Old 05-04-2009, 11:22 PM   #41
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The other day I listened to an audio book in my car. From a producer/song writer who scored 600+ golden and 100+ platinum records.
What audiobook/producer was that? I am interested in such audiobooks as well if you have any to recommend.
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:21 AM   #42
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What audiobook/producer was that? I am interested in such audiobooks as well if you have any to recommend.
Hi Even,

it's a crazy German guy called Dieter Bohlen and the book is in German. He is the guy behing "Modern Talking" and many other *very* commercial productions...

As a real book I love "behind the glass".

Cheers
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:35 AM   #43
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New yep PDF is up!

http://www.filesavr.com/01yepthreads...11-09thread608

Enjoy!
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:40 PM   #44
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New yep PDF is up!

http://www.filesavr.com/01yepthreads...25-09thread641

Enjoy!
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:56 PM   #45
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Remember the days when "big-budget" sound was completely out of reach? When the mantra "the demo sounded better" was true and it was recorded on a portastudio and "mastered" on your VCR? As I find myself for the first time immersed in this world of digital recording I notice the one thing the younger guys are missing - being musicians. Don't get me wrong - I hear a ton of stuff that blows my doors off, but relative to the number of guys recording, it's pretty low. I think the role of the producer makes itself clear in this instance. Too many of us (myself included) are trying to do too much. The producer/engineer/assistant/gofers are important because they let us (the musicians) focus on what we really want to do - play. Compose. Rock out with our cocks out or whatever. They take care of the BS. It's been my experience that a guitarist or vocalist or drummer (who's gonna be sampled/GOG'd anyway)who is more worried about the EQ or multiband settings going to print rather than the performance is doomed to fail in the epic style. Listen back on your favorite records - Zeppelin IV? Kill 'Em All? Abbey Road? Whatever they are, I'd bet if they were posted in "rate my mix" forums today we'd all say they sounded like.... ass. Producers (and to some extent the engineers) dictate the overall sound of a recording and although separate from the musicians themselves are just as important. We all seem to be of the notion that the one "guy in his bedroom" is going to save music with the ultimate album. As much as I'd love to believe it, it's just not gonna happen. The music/material is the foremost importance, and it seems that it cannot be created while the "creator" is worried about bussing and compression and predelays and all that. Write a great piece of music. Record it however you can. Pay people to do it if necessary. Pay People to do it if necessary. Sorry for the rant - I am NOT an engineer (nor do I intend to be) but I bet I could produce your record....
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:01 PM   #46
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i love this thread...
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:20 PM   #47
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Remember the days when "big-budget" sound was completely out of reach? When the mantra "the demo sounded better" was true and it was recorded on a portastudio and "mastered" on your VCR? As I find myself for the first time immersed in this world of digital recording I notice the one thing the younger guys are missing - being musicians. Don't get me wrong - I hear a ton of stuff that blows my doors off, but relative to the number of guys recording, it's pretty low. I think the role of the producer makes itself clear in this instance. Too many of us (myself included) are trying to do too much. The producer/engineer/assistant/gofers are important because they let us (the musicians) focus on what we really want to do - play. Compose. Rock out with our cocks out or whatever. They take care of the BS. It's been my experience that a guitarist or vocalist or drummer (who's gonna be sampled/GOG'd anyway)who is more worried about the EQ or multiband settings going to print rather than the performance is doomed to fail in the epic style. Listen back on your favorite records - Zeppelin IV? Kill 'Em All? Abbey Road? Whatever they are, I'd bet if they were posted in "rate my mix" forums today we'd all say they sounded like.... ass. Producers (and to some extent the engineers) dictate the overall sound of a recording and although separate from the musicians themselves are just as important. We all seem to be of the notion that the one "guy in his bedroom" is going to save music with the ultimate album. As much as I'd love to believe it, it's just not gonna happen. The music/material is the foremost importance, and it seems that it cannot be created while the "creator" is worried about bussing and compression and predelays and all that. Write a great piece of music. Record it however you can. Pay people to do it if necessary. Pay People to do it if necessary. Sorry for the rant - I am NOT an engineer (nor do I intend to be) but I bet I could produce your record....
Half the fun is bussing and eq and compression for me. I couldn't give a rat's arse about the music 'business', so to speak!
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:08 PM   #48
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Hashishian: A very good point about a "guy in his bedroom"-approach.

