When is enough .......enough? A Rant

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by kingfrog, Mar 7, 2005.

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  1. kingfrog

    kingfrog Active Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    Having been a gear whore for 30 years in a home studio enviornment and a professional singer songwriter For the benefit of those who like myself in the early days strggled to keep up with the latest audio fashions, I had to ask the question.

    Audio has always been and is now very subjective and has become somewhat snobbish in terms of equiptment and prices. The ratio between cheap and expensive does not yield the results in my opinion that 99% of ordinary people can appreciate, especially looking at the playback gear. Content Content Content is the key. Not the engineering although there is a fine line between the "special EFX" sounds as being content as well'

    We had the digital revolution where we all bought into having to have digital converters pre amps, keyboards, mixers, monitors....God forbid there be an analog link in the chain.....Then we are spoon fed that the warm sound of analog is gone and need to buy the "vintage" yet replaced tube products to gain that sound with all its noise digital was supposed to "fix"........in an enviorment where the final sound is compressed using L2 type SW and harware rendering the final output well..loud and void of dynamics.......

    Is this the audio version of fashion...keep changing the styles to keep selling? Is there really any benefit to paying for something that the human ear cannot discern under standard listening enviornments?

    (posted on another thread)

    Reading through the posts its hard to believe one can "hear" the difference in the endpoint of a single preamp on a vocal in a mix on someones home or car system. People are listening hapipily to MP3 and other "bastardized" versions of meticulously recorded music. Audio snobbery is alive and well...........

    I would suggest the end user of any recording could not hear the difference between a $4000 pre amp and a Joe Meek on a vocal on an Ipod.......or in the car. People just don't concentrate soley on music enough. Its background music even when played through an MP3 player.

    So really are engineers engineering for each other? Or are the studios hurting so bad that they have to claim certain expensive brands in order to entice big pocket customers....Is it a mine is bigger than yours thing even though we get to same place?

    I actually read a post in this forum regarding one particular $2000 pre amp, "it may take weeks or months to "hear"......( and be "spoiled") by the difference" between spending hundreds or thousands of dollars...well I don't think a listener will spend weeks listening to the end result and come to the same conclusion.....I'm beginning to think the analogy is more like a Rolex vs Timex...They both keep excellent time in todays day and age......although the Rolex uses old technology....and both speak to the owners taste and how they want to "appear" to others. Pick a side.

    I do agree with a post that implied its really all about performance and musical content rather than technically aural perfection. Many engineers do not think in those terms though so they deserve a pass I suppose.......But still many 20 and 30 year old recordings still sound great , even when compared much of today's popular music "mixes" of previous mixes and music loop recordings. It would seem todays's popular music needs much less microscopic tweaking and could sound just as good using Beheringer or similar gear.

    IN the end I believe its the ears and know how of the mixer that makes all the difference rather than the price of the gear.

    End of Rant......
  2. Thank you

    As I stated in another post, My brother is going to school to become a Studio Engineer, and get treated very pooorly due to him having some Behringer equipment

    When someone askes on this board about a Behringer product, you get about half the post saying something to the effect of

    Behringer Sucks

    While this is obviously very insiteful, it does little to help the poor guy who innocently asked a simple question

    Its like the Rich ladies who see some without all the money wearing a dress from Walmart, they are looked down upon

    its very ugly
  3. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Feb 26, 2005
    North Carolina, USA
    yeah man...

    I agree that one should try to capture the music as truly as possible with the gear at hand. Doesn't hurt to have some choices, but ultimately, its all about the songs! I had a friend over tonight, who's just gotten into writing and recording demos on a Fostex MR8. He played me his stuff, and although by most standards it "sounds" like crap...his voice is awesome, and his songs are just plain GOOD. I offered to record a few songs for him on my setup, which is not great, but would give him a nice clean sounding demo to use. No, it will not be a major-studio quality production, but it will allow his songs to shine through. That IS what its all about! And no, most people can't "hear" the difference between a $300 compressor and a $3000 compressor...they don't care to know what a compressor is, they just want music that moves them. In answer to the question : "when is enough...enough?" It's enough when it sounds good enough for people to enjoy without distraction due to recording quality/problems...no more, no less
  4. kingfrog

    kingfrog Active Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    I have heard many home grown CDs over the years and no one I played them for except other "engineers/producers" had anything bad to say about the "recording" technically. Maybe the song or the performance but never the technical aspect (or even if synth strings or horns were used). Average people are just not that hip to most things and hear the whole as it flies by at 44.1K or so samples/second.

