Show 194 – What does a producer actually do and more!

This week we cover a few of the aspects of what a music producer does. In the comments section we talk about what to do with $1500, ribbon mics, recording a live ensemble, virtual vintage instruments, pan laws, and more. No guest this week.

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22 thoughts on “Show 194 – What does a producer actually do and more!

  1. Thanks for the info on the upgrade stuff guys, you are right, its so hard not to get the newest shiniest turd on the shelf especially when it has the nice glitter on it. I guess when you do, you are asking for trouble. In the end it should be about making music and not worrying about upgrades. Im sure Mozart didnt sit around and complain about not having the newest candle, or Feather Pen.
    Anyway, Merry Christmas and thanks for all your efforts (and your families support) to get this podcast out to all of us. I constantly tell the 180 or so musicians that I work with on a daily basis to check yall out. You make my trip into DC everyday pretty tolerable. WERD

    • You could always switch to a quad or hex core PC with Windows 7. I have one piece of software that won’t run on my 7 machine and that is Emu-s Proteus X-2. I could go up to 7 pro because it includes the ability to run any Windows legacy software, but I am fed up with Emu!
      The point is, Windows and PC’s have achieved at least an equal capability to Mac’s these days and unlike OS and Pro Tools, and just about anything Apple, it is pretty much always backwards compatible. (please note, I agree Vista was a D’OH moment for Microsoft and I skipped over it!) But I am running an I7 quad core with 12GB ram, a MOTU 828mkIII, and a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 as an ADAT pre amp, and can run Sonar X-2 with over 40 tracks and various plugins running and have never had a problem. And that is at 96k and 24bit. The only problem I have encountered is when I accidentally recorded three songs of a project at 64bit. Yes, you read that right, 64bit. Although there is nothing currently available that will play 64bit files, Sonar can in fact record at 64bit. It down converts them to 32bit to play them.
      The problem it created (and this is with about 48 tracks and some serious plugins running and lots of Pro Channel going) was because I record to and stream from a secondary drive, I had to set the disc buffer so high there is about a 2 or 3 second delay between when you hit play or record, etc., and when it actually starts. But once running it is fine. Other than that, I have yet to see my CPU go over 50% and it is rare it goes much over 10 or 15%, and for some odd reason I have never used more than about a third of my ram. Not bashing Macs, just offering a less expensive way to go re upgrades and updates.
      And if you are running Windows, Sonar is probably the way to go as far as being the most complete and sophisticated DAW. It is light years ahead of Pro Tools and is fully 64bit. As to upgrade costs, I switched from Cubase to Sonar 8.5 after getting a $10 upgrade to 8.5LE from an LE version I got as bundled software about 4 years earlier.. It cost me $39 to upgrade from LE to 8.5 home, $49 to go from 8.5 home to studio, and then another $49 to go from studio to producer with a free upgrade to X-1 when it came out. I have since paid $99 to upgrade to X-2 producer. So I got almost $400 worth of software for $250 and was upgrading every time! And anyone that has a PC, I suggest you check out the new Sonar! And I have actually downloaded Windows 8 Pro which I got for $15 along with a promo for a free copy of media center. Haven’t installed it yet, but Sonar is going to have a free 8 patch soon. Any rate, that was my solution to ridiculous software and hardware upgrade costs.

      • I have a degree in IT network security and hold 5 microsoft certifications including MCSE.. I WILL NEVER ALLOW A WINDOWS COMPUTER IN MY HOUSE, EVER.. Thanks for your reply though.

  2. To me, discovering this podcast was like an epiphany.
    So much knowledge, so much fun.

    Thanks for doing this guys, it has really made me grow as a producer, engineer and even as a musician.

    How come you never mention ADK microphones(or atleast i missed when you did), i have a Hamburg Edition and it has an amazing sound when it comes to accoustic guitar, violin, cello and sax.

    2nd, just got my hands on a near mint condition sony tc 755 tape deck, would you recommend taping things onto it for that tape sound instead of using plugins? I was told that the amp inside is crap? is that true? Perhaps you could do a segment on tape recorders? what to get for the small home studio setup.

    Keep it up,

    best regards, Nicholas

  3. Hi first I want to thank you guys for another great show, you rock!

    And then to my question. You see, I have an old microphone that I’ve been thinking about “pimpin”-up for a while now.
    So, what should I do to make this old, cheap U87-copy to shine? I mean which parts are the most crucial ones to replace and can you make it on a tight budget?

    Once again, thank you for the show. I think I’m learning more from you guys than I am from the teachers I have in music production at uni.

    Keep up the good work!

    Best regards

  4. GSAA,

    You guys should just change the name of the episode to “more stuff the regnig got wrong.” My very limited experience with a producer lead me to believe that they were just the people that flirted with your girl friend while you were struggling through the tenth take of the solo you never quite nailed down. I realize much of the scope of our projects will determine weather or not we seek out a producer, but if y’all had to guess ball park wise when would y’all insist on getting a producer involved. My problem is that it may be like trying to match gold connectors to gold connectors in the audio signal… its not going to compensate for the fact that im playing a fender squire.

    Have you guy come across anything like an online producer service? Kind of like a Travis Whitmore drummer thing but specifically for producing. I believe TAXI does or did something like this in addition to their other services, but we got them involved in the wrong part of the process… They had some wonderful feed back, but we sought it after we pressed 5000 coasters.. i mean cds.

    In your experience how many of your clients use producers and how many of them need them? Got any good producer stories?

    seeking a producer to show me how to properly ride the chicken

  5. BTW loved the zombiekind and the fire works cover. Ill have to create something and hopefully she will appreciate it when she get older.

  6. Hi Guys,.

    Thanks for the podcast, I’ve finally listened to them all and enjoyed every minute.

