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Do you choose your gear/sound or do you trust your producer?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Ganelin, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Yes

  2. No - I rely on the sound engineer

  1. Ganelin


    Oct 25, 2013
    Hi all,

    I've recorded with a few bands with and without producer. Obviously always with the sound engineer. I've used different basses (Music Man Stingray, Fender J 70s, Sire V7) with new and old strings, used different pedals and effects.
    I always rely on the professionals: producers and sound engineers. Especially lately I completely trust the engineer to choose the pedals/effects./amps I do is telling them what sound I am looking for.
    The results are different, depending on the engineer and his vision, so I was wondering if I should invest more into learning how to properly record and mix bass, not necessarily in order to do it myself, but more so I could " speak the same language" with the sound guys/girls.
    Also I usually trust with the chose of an actual bass sound band leader and sound pros.
    I am pretty happy with the recent recording(), but some of the early ones - I got mixed feelings.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    The title is about trusting the producer, but the poll option is the engineer. Two entirely different roles.

    The musicians makes the sounds. The engineer gets the sound on tape(figuratively or literally). The producer decides what the sound should be. Obviously there can be very blurred lines and the band can self-produce, the engineer can produce, there can be a separate producer, or some combination of the three. The important thing to remember is that everyone bring their own biases to the process. If you're relying on the engineer, you have to make sure that you're happy with his decisions.

    Learning about recording and mixing is always a good thing. It allows you to communicate more precisely and effectively. The same way that learning theory allows you to better communicate musical ideas.

    You can learn about mixing by downloading song stems (Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio (Cambridge Music Technology) is one source) and try mixing them. You can get started with a computer, a DAW and some headphones. Play around with levels, EQ, dynamics (compressors, gates, expanders) and reverb to make the mix sound better. You'll be pretty terrible at first, but you'll get better quickly and you'll start to understand how all the pieces work together.

    To answer your question, I rely on myself to make decisions, but I'm typically the musician, engineer and producer. I often record two or three tracks when I play: DI (straight from bass), DI (post preamp & FX) and mic.
    Kro and Ganelin like this.
  3. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    I voted yes because I engineer all of my bands' work, and other people's as well when they pay me to. But if I am working in someone else's studio as a musician--not in a producer or engineer capacity--I keep my mouth shut unless someone asks me. Even though I have the experience and a fair bit of knowledge, it's not my role and so I stay in my lane. When folks stay in their lane and focus on their tasks, a recording project has its best chance of success.
    Ganelin likes this.
  4. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I have become a little wary of producers\engineers over the years. Especially if they are drummers or guitar players on the side. It turns out neither know a lot about bass other than what they think the bass should do to support them.
    Over the last year I've been learning a lot about amp sims and IR VST plugins. I can give myself a better sound with my little DIY than I did at a pretty professional studio, or with a producer with actually known credits.
  5. Ganelin


    Oct 25, 2013
    You are right, I did mixed up engineers with producers. And you are right, they should be a separate roles, but as you mentioned that is almost never the case. Having both at the project usually very costly, thus bands use engineer's experience in mixing/recording other projects so they could help them with the sound.
  6. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    IMO you kind of have to trust the producer, or else they should be "let go". That's the whole point of their role.

    As for the sound engineer - I trust them as far as my ears will let me, but their role is typically to take direction from the artists... or the producer. With that being said, the proof is in the pudding, and if the end mix sounds good then it is good.

    As far as speaking the lingo is concerned, I've found most dedicated engineers to be distrusting of musicians. Nothing seems to ruffle their feathers more than if they feel you're trying to do their job. There was an entire thread I was reading not long ago where a group of engineers were pissed because an artist decided to suggest that a specific frequency be boosted for his guitar in post. HOW DARE HE!!! :rage:

    Of course, I sympathize with them to a point. Nobody wants Lars to show up with printed curves of how he wants each of his drums EQ'd.

    My personal take, as one that also does recording on the side, is that I try to use the knowledge I do know to communicate effectively, but with lots of softening "you could trys" or "I wonder if this might works" or "just an idea...s" tossed in to not hurt the egos of any of the delicate geniuses I've worked with in the past.

    To my current engineer: if you're reading this, this assessment doesn't include you - I love you! :nailbiting: Please don't hit the suck button! :bawl::bawl:
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  7. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    With the cab modeling and editing SW I don’t feel competent. I produce a tone that I think is appropriate but that ends at my DI. Whatever happens after that belongs to the producer and technology.
    JRA likes this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    competent, experienced engineers and producers can be trusted to know more about recording techniques/standards/protocols than most musicians (who sometimes know more about playing their parts :D ).

    if you can't trust your engineer and producer:
    - you know they're just guessing...and maybe they shouldn't be --- about all the simple things. (small-time cats)
    - you're afraid of the process --- you may or may not know it. (you may be acting-out)
    - 'control' is important to you and you don't trust easily in the first place. (you're afraid, see above)

    i do what the engineer/producer asks/advises in order to keep it simple and quick. because i am an engineer/producer myself (by history/experience) i have been asked for my opinion on many recording dates, but i generally demure: "i take off my shoes in your house because that is your custom."

    at my studio (history) = the engineers listened to any/all suggestions always! of course, we charged the same amount whether we were listening to music tracks or suggestions! :D
    oddentity and Kro like this.

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