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Author Topic: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!  (Read 10069 times)

Viitalahde

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2010, 12:43:13 am »

dave-G wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 23:44

Viitalahde wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 11:10

If I were a hairdresser, I wouldn't tell a customer that "I can't your hair because you're ugly".

Well, now we know why you shave your head.

(hides)

-dave



Aerodynamics?
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Jaakko Viitalähde
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dave-G

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2010, 09:39:41 am »

Viitalahde wrote on Fri, 07 May 2010 00:43


Aerodynamics?

Diffraction!


... But I digress ...
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DAVE GREENBERG
SONOPOD MASTERING

jdg

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2010, 11:09:03 am »

...and thats why i think audio engineers should all have beards.

even ladies (or the facially-hair-challanged) can play along
http://c0424372.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/fake-beards.jpg

/off topic
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john mcCaig
-Mothery Earworks Clarifold Audipure

subvertbeats

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2010, 12:16:59 pm »

John, thats such an awesome pic  Laughing

Samc

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2010, 04:47:15 pm »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 23:05

About a year ago we reduced our rates for indie non signed artist. That seems to be when all the problems started with some very strange clients finding us and asking us to do work. As of July 1, 2010 we are going back to our normal rates. We may not get as many clients but hopefully they will be bringing in more well done materials. Only time will tell.

You are a mastering engineer, people don't hire you to like their work or to critique their talent and work.  Being so concerned with these things must be taking your concentration away from what should be your only job and concern...mastering.
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Sam Clayton

Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2010, 08:33:41 am »

Samc wrote on Sun, 06 June 2010 16:47

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 23:05

About a year ago we reduced our rates for indie non signed artist. That seems to be when all the problems started with some very strange clients finding us and asking us to do work. As of July 1, 2010 we are going back to our normal rates. We may not get as many clients but hopefully they will be bringing in more well done materials. Only time will tell.

You are a mastering engineer, people don't hire you to like their work or to critique their talent and work.  Being so concerned with these things must be taking your concentration away from what should be your only job and concern...mastering.


Agreed!!! but like most things in life there is no black or white. If the music or the musiciansip sucks then it is not as much fun to work on. I am a professional and I do the best I possibly can for a client no matter what but it is always easier for me master when the music and the musicianship are both GREAT.

Many of our indie clients are short on recording experience and technique. We try and help them by having them bring in their mixed tracks before the mastering session so I can listen to them and make suggestions. This is always done off the clock. This lets the artist have another set of ears listening before the mastering session and if there are problems it is a good time to fix them BEFORE the session so the mastering goes along smoothly.

I think to say "people don't hire you to like their work or to critique their talent and work" is really not true. Up until the mastering the artist/band may have done everything in house so no one except the artist and a couple of band mates have really heard "their music" and it is sometimes a splash of cold water/wake up when the mastering engineer notices things that may make the album less than perfect or may not sound like they think it sounds. If I had Fleetwood Mac or James Taylor in my studio I would probably treat them much differently since they are established artist with an extensive discography but that is NOT who most of my clients are. Most of my clients are indie artist who maybe releasing their first album and are sometimes clueless in what sounds good or not so good. They trust my ears and my experience to tell them if there are problems or things that should be looked at in the cold light of reality.

FWIW and YMMV
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-TOM-

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 #21 on: June 07, 2010, 12:52:09 pm »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Mon, 07 June 2010 13:33

Samc wrote on Sun, 06 June 2010 16:47

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 23:05

About a year ago we reduced our rates for indie non signed artist. That seems to be when all the problems started with some very strange clients finding us and asking us to do work. As of July 1, 2010 we are going back to our normal rates. We may not get as many clients but hopefully they will be bringing in more well done materials. Only time will tell.

You are a mastering engineer, people don't hire you to like their work or to critique their talent and work.  Being so concerned with these things must be taking your concentration away from what should be your only job and concern...mastering.


Agreed!!! but like most things in life there is no black or white. If the music or the musiciansip sucks then it is not as much fun to work on. I am a professional and I do the best I possibly can for a client no matter what but it is always easier for me master when the music and the musicianship are both GREAT.

Many of our indie clients are short on recording experience and technique. We try and help them by having them bring in their mixed tracks before the mastering session so I can listen to them and make suggestions. This is always done off the clock. This lets the artist have another set of ears listening before the mastering session and if there are problems it is a good time to fix them BEFORE the session so the mastering goes along smoothly.

You have made yourself the arbiter of what's good for the band...You might as well be producing their records at this point.


