onairmasteringoriginalcontent

3 pieces of software for mac users.

Every time I know of somebody buying a Mac, I recommend 3 things:

Onyx: Free Maintenance tool. Run it every month.

iDefrag: Run this at least 3 times a year. You’ll see how much faster your Mac runs.

SMART reporter: FREE. Run it all the time. It will tell you if your HD is about to die.

For laptop users, Smc Fan Control.  FREE. Controls your fans, so it runs cooler.

Why so few people know about these?

Computer users have become more and more comfortable with their new machines and do not maintain them (well, a lot of people do that with all kinds of gear, relationships, friendships, food…)

Spread the word, get these 3, and your Mac will live a long life.

Nothing better.

There is really nothing better than a musician that know his/her craft.

When you go to a show, or record them, it’s such a pleasure to even be in the same room with them. Good musicians bring light, clarity and positive vibe to any project, especially the ones that are open to experiment, to your opinions. 

They actually don’t realize how much better they make everyone feel. I love that. 

My main piece of equipment.

When I saw the Masterpiece In 2005, all my doubts about being a mastering engineer dissipated. 

It is the single most important piece of equipment I own, one of the most unique sounding (and looking) piece of gear you can have in the world (there’s only 39), and the main attraction for new clients, music and gear geeks, engineers… I chose it because there’s no interconnection between the modules. That means no cables that can color the sound more.

It’s not the gear that everybody says “oh, yeah, I have one too”. It’s an exclusive club. I know this, and one day after hanging with a friend, I asked how can I market this, how should I say that I have it without sounding like a complete cretin. He said:

“When people ask you how it’s going to sound, just say: EXPENSIVE" 

That comment made my day. 

Speaking your mind.

Yesterday I remembered talking to a German girl at a party and she told me she just told her friends what she thought: “your music/play/poem/book/performance sucks”

I find this is a more accurate, and less hurtful approach: “I think that the ____ needs a little more attention, more so than the ____, because the _____ is a little stronger than the ____”

Which one would you like to hear?

Make me sound like...

I always get this request in mastering:

“We’re thinking Metallica, Pantera, with a little bit of Johnny Cash and Celine Dion”

In my head, I always go: “You guys realize that you recorded in your basement, right?”, but I never say it.

How do you go educating people about this huge difference? and, more complicated, how do you get inside their head to know exactly what they’re thinking?

My approach is to say: “I’ll do my best”. Nobody wants to hear a snotty, bitter, frustrated sound guy (not me), saying: “That’s impossible because you’re NOT Metallica”. What kind of bad vibe that generates? However, a lot of people let themselves be treated that way. 

It’s music, ain’t it?

I have said this a lot: I love real bad recordings in which the music is good (misfits, minor threat, flex your head, early D.R.I…) But I cannot like a recording that sounds real good in which the music is just AWFUL (All modern pop). So what is the big deal about trying to accommodate? It’s their record, not yours. And if it’s yours also, do your best.

I depend on you not thinking "we'll fix it in the mastering".
  1. Mix right. 
  2. Watch videos. 
  3. Ask a person that mixes for a living. 
  4. Hire a mixer. 
  5. Read books.
  6. Listen to great mixes.

Anything that is fit to do, just so we can enhance what you did in the mastering, not do damage control. 

RSVPs don't mean shit.

You invite people to your event on Facebook, by email and all those rsvp websites.

The rsvps are 500+

You change venues last minute because of “so many people coming”

100 people show up. 

And this is just recently, at least in my life. I used to say yes to parties, and go.

Why is this happening? People just go “I’m attending” and then what? What do you (an organizer/producer) trust as data about people actually coming?

Getting into my studio for the first time, it sounded awful! 

But fun. 

The feeling I got when I first entered that space is indescribable. I did say FUCK YEAH!, now I have to figure this shit out! This was 4 years ago, I guess I now feel I can share this. Oh, there was a lot of beer imbibed. I will keep posting the progress if you guys would like to see. 

Competition.

A work of music can go so many ways, that it is really up to you to make it soar or be earthy, or bang or be soft and supple…

Mixing can be so powerful, it can destroy a composition or make it really sing. Meeting with a couple clients, discussing where they want the work to go, I always heard: MAKE IT BIG. 

But is always BIG the answer? who are they competing against? I recently read about the fallacy of the loudness wars, and am committing to at least offer my clients that option, based on scientific truth. We’ll see.

