Wanna know why mega-budget music sucks?

Vince Maskeeper

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This is sort of old news in the pro audio world, but haven't seen it discussed here, so figured I'd point it out for serious music fans with spare time.

Over several months last year, a guy calling himself MIXERMAN posted a series of diary entries on a well visited recording/sound forum over on prosoundweb.com. MIXERMAN was supposedly working on a huge budget project with some up and coming band that had been the subject of a major label bidding war. He documented to the moronic goings on of the studio, the band, the producer, the label, and often himself.

While there is really no way to know if this series of articles is real or fiction, the series has struck such a chord in that world because every single piece in the diaries could have happened-- and even if MIXERMAN's stories are not true-- they most certanly are a composite of stories that have actually happened.

This series is real long, and occurred over several months last summer. I would encourage anyone who is remotely interested in music, especially "popular" radio music, to start reading these- it might give you a bit of a glimpse into how the stuff really goes down.

Oh, and one note that will help this make sense:
ALSIHAD is another word for “Protools”, the Digidesign Digital Audio Workstation that most professional engineers use at the “LA rock” level. There is an open disdain for Protools in some segments of the industry, and thus it has been dubbed in the pro audio discussion forum world as “Alsihad”, as in “I didn’t have a tape amchine, so I used alls-I-had.”

Here's a link to the beginning of the diary:
http://www.prosoundweb.com/recording/mm/week1/mm.php

Enjoy, and feel free to post your favorite quote from the article, or any topics you thik are interesting, here.
 

Philip Hamm

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There is an open disdain for Protools in some segments of the industry, and thus it has been dubbed in the pro audio discussion forum world as “Alsihad”, as in “I didn’t have a tape amchine, so I used alls-I-had.”
Wow, this is the first I've heard of this. I have a friend who works on ProTools a lot, loves it, and gets great results.
 

LanceJ

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Looks like in some studios old habits (analog tape, edits using razor blades, tube-based electronics, etc) die hard.

LJ
 

Vince Maskeeper

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Indeed- and I pray to god they are never gone. Actually- often even on large productions with the LA drone engineers and producers, they will track drums to 2 inch tape and dump that into a DAW since there is nothing quite like good tape compression/saturation. They will then do all the drum editing in DAW...

I'm actaully always surprised at how much drum editing is done these days. With the ease of use of a DAW like protools, it's the common practice to have an assistant stay afterhours and spend all night fixing the drum tracks. This will often include hundreds of edits! It's too bad they won't just let drummers play!

-Vince

PS: There is a follow-up beyond the 8th week on the prosound web forums. I can post a link if anyone is interested.

I have also copied this whole thing and printed it out. It's like 150 pages- but I have been handing out copies to people who tell me they wanna make records for a living.
 

Seth_L

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Post the link Vince. I wasted my entire day today at work reading all 8 weeks worth.


Seth
 

KeithH

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Lance said:

Looks like in some studios old habits (analog tape, edits using razor blades, tube-based electronics, etc) die hard.
If you listen to work done by Steve Hoffman, you will be thankful that these habits die hard. Thankfully, there are some out there who won't go near any digital tweaking machines that remove the hiss and truncate the music, boost this or tweak that, etc. That can only be detrimental. Just transfer flat from the original master tapes, please.
 

Seth_L

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There were just so many funny quote in that I couldn't even know where to start. I could see the drama playing out in my head.

Priceless!


Seth
 

Philip Hamm

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Pro tools certainly has it's place- but it's popularity seems to stems more from the ease of use, and what some would call "cheating" of sound.
True, true. I know my friend (who will remain nameless here) has spent a great deal of time "fixing" drum tracks and such in protools and has decried many times over the years about how major label artists can't play their instruments worth a damn.


Great story, btw. A very good read; I was up late last night trying to complete it. It's hard to believe tha all that could happen on one project, it kind of reads like a conglomeration of many years worth of true stories.
 

Jeff Ulmer

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Just transfer flat from the original master tapes, please.
This wasn't even done in the days of vinyl. All commercial recordings are mastered before going to a new medium. How well that is done is the question. For vinyl, at the very least, the RIAA curves had to be applied, or they'd never be able to cut the disc.
 

John_Bonner

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I've been reading this as well, a bit at a time. Pretty friggin' hilarious and scary at the same time. It's amazing how much waste there is, and like many other big companies when there's a problem often the answer is to "throw more money at it" rather than make a tough decision and fix the problem.

Any guesses on the band and/or producer chronicled in the diary?
 

Jeremy:L

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It just seems to drop off and then Mixerman comes back a few months later saying he can't talk about it yet. The suspence is killing me! I have to know what happened!
 

RaulR

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ALSIHAD is another word for “Protools”, the Digidesign Digital Audio Workstation that most professional engineers use at the “LA rock” level. There is an open disdain for Protools in some segments of the industry, and thus it has been dubbed in the pro audio discussion forum world as “Alsihad”, as in “I didn’t have a tape amchine, so I used alls-I-had.”
Vince, at one point (Day 7) Mixerman says that there are DAWs that are better than ProTools. Do you know which product he could be referring to?
 

Matthew Brown

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If you've read the diaries, drop by the forum on the site. They are pretty amusing also. It looks like somebody is threatening to end Mixerman's career on there. He, himself has posted that it's no joke.

I can't believe that major labels pour money into bands like this. It's so unnescessary. Who benefits from a major label other than the label and management themselves?

The best part is that the band is costing money that will be taken against any CD sales they may have. What a bunch of nimrods!

Matt
 

Vince Maskeeper

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A lot of guys are real partial to RADAR. I believe that Radar is used in the mixerman sessions on bitch Slap at some point. Radar isn't as "powerful" in many ways a Pro Tools, it's often treated more as a simple hard disc system... but many guys swear by it, and have declared it to be much closer to analog that Pro Tools...

Also, at the lower end- there are some other cheaper HW/SW combos that some people use. Since PT is so expensive (Entry system is like $9-10k), there are many people who get the same or better performance using Nuendo or Logic with decent audio hw like MOTU stuff.

-Vince
 

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