    But then again, I have rarely if ever heard one "producer/engineer" say grand things about a competitors home or even studio effort. And get them togethere and what do they discuss? Ideas about how to do things? NO..They discuss gear..who has what and what is better.

    The statement if its not Pro Tools its not professional is just audio snobbery. Pro Tools was first to offer digital audio if you had ALOT of cash and had a MAC you Bought it hardware and software and stayed with it all through the years.

    Thats why I believe many of today's studios (still in business) have Pro Tools and why start ups feel the pressure to go there. There is nothing wrong with Pro Tools (except propietary plug in structure), but it is not the end all, nor should it be a deal breaker if it is not in a certian Studio. I know a guy in Branson who does work for MAJOR acts there and uses Nuendo on a PC platform in the basement of his home.....and there are two other much more modern and expensive Pro Tools based independant studios there and Im talkin about guys on the stature of Micky Gilly and others who can afford better . Why? They are paying him for his ears and result......not his gear, the "floating" rooms and the fancy art work.

    The ONLY reason the MACINTOSH became popular for musicians is because the MAC had an easier interface (you had to learn DOS on PC) and was easy to carry around. In the early days of PC you needed to learn DOS and there were hardware issues becasue no one owned the final assembled product. It was a mix of different hardware companies and software independant of each other. A real mess. But if you had no money and the patience and will to learn you ended up with a less expensive option with ultimately a lot more options. And today no matter what is said, You can do the same things and achieve equal results on a XP based PC using other than Pro Tools and have more options for plug ins and can fix ANY PROBLEM with it TODAY with parts and/or SW you can buy TODAY at many local places. You are not beholden to one company for the MB or processor, PS, Operating System.

    Today you can buy for practically nothing the same and better technology many GREAT records were made with 10 or 20 years ago. I believe you can make a CD as clean as Steely Dans AJA or Pink Floylds Dark Side with way less then $10,000 worth of gear.
    Even if Steely Dan used a particular vintage tube pre and other goodies...you can duplicate any sound with today's plugs enough so that the average end user would not hear the difference. Its all about the end users, not other producer/engineers. Give it to a friends friend who dont know you for an opinion. If he says the songs suck they will not leave the suck arena if they were then recorded at the Record Plant . I will bet he wont say jeeze you sould have used a better pre amp on the Vocal , or the reverb is a bit grainy and the tails badly dithered.

    So don't be discouraged. I wish I had whats out there today
    when I was 18 or 25. You can do so much more for so much less...Hell even those who cant play or read a note can assemble a bunch of samples and loops together into a piece of music the masses will buy. This is aggravating to musicians...just as projects that come from many home studios are not respected by many pro engineers who have all the top " gear of the day" available.

    A persons list of gear does not reflect anything but his ability to purchase the gear. The end result is can he USE the gear to the beniefit of the song....and if he can do it with the best gear he certainly can do it with Behringer gear as well. If not that, software plug ins will certainly get him there........

  5. LMFAO


    That is so funny

    Actually, I was uprised how sesative my SP C1 was, when I got it I fires it up and could hear my wife on the phone IN THE LIVING ROOM

    It was kinda cool, but then I closed the door
  6. sproll

    sproll Active Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    That's because Behringer does suck. :lol:

    Think about this for a second. This is a Pro Audio board, with many pros that frequent them. They know the difference between good and garbage, and if you are asking their opinion - they are gonna tell you! (Imagine that) This is not some guy next door that knows nothing about gear saying "Yeah man, Behringer sucks" and has never used it... these are professionals that have used the good, the bad and the ugly and want to pass along their knowledge.

    I agree to some extent in this thread, better gear and more money spent does have diminishing returns. It's all about the right price point to performance to me. How much better does a $4,000 pre-amp sound than a $2,000 one? Probably not that much better. But how much better would a $1,000 one sound over a $500 one? I would assume it would be a much larger difference than the $2000-$4000.

