Was Brandon correct when he rebelled against spending money on recording gear?

Was Brandon correct when he rebelled against spending money on recording gear?


Yeah just ignore me, i’m cranky as hell as i’m sat in the doctors waiting room with tonsillitis.
Apologies @Jonathan just ignore me


Still doesn’t change the fact that in the box is just as good in a recording and mixing studio than any large console.


I apologize for my tone in that last response…that was unnecessary and I changed it.

To answer the question no, it wouldn’t work the same. We use what are called on-stage and off-stage stations. Onstage are the crew behind the mixer, and off stage guys are behind the DAWs that are feeding the mixer. Even if the off-stage stations could manage to get their relative levels set, they have no way of merging everything together to print the mix. You know how you can print a mix in mono, or stereo, or 5.1 surround which would use 6 master bus channels? You need to somehow get to 64 channels. You can’t print a mix with 64 master bus channels from a bus in PT. PT stops you at 16 master busses, allowing you to do a dolby 15.1 mix. Its called a dolby ‘local’ mix which is a 9.1 surround + 3 side, 1 back, and 2 top per side. So to print the mix, you have to send it to the mixer first, because the DAW just can’t.

Aside from object panning, another thing you lose in the box is digital summing. This is an ~entirely foreign~ concept to a music guy. Don’t think summing in the sense of a Dangerous or Toft summing mixer like in audio. Digital summing is the way that an Atmos HD mix, collapses into a Atmos local mix, which collapses to a 9.1, then a 7.1, then a 5.1 then down to a stereo mix. That way everything that’s mixed on the maximum 64 independent reference monitors for Imax theaters is consistent when played on a pair of cheap headphones in an airplane or on youtube.


@Jonathan i want your job!
:slight_smile: sounds awesome


Awww man. Its all good. I totally understand. If I had tonsillitis I’d be pretty grouchy myself !! Get well soon friend.


Precisely. That’s because your equipment consists of physical equipment that is controlling digital operations. Otherwise known as controllers.

*blah’s technically mine


WOW. Sorry I caused a problem. @Jonathan is right. I skipped past previous posts.

I hear what you say, JK, and I read what these rigs do with interest. But the bottom line is this: Most producers run on mixes with fewer than 80 tracks, so why the NEED for something that can handle 1,000.
Serious question.
My brain struggles with mixing when I go beyond about 20 tracks.


Hey man, that’s unfair. FLAGGED.


Thanks JK. Shit. All I have to do is post and people start screaming at me. That’s informative.


If Foley is involved I could easily imagine that number of tracks for a full length Hollywood movie.


A music guy might not. I do believe a lot of music producers have move in the box and are still very successful. I guess the important lesson to take is that one ought not to spend big because a named engineer does. Let the legit needs drive the spending, not the market hype! :smiley: But hey…we’re preaching to the choir now! lol


Its more than just Hollywood that needs these things. Venues with live to air like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera, or Sydney Opera House have to manage need a front of house console of course, but they also need one in their broadcast mix rooms. So they mix while they’re streaming live to air, capture, then flip the console to post production mode then re-mix for television.

Sportscasters park these mixers in semi-truck trailers, tie into a madi feed from the sports arena, then mix live. They’re not using 1000 channels, but they need tactile control. Some radio stations actually use a DAW as their mixing solution. Sequoia is very popular for this purpose in Europe. A small radio station can get away with it because their channel count is manageable. If you tried it in sportscasting, you wouldn’t be able to maneuver around the mixer of a DAW fast enough. Also, some broadcast techs don’t trust DAWs because the engines are unstable. The proprietary computer engine side of the SSL C300 and the Studer Vistas are far more reliable. And they have redundant mirroring set up so if your console freaks out, there is an identical computer running simultaneously underneath that kicks in and takes over. That’s VERY expensive because you’re essentially buying 2 very very expensive mixers.

