R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: You know what REALLY annoys me?  (Read 5644 times)

electrical

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 674
You know what REALLY annoys me?
« on: May 14, 2006, 12:27:20 PM »

Okay, the other annoyances thread was about minor annoyances. Now let's deal with major ones. These have to do with sessions wherein I am asked to go to a studio with which I'm unfamiliar, either because it's in another city or because I've never had to go there before.

Broken equipment left temptingly in place. If it's broken, fix it. If you can't fix it, at least take it out of the rack. Time is precious in a session, and if that snappy-looking compressor in the rack isn't working, don't make me find out the hard way, after pulling my hair out about a mysterious failure at midnight.

Whenever I go to a new studio, as part of my get-acquainted tour, I always ask what equipment in the racks isn't working. I am usually told that everything is working. I then find the item least likely to have been plugged-in in the last month, and ask what it sounds like. I am usually told that it isn't working right now. This is a window into a conversation about what other equipment isn't working, and I usually get my answers. I am totally fine with having a modest (puny, even) assortment of equipment available to me, as long as it works when I try to use it. I have joked that given nothing more than a working tape machine, I could make a record in a coal mine. Unfortunately, some studios are not even as suitable for making records as a coal mine

There is a corrollary annoyance, that of equipment listed on the equipment manifest that is no longer owned by the studio or is permanently-busted. Don't send me a misleading equipment list. Likewise, don't direct me to a web page that has a misleading equipment list.

Patch bays left unlabeled. If the patch bay is unlabeled, then I will need to have someone beside me at every moment who can explain the oral tradition of the studio and find the patch points I need for me. This wastes time -- at least as much time as it would take to label the patch bay.

"Decorative" tape machines. Many studios now have tape machines they don't use, but which are still occupying a place in the studio. When I make a record in another studio, I am guaranteed to want to use the tape machine. If your studio offers analog recording, make sure the machine is in condition to make a record when the session starts. This means more dilligence than turning the power on. It is truly depressing to arrive on the morning of the first day of a session and see the tape machine in pieces and the owner paging an off-site tech, trying to get an emergency service call.

Having an analog machine is like having a horse. Horses need more than hay, and tape machines need more than tape. You must test and maintain the system and have the requisite supplies for it. These include empty reels, splicing and leader tape, razor blades, alignment tapes, sufficient blank tape stock, technical manuals and diagnostic and alignment tools. These are not optional niceties, they are essential parts of a functional system. Missing any one of these can be a session-stopping failure that can costs thousands of dollars. It will certainly cost you all my future business.

Filthy studios and equipment. A console surface with dust bunnies and caked-on grime is inexcusable. Some years ago, I made a record using Guy Charbonneau's excellent mobile recording truck, Le Mobile. Despite being bounced around on dirty city streets for years, the interior of the truck's control room was immaculate. The assistant on the session told me his first chore once the wheels stopped rolling was to clean every surface in the truck with a wet rag. Guy re-iterated that the most important piece of equipment in the truck was the wet rag. I wholeheartedly agreed. A clean, well-maintained work environment makes everything else about a session seem easier.

In contrast to the excellent upkeep of Le Mobile, I have been in stationary studios dirtier than a dorm room, with stcky or otherwise unpleasant surfaces. This does not inspire confidence.

The worst filthy studio experience was a studio in a dis-used slaughterhouse in the woods of Western Massachusetts. The "control room" was the filthiest place I have ever been. Not just the filthiest studio, but the filthiest place. There were flying and crawling insects everywhere. The two rear corners of the control room had chest-high mounds of old take-out food bags, beneath which were buried trash cans. There was a toilet, the door of which was slightly ajar. On this door was a note, written on an old paper napkin, that said "can's busted, go outside."

Yes, the studio's clients were expected to shit in the woods outside.

Almost nothing in the studio worked, but the most poetic moment came on the second day, when I re-wound the multitrack from the night before, and  in the middle of the reel, it snapped in two, flapping and littering the studio with little pieces of tape. We found all the pieces and I started re-assembling the tape (we didn't know at that point if we had ruined a master or not). When I re-assembled the tape, we discovered the cause of the break: The night before, one of the bazillion flying insects in the studio had gotten trapped and crushed between layers of the tape pack. It's juices had dried and glued the layers together, and the tape broke at that spot when we re-wound the reel.