    Just to set the scene, I’m going to spring for two SM57s as well as what follows. I’ll be recording mainly live gigs rather than studio overdubbed suff. But If you feel 1 better quality mic is to be preferred I’m okay with that.

    So… I’m in the UK and I’ve around 160 pounds to spend on a LDC mic(s).

    I seem to remember you favoured the AT2035 over the AT2020… but I can buy two AT2020s for the money I’ve got to spend. Any thoughts on which is the better spend?

    If youthink a single AT2035 is the better buy, how does the SE2200A compare?

    Finally, have you any other suggestions in the same price bracket?


    Steve Mason

  7. Sorry I’m back for a second bite.

    I don’t remember you ever mentioning this website but it may be of interest to a good number of your listeners.

    There are a lot of free raw WAV multi-track files to practice mixing with. Hosted and provided by Mike Senior (Sound On Sound magazine mix rescue writer etc.)

  8. GSAA

    The move to reaper has started for me, which has been exciting and painful at the same time. I have a question though, one I unfortunately think the answer to is no but hopefully you guys have some tips.

    I would like to move some of my current sessions from PT to reaper. Is there a way to copy not only the audio but also the plugins and settings from PT to Reaper? I know I can print the effects to the tracks before I import into reaper, but I was hoping there was a different option.

    I know this is likely DAW 101, but I am inclined to ask anyway…

    Thanks guys, keep up the awesome show.

  9. Hey guys!
    I’m a huge fan of the Tascam US 1641. In the past I have had the preSonus Fire studio…. It failed the first week I bought it. Sent it back to get fixed and it worked for one month and failed again. After that I had bought a MOTU 8pre. Two channels no longer work And this is all in the past four years. During those four years I have had the tascam And she has never failed me. So my question is.. if I run a signal through a high dollar preamp And from the preamp into my tascam Am I defeating the purpose here? I know the high dollar pre are much better then the tascam. And another question, would you guys know of anyone on the web that Could fix these Broken interfaces?
    I had recently clicked on the link to Lucid’s Facebook page and correct me if I’m wrong but it says they are from Batson rouge Louisiana? If so that is seriously so awesome because I live in Lafayette Louisiana, which is one hour away! And I would love to see these guys play live. As always you guys dominate the podcast genre for recording at home. But in a perfect world THRS show would have some video podcast also. Eh?

    • BR LA Represent! It would be great to have you come out to a show. We will probably play a limited amount this year due to scheduling and what not, but if you keep an eye on Facebook we should post the info there.

  10. I recall Jon talking about mastering in reaper in one of the comments sections but I can’t seem to find it. I recall him saying something about inserting markers or something similar and when you render it, it renders as different tracks.

    I am having trouble finding that episode and I can’t quite find out how to do this in reaper.

    As alway guys great show and keep it up. Ride something!

  11. one “tool” producers should be very aware about is prosody. In a nutshell: prosody is the art of matching content of lyrics and the musical aspect of singing them. Think: “Stop…. in the name of love”.

    Also, a sweet melodic performance about being angry as **** can be slightly “weird”. Unless you go for “weird” and use it as a stylistic element. Yes, I know… rules… breaking rules yadda yadda. Still, being aware of the link between lyrics, melody and performance is a good thing to take care off or at least look at.

    Have fun convincing the singer. That will surely be fun.

    Why do I know this? Maybe there has been a hrs show on that. I lost track of all the knowledge you guys pump into the world…. eve… ry… week.


  12. Hello, I recently had problems recording vocals, more specifically the monitor mix for the vocalist. He had a lot of problems with pitch when using headphones, but not when he was just singing and playing guitar without cans. In the end we solved the problem by him having the headphones only on one ear, that helped a lot, but I have a feeling that my monitor mix could also have been better. I remember that you have talked about this in a previous episode, but could not find it somehow, maybe it was just in the comments section, not the title of the show?

    Thanks a lot for a great show, as soon as I have a little extra money, a donation will be coming.

  13. Thanks for taking my question (re: what to do with $1,500)! Both Ryan, as well as a local studio owner I know (who actually owns the Royer 121) have advised me against prioritizing it, as a home studio owner. My sights are now looking at two different options:

    1) The Avalon 737 tube preamp. Can get it used for $1500, and what I like about it (other than the actual sound of the pre) is that I can also use it as an outboard EQ / Compressor as well. I hear the EQ is pretty nice (although I hear the compressor is quite slow). Seems like a good buy, and a box that would definitely stay in my studio for the long-term.

    The other box I’m looking at is the A-Designs Hammer Stereo Tube EQ. I’ve seen this one in action personally, and love it. It also gets rave reviews from pretty much every engineer who’s touched it. It’s a bit more pricey, but can probably find the unit used for under $1,800. And since it’s a stereo EQ, so it can be used for mastering/2-buss purposes as well, which is nice.

    Once I pull the trigger I’ll let you know which way I went!

  14. On thing I do when I get down about having to perform so many roles and feel like it will be impossible to get a good final product, is listen to Felix Hagan.

    Check out the credits!

    “On all tracks:
    Piano, drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, all keyboards, mandolin, ukulele, all percussion, violin, banjo and harmonica by Felix Hagan.
    All vocals by Felix Hagan
    On track 10 – Additional “Hip-hip hoorays” by Anita Hagan, David Hagan and Sanna Böhn
    All songs written by Felix Hagan
    Produced, mixed and engineered by Felix Hagan
    Recorded at The F-Bomb Mobile Studio ”

    So… yeah, he basically did everything by himself, using the “mobile studio” from a band he’s in. And just listen to “Dirty Little Urchin Child”. It’s surprisingly good.

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