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how much is to much?

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how much is to much?

Postby iceman » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:19 pm

hi guys! ok i'll try and be as brief as possible,
basically my band have there own studio space, its one large live room with acoustic treatment a control room with some modest but ok recording gear and a couple of other rooms and a decent vocal booth, someone came in to the studio to do some plastering for us to finish a few areas off, he only charged us for the materials for the plastering as his son is in a band so we agreed we would record them one weekend just three songs, all pretty straight forward, all for free. ok so we recorded them i spent a long time (to me) mixing it etc and got to a point with it where i thought yup this is great but said to the lads for one of them to come down who could be spokes person for a final tweaking session as it were. which we did and now there wanting to change things on it again... what happens in paying studios how many times do you get to go back and remix it, and what if its a closed mix session which ive seen mentioned on a few studios websites? any help would be gratefully received!
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:53 pm

There's no right or wrong answer to this.

I pride myself that I never walk away from a project that the client considers incomplete. This said, I generally work with reasonable people, who know when to stop.

I always offer one free re-mix - nobody can get it right first time every time.

I bet most of us have tried the 'one band member/manager' to attend/sign off a mix, but it invariably fails (despite up-front assurances from the band); everyone wants their input, and everyone will find something they want fixing. The less experienced the band the worse this tends to be; they want you to turn them into their favourite band - and each band member may well have a different idea of what this is to be!

When I have been pushed beyond what I consider reasonable I have simply had the entire band (manager included) attend a 'final' mix and sign it off. Usually this puts it to bed, if not then I'm available at very reasonable 'favour' rates!

From what you say this started out as a favour-for-favour and has become a bit of a struggle. Maybe offer half-rates for any future re-work as your own 'favour' to them?
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby iceman » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:58 pm

yes it certainly has become a bit of a struggle and i think its something that is spilling over from something else my band and myself have noticed that the generation of 16 year olds upwards at the moment sort of expect everything as they get given smart phones ipads and god knows what else as birthday presents and think nothing of it lol, ive told them all to come down to get this finished once and for all, my band are in the middle of recording so its kind of disruptive!
the reason i went above and beyond is because they made noises that they wanted to come and record more songs but actually pay! haha i think ive been hoodwinked
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:02 pm

iceman wrote:the reason i went above and beyond is because they made noises that they wanted to come and record more songs but actually pay!
If there's one thing I've learned in my far-too-many years in this game...
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Scramble » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:11 pm

Work out how much you would have paid the plasterer. Work out how much you charge per hour. That will tell you how many hours of work they are entitled to. Stretch it out somewhat to keep them happy if you like, but don't stretch it out on the basis that they *might* pay for sessions in the future, because they probably won't, especially now that they conceive of you as the pushover who works for free.
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:39 pm

Whenever I've done these sorts of favours I usually agree a set amount of studio time which includes mixing (after being slightly burned in the same way as you the very first time I tried it). However, I've usually worked with the people before setting up a barter deal so we both have some idea of what to expect. If someone wants to record and mix 15 songs in a day then that's fine provided they're not expecting to do loads of overdubs or widely different settings on each song. You just have to manage expectations up front.

In this case, I would probably give them another couple of hours of your time in order to do the final changes but be a little stricter on time in the future. I've certainly had a fair bit of repeat business after doing freebies like this as it introduces new clients to you that may not have gone to you otherwise.
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby BJG145 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:27 pm

The two most important skills for a mixing engineer are to remain patient and polite. Sounds like a great opportunity to practice them.
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:13 pm

There are always going to be tweaks to any mix. You mix it, client says eg 'Great! We like it, thank you very much. Please can you make the kick drum a tiny bit less clicky, backing vocals up on the last chorus, guitar melody part in the verse up'. You do the tweaks, they pay you and you send them the uncompressed file for mastering. Job done. Assuming that the mix is good, the most common problem is when the band disagree about what the tweaks should be. You get long emails of tweaks from each member of the band, each saying different things. The way to deal with this is 1. Decide from looking at the tweaks whether you've fundamentally taken the mix in the wrong direction. Have you misunderstood what they were after? (if yes, remix the track...don't try to tweak it into shape and end up going round and round in circles) 2. If not, ask the band to collate the tweaks into one simple, clear list. Get the band over to the studio, sit them down and do the tweaks. Get their approval of the tweaks then and there. Give them the file. You are done. If they come back with another list of tweaks, either charge or suggest they take the track to a different mixer. If they just want one tiny thing then it's up to you, but I always do it free of charge.

The better you understand what the client wants to start with the better. The closer the tracking is to the final sound the band are after the better. If you're just the mixer, the less you accept jobs which have no hope of sounding like what the client is after the better.

Personally I would avoid those sorts of trade swaps. They usually end up with this sort of awkward situation. Agree a fee for each service and do it in a formal way, even if you don't actually end up needing to exchange payment.

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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:52 am

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Re: how much is to much?

Postby _ Six _ » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:38 am

Bands will take the piss if given the opportunity.

I gave a 'mate' a free recording session that cost me money. He wanted a really good demo so I rented some really nice mics, preamps and various bits of kit. They came in and I did the sessions for them. It was about a week to record and about the same again to mix. It sounded killer but I was knackered and annoyed I'd given so much time away.