    If you are a smart consumer and truly interested in PROFESSIONAL audio, this board is an incredible resource. There are some really knowledgable people here that want to help out, and probably take a large portion of time every day to answer the same old questions over and over, but they want to pass the torch to those that are really interested. Even if you want to try and get semi-professional results with budget, but good gear... hell we're still here for you. But if you come on here asking about the cheapest gear available (Behringer), and then get all upset when we tell you (surprise) it's crap... well... what the hell were you expecting? YOU know it's crap, WE know it's crap, so if you want to spend 60$ on a pre-amp because it's all you can afford... why don't you just keep it to yourself and don't bother asking anyone's opinion? There is nothing wrong with using a $60 pre-amp, it really doesn't matter of that's all you can afford. Yes it starts you out, and that's fine. What I find is ridiculous is people coming on here that are looking for us to candy-coat our opinions just because they want to hear that their 300$ studio monitors are just as good as the $3000 set person X just bought.

    Rant done.
  7. sproll

    sproll Active Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    THAT'S the difference between good BUDGET gear, and garbage INEXPENSIVE gear.

    The SP C1 is an excellent LDC and is a very good buy for the money. I own one myself.
  8. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    There is certainly a snobbish quality to some pro engineers going on. I believe that in the end, I would rather be a less of a technocrat and more of a musically-minded engineer.

    I do some mastering for a very good engineer from Akron OH. I sometimes can't believe the awsome tones he captures and how everthing is just perfect for each song. He uses those stupid little A.R.T. tube mic pre's on alot of the tracks. It just shows me that it's about the "awareness" that the engineers has, not the bank account.

    Although many of my "pro" studio owning friends are shaken by all the home studios popping up, I for one believe that it's ultimately a very good thing for creating a fertile ground for better music.

    Good rant.


  9. Its not the fact that you tell "us" its crap, its in the unbelievably mean spirited was it is done

    that is totally uncalled for and I'm sure has turned more than a few people away from this board

    If you don't like it, then say it, but don't be an ass about it

    I am VERY happy with it, and am looking at getting a B1 and some C4's, I would LOVE to get the T3 (drools)
  10. kingfrog

    kingfrog Active Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    Great producers/engineers do not need the most expensive equiptment to make a name for themselves. Only the guys trying to impress they're way into the business need to spend. Professional does not mean expensive , no more than Rolex means a better watch.....than Timex in it's general purpose. Our lives are filled with these kinds of money=quality equations and they do extend to the audiio world in spades as many other areas of our lives We live in a "me too" society on nearly every level. Audiophile enduser equiptment is another area of diminishing returns for big bucks.

    Your "pro" studio friends are shaken by home gear because home gear is putting out quality recordings. My definition of quality has everything to do with the end user of the product, the ordinary person buying product, They are the ones spending and they will buy what many "professionals" would consider crap in content and technology.

    What then is a professional? In my opinion a professional is someone who makes income from others in whatever endeavor he or she is in. The amount of income does not apply. Someone is not MORE professional becasue they make more money.

    No one wants to hear their Gear is crap on ANY level. If you just spent $2000 on a piece of gear and someone else bought the same type of gear, but the $4000 model and called yur gear crap "relative" to his...well you see where this is going.

    Professionals are not defined by gear. They need to be good and in demand. I know guys with modest PC based home studios and those with $200,000 studios who are in equal demand because they are good at what they do with what they have. The home studio guy does not charge as much as he does not need to but his clients, afew who can afford the best are not concerned with his gear.....as much as his ear. They are the type of guys who would buy a Toyota Avalon instead of Lexus...same car different moniker.
  11. Crane

