Attitudes in Audio

Posted: November 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was reading one of my usual audio forums today and a question was posed about automation.  The OP asked if too much automation was almost a crutch.  Right away the vultures came down to snack.  Many responses were posted that were not kind in the least.  This was obviously a person new to mixing who was just asking a simple question.  The funny part is, the vultures mistook the OPs question.  After the initial onslaught had subsided the poster reiterated the intention of the question: asking more specifically, “is automation a crutch to hide a poor recording”.  So not only were people mean about it, but they were mean for no reason because they didn’t understand the question.

This got me thinking. I know this is a stretch of a question but hear me out for a second…

Are poor attitudes, big egos, and overall nasty demeanor a partial cause for musicians flocking away from studios?
Obviously, we know the reason people aren’t going to studios as much is a multifaceted problem including, but not limited to cheaper gear, accessibility of gear, economic issues, decreasing label budgets, etc, etc…

But, is it possible that engineers with bad attitudes are a nail in that coffin?

When people choose to record, they need a laid back positive environment to be creative and not feel pressured.  Although there are some producers that say getting on a musicians angry side is a great way to get an emotive performance.  But for the most part, people peform better when they are relaxed.  It’s hard to be relaxed with an engineer who isn’t interested, is frustrated, or won’t deviate from injecting his or her input in to the artist’s vision.

Now, obviously I started talking about attitudes on the internet and transitioned a bit into the studio.  I think the main issue here is personality traits in general.  If someone is quick to jump on a newbie’s case about improper recording technique, then wouldn’t we assume that person would also be prone to jumping on a musician’s case about an improper performance?  I don’t think that’s much of a stretch.  I’ve heard PLENTY of stories about cranky engineers (although many more about LIVE engineers rather than studio engineers) and I’ve actually gained business because clients got fed up at the studio they were previously working at.  The sad part about my initial statements is that most audio forums are a haven for people to ask questions and LEARN from other professionals.  It’s pretty bad when all those professionals do is call someone stupid for asking a question. There are no stupid questions.

I would be quite the hypocrite if I said I was completely immune to this problem.  As I’ve explained in a previous blog entry, for some reason, the field of audio draws more pessimistic people than positive ones. It’s one thing I don’t like about myself, but I would have to say that I am a pessimist overall. One thing I will say is that I always treat people with respect and dignity, be it on an internet forum, or clients that are paying me their hard earned money to make the best recording they possibly can. There is no reason to act like a jerk to someone who knows less than you.  One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is people who talk down to others or constantly correct others.

So, in a nutshell…don’t be a jerk.

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