Sound Engineer/Producer Troubles

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drumfreak1987

Guest
okay stellas and fellas,

gonna do some session work for a folk rock group after auditioning. i go to the studio where they rehearse and record, their semi-pro producer was their to give us a

listen. we rehearsed for a while the day they hired me and i had practiced the material and had it nailed down. i set up my kit, we play, he likes us and compliments our playing. then

he says, "there's one problem, why does your drummer not have a top-teir kit? he's talented, but wasn't your criteria professional gear?" first off, it's a catalina club jazz shell pack

which is not the highest-priced kit out there, but i set it up with a g-4000 cob hammered snare, A's, K's and A customs, Tama Roadpro cymbal stands, a PDP two-legged hat stand,

Gibraltar clamps for a cowbell and two splashes, an Iron Cobra single, a Roc-N-Soc throne, and a Pork Pie maple 12x6 soprano snare. I say, "sir, my snares, cymbals, and hardware

are all high end, built for professionals. My toms and kick my not be a $3,000 shell pack, but it is a great kit to record and gig with. A talented player can make just about any drum

sing for even the most finicky microphones." the guitarists says, "so three drums aren't that expensive, but he plays, tunes, and cares for them like a pro, so what gives?" and the

producer is like, "when you said professional gear, i didn't know this is what you meant...." then i say ,"with some exceptions, it's not so much the gear that matters. it's the player

behind it and the engineer in front of it that determine the quality of a recording. i've heard some of your work, rest assured, you won't have any trouble capturing a clean sounding

record." hey says, "true, i am someone who could make even THOSE drums sound good." holding my tongue (wanted to detune my tom and say 'show me your tuning technique'), i

say, "great! so are we all happy?" then he's like "can't you just rent some high-end DW or Tama" to which i give a concise, "no". then he says, "i think we're going to have a problem

here." i say, calmly "why? 'cause i can't afford to just shell out the money for a dw collectors? a craftsman doesn't need the world's finest tools to build a palatial mansion, does he?"

he replies, "i just expected a higher-end set up." the guitarist (who is 'friends' with this guy) says, "dude, it's sounding like you're doubting your recording ability, and we don't want to

do that to ya. we'll just have to schedule some studio time elsewhere." he says, "now wait....let's not call it quits just yet, we'll just have to do some drum takes and see what happens."

i said, "well, don't be surprised when they KICK ASS! YEAH!" and me and the guitarist gave a hard high five, and the engineer just shakes his head and sighs-lol. does anybody have any advice for difficult producers/engineers?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I'm not sure he was being difficult. I think he was just being an a$$-hole. I think alot of people assume that what you really want is top-tier stuff (don't we all?). But what we really learn is that, if you have your act together, you can take any drumkit and make it great. I think he opened his mouth, and found that no one was biting, but already dug himself into a hole.

Personally, I still would've left. But I guess it's good you guys salvaged the situation. Just because people call themselves 'producers' or that they own a 'studio' doesn't make them the best people person or even good leaders. That just means they have money to buy stuff, and there's alot of people out there who can buy stuff. And he's aware that you can easily pack up and go somewhere else because competition is stiff everywhere. He should've just apologized and said he won't bring it up again.

So how'd the recording come out?
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
How to deal with him? As little as possible from here on out.

If it were me, I'd be pressing him as to the details of what makes this kit not a top-tier kit, and why it won't work. See what he says, if he actually knows drums and what he's talking about, or if he's just going to spout off some marketing rhetoric or simply what a drummer friend of his said once. In the end, sound is key, and if you can really tune your tubs to sound good, then that's all that matters.

...oh yeah, and how DID the recording turn out?
 

Metamega

Senior Member
I'm sure any middle of the line and bottom line kit would record nice. I mean I watched mapex's videos of my meridians and they sound amazing. Just as clean and crisp as any recording I've ever heard. I think a good engineer( no expert here) can make any kit sound amazing as log as the kit has the right heads and tuning
 

makinao

Silver Member
Wow, all this wisdom from a "semi-pro producer". Maybe that's why he's not a "pro".

On second thoughts, I take that back because it sounds like an insult to semi-pros. LOL.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
.............their semi-pro producer............
Can you define this for us. How "semi" or how "pro" are we actually talking about here?

I haven't spent as much time in studios as many here, but I've certainly been in enough of them to know that picking apart gear before he's even tried to get some sounds happening is not the norm. I've never had an engineer or producer comment on anything but the sounds created by the kit.....never the brand of kit itself. Much like yourself, I've pretty much always used intermediate level kits, with a hell of a lot more money invested in snares and cymbals. The make or series of kit never entered into the equation.

At the risk of speaking too soon, it certainly appears as if this guy is a hell of a lot more "semi" than he is "pro".......but I'd like more info before going all out and branding him as a blow hard tosser. ;-)
 

opentune

Platinum Member
How pretentious. I'm with Caddy, shoulda drilled him up on drums and drumming. What kits he's worked with and why. But alas, why devote the energy ?....the guys a poser, a fugazzi, putting on an act. If you were not new to the band, I would leave the guy standing holding his "cable", and gone recorded somewhere else.
 

burn-4

Senior Member
I recorded with the old yamaha stage custom (mixture of 3 random woods not maple or birch) and it sounded fine!
The producer didn't even question it
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Dumb thing is, if you were to put a catalina club in a time machine and send it back 30 years, it would be considered a top of the line drum kit.