As an ironic additional insult, I have found that the filthier the studio, the more likely it is that smoking will not be allowed, in the interest of "keeping the equipment clean."

Is there anything else that annoys me? Oh, there's more.
Logged
best,

steve albini
Electrical Audio
sa at electrical dot com
www.electrical.com

wwittman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7712
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2006, 01:31:31 PM »

wow do I agree with all of that!

It's become almost EXPECTED, sadly, that when I walk into a studio, half of what's in the rack doesn't work or works badly (and they might or might not know it)

I also hate assistant engineers who really don't know how to work the room, where things are in the patchbay, what mics they have, and so on... they're supposed to be there to make it EASIER for me.



The patchbay thing i really suspect is "job protection"... one very famous band had a private studio built by the guy who'd been engineering for years for them.
Absolutely NOTHING was labelled!!!
I'm convinced his idea was that they could never sack this guy because he'd made it so no one else could work there, wihtut a huge headache.


I also hate mic lists with ONE of everything.
Logged
William Wittman
Producer/Engineer
(Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, The Fixx, The Outfield, Hooters...)

JGreenslade

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 824
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2006, 04:50:47 PM »

Quote:


"Decorative" tape machines.


Sadly, a very common sight here over the pond...

Justin
Logged
Audio is a vocational affliction

"there is no "homeopathic" effect in bits and bytes." - HansP

JGreenslade

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 824
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2006, 05:13:19 PM »

Another one:

People who move gear around and only fasten in the top screws on the rack ears... How moronic is that?

Justin
Logged
Audio is a vocational affliction

"there is no "homeopathic" effect in bits and bytes." - HansP

John Ivan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3028
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2006, 05:19:21 PM »

Yeah, if they are only going to use two,it should be the bottom ones Shocked
Logged
"Transformation is no easy trick: It's what art promises and usually doesn't deliver." Garrison Keillor

 

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2006, 12:00:38 AM »

My current assistant, who might be reading this, doesnt quite get how much I hate dust bunnies in the studio.  While my last second did not have a lot of the skills that my current one has, he was awesome at some really important things:

Keeping things clean of dust.
Wrapping cables exactly the way I like them wrapped.
Finding a home for everything, and not just letting it pile up in an unused space.
Emptying the garbage can at the end of the day.
Making sure TP is in the TP roller.
Mopping the bathroom and cleaning the toilet.
Putting enough honey in my Earl Grey tea.
Reading my mind.

Sometimes I think I'd rather have somebody better at those things and not as good at doing the things that I can do myself.  But it's weird, while my house and car might be chaotic, I like the studio to be like a professional place: orderly, everything working right and clean.
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

John Ivan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3028
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2006, 12:14:13 AM »

My one room place is a frickin' mess right now and it's driving me nuts. Mt console PSU is on the "bench" and I'm doin'all this ITB stuff. I have everything moved around getting ready for treatments and I can't find anything. Crying or Very Sad

I like the room clean too..

JI......................................
Logged
"Transformation is no easy trick: It's what art promises and usually doesn't deliver." Garrison Keillor

 

Linear

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 25
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2006, 03:11:33 AM »

electrical wrote on Mon, 15 May 2006 02:27


The worst filthy studio experience was a studio in a dis-used slaughterhouse in the woods of Western Massachusetts. The "control room" was the filthiest place I have ever been. Not just the filthiest studio, but the filthiest place. There were flying and crawling insects everywhere. The two rear corners of the control room had chest-high mounds of old take-out food bags, beneath which were buried trash cans. There was a toilet, the door of which was slightly ajar. On this door was a note, written on an old paper napkin, that said "can's busted, go outside."

Yes, the studio's clients were expected to shit in the woods outside.