I did a few of their live shows, showed them that I was very useful to them then withdrew my free services. They didn't ask me back. They were getting good money but didn't want to split.

A few weeks later I need some plumbing work doing and phone the drummer. He comes out and takes the piss out of me with the bill. He charged me full whack.. everything leaks.. he did a crap job. He reckons he gave me mates rates but I've had plumbers look at his work and laugh.. He ripped me off.

Months later they asked me to record their new record... so I went down, scoped the place out and gave my price. He asked me to do it for free and I told him to [ ****** ] off. We haven't spoken since.

The moral is don't work for free...
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:57 am

That's absolutely right. It's human nature...It's ingrained in us to assign a monetary value to stuff. When people do things for free we will always resent paying for the same thing in the future, however much our reasoned mind tells us that it's still a good deal. We will feel more comfortable giving that money to someone else who has no track record with us, just because their price hasn't gone up.

Take some publishing off people...Even if you think it's worthless...They won't. They're having to give you something, which, if they don't want to give you in future they can replace with cash.

But anyway, yes, as Six says, people take the piss. Sometimes that's the sort of people they are, and at other times they don't mean to, but they do. The rate you charge a client the first time you work with them is the rate you will always charge UNLESS something changes which shows them an added value in your services.

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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Beat Poet » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:08 pm

Richie Royale wrote:Jack's post reminds me of this

http://www.boredpanda.com/sharp-suits-worst-client-comment-p...

Hadn't seen that before, top class
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:10 pm

Beat Poet wrote:
Richie Royale wrote:Jack's post reminds me of this

http://www.boredpanda.com/sharp-suits-worst-client-comment-p...

Hadn't seen that before, top class

I'd like to see a mix/mastering engineer's list of client requests.
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby The Elf » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:41 pm

Real one...

"I want my drums to sound like a really crap, beat up kit - but recorded at Abbey Road."
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:47 pm

Ha ha.
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby paul tha other » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:06 pm

another classic that some lad said to me "can you make my guitar sound a bit more black..its a bit too green for my liking"

or my favourite one ....i had a band booked in they were doing some live takes...very young ...after the first take came through to the control room for a listen..i played the track for them..after about 30 seconds of playback a guy sat forward and said"can you put on the song we just recorded that band you are playing are just awful"..i was speechless
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Tartaruga » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:39 am

Hi Paul

Sorry if it’s a bit out of subject...
I’m sure lots of people here can tell unbelievable stories,but yours (green/black sound…) reminds me of a guy who was deeply convinced that the sound had to do with the colour of the gear,so when he was searching for a piece of gear,the most important for jim was it’s colour (the colour of the hardware I mean)…He was also convinced that the ‘size’ of the sound was related to the size of the mic…So,for his voice,he wanted the biggest mic possible…
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Beat Poet » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:19 pm

Richie Royale wrote:I'd like to see a mix/mastering engineer's list of client requests.


I think this has done the rounds on here, but here it is again

http://www.dearnley.com/studio_quotes.html
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby _ Six _ » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:45 am

paul tha other wrote:another classic that some lad said to me "can you make my guitar sound a bit more black..its a bit too green for my liking"



Some people do hear in colour. It's called Synesthesia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby MadManDan » Wed May 01, 2013 9:51 pm

Richie Royale wrote:Jack's post reminds me of this

http://www.boredpanda.com/sharp-suits-worst-client-comment-p...
Love it! My fav was using google search, "we need more images of groups of people having non-specific types of fun"
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby chew_rocket » Wed May 01, 2013 11:05 pm

I once did a recording for free and the band were really happy with it. They asked me to make their next record and I gave them a price. I didn't hear back and a few weeks later I see they're recording elsewhere. The most satisfying thing was when they were dissatisfied with the record at that studio and came back to me.... and my price stayed the same!
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Random Guitarist » Fri May 03, 2013 9:52 am

One thing I would do is have a brief conversation with the plastering dad, to make sure he understands your perspective. You don't want a situation where junior tells him the recordings are no good and he feels they/he have been ripped off.

Just a quick call 'to let you know how we're getting on' that also clearly puts your side of things. Explain that you've done the tracking/mixing/revisions etc and there's one more round of revisions before you consider the favour repaid.
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby iceman » Fri May 03, 2013 2:09 pm

thanks for all the replies guys! some food for thought there for defo! next time if there is a next time i will think long and hard before blindly saying YES i do kinda regret it now its been a lot of work! the plastering dad lives across the road from my partner and has said he thinks it sounds great! when they came in and told me what needed changing lol i think the most significant thing was the vocals (there words) which got adjusted literally one increment on the studio one v2 mixer i actually moved something on the analogue mixer which wasnt anything to do with the recording at one point and the bass player got all excited and said it sounded amazing and how much warmer it sounded ???? i think thats called a magic button lol!
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Re: how much is to much?

Postby Bossman » Fri May 03, 2013 7:58 pm

iceman wrote:...i actually moved something on the analogue mixer which wasnt anything to do with the recording at one point and the bass player got all excited and said it sounded amazing and how much warmer it sounded ???? i think thats called a magic button lol!

thats called the DFA button/knob/fader. (Does F**k All)... they're really useful for just those kinds of situations.
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