So much of what is "top of the line" is relative.

If you look at session pictures for the greats from the 60's and 70's, many of them recorded with hodge podge kits. Sound and vibe were more important than brand name or wood type.
 
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audiotech

Guest
I too don't know to what extent his title implies or what credentials he may have, it can usually run the gamut.

Playing the devil's advocate here, If he is a "producer", they're first in line to take the blame if something should go awry from the start to the finish. I was first hired as a full time producer/director back in 1974 at a CBS television affiliate. Since that time I've probably worked with a few hundred producers on both sides of the glass and for the most part they only had one thing on their minds, to get the job done in a professional manner and on budget, this sometimes came with very little diplomacy.

I would much rather be the talent or engineer when it comes to a production such as this because ultimately it's the producer's neck that's on the line. If I was producing, I would have at least heard the band before making any comments that might alienate me and other members of this group. I'm just thinking that just maybe he had similar experiences laying down track in folk rock and in his mind thought that the group might need a bigger bass sound primarily because he's had session experiences with 18" bass drums. Maybe he thought it looked like a toy, who knows, I wasn't there. He surely didn't use much finesse when communicating with the individuals of the band.

Here again, I don't know what monies are being spent in this production and what the producer's qualifications are and to whom he has to answer. If it's one individual doing both producing and engineering, I would guess the budget to be rather modest. There are a lot of ways to look at situations such as these, some details are well hidden within the frame work of the producer and his boss. Remember, the producer is ultimately the fall guy and the more costly the production, the more pressure and headaches are involved.

Dennis
 

gunar

Member
It sounds like he wanted you on the defense from the start. Did you not have any recordings of those drums handy on the internet that you could load up for reference? How well do you know the recording process?

His attitude was by no means professional. Mics are 1000x more important than drums. If you have decent sounding drums, played well in a good sounding room with good mics, you should be set.

Were you being charged for your time during all this? If so, don't ever work with that guy again.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Here's a thought:

The prefix "semi" means "half". The word producer has 8 letters, the first 3 of which spell "pro". This guy calls himself a semi-pro, but maybe he should be calling himself a "3/8-pro". I dunno...3:00 was an interesting time to start drinking...
 
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drumfreak1987

Guest
yeah, we really got him back this morning. we were about to do some takes, and he pulls out some sm57's, to which i make the stink face, and in a smug, aristocratic voice i say, "you're going to use THOSE mics, on MY drums? Heavens no! (then i stand up walking about in an elitist posture and mannerism) "Those are microphones for the common peasant. My talent, nay, my enigmatic grace with which I perform, shall not be captured on anything less than a full array of Earthworks microphones, garcon (french for "boy/son"). Do be a master of your craft and fetch them immediately. If you have to...*sigh*...rent them, then so be it."

The band cracked the f*ck up....and even he tried to look pissed, but wanted to laugh... later he said he acted out of ignorance and apologized for insulting me and treating me like i was inferior for not having the most expensive shell set. I actually have a USA custom (but kept that fact from him...he who rubs his rival's face in the dirt, gets burried with him) but it's up at my mom's in dallas. we're just doing some demos, so i'm not going to sweat it's absence...
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
yeah, we really got him back this morning. we were about to do some takes, and he pulls out some sm57's, to which i make the stink face, and in a smug, aristocratic voice i say, "you're going to use THOSE mics, on MY drums? Heavens no! (then i stand up walking about in an elitist posture and mannerism) "Those are microphones for the common peasant. My talent, nay, my enigmatic grace with which I perform, shall not be captured on anything less than a full array of Earthworks microphones, garcon (french for "boy/son"). Do be a master of your craft and fetch them immediately. If you have to...*sigh*...rent them, then so be it."

The band cracked the f*ck up....and even he tried to look pissed, but wanted to laugh... later he said he acted out of ignorance and apologized for insulting me and treating me like i was inferior for not having the most expensive shell set. I actually have a USA custom (but kept that fact from him...he who rubs his rival's face in the dirt, gets burried with him) but it's up at my mom's in dallas. we're just doing some demos, so i'm not going to sweat it's absence...
There's hope for this guy yet! I like to think people are inherently good people, that occasionally have their brown moments. I do it alot, so I'd be grateful for the chances gotten to turn it around, at least.
 

Mike Mandaville

Senior Member
The band cracked the f*ck up....and even he tried to look pissed, but wanted to laugh... later he said he acted out of ignorance and apologized for insulting me and treating me like i was inferior for not having the most expensive shell set. I actually have a USA custom (but kept that fact from him...he who rubs his rival's face in the dirt, gets burried with him) but it's up at my mom's in dallas. we're just doing some demos, so i'm not going to sweat it's absence...
Excellent. Here is something which I have always found to be interesting. Jerry Reed rose to greatness playing a guitar which was sold at Motgomery-Wards for less than one-hundred dollars.
 
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