    Crane Guest

    Amen, Amen, Amen. I spoke up for the use of mindisc and was slammed almost before I finished posting. You either love or hate minidisc but before you crap on it be sure you know the facts. Some people on this "PRO" board don't seem to take the time to investigate before they open their mouth and insert foot.
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    This echoes my contention all along that the skills of the recordist/producer have much much more to do with how a song affects people than all the gear in the world.Gear is tools.Some expensive and some very budget.There are differences in the 'presence' and the 'intimacy' and the sonic spectrum in some gear as opposed to other...Yet these very desired attributes of the high-end gear can be achieved by someone with the skills to bring it out. A wide stereo field is not an exclusive of expensive gear...it IS an exclusive of highly trained and diligent ears. I agree 100% that a suckass song will remain a suckass song on any set of kit in any room. I also agree that the proliferation of affordable gear that actually works and enables many who in the past had no chance at expressing themselves through the recording of their music,has and will bring more great music to the forefront. We are in a transition state as far as the industry goes right now.Its seemingly dying on one hand with all the big studios suffering setbacks and losses,and yet the independant releases are up considerably,much to the chagrin of the established industry,and much of this can be directly linked to the home studio rage thats continuing to grow. The gear market is getting huge. This does not sit well with established professionals and understandably so.For example....here's some punk kids who have a nominal recording setup in their Dads garage....they practice three or four hours a day...they record EVERYTHING they play and then spend hundreds of hours dinking with it until it sounds like something they hear on CD's and the satellite radio channels....in the interim,they have developed a set of skills in both production techniques and songwriting.....WHY? Because they've DEDICATED themselves to it and they've been able to afford some gear to produce their art.Who gives a ratsass what brand it is or where they got it and whether it meets the demands of a working studio running sessions all day and night. Its enabled them to achieve. And ....I'll address this to the Pros out there....Now that they're 'READY' wouldnt you rather have a group of dedicated and well trained punks in doing a record than some halfassed wannabees who just have money?

    Those who raise their noses at the efforts of others simply because they arent using the "RIGHT" gear are in danger of cutting off the very source of their chosen profession.As professionals, we should be at least hearing and demoing ALL equipment and giving props and direction to those who may become our customers and therefore our livelyhoods in the future. Having personally been there done that, I've met many engineers who once they establish a highend ear and a highend kit, they forget what brought them here and tend to look down on those just coming up and going through the same motions and frustrations they went through. I,myself, see no reason at all not give back in spades what I had to learn the hard way and do it gladly.Who knows, I might sign the very best to my label!
  13. That is where I came from, a punk band just trying to record stuff to show friends, and we used some pretty terrible equipment to do it, and you know what, it worked, and we were so happy at the time to show off what we did to our friends

    Now to the present, our gear is getting ALOT better, and while I slave away at a "normal job" by brother is getting a degree in sound engineering, so when he moves out here in a year, we can start a recording studio. Are we looking to be the best recording studio, no, but we do want to do this, we love it.

    And when someone is a jerk to a kid who post here about equipment that is not up to someone's snobby audiophile standards and to take a fat S**T on him for "wasting" his money on that $80 Behringer mixer, or whatever, I think proves your point
  14. kingfrog

    kingfrog Active Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    Hearing 8 bit samples in todays "top" selling recordings is enough to prove the point it is not about the gear LOL..... They are using LO FI as an effect...probably recordeded initially through a $4000 pre Amp......to get the best Lo Fi sound possible...
  15. mcmilliron

    mcmilliron Guest

    Thank god I'm a musician because it would be extremely frustrating to be an engineer. Engineers get no credit from the (mp3 loving)general puplic. 90% of the world could care less if your track was recorded on a 4 track or a million dollar SSL.
    IMO gear can make a huge difference. however... talent will yield far better results than pro gear. "YOU CAN POLISH A TURD BUT ITS STILL A TURD" I love this quote.
  16. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004

    Is that Gary whatshisname at Nottingham Studio? It does look like he has a very nice setup.
    Although he does have a couple pieces of *gasp* Behr@#ger gear!
  17. kingfrog

    kingfrog Active Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    Yes he does have sreat clientel as wellome Behringer gear.........and yes he has some great clients as well .....go figure
  18. twon

    twon Guest

    i see both sides of this
    but kingfrog are you really saying that you are happy to do a $*^t job just because all the ipod users are never going to know.... isnt a better approach to do the best with with the gear you HAVE but always upgrade when you can as i believe that if a pre is $1000 instead of $100 there should be a noticeable improvement....
  19. kingfrog

    kingfrog Active Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    That depends on what YOU and I consider $*^t jobs.
    I believe you can create a great recording on lower priced gear. I believe only highly trained ears will be able to hear the difference.

    I do not feel the need to record for enginears but for the end user who is much much less likely to hear the difference between a $1000 pre amp and a $5000 pre amp.on an Ipod or a 16 bit CD.
  20. axel

    axel Guest

    kingfrog wrote:

    i have a very split opinion on that.

    i do believe ultimately that wisdom / skills / ideas / performance outweight any top end gear... but both combined is just the icing on the cake :D

    the main problem i see is that most consumers / listeners listen on damn average crap stereos / mp3s / cars to music, which is a petty and should NOT downgrade the highest possible level approach...
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