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Does this happen often? (minor rant)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by chatterbox272, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. chatterbox272


    Apr 12, 2012
    So I'm in a Punk Pop band formed by a friend of mine, he's been writing songs for years and formed a band when we finished high school. Well he had decided to organize some recording time, with a guy who won't be named who ran (what I was told was) a semi-pro home studio. I told him I had no money to put towards it and he said he still wanted to go ahead with the recording so he would pay and our usual arrangement would apply (he pays, but nothing comes to me until all his expenses are paid).
    First alarm went off when we got there, it was a back room in this guys house with a couple of egg cartons attached to the wall with a computer older than I am running some DAW called Paris that I'd never heard of (It didn't even have a metronome function). I decide to trust my friend/BL and go along with it, but I did question at one point why he chose this person (He lives over an hour away whereas I know there's another guy with a better set up less than 5 minutes from me) and he said he'd heard a lot of his stuff and really liked it. Another alarm bell (although a minor one) triggered when he insisted I mic my amp (A DigiTech BP355 into the FX return of my Fender Rumble 350) and didn't ask for a DI (and didn't want one when I asked).
    Well after a few weeks (and a rather poor initial mix that we critiqued the crap out of) we finally got the final mix. I was talking to my BL and he told me that the guy we recorded with over worked on it, he had been previously told that the maximum budget was $2500 and yet he worked past that and charged a total of $4000. Has this happened to anyone else? is it common? Actually, is this legal? Not to mention my BL has now paid him so there's probably not much we can do but I needed a good rant and I wanted to know if this is common.

    TL;DR My bandleader paid $4000 for a recording even though the guy who did the recorded was specifically told not to go past $2500. Is this common? or legal?
  2. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    holy mother of pearl! methinks ya'll got suckered.

    my band recorded with a true professional (dude that recorded My Morning Jacket's last record and sometimes plays drums for Jim James) for less than $350 a day. He mic'd my bass cab, plus ran DI through a Reddi box. Those things list for like $700 alone. Not to mention his 1971 API mixing console, the old school vintage Space Echo that was used on the drums to get that almost dirty, grisly feel.

    we recorded onto tape, that was then dumped into pro-logic or whatever. dude had so much high end gear and vintage gear, pedals of every make you can imagine just laying around! i was in gear heaven for about a week while we were recording.

    i was literally looking up the gear this guy had on my phone while were there and was blown away at the cost of some of this gear. i mean, he has a nuclear clock for crying out loud!

    and we got that less than you paid this dude with egg cartons stapled to his wall. i'm sorry man. you should never pay more than $350 a day. at least that seems to be about the price you'd need to pay around here (louisville, ky) to get the best that you can get. booking multiple days generally gets a discount as well.
  3. Holy crap were you guys ripped off !
  4. SoLongJake

    SoLongJake Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2007
    Des Moines, Iowa
    How many days did it take you guys to record for $4000? How much time did you guys spend doing overdubs? It's hard to judge how much you overpaid without all the info. If you were in the studio recording for 2 weeks, you should have spent more time woodshedding with the band.
  5. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification and and Martin Keith Guitars
    IMO, the main question is: whose resposibility is it to keep a budget under $2500?
    That would be the producer, not the studio owner, unless the studio owner WAS the producer. In your story I can't make out who acts as the producer - your band leader or the studio owner?

    Any studio gets paid by the hour, unless a package deal has been agreed (which is also always limited to a certain maximum time limit). Just because a mix isn't to one's liking, doesn't automatically imply it is a bad mix in absolute terms. It simply means that more hours (=dollars) need to be put into it. So if that added to the bill - seems fair in itself.

    The alarm bells would not necessarily mean anything to me- I worked in studio a few weeks ago which was a bit of a dust bowl, had old DAW and linked hard drives created some glitches - but the bottom liine was: the guy got the BEST sound for this project I experienced sofar, and was a joy to work with, because he was very capable, and really understood the music. Conversely, studios with tons of great gear, clean bathrooms, and capable engineers, would not necessiarily be the best choice to get the type of sound and recording process (we, for example, record everything incl vocals all at once) you or me are after. It's all fairly relative.

