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Author Topic: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!  (Read 9862 times)

Gold

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2010, 12:25:52 pm »

Ed Littman wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 11:03

 it's all in knowing when to make a suggestion & how to word it...as everything might have someones ego attached.



Including the ME's ego. It's always possible that the kids are digging some new god awful sound.
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urm eric

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2010, 12:39:05 pm »

Gold wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 11:25

Ed Littman wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 11:03

 it's all in knowing when to make a suggestion & how to word it...as everything might have someones ego attached.



Including the ME's ego. It's always possible that the kids are digging some new god awful sound.


Or simply something mischievous: in the jazz example I mentioned, the producer/funds provider had patched the track together from different takes, with the edit points being at the choruses. The band then decided to make an ironic comment on this intrusion into their improvisation by getting the engineer to swap pans of the soloing instruments at those points. The producer got the joke, liked the sound, and I left well alone, even though only the spots mics could be panned and the bleeds stayed where they were ... Spacious ... Rolling Eyes  

Cheers,


Eric
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Samc

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #32 on: June 08, 2010, 04:34:19 pm »

Ed Littman wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 16:03


IMO this is what is part of the job. If they didn't want a remix no prob...go forward. it's all in knowing when to make a suggestion & how to word it...as everything might have someones ego attached.

I hear what you're saying Ed and even agree with you, but when a mastering engineer declares that his advise will make a client's CD 'better', or make it sound as if they always know (more than the artists) what's best for the them, that sounds very pretentious to me.  It even smacks of disrespect for the clients; just look at the thread title...

Maybe one day the client's will find a place where they and their work are accorded the same respect accorded to James Taylor...despite their inexperience.  
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Sam Clayton

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #33 on: June 08, 2010, 04:55:56 pm »

Speaking as a complete amateur/beginner at recording and mixing music. I appreciate any suggestions from an experienced ear that I can get.
However.... I do ask for the help. (and I need lots)
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2010, 08:04:03 am »

Samc wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 16:34

Ed Littman wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 16:03


IMO this is what is part of the job. If they didn't want a remix no prob...go forward. it's all in knowing when to make a suggestion & how to word it...as everything might have someones ego attached.

I hear what you're saying Ed and even agree with you, but when a mastering engineer declares that his advise will make a client's CD 'better', or make it sound as if they always know (more than the artists) what's best for the them, that sounds very pretentious to me.  It even smacks of disrespect for the clients; just look at the thread title...

Maybe one day the client's will find a place where they and their work are accorded the same respect accorded to James Taylor...despite their inexperience.  


At least in my case it is not a "my way or the highway" and I treat everyone with the utmost respect but some clients, especially newbies, seem to not have the ability to self critique their own material. I have done literally hundreds of albums and I kinda know what sounds like something that will "make it" versus something that is destined for the 500 copies in the closet syndrome. I listen to their material, I make some suggestion and if they say they are happy with the music and the problems and no problem I do my best to make it sound GREAT. If they take my suggestions then they can go back, fix what is wrong and come back and I can master their materials. I am not a producer and don't play one on TV but I have been around the block a couple of times and usually can hear some problems that maybe the artist failed to hear. Especially with self recorded - self produced albums the artist is so close to their music that they lose all perspective and literally cannot hear where problems exist.

If I am working with an established artist and I hear something weird you bet I will mention it and if I am told "hey that's what I wanted" then fine we go on from there. It is their call and I respect their judgment.

I find it appalling that some mastering engineers here would hear problems, chose to ignore them or never mention them to the artist, master the music and take the artist's money and feel good about it.

IMHO music is suppose to be a collaborative undertaking and even at the 11th hour there are some problems that are so easy to fix and so unnecessary that the artists should be made aware of them and AT LEAST asked if they hear them and if they want to fix them before the CD or whatever is finalized and made available to the masses.

A while back I purchased a CD that was HDCD encoded. It was a collection of acoustic songs that had to do with the Mark Twain TV series and was published by a top level record company. I listened to the songs and at the end of the song someone had tried to fade them out AFTER the CD was encoded in the HDCD format and there was all kinds of noise introduced. It was really really bad. I called the record company and told them the problem. They were "concerned" and offered to send me a new CD (which also had the same problems) later I purchased the same CD but it had been fixed. Why no one at the record company "noticed" this is a complete mystery to me but it finally got fixed and hopefully my phone call and others raised the alarm. This is a well respected company with some of the top mastering engineers in the world working for them and this got released to the public. It was probably not a million seller but those kinds of mistakes should not happen if everyone is doing their jobs and really listening to what is being released and at least is letting people know about the problems so they can be fixed.

FWIW and YMMV
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Waltz Mastering

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #35 on: June 09, 2010, 08:51:32 am »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Wed, 09 June 2010 08:04


I find it appalling that some mastering engineers here would hear problems, chose to ignore them or never mention them to the artist, master the music and take the artist's money and feel good about it.

