wrong job

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by georges sterkenburg, Jan 16, 2004.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. hello
    i was wondering how many people of you have this situation:
    having a fulltime job wich doesn't give any satisfaction, saved in many years equipment for over 10000 euro but still no work in the audio industrie at least not enough for living but can deliver good kwalitie in sound

    sorry for the english spelling
  2. The industry is particularly tough these days because of the DAW explosion and the current drop in record co. profits. David
  3. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    on the bright side though...

    when your industry is never very lucrative it seems to be less effected by the economy than those at the top of the chain.

    I was poor before the economy took a downturn... hey! look! I'm still poor! And about the same amount of poor... amazing.

    With any business it's important to not grow faster than you can handle. If you can make money with what you have then maximize your profits with what you have. Then look at how you can expand in a way that doesn't compromise your existing business...

    another word to the wise... A studio is a money pit. There is no way around it. You either do it because you love it, because you are delusional, or because grandma left you a huge fortune and you really don't have anything better to do with your time.

    The successful studio owners I know are all there for a reason... they are cheap bastards and they are good businessmen. And... they are excellent engineers.

    You should know within a few months if a business is heading in the direction you want it to go. If you don't see progress toward profit at that point it is time to seriously consider closing it up or changing direction. Much better to consider one of those alternatives than to watch another six months of investment go away...

    just my two cents.
  4. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    If you can deliver good quality sound you might want to consider a mobile rig- you can record band in their studios and rehersal halls and gain valuable experience and work without having the overhead of a studio- it also gives you exposure to bands that might not otherwise have found you if you had a studio- late on as you create a bus with your quality work, get a customer base and adquire more proffesional equipment by all means open a commercial stablishement! good luck! :D

  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    The economy in the US is hopefully on the upturn. .

    I do mastering full time with no other source of income and sometimes it can be frightening not to get a phone call or a referral for a couple of days but things have definitely been looking up lately and our business is picking up on a monthly basis which is good (sound of me knocking on a piece of wood loudly).

    I worked as an audio engineer in a college atmosphere for 26 years and it was a great job and I really felt like I was accomplishing something everyday but then the college was taken over by the "bean counters" and we spent more time justifying our jobs than actually doing them.

    Things went from great to bad in about 6 years. It was like a lot of businesses in the USA the college administration hired more and more highly paid "executives" and kept laying off the people that actually did the work. It got so bad that the employees in one section went out and got the UAW to unionize them so they would get some protection from the ongoing layoffs.

    I finally had enough of the "bean counters" and struck out on my own. It was like walking a tight rope without a safety net but I am glad I did it and even though I am not making as much money as I would have by working for the college I am a whole lot happier. My job is great and I have a great boss (me) <GRIN>.

    Hope this helps.
  6. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    That takes a lotta guts, Thomas, good for you! I was in business for myself for about 12 years and I do know where you coming from- I sold my studio last year, though, and now I have a day job that I don't care much for and a studio at home that I love-

    ironically, I find that I have a lot more time and energy now to devote to my own projects as the time away from the day job is MINE! I just hated recording bands that sounded terrible- well actually, I didn't really hated it but I felt responsible to make them sound as good as possible and that took all my energy and had little left for my art.

    Now I'm concentrating on my own stuff and if I get a halfway decent lucky break I'll be back on the saddle again, this time doing just what I want to do, being where I want to be!! :D :D
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Good for you. I am glad you are getting to do what you enjoy.

    I too have some problems dealing with artists that have not done their homework (recording) very well and who come to me to have me fix the problems that have taken them months to mess up.

    In the old days we use to say we will fix it in the mix when we had problems in the recording, then it was we will fix it in the ProTools session, now it is we will fix it in the mastering session. I now tell my clients that all their problems will be fixed in the heat shrinking <GRIN>

    I guess next thing is to tell the artist that they can send a list of instructions along to the end users telling them how to set up their stereo systems to get the best sound from their poorly recorded materials.....<DOUBLE GRIN>

    It does take a lot out of a person to take someone's badly recorded music and make it sound great. Most times I can pull off miracles but sometimes I cannot. That is what is frustrating.

    I have some artist that come to me early in the recording process and ask questions and talk to me about problems. They bring in their mixes as they progress and I can listen to them and see if their are any problems that are going to mess us up later in the mastering process. When the final day approaches for the mastering everything is a known quantity and there are no surprises. They go away happy and have spent less money getting a really good mastering job.

    At the other end of the spectrum are the Artist that come in with finished mixes that need a lot of sonic surgery and take a long time just to get to the point where we can start to master.

    Sometimes I have to suggest that the artist take his or her material BACK to the recording studio because there are problems that I cannot fix.

    Sometimes they can do this sometimes not. Then we are left with two choices, either try and fix the material knowing that it will not be perfect or leave that material off the final CD.

