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The Second Opinion of Friends and Colleagues

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This post is about sharing our work with other musicians, producers, and folks in-the-know that we trust to get a second opinion on things.

A couple of days ago I was sitting on my computer getting ready to do some work when a friend of mine from high school came online.  He’s been doing very well for himself doing commercial music for film and advertising, while also performing his own music as Glorious Monster.  Every now and then we’ll contact each other and get a feel for what we’re up to.  It’s really nice to have other people who produce music to talk to and geek out with.  Anyway, he was working on a potential soundtrack for a theatrical trailer and wanted to get my opinion of the piece.

He sent it over and I was impressed.  He was integrating a choir, string samples, and other orchestral elements to create a very present, intense atmosphere.  But, I didn’t think the choir blended very well with the orchestral elements, that the mix was too dry, and the sibilance of the choir was annoying, particularly with the ambience he had chosen.  I also felt that the strings were panned too hard to be realistic sounding.  I suggested pulling the strings in, putting a de-esser on the choir, and blending more ambience between the elements.

Turns out that he had been working on the project for 12 hours straight or so and was exhausted.  He had been concerned that he was making the mix too wet and had been laying off the ambience.  He thanked me for my input, put a de-esser on the choir, blended more ambience in, noting an improvement.

All to often we get wrapped up in our work, end up exhausted, and have a hard time making decisions after a certain point.  It’s really helpful to have friends that we can bounce our ideas off of in these moments.  Even though we have different tastes, these differences make sharing our work more interesting and give us opportunities to learn along the way.

4 Responses to :
The Second Opinion of Friends and Colleagues

  1. Gray says:

    Word. Happens to me all the time.

  2. Audio Geek says:

    Great post.
    I must admit that I often find it hard to accept advice, unless I have truly hit a wall and am screaming out for help. Those criticisms that go against my intuition are particularly hard to stomach.
    Great site btw – lots of great info.
    Blogroll for you.

  3. Dan Connor says:

    I appreciate the blogroll add.

  4. Yk says:

    Very true, when you trust the word of such a friend their input can be vital for a good mix.

    Recently I conducted my first full orchestra recording, after several issues with the mix a colleague of mine helped make some crucial production decisions with clean, non-bias ears.

    Now I have a happy mix!

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