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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => Brad Blackwood => Topic started by: Thomas W. Bethel on May 04, 2010, 07:30:35 pm

Title: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel on May 04, 2010, 07:30:35 pm
I have a long time client that has recently added singing to his repertoire - unfortunately he sucks doing it.

He brought in some material for me to master and I have to say that I was amazed at how bad it sounded. I tried for over two hours to do what he wanted done. In the end I told him to redo the singing or find someone who could do a lot of editing and pitch changing to what he had already done. It was that bad.

This is a long time client and I have done a lot of work for him in the past but it has always been instrumental and now that he has added singing it no longer works. He is all over the place in pitch and his voice sounds like a choked chicken.

I just wanted to tell him that but I did not. I could have just mastered it and forgot about it but I had a crisis of consensus and told him that since I could not do any mastering for him I was not going to charge him for the two hours. Not my first choice but how does one tell a long time client that they cannot cut it vocally???

Any suggestions?????
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: aleatoric on May 04, 2010, 08:13:54 pm
I would suggest not getting involved with what you think sounds good or does not sound good musically.  Sonically is a different story.  If the vocals were to low or had to much reverb or whatever feel free to express your professional opinion.  Now if you simply think your client sucks at vocals I would keep that to yourself.  I have worked on some pretty bad music before.  The way I see it is that the artist made it that way for whatever reason they did and it is simply my job to correct/enhance it from a sonic stand point.  Also keep in mind you always have the option of accepting or rejecting any job.  
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: masterhse on May 04, 2010, 08:44:13 pm
I would show him this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpraJYnbVtE&feature=youtu be_gdata
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Darius van H on May 05, 2010, 02:36:49 am
Just do the job and send the invoice. It's that complicated.

Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: tom eaton on May 05, 2010, 09:38:48 am
Seriously... It's impossible to produce a recording at the mastering stage, and unless you've been hired as producer your job is to address the SONIC content.  If you can get connected with the artistic vision, and help that along, so much the better.  But if you can't make it SOUND better than when it arrives, pass on the job.  

tom
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Gold on May 05, 2010, 10:07:37 am
I would just keep the golden rule in mind. How would you like to be told your mastering sucks? Tell him in the same manner.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Viitalahde on May 05, 2010, 11:10:47 am
If I were a hairdresser, I wouldn't tell a customer that "I can't your hair because you're ugly".
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: MoreSpaceEcho on May 05, 2010, 11:31:04 am
thomas, has a day ever gone by where you weren't complaining about your clients?
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: rankus on May 05, 2010, 02:08:54 pm
MoreSpaceEcho wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 08:31

thomas, has a day ever gone by where you weren't complaining about your clients?




For real.  Maybe you are in the wrong line of work?

Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: cass anawaty on May 05, 2010, 04:34:40 pm
Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 00:30



Any suggestions?????


You could send him the link to this thread.   Smile
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: dave-G on May 05, 2010, 04:44:14 pm
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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel on May 05, 2010, 05:25:28 pm
MoreSpaceEcho wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 11:31

thomas, has a day ever gone by where you weren't complaining about your clients?



I really have had a lot of problematic clients lately. Since no one else ever seems to get any I guess I want to know what to say to them or, better yet,  how you keep them away. Maybe it is the water or the UFOs over Lake Erie attracted by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame???  http://lewiscounty.goes2find.info/forums/showthread.php?p=17 6543

Sorry if I am bothering you.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel on May 05, 2010, 05:28:09 pm
rankus wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 14:08

MoreSpaceEcho wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 08:31

thomas, has a day ever gone by where you weren't complaining about your clients?




For real.  Maybe you are in the wrong line of work?




I am in the right line of work it is just the clients I have been getting lately are really starting to bug me. Sorry if I am bugging you. Please go back to what ever it is that you do.


Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel on May 05, 2010, 06:05:58 pm
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.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Al├ęcio Costa - Brazil on May 06, 2010, 10:42:31 pm
Bingo!! You got it, man!
The cheaper we go, more bullsh!! we get.



Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Viitalahde 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?
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: dave-G on May 07, 2010, 09:39:41 am
Viitalahde wrote on Fri, 07 May 2010 00:43


Aerodynamics?

Diffraction!


... But I digress ...
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: jdg 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: subvertbeats on May 19, 2010, 12:16:59 pm
John, thats such an awesome pic  Laughing
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Samc 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.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Samc 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.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Fibes 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.  
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel 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.


Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Samc 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.

Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel 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.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: urm eric 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Waltz Mastering 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".
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Ed Littman 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Gold 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.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: urm eric 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Samc 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.  
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: C.Cash 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)
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Waltz Mastering 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.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: urm eric 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.

Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel 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.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Patrik T 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: urm eric 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel 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?

Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Patrik T 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
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Samc 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...
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel 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>


Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Samc 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...
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: lowland on June 14, 2010, 07:15:00 am
To me the facts are these in order of importance, greatest first:

1. It's not the ME's function to tell clients what to do musically, recording or mix-wise by default.

2. Mastering is a people business and a good ME should have a sixth sense about what is or isn't appropriate to discuss with a customer.

Given a  situation like the one you originally described, Tom, I would follow my instinct: it rarely lets me down.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel on June 14, 2010, 07:46:10 am
Samc wrote on Mon, 14 June 2010 03:29

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 THEIR 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...



I DO NOT automatically tell a client that there is something wrong with their music or the recording of that music - where you got that idea is beyond me. I do tell a client if there is a problem with something they have done IF it is something that I think can make their recording sound better. I am not equating myself with a doctor. Professionals, like we want to be, are being paid to provide advice and suggestions along with providing a SERVICE.

If an architect draws plans for a building and a mechanical engineer sees that there maybe problems then it is up to them to inform the architect of the potential problem. If an electronic engineer designs a piece of equipment that maybe hazardous to the person using it then another engineer who sees the potential problem should make the first engineer aware of the problem so it can be fixed. I fail to see the logic of "don't interact with the client, don't ask questions or make suggestions and just master it" when someone is spending a large amount of THEIR money and wants it to sound the best that it can.

Work with your clients in the manner you chose and I will work with the clients in my way and AGAIN let just agree to disagree.

Maybe all your clients are pros with multiple gold or platinum records and don't really want your advice or suggestions. Most of my clients are relative newbies to the music/recording game and are looking for suggestions and help.

This discussion is going nowhere fast so I am going to make this my last post. Thanks to everyone that made suggestions and I will certainly think about what has been said here.



Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Patrik T on June 14, 2010, 10:24:16 am
I fail to see any sane possibility to have any opinion, what so ever, about a mix without mixing it yourself. It takes loads of time to understand what actually has happened from where it all begun to where the mixer said "finished".

I think in music, there are no ideals. Nor are there tracks sounding the same. And I do love that.


Regards
Patrik
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: urm eric on June 14, 2010, 11:40:10 am
Patrik T wrote on Mon, 14 June 2010 09:24


I think in music, there are no ideals. Nor are there tracks sounding the same. And I do love that.



+1. I have a friend who reviews classical music for a UK magazine: he hates over-editing (`just because you can't hear the edits doesn't mean you can't hear it's been edited'), removal of breathing or other human noises etc. Tony Faulkner calls it OCE, this man describes such music as `polished to imperfection'.

Cheers,

Eric
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Macc on June 14, 2010, 05:12:54 pm
urm eric wrote on Mon, 14 June 2010 16:40

`polished to imperfection'.



Wonderful Smile

Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Nick Sevilla on June 19, 2010, 11:35:46 pm
A.- If you want to work again for that artist or his friends, then do not say anything further. You have to take the material you get to master as if it is already approved by the powers that be, EVEN IF YOU THINK THEY'RE WRONG.

B.- If you do not want to ever work with that particular artist ever again, then by all means, tell him exactly what you think of his singing. then, be prepared for some badmouthing directed towards you from the artist, and expect no more work from that camp.

Those, are your two options.

Cheers
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Tim Halligan on June 20, 2010, 12:57:30 am
Nick Sevilla wrote on Sun, 20 June 2010 11:35

A.- If you want to work again for that artist or his friends, then do not say anything further. You have to take the material you get to master as if it is already approved by the powers that be, EVEN IF YOU THINK THEY'RE WRONG.

B.- If you do not want to ever work with that particular artist ever again, then by all means, tell him exactly what you think of his singing. then, be prepared for some badmouthing directed towards you from the artist, and expect no more work from that camp.

Those, are your two options.

Cheers



There is an adage from the restaurant business that's kinda apt in this instance:

A satisfied customer will tell on average 5 - 10 people;
A dissatisfied customer will tell everyone.