Are you talking about musical and performance issues or mix sound balance issues?

To me, performance issue's are something an ME should not be giving their opinion on unless it's praise for genuinely well done material.

Mix issue's - sometimes when asked - or if something will obviously benefit, but as Ed said diplomacy is key.

urm eric

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #36 on: June 09, 2010, 10:48:15 am »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Wed, 09 June 2010 07:04

I find it appalling that some mastering engineers here would hear problems, chose to ignore them or never mention them to the artist, master the music and take the artist's money and feel good about it.



If you think you're really in a position to take the high moral tone here Thomas, then you must have misunderstood the other posters.

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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2010, 06:49:34 am »

I had a long talk with the producer/recording engineer about the newly done vocal material. He did a GREAT job recording but he artist is having some really bad problems, he cannot sing but  thinks he can. His voice cracks, he is not on pitch and his phrasing is not working with the songs. The client will not listen to the producer/recording engineer who is basically trying to save him some grief when his stuff goes up on the WWW and he gets some unwanted negative feedback. I get to master the material in a couple of weeks. Not a good situation.

This is an artist who is in his mid fifties and previously had a  long solo career which he is trying to re-ignite with some newly updated material. Most of his "new" songs sound dated and the accompaniment sounds like it was done in the '80s which it was. I will do my best but the results are not going to be what the artist expects.

Thanks for all the helpful replies.
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Patrik T

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2010, 08:13:28 am »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Fri, 11 June 2010 12:49

His voice cracks, he is not on pitch and his phrasing is not working with the songs.


Some of the best songs I've heard had all that.

Quote:

The client will not listen to the producer/recording engineer who is basically trying to save him some grief when his stuff goes up on the WWW and he gets some unwanted negative feedback.


Maybe because it is his music.

Quote:

I get to master the material in a couple of weeks. Not a good situation.


Say "no" if it bugs you this much.

Quote:

Most of his "new" songs sound dated and the accompaniment sounds like it was done in the '80s which it was.


So now you're also into judging what's hot or not? Being a ME?


You ask for tips but it seems you just can not absorb up anything being said here.


Regards
Patrik
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urm eric

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2010, 04:32:40 pm »

Patrik T wrote on Fri, 11 June 2010 07:13

You ask for tips but it seems you just can not absorb up anything being said here.

Regards
Patrik


I had this feeling too Patrick - but, in a charitable spirit, I wonder if delivery format means that previous posts and replies simply do not always get read?
Cheers,

Eric
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2010, 06:33:52 am »

Patrik T wrote on Fri, 11 June 2010 08:13

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Fri, 11 June 2010 12:49

His voice cracks, he is not on pitch and his phrasing is not working with the songs.


Some of the best songs I've heard had all that.

Quote:

The client will not listen to the producer/recording engineer who is basically trying to save him some grief when his stuff goes up on the WWW and he gets some unwanted negative feedback.


Maybe because it is his music.

Quote:

I get to master the material in a couple of weeks. Not a good situation.


Say "no" if it bugs you this much.

Quote:

Most of his "new" songs sound dated and the accompaniment sounds like it was done in the '80s which it was.


So now you're also into judging what's hot or not? Being a ME?


You ask for tips but it seems you just can not absorb up anything being said here.

Regards
Patrik


You do things your way and if it works fine. I read very well and I am absorbing everything you are saying but...I don't think I am getting the same courtesy from you. I want to HELP this person NOT just take his MONEY which seem to be a foreign concept to you. I guess it is a cultural difference in the way we interact with our clients. Lets just agree to politely disagree. Fair enough?

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Thomas W. Bethel
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Room With a View Productions
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Patrik T

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2010, 07:22:13 am »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Sat, 12 June 2010 12:33

I read very well and I am absorbing everything you are saying but...I don't think I am getting the same courtesy from you.


I was relating to all the other posters on this forum.

Quote:

I want to HELP this person NOT just take his MONEY which seem to be a foreign concept to you.


So you think that everyone who try to leave the least egoistic footprint on other persons artistic creations also would be someone who rips people off?

Quote:

I guess it is a cultural difference in the way we interact with out clients. Lets just agree to politely disagree. Fair enough?


My cliental interaction seem to erase the need for revisons. Nor does it cause any trouble of any kind. Why is that?


Best Regards
Patrik
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Samc

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2010, 03:56:26 pm »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Sat, 12 June 2010 11:33


You do things your way and if it works fine. I read very well and I am absorbing everything you are saying but...I don't think I am getting the same courtesy from you. I want to HELP this person NOT just take his MONEY which seem to be a foreign concept to you. I guess it is a cultural difference in the way we interact with out clients. Lets just agree to politely disagree. Fair enough?

