Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: All In A Day's Work
GMC Forum > Discussion Boards > VINTAGE GMC > Community Activities and Tutorials > Recording
tonymiro
Yesterday we completed the attended mastering of a solo instumental CD and the project took some time. We normally average about 6-8 hours for a full length CD but this one took around 15 hours (albeit that we charged him for a set 8 hours). Here's some of the reasons why (no audio examples as I don't have mechanical clearance from the artist, whom I'm also not naming):

1/ Of the 14 or so tracks 3 of them had noticeable distortion, including two tracks that were solo acoustic piano.

2/ 5 tracks had instrument tuning issues and 3 of those also had timing issues.

3/ On 2 solo acoustic piano tracks the piano had been mixed hard left. All others were centre.

4/ 4 tracks faded out too quickly and so cut off the tails of the outro.

5/ Inconsistent reverb.

6/ Inconsistent levels both within and between tracks.

7/ Inappropriate levels on multi instrumental pieces.

8/ 'Interesting' use of a gate.

We'd asked for a remix or failing that the indivdual stems but were told, 'The CD was tracked and recorded by a semi-pro mixing engineer. There's nothing wrong with the mix so just do your job and master it.'

As it was an intended session we could actually take the guy through a critical listening of the mix and explain to him what we were hearing as issues. At the end we also took time to critically compared the master against the original to discuss the changes.

So some of the things we ended up doing:

1/ Upward compression, soft clipping with some manual waveform editing to reduce the noticeable distortion. Some improvement but not entirely successful but the damage was already done. It's pretty much impossible to remove distortion and I'd have to say I'm pretty much at a loss how a recording/mix engineer allowed an acoustic piano track to distort.

2/ We had to use Melodyne DNA to edit the tracks to correct the timing and tuning of the individual instruments. I rarely use Melodyne as it's really mixing software and it was a pain to have to break it out and use it with the client watching and asking questions continually. With timing changes we left some fluidity so that the tracks didn't end up sounding robotic.

3/ After some discussion about instrument placment we agreed to put the solo piano track centre. For those tracked hard left we collapsed the mix to mono, doubled it and put a small amount of delay on one before recoding to stereo.

4/ Added some low level reverb on the outro fade so that the reverb tail masked the cut. Altered the fade out pattern and for all the tracks adjusted the lengths of the outros.

5/ Some expermentation to find a suitable, consistent reverb for the album. Where the original reverb was too much we M/S decoded the tracks and changed the relative levels of the mid and side before re-encoding. TBH normally I wouldn't advice using reverb globally but in this case the damage was already done and we needed to cover over it as much as possible.

6/ Broadband compression and some manual automated fader work.

7/ Some EQ and M/S and some side chain EQ/compression to affect instrument balance.

8/ Not a lot we could do but some improvement after using dynamic eq.

After we'd done all of that (about 9 hours) we then got down to mastering the CD laugh.gif . All in all the guy was very happy at the end of his session and says he learnt a lot not just about mastering but also about mixing and how to critially listen to his work.

As he was leaving I did suggest that he gets issues fixed in the mix in future rather than hoping the mastering engineer will sort it out smile.gif . His reply was, 'Yeah but your hourly rate is cheaper!' rolleyes.gif .
Ben Higgins
Man, I can't believe this... you really couldn't make this stuff up. When people in the industry tell of the ridiculous situations they have to work with/around they're not making it up !

You're a very patient man, Tony ! smile.gif
Todd Simpson
Wow. So you almost had to remix the entire thing, then master it. A buddy of mine who produces a music video podcast (indieatl.com) told me an interesting story on a album he's producing now. The lead vocalist pre-recorded all of his vocal tracks on AN iPHONE! Yup. Came to the session, my buddy has his expensive mics all ready to go and the guy pulls out his iphone. "Tracks are done, just need to be mixed". Nice eh?

Also, You'd be shocked how many vocalists in touring grade bands can't actually sing. He works with our college radio station and national acts come through and he has to pitch fix a ton of vocals. These are working pros mind you on tour, with tour support, hitting all the college stations to pimp their new CD.

The good news is, it's rarely the guitarists who are the problem. Seems that it's very hard to find a singer who can sing these days.
tonymiro
QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jul 1 2011, 11:56 AM) *
...

You're a very patient man, Tony ! smile.gif


You kind of get used to it Ben.

QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Jul 1 2011, 07:45 PM) *
Wow. So you almost had to remix the entire thing, then master it.


Pretty much so Todd though we only got paid for a standard mastering session. The original mix engineer got paid about 5 times more than us to mess the thing up rolleyes.gif .