I guess the moral here is piss off a client at your peril.

Cheers,
Tim
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Dale Francis on June 20, 2010, 06:25:56 am
Tim Halligan wrote on Sun, 20 June 2010 00:57

Nick Sevilla wrote on Sun, 20 June 2010 11:35

A.- If you want to work again for that artist or his friends, then do not say anything further. You have to take the material you get to master as if it is already approved by the powers that be, EVEN IF YOU THINK THEY'RE WRONG.

B.- If you do not want to ever work with that particular artist ever again, then by all means, tell him exactly what you think of his singing. then, be prepared for some badmouthing directed towards you from the artist, and expect no more work from that camp.

Those, are your two options.

Cheers



There is an adage from the restaurant business that's kinda apt in this instance:

A satisfied customer will tell on average 5 - 10 people;
A dissatisfied customer will tell everyone.

I guess the moral here is piss off a client at your peril.

Cheers,
Tim


and if the client expects that the M.E. will fix everything and the polishing will make it all sound as they imagine ...
when it does not meet those expectations, they are then the dissatisfied,
but if the M.E. does point out some flaws and they are correctable thus making the end results a very satisfied client ...
is the client hiring a yes man who kisses ass or a professional who gives an honest service? is the OP looking for better ways of instigating that nebulous conversation involving the product and the egos involved?? How would the naysayers go about rendering such an attempt at consciousness raising?
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: tom eaton on June 20, 2010, 02:24:21 pm
Did you read the title of the thread?

Trying to help your client is one thing.

Having an opinion about the client's work is fine.

Expressing that opinion with tact when asked is a skill.

Coming on a public forum talking about how your client "sucks" is something else entirely.

tom
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Dale Francis on June 20, 2010, 05:10:05 pm
Yes I read the title and took it with a tongue in cheek attitude given his histrionics.
He sure couldn't get much helpful feedback from his minister so coming to a forum where like minded professionals collaborate ...
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Table Of Tone on June 21, 2010, 07:45:40 am
If the material or mixes suck, I'll just try N do the best I can and make sure I'm fully booked next time!
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: subvertbeats on June 21, 2010, 02:32:38 pm
lowland wrote on Mon, 14 June 2010 12:15

To me the facts are these in order of importance, greatest first:

1. It's not the ME's function to tell clients what to do musically, recording or mix-wise by default.

2. Mastering is a people business and a good ME should have a sixth sense about what is or isn't appropriate to discuss with a customer.

Given a  situation like the one you originally described, Tom, I would follow my instinct: it rarely lets me down.


Thumbs Up


Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Mon, 14 June 2010 12:46

If an architect draws plans for a building and a mechanical engineer sees that there maybe problems then it is up to them to inform the architect of the potential problem. If an electronic engineer designs a piece of equipment that maybe hazardous to the person using it then another engineer who sees the potential problem should make the first engineer aware of the problem so it can be fixed.



Those 2 examples are technical problems.
If a mix comes to you with technical problems as an ME it most certainly is within your scope of responsibilities to address those problems.

This is entirely different from the issue that you started this thread about, i.e. passing comment on an artists talent, or their artistic decisions.

The very title of this thread makes me Sad  - I simply cant imagine ever expressing my personal opinion to a client about such things.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: dcollins on June 21, 2010, 08:25:30 pm
Dale Francis wrote on Sun, 20 June 2010 14:10

Yes I read the title and took it with a tongue in cheek


The expression is "crisis of conscience" anyway......


DC
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: JimK on June 21, 2010, 11:33:44 pm


.....or how to tell a ME his grammar sucks!
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Harland on June 22, 2010, 02:48:27 am
Tom, just going on the title and content of the original post, a person would have to conclude that you were at the same relative level of professionalism as your client. Can you imagine how that long time client is going to feel if/when he reads this thread? It's a betrayal to post that up for the world to see. Which doesn't lend any credibility to your claim that you want to help him. Anyway, the answer to your question is obvious - if you really do care about him then talk to him openly, honestly, from the heart and tactfully, with a ton of consideration for the sensitivities most artists have. That conversation is the one you should have had instead of this one.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: urm eric on June 22, 2010, 12:42:04 pm
JimK wrote on Mon, 21 June 2010 22:33



.....or how to tell a ME his grammar sucks!



