it to a patron in another restaurant and calling it their own dish.

    Otherwise, anything else IS the property of the artist and is theirs to do with as they wish. Those files are what you are paying for, and if you want to take them to someone else, you are indeed free to do so. The studio cannot legally hold your property hostage... provided you have paid your account in full.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Gosh....I wanna work THERE...

    These are rules generally reserved for asshats who have never been in a real studio but know all about it because they heard it was done..."That Way" from some other asshat who hangs No not here, because we only give perfeshonel advice.

    Spend yer money somewhere else. If you already sense a 'vibe' towards the negative then imagine what it'll be like when the red light goes on.....

    As for wanting yer tracks mixed elsewhere, thats your perogative and as Max said, "Bill paid, all yours"

    As for me.....when they want that I give em the best damn raw tracks they've ever heard and I give em a 'rough' mix of my own so they have something to shoot for......maybe, just to screw with em, I'll send the headphone mix along........(hehheh)

    Most come back rather quickly.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Everybody works a little differently from each other. Most of us are professionals here. While I generally will try to always accommodate my clientele, I do have my 40+ years of experience that frequently gets challenged by clueless ignorance. So generally I feel there has to be some kind of healthy vibe between myself and the client to begin with. I actually encourage clients to bring an audience worth of friends with them. And also let the whole band be involved with the mix especially if you charge by the hour. 50% deposit with a first-time booking. Net 30 with your good clients. And be prepared to wait up to 90 days.

    Your method of working with a client may vary depending upon what the client desires. If the client wants to track with me and take it elsewhere for mixing? No problem. I even inform my clients that if they should so desire, with the purchased hard drive, they could even mix it on their laptop while sitting on the toilet. If they need a Pro Tools based project, I'll give them ProTools. If they don't specify, I do it my way. And should they require a transfer to go to a ProTools studio, the client might have to pay me an additional fee for a specified project requirements. You see, I can provide you with your multitrack hard drive in numerous different formats. And no, I don't generally start nor finish with ProTools.

    However, you can run into this issue. An acquaintance of mine who I've known for nearly 20 years. She is a wonderful singer songwriter, performer. I've recorded her numerous times live with my Remote Truck. And she loves my live recordings. WE DON'T GET ALONG IN THE STUDIO! She has worked with other producer/engineer, musicians and such. Whom I would refer to as " Local Yokels". Or folks from the Balto/Wash area that think they actually know something about recording. And SHE KNOWS that you can't have the band all track at once, etc. etc., blah blah. Everything has to be assembled as an overdub. Well, I don't work that way. You generally go to a person for their expertise. You wouldn't go to a first year medical doctor to get a good deal on a heart transplant for yourself would you? May be a dentist? I always thought it would be smarter for my primary care physician to be a veterinarian? They know about all sorts of different makes and models. As opposed to those other folks that come out of those cookie-cutter schools who only know how to work on a single make and model. I mean we always deal in some kind of educated risk. I risk working with clueless ignorant musicians. Like most of the people in the Balto/Wash area. This ain't a music/performance/entertainment town so to speak. Sure, we have lots of professionals here. Lots of those clueless ignorant professionals that make the Balto/Wash the best mediocre genuine imitation entertainment capital of the world, except Tuesdays.

    Did I say I delivered good recordings? I'll even bring the pizza for an additional $10
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:

    A large Roma Spinach, a medium "garbage".. hold the anchovies and an order of garlic knots, please! (hehehe)
  10. GregLarson

    GregLarson Guest

    great set of rules *thumbs up*
  11. BusterMudd

    BusterMudd Active Member

    Aug 13, 2004
    New York City
    I actually like Rule #1! Not sure I could get away with it, but one can dream...

    Rules #2-4 are pure bullsh!t. Avoid this studio.
  12. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Chicago area
    Home Page:
    all you really need is a studio/producer/engineer that is going to give you their advice, give you what you want in the end, make sure your product is ready for people to listen to. too many times i get guys that come in and say listen to my tracks we spent 45 an hour, its ok, not really what we wanted. anyplace you go to to make a recording you should end up with a product you are PROUD of. it help in marketing and selling your product when your excited about it. otherwise your wasting money and your band probably could have done the same quality as he did.
    stupid rules are by stupid people who make stupid recordings

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