Quote:

I think to say "people don't hire you to like their work or to critique their talent and work" is really not true. Up until the mastering the artist/band may have done everything in house so no one except the artist and a couple of band mates have really heard "their music" and it is sometimes a splash of cold water/wake up when the mastering engineer notices things that may make the album less than perfect or may not sound like they think it sounds. If I had Fleetwood Mac or James Taylor in my studio I would probably treat them much differently since they are established artist with an extensive discography but that is NOT who most of my clients are. Most of my clients are indie artist who maybe releasing their first album and are sometimes clueless in what sounds good or not so good. They trust my ears and my experience to tell them if there are problems or things that should be looked at in the cold light of reality.

Ok.
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Sam Clayton

Fibes

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2010, 02:22:44 pm »

Why should it have to be "easy" all the time?

All I ever hope for out of an ME is for them to do their best just like i did with what i was dealt. it's incredibly hard to critique a production since there are so many factors that go into it, commenting on anothers work needs to be about the body, not the parts.

On the few occasions where I've gotten comments from MEs, it broke down to things like: "Sounds like they were looking over your shoulder on this one- I've noticed you're a little 60hz shy over the course of 4 albums check your room, Alcohol U sounds like a good wholesome Christian band song title and I never have to do much good job."


Complaining about stuff is a sign of a lack of character and doing your best no matter what is the inverse.  
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Fibes
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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 #23 on: June 07, 2010, 09:36:46 pm »

Samc wrote on Mon, 07 June 2010 12:52

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Mon, 07 June 2010 13:33

Samc wrote on Sun, 06 June 2010 16:47

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 23:05

About a year ago we reduced our rates for indie non signed artist. That seems to be when all the problems started with some very strange clients finding us and asking us to do work. As of July 1, 2010 we are going back to our normal rates. We may not get as many clients but hopefully they will be bringing in more well done materials. Only time will tell.

You are a mastering engineer, people don't hire you to like their work or to critique their talent and work.  Being so concerned with these things must be taking your concentration away from what should be your only job and concern...mastering.


Agreed!!! but like most things in life there is no black or white. If the music or the musiciansip sucks then it is not as much fun to work on. I am a professional and I do the best I possibly can for a client no matter what but it is always easier for me master when the music and the musicianship are both GREAT.

Many of our indie clients are short on recording experience and technique. We try and help them by having them bring in their mixed tracks before the mastering session so I can listen to them and make suggestions. This is always done off the clock. This lets the artist have another set of ears listening before the mastering session and if there are problems it is a good time to fix them BEFORE the session so the mastering goes along smoothly.

You have made yourself the arbiter of what's good for the band...You might as well be producing their records at this point.


Quote:

I think to say "people don't hire you to like their work or to critique their talent and work" is really not true. Up until the mastering the artist/band may have done everything in house so no one except the artist and a couple of band mates have really heard "their music" and it is sometimes a splash of cold water/wake up when the mastering engineer notices things that may make the album less than perfect or may not sound like they think it sounds. If I had Fleetwood Mac or James Taylor in my studio I would probably treat them much differently since they are established artist with an extensive discography but that is NOT who most of my clients are. Most of my clients are indie artist who maybe releasing their first album and are sometimes clueless in what sounds good or not so good. They trust my ears and my experience to tell them if there are problems or things that should be looked at in the cold light of reality.

Ok.


I think you are misreading what I said. I master what is given to me and do a great job with what I am given BUT if it is not well done then it is not as much fun for me to do.

If you master something for a client and you don't mention that there is some out of tune sections, that the vocalist is flat for most of one of the songs and that the drums are really really low in the mix I think you are doing the artist/band a disservice especially if they are just starting out which is where many of my indie clients are when they come to me. I am not trying to be their producer but I am trying very hard to help them make a better CD and anything that seems suspect should be at least mentioned IMHO. If they say it is fine then I shut up and do my best to make their music sound great. I don't perceive that as a problem.


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Thomas W. Bethel
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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 #24 on: June 07, 2010, 09:45:52 pm »

Fibes wrote on Mon, 07 June 2010 14:22

Why should it have to be "easy" all the time?

All I ever hope for out of an ME is for them to do their best just like i did with what i was dealt. it's incredibly hard to critique a production since there are so many factors that go into it, commenting on anothers work needs to be about the body, not the parts.

On the few occasions where I've gotten comments from MEs, it broke down to things like: "Sounds like they were looking over your shoulder on this one- I've noticed you're a little 60hz shy over the course of 4 albums check your room, Alcohol U sounds like a good wholesome Christian band song title and I never have to do much good job."


Complaining about stuff is a sign of a lack of character and doing your best no matter what is the inverse.  


