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Sight on Sound

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Sight on Sound

Postby jimh76 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:39 pm

Hi,

Not sure if this will be controversial, but let me explain and see if there are others out there like me.

Basically, I have a small home studio (erm....front room) which is made up of a few bits of gear which are by no means expensive (I've listed them below) but they do sound nice. I'm also DAW-free (gasp....!)

It's a hobby and like most of you this year, recording people has been very few and far between. I've been tinkering in the studio myself and doing funny songs for mates. Done a couple of Whatsapp carol songs for my wife's work, but actual recording time has dramatically reduced.

Here's the controversial bit. I think.....dun dun dah..... I like the look of my studio, almost as much as actually using it......!
I actually look at it like I would a favourite painting on the wall and can sometimes just look at it for 10 minutes without actually thinking about using it.
I'd say that it's broken down into 30%/70%, whereby I like recording 70%, but like the look of the studio 30%. I buy gear based sometimes on what it looks like (30%) and then what sounds like (70%) or people say it sounds like. The first thing I do when reading SOS is to check out the picture, think "would that look good in the studio", and then read the review of how it sounds.

Is this normal? Does anyone do this.?

I bought my acoustic guitar mainly of what it looked like (Epiphone Hummingbird Pro) thinking it's an Epiphone so probably sounds good. Don't get me wrong, I tried it out in the shop, and it did sound good to my ears, but I didn't try any other guitars that day as they didn't look cool like the Hummingbird.

I know that sound engineering is all about the sound, but I worry, that too much of it with me (30%!) is about the look as well.

I feel slightly guilty to call myself a sound engineer.....

Your thoughts,

Jim

Tascam DP32, 2 x GAP Pre 73 Mkiii, Warm Audio WA12, Lexicon MPX550, TC Helicon Voiceworks, Klark Teknik KT76 & EQP KT, KRK Rokit 5 Gen 4 (they look cool.. :smirk: .)
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:48 pm

I mentioned this in another thread and I'd say that the majority of amateur/semi-pro users have, at some time, bought a piece of gear at least partly because it looked the part. As long as it sounds good too then it doesn't matter. I think most of what's in my studio sounds good, or at least if it doesn't it's operator error but, like you, I get considerable pleasure just sitting in there, daydreaming and looking at the guitars and stuff.
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:59 pm

I was in two minds about buying my first decent stage guitar, a Tak ef360s many years ago and the thing that swung it was the smell. I thought if I could have that sensation on demand any time of the day or night it would add value to the experience of owning what I already knew was a nice guitar.

This came up in a chat a few months ago. I've known two people who have spent a relatively large amount of money on kit they will never use, a chap who built up a home studio over a couple of years but never recorded one note and a guy with a wall full of acoustic and electric guitars that he has no idea how to play.

These are not stupid people but their appreciation of the object/system is not in the use of it but in it's proximal existence.

I'm not sure I understand completely but there is so much I don't understand that I'm happy to let them define their own enjoyment.
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby blinddrew » Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:44 pm

I have spent a lot of money on my studio space, money I will never recoup through any kind of work done here, who am I to criticise why someone else chooses to spend their money?
There's the old maxim of having nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or find to be beautiful - if you're still ticking one of those boxes then it's all good. :)
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:15 am

:clap: :clap: :clap: :D
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby Watchmaker » Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:29 am

I defo gravitate towards gear that suits my aesthetics. Ugly gear will never find a spot in my studio, I don't care how many people swear by it's utterly fantastic fantasticness.

But this is very sensible really. There are so many options for gear that optics must factor into the decision making process at some point. If it were only a matter of function, that'd be one thing but design is largely about how the monkey interacts with the machine. Because we monkeys have firm ideas about who we are and are respondent to social status pressures, we signal to the other monkeys, in part, through our possessions. All this to say that design is a huge part of the perception of value, probably even more so than technical merit, so yea, feel good about creating a space that makes you feel good and hopefully attracts like minded individuals to your space.
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby Arpangel » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:37 am

This goes without saying, of course it’s important, the way your recording environment and your instruments look, it’s all part of the alchemical process of creation, and being a musician.
Looks are "as" important as the sound regarding instruments, and it has spawned generations of young hopefuls, noses pressed against music shop windows who have gone on to be our heroes.
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby adrian_k » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:02 am

I don’t care what thinks look like. At all. My studio is purely functional and often a mess. I tidy it up If workflow gets difficult.