    I'd start with asking your bandleader for a specification of the 4K, and take it from there. That $4K ought to be broken down into a price per hour times the hours spent.
  6. Caeros


    Jul 24, 2002
    Branford, CT
    $4000? I've recorded at pro studios for 3 days for $1000 including mixing. that sounds like a colossal ripoff.
  7. Yeah 4K is a bit steep. What pray tell does he think he did in the way of "overworked" to even try to justify 4 K ?
  8. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Sorry but you got hosed. My band did 4 full days in a pro studio with a producer that has national ties along with months of returning for overdubs and trackings and paid less than 4 grand. Who ever set this up should of known the charges upfront and made sure they tracked all of the time this so called studio charged for.
  9. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    Wow, for that money you could have bought a ProTools or Logic Pro complete recording rig and recorded your own songs at your own pace for as long as you want...forever.
  10. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Your band leader is the guy in need of questioning because he ponied the cash without reviewing the bill with you. Don't blame the studio guy until you've seen an itemised receipt. If you never got to see one of those then your band leader has more questions to answer and I wouldn't be trusting him to park the van straight or remember which flavour ice-cream everyone wanted.

    Are you happy with the final result though?
    How many songs did you get tracked and mixed for $4000?
  11. Man, your band leader really bent over for this guy.
  12. $4000 to record?! We recorded, mastered and pressed vinyl for 2 albums for that. You guys should have done more research.
  13. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Was his name P.T. Barnum??
  14. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Nothing comes to you until all his expenses are paid? That means that YOU paid for this too. Sounds like your BL got hosed so bad that you'll be walking bow legged. I hope the guy with the studio sent you flowers the next day. :D

    All in fun, I sincerely feel bad for you. No one like to see someone else get taken advantage of.
  15. chatterbox272


    Apr 12, 2012
    First I should point out I'm in Australia, so goods and services are typically more expensive here. Unless my BL went back again, we were there for two days for about 6 hours a day. We recorded 7 songs averaging just under 3 minutes each. Each part took an average of 2 takes per song, and there were minimal overdubs for anything. I don't really know who the producer was myself, but the studio owner (who did all the recording, mixing, and mastering) was told that we only wanted to spend $2500 so in my mind it's his job to make sure he does that seeing as we had no way of knowing how long he spent on it (something I'm now thinking my BL will seriously regret).
    I think he should've refused to pay that much personally (knowing that he got the tracks before he paid most of it) but he tends to just accept things like this lying down.

    As far as whether we're happy with them, I don't know for sure (I haven't heard them yet) but I'm doubtful. My BL told me that he thought we could do as good or better ourselves, and we recorded our first EP and a couple of other songs ourselves so we know what we're capable of.
  16. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    We almost got hosed on a bad studio deal. The space was alright but not as quiet as we would have liked and the equipment was mid-grade to even high end, but we did a 12 hour day and a 5 hour day, paid for our time and never heard back from the engineer or received any tracks. We had only done some drums and he was only charging $20 an hour, so it didn't work out horribly, and we decided not to fuss over the money because the guy doing the recording is a good friend of a guy who's helped our band tremendously. We ended up going to a pro level recoring studio in town and are looking to have 13 songs done for a total cost of right in the ballpark of $3000, including tracking, mxing, mastering and bringing in a few session players we know for a few tracks.
  17. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    2 days tracking, plus 7 songs mixed, plus one round of tweaking of the mix, plus 7 songs mastered. You would actually be looking at 3.5 to 4 here in Melbourne. I know a few places that would charge more actually so this isn't so wild a total. That said I would still be looking for a receipt to give the tax man regardless. Fully itemised.

    For 4k I'd be looking for everything to be right on though: from the mix and master perspective especially. Lots of post-processing, drum replacement, the works man. And mastered properly as well: not just sloppy dithering with a hard limiter. It doesn't sound like you got that for your money. If the guy just loudened and compressed it this is actually something you could do at home.

    If he's legit he should have given you a copy of the mix and a copy of the master. Maybe grab a couple of the mixed tracks and plug them into Reaper or similar to see if he's bricked them. That will give you a good indication of whether he's done the mix right.
  18. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    This logic makes no sense.
    For the 200 they pay you, any guy could buy a bass and play it forever?
  19. chatterbox272


    Apr 12, 2012
    I doubt we got anything other than the master but for what we've spent I'll be trying to get a copy of everything, raw tracks, mix, master, whatever he has. I doubt he would have done any drum replacement, I don't think his DAW would have been capable of it (the DAW he used PARIS is very old). I'll wait to actually hear the tracks for myself but I doubt he's done much proper mastering. If I can, I might post one here and see if you guys think it was worth the ~$570 per track.
  20. IF this is the case, it would be cost effective to fly over here to do your recording.

    Somehow this doesn't wash.

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