Are You Ready To Break The Conventions?

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

The Followers

Conventions are a set of rules we’ve made for ourselves to guide us through the cores. Though we can use them as blueprints to trace our paths, they can also shackle us to our perceived set ways and prevent us from progressing. From living in the caves, to building empires and civilizations, to innumerable inventions and innovations, everything started with a maverick mind thinking outside the box and breaking conventions.

The Engineer’s hot seat comes with a plethora of responsibilities and it is easy to slip into routine and rely on conventions to get the job done. These ideas have been implanted in our brains and have been religiously followed by those before us. This often gives us a comfort zone within which to work. This is where we should unshackle and stimulate our maverick selves. There are no substitutes or shortcut for these.

The Path Breakers

There could be sessions where you would want to bypass all that theory you’ve learnt and start to flex your creative muscles. Don’t hesitate, go ahead, and push yourself till that job gets done! But ensure your approach adds value to the song.

Have faith in you, trust your instincts. This is how you will develop your unique signature.

Yes! We have all learnt the various micing techniques and rules. They are just starting points upon which we are free to build our own techniques and signature styles. When we start following preset rules*, we tend to forget that “Recording is an Art ”. Art by its very nature is subjective and this rigid approach can deter its growth. This is where we should be brave enough to bend the rules in our favour. Else, recording can easily become a monotonous process with no creative outlet for you to express yourself.

*If it were the plugins that determined how a mix would, then there is no art to it. Take your risks and get gratified.

The Judgment Skill

There are plenty ways to record an instrument, say, guitars: you can keep a spaced pair, an XY pair, etc. Stereo micing techniques maybe essential in few instances while, mono micing will get the job done in others. But keeping the rules in mind, even while you’re experimenting and breaking the conventions, the endgame should be to find an approach that works best for the song. You look into your locker stacked up with all those expensive, celebrated mics but none of those is working for you at the moment. On such days, if it turns out that your cheapest mic does the trick, then boldly go for it. We should be wary enough to take a call on what could work and what wouldn’t. These calls we make are the building blocks to a good production (Refer Chapters 1 & 2). Nobody wields a magic wand to make a bad production sound great in the mix.

Lay The Foundation, Break The Mould

This chapter may come across as controversial to at least few if not many. The idea here is that one can only go beyond convention if he is grounded in fundamentals and knows his theory to the dot. It’s never a bad idea to invest time in learning theory by reading books written by the legends of the craft. Video tutorials maybe tempting, but mostly on such matters, they only have superficial information to offer. There is no substitute for real, lived experiences where signature approaches are born.

Above all, believe your ears and have faith in your thought process.

“Signatures are made only when you place yourself beyond your plane”

Grantha Tips

· Conventions are blueprints for our guidance.

· An Engineer should be open to experiment.

· Even an overlooked piece of equipment can aid you on the day.

· An Engineer should be grounded in theory to boldly go beyond it.

· There is no substitute for real-world experience.

· Leave your signature on each of your recordings.

· Revel in the Art of Recording.

The Grantha has much more to reveal. See you in the next Chapter!!

#bloggingtips #pocketgrantha #recordingblog #recording #engineer #maverick

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