I don’t seem to have any kind of visual aesthetic. Visual art doesn’t move me. Music on the other hand....

If I go to a restaurant with my wife (remember those days??) she might say the colour scheme makes her feel ill, I don’t know what she is on about, partly because the room acoustic is making me anxious, which she hasn’t noticed.

I would never buy a guitar because it looked good.
I realise I am atypical, but it takes all sorts!
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby Arpangel » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:24 am

adrian_k wrote:I don’t care what thinks look like. At all. My studio is purely functional and often a mess. I tidy it up If workflow gets difficult.

I don’t seem to have any kind of visual aesthetic. Visual art doesn’t move me. Music on the other hand....

If I go to a restaurant with my wife (remember those days??) she might say the colour scheme makes her feel ill, I don’t know what she is on about, partly because the room acoustic is making me anxious, which she hasn’t noticed.

I would never buy a guitar because it looked good.
I realise I am atypical, but it takes all sorts!

I wouldn’t say you’re atypical, I’d say you’re typical, judging by most musicians I’ve met, and their studios.
Ultimately, I don’t care where I record, and a lot of my best work has been done in chaotic disorganised "aesthetically challenged" places.
But given the choice, I’d rather be recording in a beautifully decorated Edwardian drawing room with a view over the sea than in a basement studio in central London with sticky carpets and nicotine stained walls, although that has a certain charm if you’re in the mood, but these days, I’m not.
I’ve found that an appreciation of all things visual, often crosses all artistic boundaries, and I find that difficult to isolate.
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby adrian_k » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:44 am

I’m with you on the sticky carpets. And coffee-stained mugs.
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby Arpangel » Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:35 am

adrian_k wrote:I’m with you on the sticky carpets. And coffee-stained mugs.

Oh yes, you can add to that....normally a tweeter will be shot in one monitor, but no one ever notices, a couple of channels on the desk will either be down or noisy, and that Moog promised in the kit list doesn’t actually work, I could name one or two I’ve been in like this, those were the days, a sea of faded grey T-Shirts and engineers that would rather be anywhere but, working on your record.
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby The Bunk » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:42 am

I've recently had my "studio" (spare bedroom which is no longer spare, nor a bedroom) completely redecorated / refurbished. New carpet (yes the old one was "sticky"), new desk, new hi-fi, new blind for the window, new sofa etc etc. It is now a real pleasure to be in the room and my recording has gathered momentum again. So on that basis the quality and look of the environment has been important for me.
I also have just bought a beautiful new Martin 12-string (yes, I've had a bit of a windfall!!) which should take pride of place on the wall but the user's guide says "DO NO HANG ON THE WALL - KEEP IT IN ITS CASE". I've tended to ignore that because it looks beautiful and also it's a PITA when I want to play it and have to get it out of the bag but more recently I've stored it away. It now comes out and is strategically placed for Zoom meetings :bouncy:
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby Arpangel » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:48 am

The Bunk wrote:It now comes out and is strategically placed for Zoom meetings :bouncy:

:)

If I took part in a Zoom meeting you’d all go crazy, if you saw my studio.
There’s me going on about aesthetics, well, think of it as "cave man chique" I’m in a basement, with rough hewn Victorian stone walls, that drip with water, there’s no ceiling, just joists with pipes and wires hanging down, there is a window, nut no view, it looks out onto a soak-away.
Among my studio stuff are fridges, a tumble dryer, clothes racks, and hoovers, there is no carpet, just a stone floor that floods in periods of high water table.
But I do have a disco ball hanging from the joists, in a token effort to provide a bit of glamour.
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby The Bunk » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:41 am

Arpangel wrote:Among my studio stuff are fridges, a tumble dryer, clothes racks, and hoovers, there is no carpet, just a stone floor that floods in periods of high water table.
But I do have a disco ball hanging from the joists,

There's your album cover then.
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Re: Sight on Sound

Postby Arpangel » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:07 pm

The Bunk wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Among my studio stuff are fridges, a tumble dryer, clothes racks, and hoovers, there is no carpet, just a stone floor that floods in periods of high water table.
But I do have a disco ball hanging from the joists,

There's your album cover then.

Good idea, I’ll give you a credit.

:)
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