Yet another reason to stay out the box

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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by Drongoloid »

Mike Stranks wrote: My experience of music production is somewhat limited, but I do wonder if the plugin market exists in large part on the back of, 'If only...'. If only I had a different microphone/preamplifier/set of monitors/plugin my music productions would be much better.

Of course. Why would anyone think that the music technology industry is any different from any other industry? It's there to sell things by trying to convince us that we 'need' it .......to become Paul McCartney/ George Martin/ Paul Simon (enter your own favs. here).

I once read in these pages Paul White commenting that whatever gear he uses he usually ends up sounding like Paul White. Therein lies the truth.
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by blinddrew »

I think the "If only..." aspect is very strong. Fundamentally this is a complicated and time-consuming pastime, anything that offers a short-cut will be appealing. Especially to those who don't want to be engineers and just want to create content.
Which connects us nicely to the thread about the AI daw.
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by James Perrett »

Mike Stranks wrote: And now for BOF-mode... :lol: When I was doing music production - BC: before computers - it was generally stated/recognised that you only had access to two FXs: a compressor and a reverb. Basically you worked with what you'd captured at source. Our learning and training was all about capturing the sound you wanted - because once it was on tape there was very little you could do with it. I think it would be no bad thing if us 'aspirerers' had a ponder about that rather than thinking the solution is always to throw yet more money/kit/software into the mix.

My experience with transferring old multitracks bears this out. With most of them you can just push the faders up, add a little reverb/delay to a few things and you're 99% of the way there to the final mix.
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by The Elf »

To be fair there *have* been third-party plug-ins that offer something the stock ones don't. Try creating a wide stereo delay (not 'ping-pong' - ugh!) with the stock plug-ins from Cubase SX3!

And we didn't get a decent stock reverb for many versions.

It would be a strange mix where I didn't use an SSL channel emulation - just because I know it so well and I found something that was convincing.

I do concede that the need for third-party plug-ins has diminished greatly over time, but we didn't all buy them to make up for our lack of ability!
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by Albatross »

Painters have it easy, don't they ... ? A nice simple life and they can paint anywhere and when they're finished it just needs some varnish and a frame and they're done ...

Canvas - paint - brushes - palette - frame

Perhaps its easy for us too ... I paint as well as make music and I sort of see it like this;

Canvas : the air, and we move it not with light but with speakers.
Paint : our instruments.
Brushes : the microphones we use to transfer the paint to the canvas.
Palette : the work-surface. The desk or daw where we mix together our paints and thinners.
Frame : The mastering and creation of the CD or file or vinyl or cassette, (future proofing here) Audio Ear Drops ™ or whatever.

Stops me getting confused with all the gear.
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by blinddrew »

James Perrett wrote:
Mike Stranks wrote: And now for BOF-mode... :lol: When I was doing music production - BC: before computers - it was generally stated/recognised that you only had access to two FXs: a compressor and a reverb. Basically you worked with what you'd captured at source. Our learning and training was all about capturing the sound you wanted - because once it was on tape there was very little you could do with it. I think it would be no bad thing if us 'aspirerers' had a ponder about that rather than thinking the solution is always to throw yet more money/kit/software into the mix.

My experience with transferring old multitracks bears this out. With most of them you can just push the faders up, add a little reverb/delay to a few things and you're 99% of the way there to the final mix.

I think there's potentially an element of people trying to find the secret plug-in that applies that magic 'make it sound like a record' sauce to stick on the mix-bus at the end.
Missing the point that the bit that the magic happened right back at the beginning with the composition, the performance, and the recording.
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

I've been reading 'Tape's Rolling, Take One' which is Adrian Kerridige's autobiography, and its highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of professional music recording in the UK from the 60s to around 2000.

Adrian was one of the founders of CADAC consoles, he laterbset up the Lansdowne Studios in Bayswater and CTS in Wembley, and was a phenomenal recording engineer, especially of big bands. I knew him professionally and he was a lovely bloke, too.

But the point I wanted to make was that his book describes his beginnings as an engineer at IBC studios under the tutelage of Allen Stagg -- a path followed by a surprising number of well known and admired recording engineers of the 70s and 80s who went on to great things at Decca, Abbey Road, Olympic and elsewhere.

As part of their training, Allen's young padawans were asked to devise a miking plan to record various types of bands -- which mics placed where, etc. Once done, Allen would then tell them that they only had half the number of channels available, or they didn't have those particular types of mics or whatever. So they had to whittle their recording plan back to the working minimum to capture what was needed. And then the band came in and they applied their reduced plan and had to make the session work. Which, under his guidance, they did.

That kind of training really helped them learn what could be done with the different mics, what was really important and what wasn't, and how to make decisions early and get it right in the studio onto tape, there and then.

And they all became superb engineers from it.

The modern fashion for sticking six mics in front (and behind) everything and hope to sort something worthwhile out later in mixing is either self-indulgent, indecisive, or ignorant nonsense -- or a combination of all three -- and something that I utterly abhor. And the same applies to the notion that you can record any old crud in the studio but somehow make it sound magical with some ludicrous chain of exotic plugins...

I became close friends with Allen in the decade before his death, and we would often discuss his approach to training and his views on modern practices. Although long retired, he kept up to date with the industry and was certainly no dinosaur -- and he still had the most analytical ears right to the end. Lovely bloke.

Now... Where are my pipe and slippers? Nurse, is it time for my medication? I'll just rest my eyes for a little while... Zzzzzzz
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by Folderol »

Just to add my 2d.
There is also the financial dimension. If you can only afford the bare minimum, you learn to make the most of it and find ways of getting round limitations. Almost by chance you develop the habit of getting the best source recording you can.
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by James Perrett »

blinddrew wrote: I think there's potentially an element of people trying to find the secret plug-in that applies that magic 'make it sound like a record' sauce to stick on the mix-bus at the end.
Missing the point that the bit that the magic happened right back at the beginning with the composition, the performance, and the recording.

And the well known recording could well have come after a demo recording where ideas were tested. The projects that I've been working on over the last few months are interesting because they also include some of the early demos which show how songs can change between the early ideas and the final version.
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by The Elf »

blinddrew wrote:I think there's potentially an element of people trying to find the secret plug-in that applies that magic 'make it sound like a record' sauce to stick on the mix-bus at the end.

Very true. The 'mastering religion' that we now see quite often now upholds this belief.

And, of course, the 'make it sound like tape' plug-in, which is really beckoning with 'make my songs sound like the kind of music that was once recorded to tape'.
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by Albatross »

Must be very confusing though, for a youngun now. Some of the people on this thread were brought up with tape machine, desk and a few bit and bobs. It was a good education. For us, the DAW was a revelation!

Now, I don't know where I'd start to get my head around all the stuff that's just there for the taking. And educational/promotional videos show all this complexity and dos and don'ts. I mean ... we can't blame people for losing the plot and thinking they need this that or the other.

What we are really doing is throwing novices into the most sophisticated studios on earth, which is what a modern daw on a modern computer is, and having them think they can probably master the thing in some weeks or months. And when they can't, wheel in yet another rack of gear and patch it in to the already unfathomable studio.

I'd like to see an article on how to make a decent record with eight tracks and some elastic bands.
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Re: Yet another reason to stay out the box

Post by ManFromGlass »

I’m sure you would have some snappy numbers recorded in no time. . .
Oh, is that taxi for me . . .
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