Or: `how to tell *an* ME his grammar etc ...' Cool


Cheers,

Eric
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Hank Alrich on June 22, 2010, 12:56:58 pm
Harland wrote on Mon, 21 June 2010 23:48

Tom, just going on the title and content of the original post, a person would have to conclude that you were at the same relative level of professionalism as your client. Can you imagine how that long time client is going to feel if/when he reads this thread? It's a betrayal to post that up for the world to see. Which doesn't lend any credibility to your claim that you want to help him. Anyway, the answer to your question is obvious - if you really do care about him then talk to him openly, honestly, from the heart and tactfully, with a ton of consideration for the sensitivities most artists have. That conversation is the one you should have had instead of this one.



+1000
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: JimK on June 22, 2010, 02:37:30 pm
urm eric wrote on Tue, 22 June 2010 12:42

JimK wrote on Mon, 21 June 2010 22:33



.....or how to tell a ME his grammar sucks!



Or: `how to tell *an* ME his grammar etc ...' Cool


Cheers,

Eric




LOL! The joke's on me now! I knew I should have taken the time to write out "mastering engineer"...
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Garrett H on June 22, 2010, 03:21:55 pm
dcollins wrote on Mon, 21 June 2010 20:25

Dale Francis wrote on Sun, 20 June 2010 14:10

Yes I read the title and took it with a tongue in cheek


The expression is "crisis of conscience" anyway......


DC



I think it was supposed to be a play on that phrase... but I could be reading way too much into it.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Dale Francis on June 22, 2010, 03:58:06 pm
Tongue-in-cheek is a term used to refer to humour in which a statement is not meant to be taken seriously, but its sarcasm is ...
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel on July 01, 2010, 10:04:31 pm
This client completely redid the vocals. They sound GREAT and I get to master his material this weekend. Thanks to all the people who gave constructive criticisms and helpful suggestions and advice.

To those of you that do mastering of marginal materials and just take peoples money without giving them anything of real value in return I personally think you are doing a disservice to your clients and their music. I really care about my clients and I care that they are coming to me, as a professional, to help them and not just take their money. I am sorry if what I do bugs you.

I know I said I would not post anymore on this subject but I wanted to let you know that the suggestions worked and the redone material will be a joy to master.

FYI besides being a client this is also a good friend whom I have known for years.

MTCW and YMMV
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Harland on July 01, 2010, 10:32:05 pm
Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Thu, 01 July 2010 22:04

This client completely redid the vocals. They sound GREAT and I get to master his material this weekend.

FYI besides being a client this is also a good friend whom I have known for years.

MTCW and YMMV



Very glad that worked out well and was not as drastic as I took it to be!
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Waltz Mastering on July 02, 2010, 07:32:47 am
I think it's a bit unfair to insinuate this:

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Thu, 01 July 2010 22:04

 

To those of you that do mastering of marginal materials and just take peoples money without giving them anything of real value in return



Of course there's no ME that gets ONLY stellar projects.  That is a myth imo/e

It seems like you are saying that it's the ME's job to critique the production, recording and mix and if the ME does not give an  honest opinion and remedy to the client, then they are doing them a disservice?

Taking a personal vested interest  in one of your friends projects is one thing, but...is it now the ME's job to be the central scrutinizer?
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: urm eric on July 02, 2010, 08:34:00 am
Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Thu, 01 July 2010 21:04


To those of you that do mastering of marginal materials and just take peoples money without giving them anything of real value in return I personally think you are doing a disservice to your clients and their music. I really care about my clients and I care that they are coming to me, as a professional, to help them and not just take their money. I am sorry if what I do bugs you.



You've insisted on this wild mis-interpretation, but it is pretty obvious to everyone else that this is not what anyone who took a contrary position to yours was saying.

A friend of mine advises me that you should never say anything behind someone's back that you wouldn't say directly to his face; but just between you and me, I think he's a bit of an arse.

Cheers,

Eric
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: JimK on July 02, 2010, 09:14:49 am
After the last post that Thomas made, I went back and re-read the original post. Some things just don't add up to me. How does one take their vocal skill from that of a choked chicken, and an out of tune one at that, to sounding GREAT in a matter of weeks? The original post implies to me that this is a client that has no business calling themselves a singer and Thomas has an issue with how to tell them that. With all the dedication in the world, I've never heard a vocalist make such a vast improvement to their tone and pitch in such a short amount of time. Was the original description a little too harsh or are you wanting to make good on proving your point?