I know a couple of young "former" musicians -> nowadays "engineers" & producing-my-own -dudes, who just mess with samples and warez-plugs and reach for that ultimate demo/song in their bedroom/daddys garage.

I'm a musician myself, to the last step, I'm lucky I have the "will" and freedom to record my band (and others) with just a reverb plug in session. Pulling hair with mixing after the recording is always fun, though.

Oh, and your sig "Phonier than a fo'fuckin' dolla bill...." = thats gotta be from Bad Santa, right? I've seen that movie about 35 times, it just never loses the touch...
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:23 AM   #49
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did anyone read the Tape-Op a couple of issues back with sufjan steven's? as far as an individual recording and producing himself that's about as good as it can get in my opinion. he made the 'michigan' album with two '57s and a hard disk recorder and did everything (technically) wrong. still, an inspired and inspiring, beautiful sound.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:41 PM   #50
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.. he made the 'michigan' album with two '57s and a hard disk recorder and did everything (technically) wrong. still, an inspired and inspiring, beautiful sound.
I re-listened to that album after reading that article and it made me very happy. Like amazingly awesome like a hot dog happy. He made that beautiful sound with a quarter of the equipment I have. I hope I can get a quarter of the results he got. I highly recommend that every home studio owner reads that and buys Michigan.
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:22 PM   #51
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OK...I've been lurking in the shadows for moths on these two posts. superb stuff really.....and while the technical post is fascinating, this post is where its at-for me! From getting started to getting done seems to take forever...

So what do I take away from that day and the year since during which I have hardly finished a d*&^*m thing? First, I need to stop thinking so hard and start playing. I play acoustic and sing. I occasionally add string backgrounds when I can "hear" them, but mostly after the fact. No percussion...just acoustic and vox. Its amazing how hard I can make that.

My only concern with this whole discussion of the producer role is that it could increase the delay to start. I can see myself thinking I need to have it all planned so that I don't waste time...
In part I think you have answered some of your own questions.

The whole idea and role of a producer is something that becomes relevant as you make the transition from creative exploration to the business of actually producing a record.

So, no, you should not stop to plan out creativity, and when you get a killer idea or burst of inspiration you should just record it. Similarly, when you have a big chunk of half-finished ideas and incomplete songs, you may find that you can turn a lot of them into finished records just by setting aside some time to systematically connect the dots and close the loops in a more workmanlike if possibly slightly less sublime way.

I don't think you necessarily can or should try to structure inspiration, but sometimes, after the inspiration has blown its load on creating the killer guitar lick or the brilliant chorus or whatever, you still need a bassline and a few more verse lyrics and so on to actually fulfill the original creative vision. That process of managing the completion is the producer's role.

In business, there is a concept commonly called the "deliverable." A management team might get together for an open-ended brainstorming session, or might commission an exploratory study of market analysis, or might set aside a budget for R&D exploration of some new technology or whatever. But good managers will always attach a "deliverable" to the project. It may be a question that is supposed to be answered, or a decision that is supposed to be made, or a cost estimate that needs to be finalized, or whatever. The point of the deliverable is to avoid the conundrum of a million-dollar study of an issue by a panel of experts who ultimately conclude that the issue requires further study.

By way of example, the CEO might tell her top marketing, engineering, product-management, and procurement people to prepare for a three-hour meeting next week to decide on a strategy for entering the touch-screen market. And in that three-hour meeting, all the experts can argue their sides and voice their opinions and doubts and whatever, but at the end of it, the CEO expects to have enough high-level overview to decide on the "next step." And maybe that decision is that in order to get into the touch-screen market, the company has to develop a $150 touch screen with X feature set. So the CEO then assigns twelve engineers to spend four weeks with a $200,000 budget to determine whether it is possible to develop a $150 touch-screen. And in four weeks, everyone meets back again to hear their findings and to decide whether to commit to a product line, or whatever. And maybe there are setbacks, maybe the engineering team says that they can do a $170 touch screen, or that they can do one with less features, or that it's not possible right now but it might be possible in September when the next generation of widgets comes out or whatever. But the point is that there is always an outcome, and always a next step, even if that step is just a decision that has to be made.

You can do this in a home studio as well. By a assigning a fixed-outcome deliverable, you make yourself accountable to actual milestones and results. Maybe they don't always come out as good as you hoped. Maybe sometimes you get nothing done and have to re-write the schedule or re-evaluate whether your goals are realistic. But if the alternative is spending 18 months tweaking guitar riffs with no end in sight, then even a bad schedule is better than none at all.