Thomas, I'm really puzzled by this attitude, especially since you came looking for advice.  I think it is safe to say that most people here do not agree with your modus operandi, in fact, I have strong feelings against it because I think it's meddling.

Trying to make yourself out as the (only) one with the client's interest at heart is a little misleading in my opinion.  Even the title of this thread (which you wrote) suggest that you are just out to 'stick' it to the client.  By your own account this client has already refused the advise of his producer and engineer, yet you insist on 'helping' him.  One seriously have to wonder about your motive(s).

For someone who is always complaining about his clients I'm puzzled that you refuse to even entertain the advise/opinions of others.  Anyway, that's your prerogative, do let us know how it turns out after you've told your client how much he sucks...
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #43 on: June 13, 2010, 10:33:45 pm »

Samc wrote on Sun, 13 June 2010 15:56

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Sat, 12 June 2010 11:33


You do things your way and if it works fine. I read very well and I am absorbing everything you are saying but...I don't think I am getting the same courtesy from you. I want to HELP this person NOT just take his MONEY which seem to be a foreign concept to you. I guess it is a cultural difference in the way we interact with out clients. Lets just agree to politely disagree. Fair enough?

Thomas, I'm really puzzled by this attitude, especially since you came looking for advice.  I think it is safe to say that most people here do not agree with your modus operandi, in fact, I have strong feelings against it because I think it's meddling.

Trying to make yourself out as the (only) one with the client's interest at heart is a little misleading in my opinion.  Even the title of this thread (which you wrote) suggest that you are just out to 'stick' it to the client.  By your own account this client has already refused the advise of his producer and engineer, yet you insist on 'helping' him.  One seriously have to wonder about your motive(s).

For someone who is always complaining about his clients I'm puzzled that you refuse to even entertain the advise/opinions of others.  Anyway, that's your prerogative, do let us know how it turns out after you've told your client how much he sucks...


I guess I am really confused. If you are getting ready to do some mastering for a client and it could be materially upgraded simply by the client going back and redoing some parts of the recording to make it sound much better why wouldn't YOU suggest that to them instead of just taking their money and saying "what the he!!, I got my money and so what if the client did not get the best job possible". If that is the way that most mastering engineers here work (and that is what you ARE saying isn't it) then I think you are short changing your clients BIG TIME.

Do what you want to do and do it the way that works for you. I will still work with my clients and try and make their project the best I can make it. If that means telling them that there are things that could be done better then I will tell them that if they say no everything is fine then I will simply master what I am given. I really don't see what all the fuss is about. We are, after all, in the SERVICE business aren't we????

<Just an aside. If I go to my doctor and she tells me that if I would walk some more I could lower my cholesterol and if I stay away from too many carbohydrates I could lose weight I don't say to her "you are meddling in my life and I don't like it." Instead I usually say "thank for the friendly advice" and then it is up to me to decide whether to do anything about it. I really don't see the difference between that dialog and what I am talking about with my clients>


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Thomas W. Bethel
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Samc

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #44 on: June 14, 2010, 03:29:47 am »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Mon, 14 June 2010 03:33


I guess I am really confused. If you are getting ready to do some mastering for a client and it could be materially upgraded simply by the client going back and redoing some parts of the recording to make it sound much better why wouldn't YOU suggest that to them instead of just taking their money and saying "what the he!!, I got my money and so what if the client did not get the best job possible". If that is the way that most mastering engineers here work (and that is what you ARE saying isn't it) then I think you are short changing your clients BIG TIME.

Do what you want to do and do it the way that works for you. I will still work with my clients and try and make their project the best I can make it. If that means telling them that there are things that could be done better then I will tell them that if they say no everything is fine then I will simply master what I am given. I really don't see what all the fuss is about. We are, after all, in the SERVICE business aren't we????

<Just an aside. If I go to my doctor and she tells me that if I would walk some more I could lower my cholesterol and if I stay away from too many carbohydrates I could lose weight I don't say to her "you are meddling in my life and I don't like it." Instead I usually say "thank for the friendly advice" and then it is up to me to decide whether to do anything about it. I really don't see the difference between that dialog and what I am talking about with my clients>

Thinking that your intervention is always needed to make your client's work 'better', or equating what you do with what your doctor does is the height of presumption in my opinion. I still think...in fact I know for sure now that my original suggestion that you should just produce and engineer for your clients would be the best solution for all your client problems.  

It is your doctor's sworn responsibility to look after your health, she bares some legal and moral responsibility to do so...THIS IS HER JOB!  The mastering engineer.....well, If you don't see and understand the difference between what your doctor does and what you do, I don't see the need to even go any further...

The part that makes me scratch my head though is that you came asking for advise, and now you turn around and tell the people you don't agree with to go mind their own business...
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