Lastly, channel count on gaming is spiraling out of control right now. Ironically a game is usually mixed with a DAW controller, but at the rate games audio is skyrocketing, they’ll have to end up on outboard DSP really soon. The final delivery format of a game rarely exceeds 7.1 surround. With Dolby Atmos technology now making its way into homes, either the DAWs will have to add it, or they’ll have to finish the mixes out of the box. The gaming world needs the Atmos immersive environment more than anyone in my opinion. I don’t even understand what holding it back. Because of digital summing, 64 channel Atmos HD surround mixes can now fold neatly into a stereo mix. Microsoft and Sony are almost certainly in dialogue with Dolby Digital about this behind closed doors.


This is a great summary for whatever level you are at. Home users, semi pro AND pro users need to judge their purchase decisions based on actual need. If it makes your job easier for YOU, that’s all that matters. Doesn’t really matter what anyone’s opinion is of what is excessive or lacking. It is very much like the DAW argument. The best DAW for you is the one that makes the most sense to you. That’s where your money should go.


One thing that has helped me with purchases, is thinking about the professionals and semi-professionals that I come into contact with (and not just in the audio field) tend to buy equipment and then use them to the fullest extent. Photographers will research for months their next camera, but almost never do they get swayed by the next update or the latest model. They make their purchase based on their needs, and then get on with the business of using that purchase. Guitarists will buy that pedal they’ve always wanted, and it will live on the pedal board for years.

Myself, I needed a microphone for my YouTube channel. With no experience I bought a no brand USB version, and then struggled with a whine at about 5k which I could not get rid of. I then bought a Behringer XLR mic, which was great. That is until I tried recording a friends vocal through it and realised it actually sounded quite bad. Having sold both those microphones I’ve ended up with a Rode NT1-a. No complaints, and no thoughts of buying a “better” microphone.


I understand the curiosity around the hype. That in and of itself is pretty natural. The first time I learned that a Dumble ODS guitar amps sells for $40k (at the time), I immediately went on youtube to see if I could find one. Just as there’s an infatuation with lifestyle items that none of us can afford, so goes it with gear. On the flip side, that can lead to some very costly disappointments lol.


Right on. That’s a good place to be. If and when you need an upgrade, your circumstances will let you know. I used a AT 4040, then a Blue baby bottle, then a Sterling ST77 as my primary vocal mics for years and did just fine. that Rode NT1 is probably better than all 3 lol.


[quote=“Jonathan, post:109, topic:322”]
Really? I’ll admit that there is much I don’t know everything about this stuff. Enlighten me. [/quote]

You misunderstood, I said your original statement was half true. For engineers and companies that need this equipment for their jobs to function efficiently is way different than needing a $250k console to make something sound good. I never once mentioned efficiency or compatibility for use. My statement was 100% about mixing and clientele and you don’t need X gear to make something sound good.

but the more I improve my skills, the less I need that stuff

when you are unskilled you don’t know exactly what you need, and as skills improve you start to focus on what works and is more efficient and effective. As I have improved I 100% want or need less. I want simple easy and quick and something that is more profitable to me. buying a 250K console is not ever going to be profitable to me and if I ever did need to do a project where multiple people that required such a setup I would go to a studio that has that equipment, after all they hired me for my skills not my equipment. I don’t ever see myself working with multiple engineers at one time on the same console or ever dealing with clientele that need something like that in my studio. That’s not what I’m interested in and not what I want to do, and if you think that’s ridiculous, well that’s the same as going to any other job you hate just because they are giving you money. I absolutely have the luxury of turning down jobs and keeping with my mission statement. And its not just me, plenty of engineers are ditching their gear for a laptop, going to a studio to track and going home to finish the project.