Almost nothing in the studio worked, but the most poetic moment came on the second day, when I re-wound the multitrack from the night before, and  in the middle of the reel, it snapped in two, flapping and littering the studio with little pieces of tape. We found all the pieces and I started re-assembling the tape (we didn't know at that point if we had ruined a master or not). When I re-assembled the tape, we discovered the cause of the break: The night before, one of the bazillion flying insects in the studio had gotten trapped and crushed between layers of the tape pack. It's juices had dried and glued the layers together, and the tape broke at that spot when we re-wound the reel.



talk about biohazard. i don't want to sound precious or wrapped in cotton wool or a pussy, but I don't think I could work in a place like that. i guess it would be cool though if you were some hardcore death band and you wanted some 'atmosphere'.

based on this thread, i'm heading off to the studio now to remove  my AMS RMX16 from the rack. i've been meaning to send it off for about a month now and this is the kick up the ass.


Chris
Logged
http://www.linear-recording.com.au

"Fashions change, the laws of physics don't"
Steve Dove

Datcha

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 49
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2006, 09:44:17 AM »

There's a very funny TV show called Grumpy Old Men. Smile
It deals with various frustrations & modern life.

I tend to agree with everything you guys wrote,
and the tone reminded me of the program.

here's some info: http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/guide/articles/g/grumpyoldmen_99 9031010.shtml

Oh, and the most frustrating one for me too is the equipment that doesn't
work, but that sits in the rack just the same. Or the labelling, and the...
Logged
Cheers,

FD

Guzzler

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2006, 09:30:03 PM »

what REALLY annoys me?
When two "skilled" sound engineers (from a very expensive high school) came to my modest studio with their three mixing tables,
and their Cubase to do better than me!
plug and pile their stuff un-correctly!
ask me how to pass their mixing tables from mono to stereo mode!
make a spaghetti's plate with every cables
make me losing my time by a lack of organization
this is really annoying!
cleanness, tidying and organization are, to me, essential to reach efficiency and quality in a recording session

I'm impressed to know that some studio could be so dirty

J
Logged

Bob DeMaa

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 20
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2006, 03:04:42 PM »

electrical wrote on Sun, 14 May 2006 09:27


Broken equipment left temptingly in place. If it's broken, fix it. If you can't fix it, at least take it out of the rack. Time is precious in a session, and if that snappy-looking compressor in the rack isn't working, don't make me find out the hard way, after pulling my hair out about a mysterious failure at midnight.



I was assitant out at Pachyderm a for a few sessions when you were out there with Scarce and the Palace Brothers I think. I always felt bad that you managed to find anything that was broken. Be it bad caps in a pre, bad channels in the board, or that time you had to wait for the heads on the Studer A-80 to be relapped and shipped overnight...

Yep, good times, good times.

B
Logged

Nadsat Rebel

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2006, 03:41:09 AM »

electrical wrote on Sun, 14 May 2006 11:27

Okay, the other annoyances thread was about minor annoyances. Now let's deal with major ones. These have to do with sessions wherein I am asked to go to a studio with which I'm unfamiliar, either because it's in another city or because I've never had to go there before.

Broken equipment left temptingly in place. If it's broken, fix it. If you can't fix it, at least take it out of the rack. Time is precious in a session, and if that snappy-looking compressor in the rack isn't working, don't make me find out the hard way, after pulling my hair out about a mysterious failure at midnight.

Whenever I go to a new studio, as part of my get-acquainted tour, I always ask what equipment in the racks isn't working. I am usually told that everything is working. I then find the item least likely to have been plugged-in in the last month, and ask what it sounds like. I am usually told that it isn't working right now. This is a window into a conversation about what other equipment isn't working, and I usually get my answers. I am totally fine with having a modest (puny, even) assortment of equipment available to me, as long as it works when I try to use it. I have joked that given nothing more than a working tape machine, I could make a record in a coal mine. Unfortunately, some studios are not even as suitable for making records as a coal mine

There is a corrollary annoyance, that of equipment listed on the equipment manifest that is no longer owned by the studio or is permanently-busted. Don't send me a misleading equipment list. Likewise, don't direct me to a web page that has a misleading equipment list.

