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Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby awjoe » Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:48 am

'Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers' - I've been looking forward to watching Sam Inglis' most recent offering, saving it up. Well worth the wait. It's Academy Award material.

You could use the whole series of his how-tos as the video portion of a recording/mixing/mastering training course if you knew your way around syllabus/curriculum design. It'd be great. I'd take it. :thumbup:

In the meantime, Sam's my favorite online audio guru.
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Arpangel » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:07 am

The title of this thread is a massive can of worms, potentially capable of inciting all sorts of knee jerk reactions in people with views about this subject.
Engineers need musicians, and musicians need engineers, from all walks of musical life, but engineers involved in music production would be lost without musicians, on the other hand, musicians "can" do without engineers, a lot of us on this forum are testament to that, home recordists, that do our own engineering.
Me personally, if I could afford my own live-in engineer it would be heaven, I hate engineering, messing about with wires etc.
I always thought someone like Peter Gabriel had the ultimate set-up, a great studio on his doorstep, with the best engineers, completely idyllic.
It also depends one the type of music you make, I can’t "write" and then go into a studio to record an album, prepared, my music depends entirely on studio experimentation, which takes days weeks, months, that way of working isn’t studio friendly from a commercial point of view.
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That would be an ecumenical matter.

Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:37 am

Arpangel wrote:The title of this thread is a massive can of worms, potentially capable of inciting all sorts of knee jerk reactions in people with views about this subject.

Yes... I can see that it has... :lol:

Have you watched the video yet?
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:51 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Have you watched the video yet?

That would be like Arpy actually reading a manual! :D
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:21 am

Wonks wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:Have you watched the video yet?

That would be like Arpy actually reading a manual! :D
And thoroughly against the general operating principles of the internet!
Next you'll be suggesting that people should actually have some kind of experience and qualifications before commenting in an authoritative manner in a technical debate.
And then where will I be?
;)
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby FrankF » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:33 am

Good video. I did like the "postcode" joke. :clap:
At about 5:30, Sam talks about tuning down bassists' and guitarists' instruments if they tend to play sharp: I've never heard of this before.
He says "make them tune as they play". Can anyone explain what this is? A semi-tone down on all strings? Wouldn't this be better done in the box? Surely the guitarist would not play sharp all the time, but only at certain moments in a song.
Please unconfuse me...

I do find a lot of Sam's tips in his videos (not just this one) more suited to professional studio owners, and therefore less directly relevant to a home recorder such as myself: I always thought we home recorders vastly outnumbered paid professionals.
Have things changed while I've been away? :roll:
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:47 am

FrankF wrote:He says "make them tune as they play".

Depending on the instrument, some guitars and basses will drift out of tune as they are being played, especially with increases in temperature in the studio if it's not tightly temperature controlled with hot valve amps blasting away etc.

So tuning at the start of the session and hoping that the guitar/bass will be more or less in tune after 3 hours is rather hopeful. So simply keep checking the tuning as you go along. It doesn't take long to check.

Sam may have meant something a bit different, but the above is certainly valid.
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby FrankF » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:32 pm

No, he's talking about "playing sharp", not "drift": listen at 5:30.
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:24 pm

My take on this was that with a less-than-perfectly set up instrument, and a less-than-experienced player, you can have people playing sharp because of the fretting of the notes. A high action and hard press could make for a sharp note, in which case checking the tuning as they play, and making that microtonal shift downwards can make the difference between most notes being in or out of tune.
It will depend on how much the open strings figure in the part though obviously.

Of course Sam may have been talking about something completely different... ;)
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby manwilde » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:30 pm

Yes, I´ve heard this before and that´s what happens: you tune your guitar/bass fretting softly and/or gently plucking the strings, and then you actually play harder and the tuning goes sharp.
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:50 pm

That's really about setting the intonation up so that you press down on the string during the intonation process with the same force that you do when playing. Compensating for harder pressing when playing by adjusting the tuning will only partly cure that and of course the open strings will be off.

Intonation, intonation, intonation!
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:55 pm

And some classic tracks have been performed with pretty out of tune guitars, so near-perfect tuning is like mic choice quite some way down the list after than a great performance.

And if you've fitted a new set of strings for the studio session, then its worth double checking the intonation is still correct, as small variations in string gauge can still occur and affect the intonation, even if they are the same make/type/gauge as you always use.
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Dave B » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:56 pm

I think Drew has the right interpretation of the tuning comment.

First time doing an album, my old guitarist (excellent player) did tend to fret slightly hard and one track ended with rising inversions of two chords, which meant going higher up the neck. We literally re-tuned each pair of inversions and dropped them in so that it stayed in tune.

Live, nobody would really notice. But in the microscope of a recording, it's better to try and get it just right.

(interestingly, we re-recorded that track a few years later for various reasons and he just played it straight through and it sounds fine. So it's just in specific cases that such a level of re-tuning is needed. Oh ... and I'm sure his RG got a good setup after that album)

;)
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:23 pm

Sam really should have made himself clearer on the subject!
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Re: Bad Musicians Need Good Engineers

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:28 pm

I recall the first time I encountered this 'playing sharp' phenomenon with a bass player. It baffled us for half an hour as we tuned, re-tuned, made test runs, then recorded a take. Every time the bass was rendered sharp...

It seemed that as soon as the bassist knew the red light was on he tensed up and squeezed the strings harder!
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