Finished is always better than perfect. A company that has a million imperfect $150 touch-screens sitting on the shelves at Best Buy is infinitely better off than a company that is endlessly tweaking a perfect product that nobody can buy or use. A record that is only 50% as good as it might have been is still infinitely more product than a perfect record that doesn't exist.

The role of a producer is not to schedule imagination nor to hold up creativity, the role of a producer is to tie up the loose ends and actually make a record out of your musical imaginings. HOW the producer achieves that goal is irrelevant, as long as the goal is achieved. If you don't like the scheduled example above, then you don't have to use it. That process is not right for everyone.

A good manager or leader is not necessarily someone who just creates a process on paper and then demands that everyone in every circumstance adheres to it, a good manager is someone who manages the real-world variables and who sets priorities in achievable, meaningful ways. It's not about being the "boss" and telling people what to do and then blaming the employees if they don't deliver-- that's the sure sign of a bad manager. A good manager is someone who prioritizes not based on abstractions, but based on good assessments of the real-world variables and required resources.

The production process for a gritty hip-hop MC is going to be vastly different than the production process for a cinematic Celine Dion record that requires coordinating orchestras and professional arrangers and session musicians, which is going to be vastly different from the production process when working with a self-contained band that is coming into the studio with finished, self-contained songs, which is going to be vastly different from the process of working with a dance/pop act that is coming in with neither songs nor instrumentation.

If there were a simple recipe or template, there would be no need for a producer. The producer is just there to keep the project making forward progress, and to make sure that the overall process is built around deliverables as opposed to endless studies that all require further study.
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:51 PM   #52
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A couple of generic tips for getting things done in the studio, that you can take or leave as you see fit:

When actually "Recording" (as opposed to jotting down or working out ideas), play and sing slower and softer than you normally would, and focus on the basics of just getting down a performance that is in tune and in time.

Don't try to kick everyone's ass with your performance awesomeness. You will kick ass, or not, according to your talent and ability. Trying to push yourself for the extra 10% since this is "for the record" is likely to result in mistakes, sloppiness, and frustration. Push yourself to give 110% during rehearsals, so that you can give 100% during recording easily and fluidly. Mistakes and straining stick out in a recording far more than killer licks do.

Moreover, blowing your load right at the beginning makes the rest of the song boring. Start out just by competently and clearly presenting the material, and you will find your groove and start naturally kicking ass by the end of the session. If you start out turned up to eleven, then where do you when you need that "one more"?

Practice, rehearse, and re-write the core material BEFORE you sit down to record. Then trust it, and trust yourself. When you sit down to actually make the record, pretend that it is someone else's song and that you're just a hired musician who is there to play the part. Do not start second-guessing the material or the sound or the instrumentation-- you have already worked that stuff out and made a decision, and your decisions were good ones.

The headphones and the mics and the VU meters and the constant re-tuning and multiple takes have a way of making your beautiful, emotional, inspired songs feel like work, once it comes time to actually record them. This will lead you to believe that the material is bad, or that the sound is bad, or the instrumentation is bad, or that you just suck. Forget all that stuff. You're here to do a job, to record this part, so just record it, and do a good job of this specific task that is in front of you right now: to record this part clearly and cleanly, as it is written.

The tracking process is just brick-laying. Every step might seem trivial and meaningless, but if the architectural design was good, then the result will come out good. The bricklayer's job is not to second-guess every brick and location and placement, nor to try and guess whether each individual brick placement is really the best contribution to the overall beauty, the bricklayer's job is to lay bricks.

When you have finished all the tracking, and taken a couple days off, and you come back and listen to the rough mixes, everything will sound completely different than it does when you're on take 27 of the chorus after re-tuning and adjusting the headphone mix and input levels two dozen times. So just lay your bricks, and focus on getting them clean, straight and level.
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:56 AM   #53
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Hello everyone!

Sorry for my English.

I just finished my first album - as songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and PRODUCER. Lot of work, lot of blood, sweat & tears. It took 1.5 year. Read Yep's every word twice. Just work. Work hard but don't exhaust yourself. It's just project. Take best people you can and try to do your best.