No one has to have it easy but why put out something that does not sound good when with a little bit of remixing or some subtle level changes in the mix can sound SO MUCH BETTER and my my job a lot more fun. Doing your best is important but so is pleasing a client so they will come back to you for more work. Making suggestion as to things that can be changed for the better is, in most cases, information that is welcomed by most artist I work with.

Today so much music is done in someone's basement, there is no collaboration with anyone else and if they are using their own music as a benchmark for what sounds good they maybe in for a rude awakening when other people hear it. If I was working with established artist who can self critique their music and their playing then I would never say anything but that is not the population that I serve.

FWIW and YMMV
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-TOM-

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 #25 on: June 08, 2010, 03:10:34 am »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 02:36


If you master something for a client and you don't mention that there is some out of tune sections, that the vocalist is flat for most of one of the songs and that the drums are really really low in the mix I think you are doing the artist/band a disservice especially if they are just starting out which is where many of my indie clients are when they come to me.

If I'm not a member of the band or the producer, and especially if I'm not asked, NO...there is no disservice.  Giving unsolicited comments about stuff that's not your concern can be annoying and may even be construed as meddling.  I don't understand why you need to adopt this paternalistic attitude towards your clients...even the ones who are just starting out.


Quote:

I am not trying to be their producer but I am trying very hard to help them make a better CD and anything that seems suspect should be at least mentioned IMHO.

You're trying hard to help them make a 'better' CD or just a CD that you like!?!?  This in my opinion is not/should never be your concern and will only distract you from doing a good job of mastering.

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Sam Clayton

Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2010, 06:34:06 am »

Samc wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 03:10

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 02:36


If you master something for a client and you don't mention that there is some out of tune sections, that the vocalist is flat for most of one of the songs and that the drums are really really low in the mix I think you are doing the artist/band a disservice especially if they are just starting out which is where many of my indie clients are when they come to me.

If I'm not a member of the band or the producer, and especially if I'm not asked, NO...there is no disservice.  Giving unsolicited comments about stuff that's not your concern can be annoying and may even be construed as meddling.  I don't understand why you need to adopt this paternalistic attitude towards your clients...even the ones who are just starting out.


Quote:

I am not trying to be their producer but I am trying very hard to help them make a better CD and anything that seems suspect should be at least mentioned IMHO.

You're trying hard to help them make a 'better' CD or just a CD that you like!?!?  This in my opinion is not/should never be your concern and will only distract you from doing a good job of mastering.




So if an artist brought you something that sounded really really bad but you knew that by making a couple of suggestion and maybe having them remix part of their material it could sound much better that you would say nothing and just take their money???  I guess what ever works for you.
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Thomas W. Bethel
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urm eric

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2010, 07:32:00 am »

Quote:

So if an artist brought you something that sounded really really bad but you knew that by making a couple of suggestion and maybe having them remix part of their material it could sound much better that you would say nothing and just take their money???  I guess what ever works for you.



I'm not sure you're getting Sam's point (*the* Sam Clayton?), which is simply (and correctly) that your `really really bad' might not be theirs.

If by `indie' you really mean indie then I'd probably leave well alone (I mastered a track last month where the talk-back had been turned down but left on - deliberately; also a jazz track where the tenor and alto saxes swapped sides for each chorus).

If by `indie' you really mean beginner/amateur - which you sometimes seem to - then maybe you could (not should) offer some light, non-judgemental advice. I'd avoid the word `sucks'.  


Cheers,

Eric
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Waltz Mastering

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2010, 09:50:13 am »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 06:34


So if an artist brought you something that sounded really really bad but you knew that by making a couple of suggestion and maybe having them remix part of their material it could sound much better that you would say nothing and just take their money???

By the time a project gets to mastering you would hope the musicality and mixing issues have been sorted out, and that all that's left to do is "master the record".

Ed Littman

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Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2010, 11:03:01 am »

Waltz Mastering wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 09:50

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Tue, 08 June 2010 06:34


So if an artist brought you something that sounded really really bad but you knew that by making a couple of suggestion and maybe having them remix part of their material it could sound much better that you would say nothing and just take their money???

By the time a project gets to mastering you would hope the musicality and mixing issues have been sorted out, and that all that's left to do is "master the record".


Depends..
I just mastered a song..  the lead vocal was quite pitchy. At spots it really distracted me.My comment to the mixer was that I did not want to open a "can of worms" but some tuning can really make a difference. The concern was that the band wanted to sound live & natural.I suggested to do little in the worst spots & if the band complains we have a mastered version of the original. The mixer thanked me as he was used to the vocals as is & the band was very happy in the end & never knew that they were tuned.

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.

Ed
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