I'm on a break.

Being a sound tech at a bar or club that hosts live music is a very good opportunity to see how many musicians and artists behave. It is a show of respect when you see your sound tech eating or taking a break and wait to ask questions after they are done. Simply wait 2-3 minutes, sound tech don’t have long breaks. They will really appreciate it.

Wastefulness.

I do A/V for corporations and it really pains me the amount of waste that happens at these places. 

Food, electricity, human resources.

I have seen more food being thrown away than eaten at events. All because “The Client” wants plenty of it, wants it to look good. At what cost?

This is when I get really pessimistic about where we live. And this is not only USA, it is all around the world. The people with the resources will waste, period. To show might? power? I can never answer that, so I won’t try. 

The one thing that this makes me think is no matter how much people like me recycle, sort garbage, save water, don’t smoke, ride bikes, not do laundry, sew our own clothes, are against consumerism… There wil always be that motherfucker, or group of motherfuckers that will be wasteful. I see people every day, cleaning their front porch with a hose, wasting gallons and gallons of water. And I feel bad if I flush by accident?

That kind of stuff.

I hear this a lot: “oh, you know, that kind of stuff”

Maybe it’s just me, but I do like to say: 

“It’s Prong, Godflesh and Front Line Assembly. Heavy guitars, slow beats and singing/screaming”. That’s it. Wasn’t so hard, was it?

When you say “that kind of stuff” you are making me wish I live inside your fucking head… which I DON’T, Do I?

How about you think about what you’re going to say and take some responsibility before you open your mouth and tell me “I want a heavy, compressed, LOUD sound that just tears your asshole out”. Or, “I don’t want it so loud and compressed, I want me some dynamics, but not so low in loudness” Or “That bass has to rip you a new one, but not as brittle" I’ll be SO grateful for that, you have no idea.

A little bit of everything/Know your label.

When you say that, it is simply not true. Nothing has a little bit of everything.

So you mean you are combining Vallenato, Gospel, Grindcore, string quartet and fucking hip hop all in one? Dude, There is only one Mr Bungle.

One of my NY mentors used to ask bands/artists: “Where would you like to see your CD at Virgin/Tower, etc?" 

This got real confused looks from everybody, because everybody thinks they are Unique. Yes, tho, you are unique. Nobody sings/plays like you. 

And I do know that nobody wants to be categorized. However, I would never put House Of Pain on the Metal section, would I?

It is just so much better when an artist know what they want and what is their label.


Eye contact.

At a session yesterday, one of my favorite recording engineers and the client and I were talking about those projects that:

Go on forever.

Are really not that interesting.

The client wants to milk you dry, because you:

Quoted a flat rate.

Are starting out and want the clients. And the Money.

After talking about working on analog gear, (both of us do), we found there is a disconnect from clients who are by now used to deal with all-digital workflows, because I think they think they can just recall and it’ll sound the same. Well, it doesn’t work that way with analog. My friend was telling me about a client that didn’t understand that when you mix on an analog board you have to commit to the mix, otherwise another session has to be booked, and the recall on an analog board takes time..

So he tells me: “I’m looking at him and saying ‘you  have to commit to this so we can move on, got that?’ you know, looking at him, eye contact!”

I thought that was really funny, because now you have to reiterate many time how important it is to commit.  Or maybe you just had to be there…

Selling short. One of many.

It is a bad idea to give your services away to clients that you know are not willing to pay your price.

When you can do 2, 3 things well, it is a mistake to say “ I can do 1 and 2, and i’ll throw 3 for free”, just to get clients. Just to get their money. Just to get their business. Just to get them to like you. And call you back.

The next thing they do? call again and ask you for 365 changes/revisions, and if you could “please mix this other song again” because they now have the tracks for the beat.

Selling yourself short might bring you a lot of clients,money and headaches.

The clients that stick around with you and are willing to pay your price, they are for life.

Educated clients.

Educated clients are great. They provide insight and help a lot.

When they are polite and respectful.

A client that steps on the console, tells you what to do and/or yells at you that they also “know how to do sound” or “are engineers, too” are just those clients we don’t care to remember or help. I agree, there are a lot of awful sound guys out there, but we do appreciate that you consider the fact that if I’m here behind the board, that I know at least a little about what I’m doing. 

Next time you are at a gig, consider this, your sound guy will be really happy to help you.