It's not so easy. Not everyone will finish his album. It's difficult balance between finishing and keeping good level. I did recording one day, next day I listened to it and decided to delete last tracks. And again and again. If you do it for the first time, you are not sure if your work is worth something. I was keeping asking myself: does it sound bad because of my voice, maybe my preamp, maybe tune?

I think there is no simple answer. Look at the great people who did something great: they just worked their ass off to get the level they wanted! I decided just do the same.

One more thing: There were last songs when I found good man to mix my recordings. GREAT thing! If you find someone that you can trust - go for it! If you are musician - don't waste your time tweaking snare's sound in the mix!

Just a couple of 'after-party' thoughts

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Old 07-01-2009, 07:26 AM   #54
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Yep should be commended for this entire series... there's some good stuff in there. In general - in my opinion - the difference between a good song and a great song often comes down to a neutral and talented nonobjective musical ear.

Call it a producer if you like but what I often see is people that are too close to the music to see it the way others see it. Then there are those people who's musical instincts are just so keen they don't need that neutral eye, like Prince... they just do "them".

Most people aren't in that category and cannot separate themselves and take a nonobjective look at their own music. It's very hard to do for many.

Often people who make their own music at home present it to associates, friends and family which (imo) is not the best place for an objective opinion. Although it still may result in useful suggestions, it often tends to sugarcoat issues or problems. People who love you or like you will rarely tell you your music is flat and uninspiring if they think so.

They will buy your CD regardless. I know, I do it with clients to support them even when I don't particularly like the music.

I always tell artists if they want to get realistic feedback about their music/mix/production to do this...

1. Don't let a lot of people you know hear it beforehand.
2. Record it, mix it and gain it up to be near commercial CD's.
3. Drop it into a party mix somewhere where most people don't know you and watch/listen to what happens.

You might even suggest the DJ announce it as "new music" without naming the artist to make sure everyone's attention is initially focused on it. If people like it they will approach the DJ asking who made it. If people don't like it you'll hear about it pretty soon.

If it's flat and not punchy or uninspiring a lot of people will pretty much ignore it, not dance to it, mill around chatting with each other until something they really like comes on. If it's an upbeat song to dance to, people who love to dance will catch onto the groove immediately or not... and keep dancing or not.

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:05 AM   #55
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I made an subjective comment above without explaining what I meant by that. This being a "producing yourself" thread I will explain what I meant by "Flat and Uninspiring" ...

- Lyrically boring and/or predictable.
- Musically boring and/or predictable.

Songs that the artist sings well, plays well, sings in tune and plays/sings on time, records and mixes well and yet the song just doesn't go anywhere. It just lays there and does nothing really interesting for 3 minutes.

Songs where if you've heard the first chorus you've heard every chorus.

Songs where the rhythm doesn't invoke excitement or invite body movement.

Songs where there are no musical surprises or interesting musical contrasts.

As a music buyer/lover, (dance music aside) if you aren't telling me an interesting story and/or taking me on a musical journey of some sort then... what is the point of the song exactly?

Think about "I Wish It Would Rain" by The Temptations. An old school soul song that tells the story of a guy who wants to cry over his lost love but he doesn't want anyone to know so he wishes it would rain. It's an interesting story supported by interesting music and emotional performances. A strong production. A hit.

The music evolves a little over the course of the song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbiLZS_HFx0

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:19 AM   #56
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- Lyrically boring and/or predictable.
- Musically boring and/or predictable.
.
Hmmm...

...I always thought one trick of commercially successful music is just that predictability (the hook). Hear 30 secs and be able to karaoke the rest... simple structures like ABABA, simple chord progression, simple lyrics that everybody can bawl along - even after 10 beers.
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:47 AM   #57
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Hmmm...

...I always thought one trick of commercially successful music is just that predictability (the hook). Hear 30 secs and be able to karaoke the rest... simple structures like ABABA, simple chord progression, simple lyrics that everybody can bawl along - even after 10 beers.
There are subtle variations in those hooks. Growth at times. Musical additions. Subtle changes in energy level. You may not recognize it but it's there. Not just copy/pasting the first chorus through the entire song. Notice how in that example I posted there are string melodies in the last chorus that aren't anywhere else in the song. Musical growth.

Lyrically yes, songs repeat pretty much the same thing lyrically on the hooks, with interesting harmony variations at times. When I talked about boring predictable lyrics I was talking mostly about the verses.