    Many times the quality of the material brought in is so good musically but so badly recorded and mixed that I feel sorry for the artist. Many times the material is self recorded or self mixed and the person doing the recording or mixing maybe an exceptional musician but not have the chops to be a really good recording/mixing engineer. I know it all has to do with money but if your material is really good why not take the one EXTRA step and make it sound GREAT.

    Oh well I love my job and I love music so it makes it all worthwhile.

    Best of luck!

    [ February 08, 2004, 07:42 AM: Message edited by: Thomas W. Bethel ]
  8. pandamonkey

    pandamonkey Active Member

    Dec 28, 2001
    Start looking for people who could use your help that have nothing to give back. Yes, that sucks.
    Keep in mind that you can build your portfolio and create a name for yourself after people see how good your work is.

    You may think that the folowing would be a problem with my suggeston: If you work for free, are you not destoying revenue potential for everyone else?
    My answer to that would be: Do 1 job for each person, just 1. If they cannot pay you the next time, politely decline. You can network/pimp your skills out to a variety of people this way. These people will quickly learn that relying on people to work for free is not a good long term business plan. Not to mention, people will give you a variety of oportunities to work if they are stuck. You may need that at this particular stage in your career.
    I have been doing this as of late. IMHO, anytime I'm between jobs, I figure that I may as well do something. When I pick up something for someone who's broke, it gives me something to do and makes me look like a nice good doing it!
    Right now, I'm working on 2 paid gigs and 2 voluntary. Hey, You've gotta do what you've gotta!
    One of my paid gigs at present is doing location audio for a local production company. I have done location work with them before and have a pretty good relationship with them. In about 10 days, we will be working on some more material. I have never done post production audio for this company before, they seem to want to rely on my location recording and the video editor to make do with (it's still a pretty small company). For this project, I am insisting that they let me do the audio editing for them. They don't think that they need it so I am offering to do the editing totally free of charge. You see, they just don't know what I can do for them. They soon will! If I never offer to do the post for free (at least 1 time), they may never give me the chance and may never know how much better their product can be.
    Good luck
    P.S. We have a a post in the Audio/Video forum that addresses "what" to charge when you do charge. Check it out!
  9. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    I'm in the same boat as mIchAEl, who, by the way, has been a great help to me along with everyone else here at RO.

    I am doing sound design projects on the Lo/No/Deferred plan so that I can build a reel. I have gotten positive responses from my work so far, but that is a far cry from having people calling and begging me to do work for them.

    My grandfather used to tell me that money is a by-product of excelling at what you do. So I will continue to learn and practice and try to be the best I can be at what I do.

  10. doctorfish

    doctorfish Guest


    How I've done it is by working one job full-time while the studio started out as a part-time thing. Now, I'm at the point of being able to give up the other job as I've managed to develop a small client base to build from so that when I quit the other job I'm not left suddenly with no income. Of course my client list has to grow and for that I'll be spending a lot of time drumming up some business (can't simply wait for the phone to ring) and even making some of our own products. It helps if you can find a niche where you excell compared to others.

    Best of luck to you.

  11. NolanVenhola

    NolanVenhola Guest

    This is what I like about this forum. I think 99% of us here at the forums are working guys with home studios.

    I think we're facing a very difficult challenge. I've got business coming in from local bands since I have a clue what I'm doing compared to other local studios who, despite equipment and experience, still suck at what they do. But I work weekdays at my computer programming job. Not terribly interesting work.

    So when does one take the step, quit their job and start a pro studio?

    You start asking yourself questions. How much will it cost to get the pro equipment necessary? Do I have the Knowledge? Is there a market? Can I get a piece of the market?

    I have the knowledge. I have some of the initial equipment. There may be a small market. I can certainly dominate this area's market.

    But yet I can't justify doing this. Why? I'd have to charge stupid prices to make up for the equipment costs. One person can't do it all.
  12. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    I find myself backed up right now with work, which is a good thing I guess. I also have my studio in my home (basement), and to be honest, I don't want this to be my sole source of income, even if would ever get to the point of being self-sufficient.

    I don't want "everybody and their brother" coming into my house, and disrupting my home life. As it is now, I can be very selective as to who comes into my studio.

    Secondly, I don't want it to get to the point where it is so much work that it is not fun any more. I enjoy it in part because it is a break from my "regular" routine.

    As Brock points out, it is a money pit. The money I make doesn't even come close to covering the expense, so it is truly a "labor of love".
  13. huub

    huub Guest

    i work in broadcasting, wich is a realistic way to make money doing sound...i do a lot of sports, and not a whole lot of music, but at least i work with seriously nice equipment..and in my spare time i can record bands with the best equipment money can buy..
    i think this is a career worth checking out..
    waaaaay more realistic than working in a music studio....
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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