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Bad "Professional" Recording

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Piggy8692, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    This could possibly be moved to either band management or stories sections.

    My unfinished band (we still need/want a singer and a second guitarist) recently recorded a 3 song demo. This was done in hopes to aid in the recruiting process. We found someone who did recordings in their home studio, went to school for "music production", and was charging a relatively cheap rate.

    He seemed to have a good setup. Drum mics, good computer program, etc. We all played in the same room together during each take, each recorded simultaneously on separate tracks. Drums were mic'ed, I was direct, and Guitarist had his rig in another room.

    We do a few takes and the playback sounds great through our earphones so we keep plugging along. At the end of the session after we're all packed up, the guy tells us the everyone is always mad when they get their recordings...:confused:

    So we got them, and yes. I was mad. The bass is way too loud, you can't hear the drums, and the guitar levels bounce all over the place. After all that planning and set up, recording and paying the guy, we sound like someone dropped a cassette recorder by the bass cab and pushed record.

    I don't know what to do, does he know it sounds like crap and plans to fix it after we get mad? Or does he think it's good and doesn't know why people always get mad?

    Anyone else have this happen? Or something worse to help me calm down?:D
  2. Recording and mixing are two different hats to wear. If the individual tracks sounded decent in playback, he might have attempted to mix in his "studio" or even on headphones. Ask him about his mix setup, especially room and monitoring.

    Take for instance my soundcloud link below. Tracks were mixed on nearfield monitors with too little bass extension. Mixerdude tries to compensate by boosting bass/low mid frequencies, as you can hear. An untreated room will mess with the final mix as well.
  3. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Go back to the guy and get a copy of the raw wave files. That way you can either mix it yourself using whatever software you have available, or take it to somebody else to mix it.

    I see it as having to ways to go about it: the angry guy, or the "let's try this again and let me help you" attitude.

    Mixing is an art form in itself but the basic premise is simple: Keep everything balanced so that you don't have to concentrate on any particular element in order to hear it. You shouldn't have to strain to hear anything, unless the part was specifically designed to be something you catch on your 14 listening.

    The one thing that should be the tiniest bit forward in the mix is vocals. Let's face it, most listeners are NOT musicians and what will they hear/notice? The beat/groove and the vocals to sing along with. They won't care about your 19/16 fill.

    Check out The Recording Revolution.com for all kinds of mixing stuff. I've found it very helpful.
  4. Been there, OP. Sometimes you gotta have different people do the recording and the mixing (and we always have a diiferent person doing the mastering). Make sure you get raw wav files for the tracks when you do the recording.
  5. rupture

    rupture Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2012
    You can go to school ,have all the best gear, but you still gotta have a good ear
  6. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    In my friens studio we would get what we thought was a final mix. Burn a cd or put on a thumbdrive. Let your ears rest. Get some sleep. Listen to recording on home stereo, boom box, and in the car on your way back to the studio the next day. Then get there and do a final mix. Your ears will be fresh, and have a better idea how it sounds outside the studio. Trying to mix after recording/listening to the same song(s) all day never seems to work. Your ears are burnt out.
  7. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    All good points. I'm trying to keep a positive attitude. Trying. After the band gets back together after the holidays we'll have a little meeting and discuss the steps we want to take moving forward. We got the recordings a week after we went in, and I've listened on multiple forms of media. Drummer made some decompressed files for us to listen to.

    I guess I just always thought that mixing was part of the deal when you go into a studio. Lesson learned.
  8. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    In the 90's my old band went to a pro studio in LA to cut an album. We layed all the tracks down in one day. Spent another day punching in and out with over dubs on some guitar and bass problem areas. Be advised that it took another week all by itself to mix the tracks. Yes....mixing is very time consuming and that is were most of the money is spent. Just sayin.
  9. Logical, but not always the case. Sometimes the engineer can do both, sometimes not. I tend to give them first crack at it, but often end up puzzled as to how the rough cuts each day often sound better than the mixed version. Be ready to invest time in adjusting the mix - don't be shy to make comments and to ask for changes. Finally, don't forget pro mastering - it's an essential part of the process.