I'm not talking Brittney Spears here. Motown is a great study source in production technique if anyone really wants to learn. Those songs "grow up" over three minutes. To see another interesting variation of that same lyrical theme see "I Wanna Go Outside (In The Rain)" by The Dramatics.

I'll bow out now and give it back to the man Yep. My comments are strictly as a music buyer and what I don't get from many self produced songs. They (many) just aren't very interesting.

That's part of the record producers job, to make it more interesting, exciting, emotional, whatever.

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Old 07-01-2009, 09:22 AM   #58
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Motown is a *great* study source in production technique if anyone really wants to learn. Those songs "grow up" over three minutes. Too see another interesting variation of that same theme see "I Wanna Go Outside (In The Rain)" by The Dramatics.
Hard to let any reference to The Dramatics go by without mentioning "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get". To my ears, this is one of the best produced songs ever. The sound is just amazing. Of course, the song is good, performances are stellar, but the overall production is what puts this song way over the top. Those first few measures with an instantly recognizable rhythm section. How the horns come in. The way it builds at the beginning, from short individual solos, to prepare the way for the lead singer ("But baby, I'm for real"). How everything just stops right before the super-hook-title chorus. How the horns provide a huge break just before the song builds again and the lead singer just wails, then lifts to falsetto. Ahhh....

Don't mean to turn this into a "best produced song" thread, but just reinforcing some of what's been said. Of course, not every song is a dance hit. But something I've learned as a "self-producer" is to remember that productions have to have movement to hold a listener's interest throughout. Movement can be up or down, build-up or tear-down, louder or quieter, etc.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:28 AM   #59
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movement to hold a listener's interest throughout. Movement can be up or down, build-up or tear-down, louder or quieter, etc.
You just summed up everything I tried to say in two sentences. That's it exactly. Most of the people producing their own music that I hear have songs that simply don't do that. They may have an early moment where it piques your interest momentarily (a nice original hook or melody) and then it quickly loses you (or bores you) from being too static.

That's it exactly. Thanks.

That guitar player guy (whose name I forget) here with the really great instrumental music is a good example of that. I listen to his songs with *anticipation* of what's around the next musical corner. His music creates that early anticipation leading somewhere and then actually goes somewhere. It moves.

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:26 PM   #60
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Yeah and sometimes even posting your stuff on internet forums is a recipe for disaster too because we all know how internet forums like that work don't we!?

It's all the big, hey here's my song, will you smoke its pole...then I'll smoke your song's pole when you post yours.

So it's like...let's give oral first on the proviso that we'll reveive oral right back.

Ok I did you...now you do me

Am I being too course?
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:25 PM   #61
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It's all the big, hey here's my song, will you smoke its pole...then I'll smoke your song's pole when you post yours....I being too course?
A college friend of mine used to call the whole record-and-mix-my-own-songs genre "musical masturbation". Even then -- years ago, we both had Tascam 4-track cassette recorders -- he summed it up pretty well.

I guess now, with the internet, it's better described as a circle jerk.

However, generally I find that any outside critique contributes to improving my songs.
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:27 PM   #62
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Hard to let any reference to The Dramatics go by without mentioning "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get". To my ears, this is one of the best produced songs ever.
Never heard that song. But just found it on You Tube. It's a smart production.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZK04cjygzE

The vocal bit between 50 and 51 seconds in, is a major hook, yet it happens only once in the entire song, though I'm pretty sure it happens at least once more in a different guise.... I kept expecting it -- and wanting it -- to repeat and it never did, but I'm positive that the structure passed through the same part again. That's what well produced records will have, variations within the sameness. The management of expectations, whether met or, better yet, satisfyingly unmet, thus demanding another listen.

That vocal bit also reminds me of the first seconds of the into Chic's Le Freak. As it turns out, most of Chic's hits, Good Times possibly most of all, are fantastic examples of productions that evolve in subtle but tangible ways that keep the listener involved. Production principle: Evolve to involve.

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Old 07-01-2009, 10:29 PM   #63
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Am I being too course?
Not necessarily. But I believe you may have misspelled aural.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:31 PM   #64
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heehee!
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:55 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Marah Mag View Post
Not necessarily. But I believe you may have misspelled aural.
You're too clever.
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:50 AM   #66
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Yeah and sometimes even posting your stuff on internet forums is a recipe for disaster too because we all know how internet forums like that work don't we!?

