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Thread: POLL: What "makes" that big studio sound?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Canberra, Australia

    Default POLL: What "makes" that big studio sound?

    What would you say is the one, singular thing that makes the difference between a small studio sound and a big studio sound?

    a) Great mics
    b) Great preamps
    c) Analog tape (well maintained or otherwise)
    d) Analog summing
    e) Good mastering

    (Perhaps someone would be kind enough to convert this to a real poll?)

    All the best,

    Dax Liniere

    Sydney, Aust.

    c: +61 412 599 533 - now with VR!

  2. #2
    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Edmonton, AB, Canada


    The one singular thing that makes the difference --> I would say:

    A great engineer with skill and experience.

    Great gear can help you get that extra 10%, but it's all about the fool behind the tool.
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004


    umm... a big nice sounding studio?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002


    We all wish it was as easy as to be able to put it into words.

    I can make a list..but that would be skewed due to how much emphesis each item on the list should get..and it varies due to the song and the artist..with "what it takes" from an engineering POV.

    One of the most important things is to have a vision of what you want the project to end up sounding like before you really begin the mix. Your sonic intuition plays a huge roll. How familiar you are with using your tools to their best purpose, for the song, with your chain and experience.

    I cannot put my finger on one thing that gives you the huge sound..because it is a number of variables in cummulation. Mastering can help an otherwise lackluster mix and mastering can ruin a great mix in the wrong hands. Mastering certainly can make an impact but anything in the chain that deteriorates the signal away from the art..will not let you get there. A super quality analogue board can really be driven (manipulated) to a point of ecstasy. We love the soul we can pull out of our consoles.

    It simply is a cummulation of many things. It all must work together.

  5. #5
    Haigbabe's Avatar
    Haigbabe is offline 3D VIP 2004, '05, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12
    Join Date
    May 2002


    a,b and e.

    But as important (to me), the correct space to record in.

    Did anyone mention skill?

    Proud supporter of 3D as a 2012 3D VIP

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005


    The room.

  7. #7
    Wireline's Avatar
    Wireline is offline 3D VIP 2004, '05, '06, '08, '09, '10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Midland Tx


    All of the a whole lot more...

    That said - I firmly believe that the person operating the gear can make up for shortcomings in equipment and environment....

    Or, for that matter, utterly demolish a project using only the highest end, most expensive stuff out there....

    I second Bill Roberts' introduction of having a vision...and working toward that vision, being skillful enough to know when to stay on course and when to let serendipity come into play.....

    Let me add one more thing to the list: patience.
    Ken Morgan
    2010 3d VIP

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002


    Here is a senerio: (it has happened many times)

    You begin a mix, first with kick, then the bass line, getting that firm foundation down pat. Bring in the snare, add the rthm. instruments...nice and firm..solid. Nice pans, big tone! Then the producer comes in..all the tweaking occurs. The producer micromanages the vocals for a FEW HOURS. (youv'e already printed the instrumental, just in case). The more the mix is worked, the more it sounds like mud. You do as wireline says, be patient. After too many hours on the same song, you save the automation and during a break, you zero out the console and in 15 mins. you have the fattest, sweetest mix imaginable up. Producer comes back in..listens once and is very proud of himself or herself. You print it.

    Sometimes you can work yourself into the ground.

    It helps to step back, take an educated look at the balance and start with a clean sheet.

    I bet many here can relate to this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Dallas, Texas

    Default The difference

    The players, the instruments, the room, the mics, the engineer, the preamps, the recorders, the mixing, the mastering...

    Great recordings are like soup: Lots of ingredients and get any one of them wrong and it takes like crap.
    Jim Dugger
    Poorhouse Productions

    At 20 bits, you are on the verge of dynamic range covering fly-farts-at-20-feet to untolerable pain. Really, what more could we need?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Newtown PA (Bucks County)


    1.- Using a big room would be a big help.
    2.- Choice of microphones and their placement.
    3.- Musicians who also know when not to play. Space!!
    4.- Arrangement & orchestration.
    5.- Competent engineer.
    6.- Competent mixer & mastering
    7.- A producer smart enough to put the right names to the above.
    8.- Maybe a little bit of luck and magic.

    The gear used should be at the descretion of the engineer and producer but certainly second nature while serving the recording.

    3 through 8 applies to MIDI productions as well.

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