QUOTE
Also, You'd be shocked how many vocalists in touring grade bands can't actually sing. He works with our college radio station and national acts come through and he has to pitch fix a ton of vocals. These are working pros mind you on tour, with tour support, hitting all the college stations to pimp their new CD.

The good news is, it's rarely the guitarists who are the problem. Seems that it's very hard to find a singer who can sing these days.


Sadly it doesn't surprise me - I've seen plenty of vocal mix EDLs and so know how some vocalists need an awful lot of editing - and we're talking about in excess of 1000 edits to 'fix' the vocal.

Good vocalists are pretty much worth their weight in gold.
dark dude
I'm suprised you only charged him for the set 8 hours, and how rude can you be saying something like that when walking out? Heh.

Have you guys ever lost your cool with people like this? To any degree?
tonymiro
QUOTE (dark dude @ Jul 2 2011, 11:24 AM) *
...

Have you guys ever lost your cool with people like this? To any degree?


Not in front of the client but the cats know when to get out of my way wink.gif .

I've grown used to being sworn at when you advice someone that their mix requires attention. I also do sometimes get irritated by the number of mix engineers who think they can master in their mix studios and on mixing equpiment. They're supposed to be professionals but all too often do their clients a major disservice by bodging it.

I did come close to it once though when a producer kept sending us audio files that contained viruses and trojans attached to them. (Luckily we have a SOP to virus check all files before we put them on the mastering rig which has no virus guard.) When we politely asked him to check his system he first accused me of lying, then said we must have an infected pc and his files were clean (wrong) and finally swore at me profusely and said that I was unprofessional and he would take his work elsewhere and would let all of his clients know why. He took his work to a friend who's also a pro ME and guess what my friend told me - his mastering DAW got infected with a trojan from the guy. Lost several weeks work whilst he had his system disinfected mad.gif . I decided that work from him wasn't worth the risk of getting a virus/trojan anyway.



jstcrsn
QUOTE (tonymiro @ Jul 2 2011, 11:52 AM) *
Not in front of the client but the cats know when to get out of my way wink.gif .

I've grown used to being sworn at when you advice someone that their mix requires attention. I also do sometimes get irritated by the number of mix engineers who think they can master in their mix studios and on mixing equpiment. They're supposed to be professionals but all too often do their clients a major disservice by bodging it.

I did come close to it once though when a producer kept sending us audio files that contained viruses and trojans attached to them. (Luckily we have a SOP to virus check all files before we put them on the mastering rig which has no virus guard.) When we politely asked him to check his system he first accused me of lying, then said we must have an infected pc and his files were clean (wrong) and finally swore at me profusely and said that I was unprofessional and he would take his work elsewhere and would let all of his clients know why. He took his work to a friend who's also a pro ME and guess what my friend told me - his mastering DAW got infected with a trojan from the guy. Lost several weeks work whilst he had his system disinfected mad.gif . I decided that work from him wasn't worth the risk of getting a virus/trojan anyway.

your skills amaze
in my business I work with and end up giving a lot of free-bee's as well , how come everone will bad mouth you if you don't do it their way
but never give you a good word in a situation like this, what do you do
anyway ,take a listen to these songs I didd back in 2000 ,I like to know what you think , we did them at a studio-limited budget of course
http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...mp;#entry531133
Blister
I'm sure you have to laugh at this just to keep your own sanity. But WOW! It is hard to believe people can act this way. Thanks for sharing this, Tony. I know it doesn't mean much, but what you do IS appreciated. You can't let a few "ingrates" (I would rather use another word) spoil what many do respect & appreciate.

Gary
Gabriel Leopardi
Wou Tony! You saved this project! It's a pity when this things happens but it's really cool that there is professional and serious people like you that put all their effort to do the things the best possible. smile.gif
tonymiro
QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Jul 2 2011, 09:28 PM) *
...
anyway ,take a listen to these songs I didd back in 2000 ,I like to know what you think , we did them at a studio-limited budget of course
http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...mp;#entry531133



I'll try and listen and comment asap smile.gif - might take a couple of days though as we've another attended session today and tomorrow.

Also thanks everyone for the kind words smile.gif .
thefireball
Haha, wow Tony. This is quite an endeavor. It's amazing you worked with this anyway and did the best you could, even though they were in the wrong. Tell me what you think about this guy who claims to mix a song in record time. I just clicked through it...who wants to watch the whole 20 mins?....Is he really doing what he says he is?
tonymiro
QUOTE (thefireball @ Jul 4 2011, 03:10 PM) *
... Tell me what you think about this guy who claims to mix a song in record time. I just clicked through it...who wants to watch the whole 20 mins?....Is he really doing what he says he is?