It's all the big, hey here's my song, will you smoke its pole...then I'll smoke your song's pole when you post yours.

So it's like...let's give oral first on the proviso that we'll reveive oral right back.

Ok I did you...now you do me

Am I being too course?
Getting feedback is a tricky business. Especially when you're seeking it from friends, family, or fellow musicians, all of whom are likely to have an agenda, bias, and/or shaded presentations related to courtesy, ego, etc.

Praise responses will often be overly generic, while critical responses will often tend to be along the lines of "you should try to sound more like my favorite band" which is just as unhelpful. I am certain that (insert name of greatest musical artist ever here) was criticized by musician friends for not sounding more like X

The most objective kind of feedback you can get often comes specifically from asking for better-than/worse-than comparisons. E.g. instead of asking, "what do you think of these songs?" ask "Which of these songs is your favorite, and which is your least favorite?" or "Which instruments do you think sound the best-recorded?"

Similarly, asking pointed, "neutral" questions will often get "between the lines" answers. E.g. something like, "I'm not sure about the production/recording quality of the vocals, do you think they're too quiet?" or "I'm thinking of re-recording some of the vocals, any advice on which songs to start with?"

You may get responses like "well, they sound a little too yelling" or "it sounds sort of flat and hard to understand." By asking them to comment on the recording quality, you have absolved them from the discourtesy of criticizing your talent, and some of their responses might unintentionally reveal or confirm things about the underlying quality of the music and performance.

If you can set aside defensiveness and insecurities, and guide people through a specific and analytical assessment of your music, you can often get a clearer perspective on what other people are hearing. Which is not to say that you should necessarily be making music for anyone other than yourself, but sometimes outside input can help to clarify your own perceptions, and might help you to make better decisions.
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Old 07-02-2009, 08:54 AM   #67
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Yeah and sometimes even posting your stuff on internet forums is a recipe for disaster too because we all know how internet forums like that work don't we!?

It's all the big, hey here's my song, will you smoke its pole...then I'll smoke your song's pole when you post yours.
Normal humans are often very considerate when giving feedback, it's just being courteous. Few people really ever ask "Would you buy this if it were for sale?" or "Do you think my singing is good enough for a successful career?". They ask for feedback on the mix or production and we surround those constructive criticisms with praise so as to encourage people and stay positive. That's how community works.

But people will publicly and crudely slam known commercial artists work in detail but never do that to people they personally know who may (or may not) be less talented. That's why I think the most objective feedback is totally in the blind. People usually speak the honest to goodness truth when there is no immediate fear of offending or discouraging anyone.

If you really want to know what the general public thinks of your music (if you care which you may not) remove those community / personal barriers and you'll find out. It's nerve wracking. I recall doing that with people who I mixed their demos and being nervous about whether a stranger in the crowd would say it sounds like a crap mix. Obviously, they'd never say that if they knew I mixed it and was standing there, or say a painting sucks if the painter is standing right there.

People who think Brittney Spears truly sucks as an singer (like me) would never say that to her face unsolicited. It would be rude. But if she asked me if I'd ever bought any of her music I'd tell the truth and say "no". If she asked me why I might tell her it's generally because "..no offense, I just don't think you're a very good singer...".

So yeah... there is usually a little bit of pole smoking going on in a community setting.

Last edited by Lawrence; 07-02-2009 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:47 AM   #68
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...That's why I think the most objective feedback is totally in the blind. People usually speak the honest to goodness truth when there is no immediate fear of offending or discouraging anyone. ...
Not only that, but perhaps the most frustrating and common "blind" reaction to competent indie acts is indifference. Not "I would buy it if it had a better guitar solo," not "you need a new singer," not "too repetitive," not anything actually useful like that, just a shrug, and change stations to see what else is on.

I don't think anybody out there really knows what makes good music, what makes them respond to music. How is cousin Eddy supposed to listen to your record and tell you how to become a star?

"Would you pay money for this music?" "No, but I might download it on Limewire if my iPod wasn't already full."

The frustrating thing about slipping in your CD at a party is that very probably the dominant reaction will be that people continue having their conversations, assuming the music is at all an appropriate fit.