Patch bays left unlabeled. If the patch bay is unlabeled, then I will need to have someone beside me at every moment who can explain the oral tradition of the studio and find the patch points I need for me. This wastes time -- at least as much time as it would take to label the patch bay.

"Decorative" tape machines. Many studios now have tape machines they don't use, but which are still occupying a place in the studio. When I make a record in another studio, I am guaranteed to want to use the tape machine. If your studio offers analog recording, make sure the machine is in condition to make a record when the session starts. This means more dilligence than turning the power on. It is truly depressing to arrive on the morning of the first day of a session and see the tape machine in pieces and the owner paging an off-site tech, trying to get an emergency service call.

Having an analog machine is like having a horse. Horses need more than hay, and tape machines need more than tape. You must test and maintain the system and have the requisite supplies for it. These include empty reels, splicing and leader tape, razor blades, alignment tapes, sufficient blank tape stock, technical manuals and diagnostic and alignment tools. These are not optional niceties, they are essential parts of a functional system. Missing any one of these can be a session-stopping failure that can costs thousands of dollars. It will certainly cost you all my future business.

Filthy studios and equipment. A console surface with dust bunnies and caked-on grime is inexcusable. Some years ago, I made a record using Guy Charbonneau's excellent mobile recording truck, Le Mobile. Despite being bounced around on dirty city streets for years, the interior of the truck's control room was immaculate. The assistant on the session told me his first chore once the wheels stopped rolling was to clean every surface in the truck with a wet rag. Guy re-iterated that the most important piece of equipment in the truck was the wet rag. I wholeheartedly agreed. A clean, well-maintained work environment makes everything else about a session seem easier.

In contrast to the excellent upkeep of Le Mobile, I have been in stationary studios dirtier than a dorm room, with stcky or otherwise unpleasant surfaces. This does not inspire confidence.

The worst filthy studio experience was a studio in a dis-used slaughterhouse in the woods of Western Massachusetts. The "control room" was the filthiest place I have ever been. Not just the filthiest studio, but the filthiest place. There were flying and crawling insects everywhere. The two rear corners of the control room had chest-high mounds of old take-out food bags, beneath which were buried trash cans. There was a toilet, the door of which was slightly ajar. On this door was a note, written on an old paper napkin, that said "can's busted, go outside."

Yes, the studio's clients were expected to shit in the woods outside.

Almost nothing in the studio worked, but the most poetic moment came on the second day, when I re-wound the multitrack from the night before, and  in the middle of the reel, it snapped in two, flapping and littering the studio with little pieces of tape. We found all the pieces and I started re-assembling the tape (we didn't know at that point if we had ruined a master or not). When I re-assembled the tape, we discovered the cause of the break: The night before, one of the bazillion flying insects in the studio had gotten trapped and crushed between layers of the tape pack. It's juices had dried and glued the layers together, and the tape broke at that spot when we re-wound the reel.

As an ironic additional insult, I have found that the filthier the studio, the more likely it is that smoking will not be allowed, in the interest of "keeping the equipment clean."

Is there anything else that annoys me? Oh, there's more.


A part from Electrical: almost every other studio I have recorded at the headphone distro is fucked.  

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2006, 08:00:37 PM »

Quote:

A part from Electrical: almost every other studio I have recorded at the headphone distro is fucked.


That's why I use these:

http://www.manleylabs.com/images/pro99/hp101.jpg

Excellent headroom, and everybody gets their own mix.  
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Ryan Leigh Patterson

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 526
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2006, 10:57:03 AM »

Yeah, f'ed up headphone distro...

Busted patch cables still hanging around the patch bay

At least one channel on most boards seems to have problems

Logged
Ryan Patterson
Toronto, Ontario
www.myspace.com/ryanlpatterson

amorris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1029
Re: You know what REALLY annoys me?
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2006, 12:02:15 PM »

most studios dont spend on good maintenance. the studio i worked in in LA had 7 full time techs and every channel and unit worked or someone like madonna would bitch and we would have to have it repaired immediately. really awesome place and there arent many like it anymore.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 

Site Hosted By Ashdown Technologies, Inc.

Page created in 0.054 seconds with 18 queries.