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Threshold of perception/understanding?, aesthetically
HTS
post Jun 24 2012, 22:07
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http://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gea...ixed-music.html

There is this lengthy thread on a forum with audiophile inclinations. The topic starter proposed that:

QUOTE
Mixing has quickly diminishing returns. It's a skill measured by competence more than by ingenuity. There are definitely bad mixes to be heard out there, but above a certain threshold, virtually all better/worse distinctions disappear. And that threshold is lower than we might think.


This would be a no-brainer for audio playback equipment (like cables), but this problem is a bit harder to formalize. There was that Stradivari vs no name violins on this forum, I'm getting the general impression that with most audio related matter, subtle objective differences simply do not register in our perceptions.

That's the opinion here?
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jun 24 2012, 22:52
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QUOTE (HTS @ Jun 24 2012, 17:07) *
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gea...ixed-music.html

There is this lengthy thread on a forum with audiophile inclinations. The topic starter proposed that:

QUOTE
Mixing has quickly diminishing returns. It's a skill measured by competence more than by ingenuity. There are definitely bad mixes to be heard out there, but above a certain threshold, virtually all better/worse distinctions disappear. And that threshold is lower than we might think.


This would be a no-brainer for audio playback equipment (like cables), but this problem is a bit harder to formalize. There was that Stradivari vs no name violins on this forum, I'm getting the general impression that with most audio related matter, subtle objective differences simply do not register in our perceptions.

That's the opinion here?


Speaking as a mixer/live recordist with over 600 live events mixed and over 1000 groups recorded, I would like to point out that a mix has a ton of art in it, and maybe about as much science in it as an artist who works in oils is really a chemist. My executive summary is that mixing is art and building perceptual coders/decoders is science.
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HTS
post Jun 28 2012, 21:54
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jun 24 2012, 17:52) *
Speaking as a mixer/live recordist with over 600 live events mixed and over 1000 groups recorded, I would like to point out that a mix has a ton of art in it, and maybe about as much science in it as an artist who works in oils is really a chemist. My executive summary is that mixing is art and building perceptual coders/decoders is science.

I think he is saying that people can quickly climb to the top in terms of mixing skill. So whatever sound they have in their minds, they would be able to reproduce it as consistently as top paid guys in Hollywood. I think the thread was started to mock the mixers/mastering guys who oversell their skills, and have been marketing themselves as equals to composers/conductors/performers.

So a more literal form of the motion is: you have to work hard to be a good composer/performer, but not for a mixing engineer.

This post has been edited by HTS: Jun 28 2012, 21:54
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benski
post Jun 28 2012, 22:08
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Depends on what you count as a mixing engineer. Once you get into things like mic selection and placement, instrument placement within a room and live sound recording, experience and insight rule the day.
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Woodinville
post Jun 28 2012, 23:12
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This would seem to me to deny certain obvious outcomes, which is to say that some folks come up with much better mixes than others.


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HTS
post Jun 29 2012, 14:49
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QUOTE (benski @ Jun 28 2012, 17:08) *
Depends on what you count as a mixing engineer. Once you get into things like mic selection and placement, instrument placement within a room and live sound recording, experience and insight rule the day.

No, that would be the recording engineer's (and producer's) job. This is just about the mixing/mastering process with already recorded tracks.

QUOTE (woodinville)
This would seem to me to deny certain obvious outcomes, which is to say that some folks come up with much better mixes than others.

The idea is that most of the self styled "engineers" don't know what they are doing, since this "profession" is not on top of the charts in formality. Many textbooks on this subject say that the most important advantage the experts have is that they read the manuals. As I said, this is a semi-snake oil business like audio cables. If you browse around on GearSlutz, you will see that most of the forumers HAVE NOT READ THE MANUALS of the 20 different hardware/software reverbs that they own.

But precisely to your observation, I feel that all blockbuster films are equally well (or poorly) mixed. The standard argument from the guys overcharging for "masterclasses" is that those "cream of the crop" guys have "maxed out" the skill. But I'm beginning to wonder if that means reading the software handbook (whatever penny reverb they are using), and a one week crash course in some tech college.

On a another note, wasn't that Steve Hoffman guy a "mastering engineer"? If you don't buy is sound science arguments, would you decide differently if he tried to persuade you to hire him (or someone he knows) to mix/master your music at an inflated price? It's going to be the exact same lines of argument, he is going to boast of membership in some highly secret "guild" of guru engineers. Not even a four year college degree would get you close to his insight. You had to be one of the fabled chosen and "born" with the intuition.

This post has been edited by HTS: Jun 29 2012, 14:50
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