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Author Topic: ....at the ol' ball game.........here's the windup......and the pitch.........  (Read 1845 times)

OTR-jkl

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I'm going to try to use a baseball analogy:

Lately I've been having a difficult time hitting the strike zone. Not throwing many balls really, but many of the pitches are being fowled off. No outright strike-outs for sure. Nothing "right down the pipe" - at least not in my opinion....

Maybe its because I recently upgraded my soundcard to a Lynx L22 which is a step up from where I was. I'm using it to feed dig to the Lavry DA10, to receive analog from the hardware and convert to dig and also as the monitoring DA. I'm getting close (I hope) to getting a dedicated AD but for now this is the setup. I've only had it for a month or so so maybe I'm just not used to what I'm hearing yet.

Another possibility is that I'm starting to get a better idea of what the "right" sound is in the room so my frame of reference is changing somewhat. Trying to change the mental image of what sounds right can be very challenging and difficult to maintain initially. The old "muscle memory" thing.

Also, it may be as simple as me making my strike zone too small. IOW, I may be making the mistake of trying to make everything sound a certain way - which is not what I want to get into the habit of - instead of simply making sure stuff translates. I'm taking way too long to get a song "just right". I compare my work with major releases and I'm pretty darn close but not quite "there".

Can anyone relate to what I'm trying to say? Anyone have or had the same problem? Any suggestions for how to work thru (and out) of this situation?

It's really getting frustrating and sometimes it shakes my confidence. Trying to finish up a project and the client and engineer are happy with the tunes so far but there are 3 or 4 songs that I just can't seem to wrap up. Just yesterday I got a call from a former client who is about to finish up another project. He wants me to work on it stating that he values relationships with the people he works with and said that my work is "good". I'm grateful for his loyalty and very happy to have the work but with this stuff going on, I'm finding it really hard to believe him and believe in my ability. I hope this passes soon....

Any help is much appreciated.
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J Lowes · OTR Mastering
Professional Audio Production for Life
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Andrew Hamilton

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Re: ....at the ol' ball game.........
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2010, 02:27:03 pm »

Master painter Ives Gammell, whose voice I heard while doing a tape transfer for a painter, former pupil of his, would say, when editing a painting in progress, first address the things that are "furthest wrong."  Then work on the details.  Don't do detail work first and then have to do broad strokes that could undo any of the precision work, for sure...  

(too quiet?, too bright?, too much bass?  Where? etc..., back off, worse? better?  You know. Bob's your uncle...)

However, as I believe Bob Ohlsson once wrote,  every once in a while, a mastering session only reveals that the mix is twisted out of repair, due to acoustic and/or electrical idiosyncracies of the mix room.  Sometimes, it can't be made to translate outside of the room it was mixed in without severely compromising some key aspect of the mix.   Might be the engineer, or the day, or the key of the song and instruments used that excited problem modes, etc...    Did an intern accidentally mess with a cross-over or polarity of device on some channel or other...?   Also, and this is my opinion, now...most recordings are destined for the ash can of Life, since only the rare treat can be (considered) great, and all else _has_ to be common and/or plain bad.  This is not your fault.  This is Science.   Twisted Evil    


Just fix what's still wrong after you make it louder (if'n it "needs louder.")   If you eq before you invoke a comp or limiter, you can get thrown off course once the loads change and the side chain starts reacting unless you're mindful about the auspicious present.  Keep it simple.  Live in the moment.  Judge what you're hearing now, not then.   You might need to follow up with more eq after a comp, even though you might have eq'd going into it, too...  

Also, while haste sometimes makes waste, if you work too long on a song, you could get used to a bad sound and hear it as ok, only later to revisit and hear that an obviously needed adjustment had been omitted (or that something was stepped on too hard).

FECCPR (Fresh ears consult comparable program routinely.    Very Happy )


Andrew


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urm eric

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Re: ....at the ol' ball game.........
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2010, 06:01:17 pm »

Andrew Hamilton wrote on Sat, 24 April 2010 13:27


However, as I believe Bob Ohlsson once wrote,  sometimes mastering can only reveal that the mix is twisted out of repair due to vagueries of the mix room.   Also, and this is my opinion, now...most recordings are destined for the ash can of Life, since only the rare treat can be (considered) great, and all else _has_ to be common and/or plain bad.  This is not your fault.  This is Science.   Twisted Evil    




I think everyone who does this seriously has more than a few times when it just won't work. And I'm just glad that whatever it is that spins things has organized events this past few weeks so that I have a few hugely intuitive and talented mixers to work with who make the effort suddenly seem somewhat easier. I really don't think this is an enterprise of individuals.

Cheers,

Eric
 
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: ....at the ol' ball game.........
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2010, 12:34:22 am »

Hey Jeff,

Reminds me of 2006 when I made many equipment and software changes and upgrades (a pretty substantial list).

For a few days or even weeks it can be a little disorienting.

But then, after a little time and diligent effort, you find yourself acclimated to the new strike zone, throwing fastballs and sliders again, and perhaps even pitching a no-hitter every now and then.

Hang in there, it gets better.

Best - JT
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Thomas W. Bethel

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A similar thing happened when we changed some studio acoustics and speakers all at the same time. It took me about a month to get back into the grove. Once I got back and understood how much better everything sounded I got all fired up. After the month I would never have gone back to the old way of monitoring. I was somewhat scared that some of the older stuff I had done would not sound as good on the new equipment and I would find some flaws that I had not heard before but was pleasantly surprised that most things I did using the old set up sounded OK on the new setup and that gave me a lot more confidence. I, of course, did find some things that I would have done differently but nothing really glaring came out of the switch over.

Best of luck and just give it some time.    Very Happy
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Doing what you love is freedom.
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Jerry Tubb

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Hey Jeff, one thing you might try as an experiment.

Bring up a song you mastered sometime before the new Lynx unit was added.

From your notes, redial the exact settings on the source material.

Then compare the difference in sound to the previously mastered version.

Perhaps try to get them to match.

Could be very revealing.

Just a thought - JT
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OTR-jkl

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Thanks for the replies and help. Today was a much better day. I was able to knock out those troubling tunes and I'm actually pretty happy with them. We'll see if I still like them tomorrow.

Truth be told, I bet 99% of the time, the client is happy with the work long before I am. But that's what keeps stretching me....

Although important, its not enough for me just to make the client happy, my measuring stick is the work of those with more experience and better ears than mine. I'm constantly striving to at least get into the same ballpark with all of you vets. For now, I have some gear/room limitations (and lack of experience) that will prevent me from equalling your work, but I'm always trying to figure out how to get the most from what I have to work with so that each project is hopefully better than the previous effort. And, as long as I keep making clients happy and get more work, I'll keep slowly upgrading the gear list and working to improve the end product (and maybe some day get decently fast at this).

So, another thanks to all of you big boys who inspire, teach (and sometimes frustrate the heck out of) us young 'uns.
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J Lowes · OTR Mastering
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