I do think it should have been mentioned from the beginning that the client is also a close friend of many years. This changes everything to me, and how you should have been able to approach the topic with them in the first place. I know I have different working relationships with different clients, some want me involved with production opinions and some don't. All of these relationships seem to evolve pretty naturally over time.

Finally, any ME that takes a client's music and applies their technical skill to ensure that the music will translate as well as possible, regardless of their subjective opinion of the performance, is providing value.

I can't help but wonder how many classic albums that have reached "iconic" status and may also be a bit "rough" around the edges would have been turned away by Thomas. If you're mastering an Aretha Franklin album one day and a Stooges album the next, is one less ready to be mastered than the other?
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel on July 02, 2010, 10:07:03 am
The client wanted to get new his material out to his fans. He hadn't sung in a while and he did the original vocal recording in a rush. He is a long time client and has become a good friend in the process of me working with him for over 10 years. I told him very tactfully that he was not presenting his best performance and that he needed to redo the material before it was released and got on to places like YouTube where he would have gotten a lot of really bad comments that would make a "choked chicken" sound mild in comparison.

This time around he took his time he worked with a very good producer, the recording came out sounding about 100 times better and he was not in such a rush to finish the job. They did the recording in smaller pieces and so he had time to work on each section and get it perfect before moving on to the next part. Also since he was not in such a rush the recordings could be done over a period of time and so his voice had a chance to get back into shape. I listened to the MP3s that the producer sent me and I was shocked at how much better they sounded. The producer is also the recording engineer and he was able to do some additional miracles to make the voice sound even better.

When I get comments like:

Just do the job and send the invoice. It's that complicated.

I begin to question people's motives. Are you trying to help your clients realize their dreams or just profit from them?



UPDATE

The client came yesterday and we got all but one of his tunes mastered. The difference was day and night between what he brought in earlier and what he came back with. Now I have something that sounds GREAT is easy and fun to master and the client could not be more pleased.

Thanks again to all the people who had make good suggestions and understood what I was trying to find out.

Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: urm eric on July 02, 2010, 10:16:36 am
Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Fri, 02 July 2010 09:07


When I get comments like:

Just do the job and send the invoice. It's that complicated.

I begin to question people's motives. Are you trying to help your clients realize their dreams or just profit from them?



Me? Neither - you do live in such a wonderfully simple world Thom. Did you train for the ministry?

Of course (of course, of course, of course) as everyone else will recognize, it all depends on how you perceive your `job' as an ME (impartial engineer or know-all interventionist busybody - and all possible points in between).

Naturally, as they will also recognize, this takes us back straight back to square one.

Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: Thomas W. Bethel on July 02, 2010, 04:07:05 pm
Waltz Mastering wrote on Fri, 02 July 2010 07:32

I think it's a bit unfair to insinuate this:

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Thu, 01 July 2010 22:04

 

To those of you that do mastering of marginal materials and just take peoples money without giving them anything of real value in return



Of course there's no ME that gets ONLY stellar projects.  That is a myth imo/e

It seems like you are saying that it's the ME's job to critique the production, recording and mix and if the ME does not give an  honest opinion and remedy to the client, then they are doing them a disservice?

Taking a personal vested interest  in one of your friends projects is one thing, but...is it now the ME's job to be the central scrutinizer?



The mastering engineer is the last person between the artistic production side and the mechanical production side. Once the CD leaves the mastering engineer's hands no one else is going to be able to change anything. I think it is only fair that if you catch something that is wrong you should tell the client about it before it goes up on the WWW or he or she has 1000 copies made. Call it meddling or concern for the client but it is something I feel very strongly about. I know that if I take my car into the garage for an oil change and when they have it up on the rack they find something broken I sure as heck hope they tell me about it before a tire or muffler falls off in the middle of rush hour. If you are a professional then it is up to you to do the best for your client since they ARE paying you for your professional knowledge and experience as well as doing their mastering. FWIW and YMMV.
Title: Re: A crisis of consensus or how to tell a client he sucks!
Post by: dcollins on July 02, 2010, 05:33:04 pm
urm eric wrote on Fri, 02 July 2010 05:34


A friend of mine advises me that you should never say anything behind someone's back that you wouldn't say directly to his face; but just between you and me, I think he's a bit of an arse.



Ok, I laughed at that.

Have a GREAT weekend!


DC