If you want usable feedback and input, my suggestion is not to put people on the spot by broadly asking them for their opinion, but instead to "bring them into the studio," in a virtual sense. Ask them detailed and specific questions in a context and tone that makes it clear that you're not looking for approval, but for input. In other words, instead of setting the table and lighting candles and giving them a plate and then hovering nervously over them to watch their reaction, ask them into the kitchen and offer them a spoonful from the pot and ask whether they think it needs salt.
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:57 AM   #69
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If you want usable feedback and input,
We agree on that 100%.

My comments were more leaning towards honest reactions to the finished art than usable feedback during production. This is usually at the point where the creative portion is over, the product is generally done with and you're simply looking to honestly find out what the public thinks of it. Maybe before (or during) the mass duplication.

The process is an ongoing thing. If you're in the business to make money, reactions to the last product will affect the next product so it's all useful if that's the goal.

Some people have products out there now and they're being told they're being shut out of the profits and process and success because they don't want to be part of the big machine and indie artists get stepped on etc, etc, when in some cases it's simply because it's just not a very good product and nobody will tell them that directly. I just recorded a CD for a guy who - to put it frankly can't sing very well - and nobody told him that. Not my job as an engineer to tell him that but his friends and family didn't tell him either.

So he's sitting on a couple thousand CD's wondering why nobody is buying them. He's a victim of "nice feedback" from comfortable sources.

Of course enough marketing money can convince a certain amount of people that they should like something no matter what it sounds like.

I agree with you Yep. It's a difficult thing all the way around.

Last edited by Lawrence; 07-02-2009 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:28 PM   #70
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...victim of "nice feedback" from comfortable sources...
That's a pretty good way to describe it.

There are vast hordes of artists who are "good enough" in some sense or another. That is, they are "good enough" that they *could* have a shot at a music career, usually with a few buts or ifs attached. Maybe they don't play live, maybe they are a great songwriter but a weak performer, maybe life obligations or whatever get in the way, maybe they have talent but require training/practice/coaching to refine it, maybe there is a charisma or looks deficit, whatever.

Production and recording techniques won't change any of the above. Neither will feedback, at least not in a direct sense.

What a good producer (or good assistance in the form of advice and feedback) CAN do is to help ensure that your records are the best representation of your art, and that shortcomings in the record itself do not hamper your ability to connect with an audience, whether for money or anything else.

Seemingly simple decisions such as what kind of material you're ready for, whether and when something is too simple or too complex or too repetitive, whether you're really hitting those high notes as well as you think you are, whether it's really a good idea to include that instrumental jazz number on a rap-metal album, and so on.

A good producer or pointed feedback can help you make the best decisions regarding arrangement, intros, bridges, breakdowns, solos, instrumentation, key changes, and so on to keep your music exciting and interesting without becoming distracting or inappropriately wanky or complex. They can help you to select the right material, and to make honest evaluations of your current skill level in relation to your ambitions. They can serve as a gut-check and a sanity meter, helping you to move on when you're getting mired down in details but also helping to draw your attention to things that you might need to spend more time on.

That's the feedback that is useful, whether it happens mid-project in the studio, or in general out in the real world.

When a singer doesn't realize that he's not very good, it's usually a combination of people not telling him, and him not being receptive or open to the notion. There are a lot of musicians where you can tell them exactly what they're doing wrong, and exactly how to fix it, and they just brush it off with a "oh, that's the sound I'm going for" or whatever (really? you're going for the sound of a loose bridge saddle?).

Those are the kind of people most likely to get self-reinforcing feedback. They go around telling people how their stuff has an early Beatles sound and saying "hear how I went for that McCartney-esque bassline?" and people nod their heads and tell them how they hear the McCartney-esque bassline and how they hear the early Beatles vibe. And if someone ever mentions that the vocals sound a little... I don't know...off?... The reply is that they're hearing a "parallel thirds" harmony or whatever (what they're really hearing is a sound like dying geese, but our new early Beatles are not seeking advice-- that's the sound they're going for, after all).
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Old 07-02-2009, 05:27 PM   #71
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Not necessarily. But I believe you may have misspelled aural.
Classic!

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Old 07-02-2009, 05:49 PM   #72
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As always, insightful and useful stuff.

In my efforts as a self produced, self engineered solo performer, the producer had the hardest job. The producer has to know when to stop!