And with all the home studios popping up these monster studios are dying and becoming less important

If you don’t see this as true I don’t know what to say. The entire evolution of the digital world has caused the cost of making a record decrease significantly, this is not because home studios are taking clients, its because big studios are losing clients and budgets. There are other reasons for this but If you take out the decline in music sales as a whole, this seems to be one of the more logical reasons. its just supply and demand and the guy down the street is doing it for cheaper. this isn’t really happening on a top level, but since labels aren’t really signing artists to develop anymore, these artists are forced to do it on their own, which means if they can get a solid demo or album down at a home studio or in some cases by themselves at home that means that the studios that did have work no longer do and times that by a big number…

they are completely different in my opinion, but in the terms of what we are talking about - studio space and equipment and engineering skills. If all the studios in the world suddenly blew up and all studios needed to start over, which industry would have the better studios built? that’s where I am at, the music industry is spending less and less on studios where the movie industry is a monster.

Maybe I am just being to realistic, but this market is a niche, even within music you have studios that rely heavily on a certain genre, so to try to build a studio to satisfy every niche seems ridiculous and to me kind of sounds like what you are after. for me, I would love to do punk bands all day, I have absolutely zero interest in doing any broadcast, films, or video game mixing, that sounds painfully awful to me.


If you’re speaking exclusively on sonics, in strictly a music recording environment, mixing only in stereo, with small track counts, with adequate prep time, and in your own familiar and controlled enviornment I would accept that. Even for music recording projects which are small and limited in scope by nature, workflow limitations affect budget, which (indirectly but certainly) affect the sonic quality final product. But if the engineer has ~time~ to do his job well, they’ll be able to get the mix there eventually. Now that I understand your context, I do agree. Because of the more manageable scope of music recording, it can conceivably be done well with a small setup under the optimal conditions.

I don’t think that sounds ridiculous at all. And I salute you for knowing your defining a clear direction for yourself, a solid understanding of your needs, and having the sense to not overbuild simply because your budget allows you to.

Gotcha. Semantic difference. And your statement 3 paragraphs up clarifies. You were talking specifically about the music recording segmentation of the audio industry, I was talking about the audio industry as a whole.

Agree here.

To properly assess supply and demand you have to analyze a comparable service in a competing market. Or else you’re going to come out with a meaningless conclusion. Say I’m the big studio and a smaller one opens down the road. This is a question of whether or not the guy down the road can ACTUALLY compete. And that’s not always the case. If he can you, then you have a problem. If he can’t then he’s his own problem. Then there’s the question of whether or not he’s competing in the SAME space. I have no desire to compete with overblown music recording facilities that have exceptional drum tracking rooms. They can be adjacent to each other, or sometimes even on opposite wings of the same building…and not even put a dent in each others business. I could care less about being a studio for rent, but I’ll fight like hell to be a studio in the intellectual property, licensing, and publishing market.

This is good discussion. Its not that labels aren’t signing artists. What’s really going on here is that the definition of a label is changing. And more importantly the roll of the label. To really understand the concept of a label, you have to understand the relationship between the investment banking component and the ip acquisition component. That’s the rudimentary foundation of a label. Your publishing, licensing, and distribution methods are getting overhauled, but the core anatomy of a label is very much still operative. The first part (finance lending and ip) is taking on a completely different face. I see a lot of private equity investor and venture capitalists stepping in to overhaul the crashing system, and they’re making money. Because the new wave of ‘labels’ looks at investing through the eyes of the technology and information era we’re currently in. They understand the metrics of property acquisition investments better, and they’re smart enough to take the old model out back and shoot it. Because its dead. I’m busting my fucking ass 24/7 learning how to tap these investors, and I highly suggest anyone who’s interested at making money at this do the same. So the BOTTOM LINE is that you don’t move product without money. You need the label to scale the financials of the business in the same way you needed cash in the 80’s to do the same thing. That hasn’t changed one bit.


By and large that’s true. Basically the only role that labels play that you can’t do for yourself is promotion (you can even do that for yourself, but it’s fecking tough work). If you’re signed, and your records aren’t selling, that’s entirely down to the label, because it’s pretty much all that labels are responsible for these days.


I’d very much like to look at this too, but lets pick this one up on a different thread.