Who Are The Experts?

Yeah, Sure, I’m an expert. Just ask me.

Proof Of Expertise

Correcting the mistakes others validates my self-belief.

You know what I have found: it’s easy to be critical when someone is not around.

An Analogy

I have encountered major blunders when correcting the work of others. My favorite mistake is the over use of reverb. Reverb can be a mask; it’s like an over distorted guitar amp. Leads sound so much more legit, hiding the guitarists lack of technical knowledge and ability. That’s really not a lead I’m hearing, it’s sloppy noodling. It only sounds okay because the distortion hides the carelessness of execution.

Drums are critical. Microphone placement is super important, in addition to tuning. How about making sure each drum sounds like it is from the same kit? The challenge arises from ignorance and willful neglect. This from experienced engineers.

As an engineer my job is to identify which combination of variables are effective in a mix. Many musicians don’t understand that it is common for more than one variable to be important at a given time.

One serious problem with today’s recorded music – the expectation that technology will compensate for lack of knowledge. It doesn’t matter the platform, there are no shortcuts. We can get a desired result more quickly, but the understanding of the tool which allows it is essential. Otherwise, we are blindly swatting at a problem with out knowing how to find a solution.

What About Opinions?

Remember that you are not your songs and your mixes. Every song is different. What you saw in your imagination translated into the work; vision is part of the process.

When someone loves or hates your mix, they are not loving or hating you. What you have produced and what people hear are always vary. The listener brings a different set of expectations than you.

Being vulnerable is only natural. There is a difference between your work and you. Your work can be dissected, scrutinized, sifted and critiqued. But that’s not you, it is only an abstract result of your endeavors and thought process. Once that is understood we can separate ourselves from opinions of those who are not vested in our efforts.

We create what we create with many intentions: self-actualization, legitimacy, passion, entertainment, to educate… We are not doing this to be analyzed and torn down.

In my case, I want to be accepted and recognized as being legit.

Advice From The Ignorant

I’ve written about it before: it really bugs me when someone sits down in my studio and tries to give me advice on how to mix. Especially when they bring very little expertise and trigger time to the table. It’s all a bunch of blather which I immediately reject.

On the other hand, if said person has a skill set I respect, I’m going to listen.

Musical Preference Is Not A Technique

I love classical music. Want to talk about some engineering expertise? Holy cow! With the right monitoring source I can hear pages turn, valves flutter and bows scrape. In my recordings, those would be called audio artifacts. Audio artifacts are not allowed.

But in classical music, it’s part of the performance. The fact those engineers are able to keep the excess orchestra noise to such minimal levels is astounding. It helps to work with seasoned professionals, but still…

The Rabbit Hole

I’m not a fan of most EDM; it doesn’t do it for me. As far as I’m concerned it’s a genre locked into the audio sources and sounds of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Nothing new there. But along comes Skrillet’s mastery. Far be it from me to be overly critical of his expertise. The way he manipulates stock samples and sounds is incredible. I wouldn’t even pretend to undertake such a process.

I have friends who integrate live audio, loops and samples flawlessly, or so it seems. Imagining the crushing hours spent integrating those tracks leaves me astounded. I have done some of that but haven’t had the desire to go head first.

The real experts are out there. You just have to find them.

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