Not impressed with the end result tbh and I think his mixing and 'mastering' requires a lot of practice.

In my opinion - albeit it's based on the video sound - the mix is poor,instrument balance and levels are odd, vocals to me sound out and the bass end isn't right. As a song arrangement it is, to me, bland and he needs to learn how to compose and arrange to create interest rather than relying on chucking in effects. He also needs to consider how the internal macro dynamic development and ebb and flow from chorus to verse etc act to propel a song. Technically I'd argue that he hasn't done all the work in 20 mins like he states as most of the track consists of pre-chosen samples, with the addition of some additional vocal and guitar and bass added in the 20 mins. Not sure why he claims the 20 mins includes mastering as it doesn't - just dropping a vst on the 2 bus isn't mastering.


thefireball
QUOTE (tonymiro @ Jul 4 2011, 01:19 PM) *
Not impressed with the end result tbh and I think his mixing and 'mastering' requires a lot of practice.

In my opinion - albeit it's based on the video sound - the mix is poor,instrument balance and levels are odd, vocals to me sound out and the bass end isn't right. As a song arrangement it is, to me, bland and he needs to learn how to compose and arrange to create interest rather than relying on chucking in effects. He also needs to consider how the internal macro dynamic development and ebb and flow from chorus to verse etc act to propel a song. Technically I'd argue that he hasn't done all the work in 20 mins like he states as most of the track consists of pre-chosen samples, with the addition of some additional vocal and guitar and bass added in the 20 mins. Not sure why he claims the 20 mins includes mastering as it doesn't - just dropping a vst on the 2 bus isn't mastering.



Haha, I thought so. He's just trying to get attention.
tonymiro
Just finished another project that went on longer than I'd hoped. It was a local group and my wife had very kindly offered my services for free as she's a friend of the vocalist. Originally I'd been asked to master their project as, 'it's been mixed by a professional'. It turned out that it had been tracked and mixed by the rythym guitar player who works as a car mechanic for his normal day job.

What was booked in as an attended 8 hour session turned in to 3 days. That was partly as the 'pro' mixing engineer decided he'd question everything I did and also as he decided it was ok for him to play with and adjust our hardware as we went along. It's really fun to adjust an eq only to find that someone else then changes it a little while later. It was also partly as the mix was 'interesting' - you could tell that the mix engineer was the rythym guitar player as that was easily the loudest and most forward and in your face part of the mix. He'd set his amp on 11 so his tone was massively distorted and compressed on every track - even the quiet, love ballads... As he was a 'pro' he didn't have the individual tracks/stems and could only provide the stereo file. The upside was that he'd panned himself hard left and everything else was centre so I could get at his rythym guitar and relevel and re eq it to some extent.

When they left the guy offered to give me a discount the next time my car needs servicing. I think I'll take it to a sound engineer instead tongue.gif

thefireball
QUOTE (tonymiro @ Jul 9 2011, 05:37 AM) *
Just finished another project that went on longer than I'd hoped. It was a local group and my wife had very kindly offered my services for free as she's a friend of the vocalist. Originally I'd been asked to master their project as, 'it's been mixed by a professional'. It turned out that it had been tracked and mixed by the rythym guitar player who works as a car mechanic for his normal day job.

What was booked in as an attended 8 hour session turned in to 3 days. That was partly as the 'pro' mixing engineer decided he'd question everything I did and also as he decided it was ok for him to play with and adjust our hardware as we went along. It's really fun to adjust an eq only to find that someone else then changes it a little while later. It was also partly as the mix was 'interesting' - you could tell that the mix engineer was the rythym guitar player as that was easily the loudest and most forward and in your face part of the mix. He'd set his amp on 11 so his tone was massively distorted and compressed on every track - even the quiet, love ballads... As he was a 'pro' he didn't have the individual tracks/stems and could only provide the stereo file. The upside was that he'd panned himself hard left and everything else was centre so I could get at his rythym guitar and relevel and re eq it to some extent.

When they left the guy offered to give me a discount the next time my car needs servicing. I think I'll take it to a sound engineer instead tongue.gif


There you go, Tony! laugh.gif I think God puts these kinds of people in our lives to test us! biggrin.gif Keep on keepin' on. We live in a world with crazy people. I once saw a bumper sticker that said, "Everyone has the right to be stupid, but you're abusing the privilege." biggrin.gif
Ivan Milenkovic
These things happen, they are here to remind us that life is far from perfect and has very strange sense of humor smile.gif
Ben Higgins
Another amusing but eyebrow raising story, Tony. I think the world is trying to tell you that you're too nice ! smile.gif I can't believe the temerity of some people, to the degree where they think it's ok to mess with your equipment ! ohmy.gif
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.