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Old 07-26-2009, 10:26 PM   #73
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New yep PDF + File is now up!

https://stash.reaper.fm/3358/1.%20Yep...0%23%20773.zip

Enjoy!
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:36 PM   #74
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New yep PDF + File is now up!


https://stash.reaper.fm/v/3521/1.%20Y...0%23%20791.zip


Enjoy!
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Old 09-30-2009, 06:39 PM   #75
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New Yep file is up!

https://stash.reaper.fm/3878/1.%20Yep...0%23%20888.zip

This will be the last one from me for at least a few months. A move is taking me into an area with very limited ISP selection, so no net for at least a few.

Enjoy!
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Old 10-12-2009, 06:08 PM   #76
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Yep you're a walking talking audio encyclopedia.

Loving the stuff you post!
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:36 PM   #77
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This is my first post, and the only reason for it is that I've read through Yeps: WDYRSLA to the point where this spin-off was created and this thread to end and actually has something to say/share

There has been a lot of discussion about feedback, which has been very interesting to read, but slightly over-emphasized in my opinion. I want to go back to the practical talk about how to actually try to be the producer for yourself. I want to to this by sharing a bit of my own experience.

I am a young and novice self-producing singer-songwriter. I own one of the cheapest home-studios in the world (simply because I still studying). One of the most important things In my opinion has been the talk about something is better than nothing (independently how perfect the vision and intention for the nothing-result-project was). Another thing was the talk about goals. Setting up goals for each session

Since I only got myself to play with the recording phase often contains a lot of creativity, because it's at this stage I can start thinking about if I need a synthpad and how the electric guitar solo are supposed to be like and so on. In my case I've found that a good way to keep myself from being sidetracked by this process of arranging during tracking and mixing is to set up goals for each session. I often find myself on the way to school thinking about the goals for next session. And when the session takes place I make sure to reach the goal. A goal might be to figure out a solo by jamming with the record as well as it can be to record a voice.

Another thing that I've discovered is that it is often more fun to build the song by first recording a drumloop (I prefer drumloops over metronome to keep everything at about right tempo) and then record the intro, all instrument (except voice - which I often do at the end) and rough mix, then go to the verse doing same thing and so on. I am aware of that this method somewhat violates some rules about the recording/mixing process, but for me it is a way to make the bricks that are going to be laid down in place.

One thing that another member here brought up (I can't remember the name tough) was the point that this planning thing tends to stretch the starting distance before the actual recording can takeoff. My goal is to have to use as short bit of the runway as possible before my plane rotates of the ground (sorry, I'm into flying and airplanes and such too). For a self-producing home recordist that only uses himself I don't think the schedule is necessary as long as you remember to set sessionbased goals for at least the next session, and have a deadline when you say that you have to be done. This way I've created some for my level of experience fairly good records. Almost or completely on time.

I don't know if this is useful reading to anyone, but as this thread was about sharing I thought that I might just as well share what I have experienced.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:42 PM   #78
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In my urge to write my last post I forgot to thank mainly Yep for sharing his knowledge. It has helped me a lot to improve different things both in my studio and in my records. For instance he made me start cleaning up and organizing my room, and he gave me a hum about which effect doing what. I swear: before I read his talk about the compressor I've never touched it. Now I use it frequently. Well... I'm getting of point. Thanks Yep. That was the point. You're awesome.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:44 PM   #79
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Feedback is a great thing.

I'm definitely one of those people for whom a schedule is a huge asset. I never get anything done otherwise, because I get caught up in the should-have could-haves of creativity. Arrangement has to come first for me or I'll never finish.

With your brick-laying approach, do you mix as you go? How do you make the verse sound like the chorus, for example, if they were mixed separately?
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Old 11-03-2009, 03:11 AM   #80
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Feedback is a great thing.
I agree

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With your brick-laying approach, do you mix as you go? How do you make the verse sound like the chorus, for example, if they were mixed separately?
I try to keep instruments individual sound-settings, not turning knobs on my mixer and so on to get the different takes as close to each other as possible. I mix roughly as I go, if I really need to gate a track or to compress it a bit that's what I do, but more and more I tend to apply effects like reverb when I got the most of it on tape so to speak. Mostly I tend to track first the intro applying all instruments I want and then move on to track the verse. Tracking and rough mixing mostly about level-matching. Then I go to the effects and apply reverb, chorus, and whatever I want to have. I almost never do a full track in one take (unless it's sequenced loops (mostly drums) from my synth or vocal) but rather a small part at a time in different sessions. Hope that explains more.
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