Age - when does it become a problem?

Twiddler

of the Nurgulated Plupper.
Hi! I've been doing this stuff for nearly 40 years. I'm 56 and my mixes seem to be getting worse, not better. Had a hearing test about 18 months ago and my hearing is still phenomenal, so that's not the problem.

All the same, I'm curious. Does an engineer have an expiry date? Is there a minimum age? What do you think are the best years?
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I've heard it's all downhill after 40. Grace Slick said not to trust anyone over 30, but she's 82 so I don't trust anything she saya. But then, what do I know. I'll be 69 in a month.
Remember, the Byrds told us "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now!"

Seriously, there are lots of top engineers and producers who are well into 50+. Alan Parsons is in his mid 70s and he's produced albums within the last 5 years. Eddie Kramer is 80 and he's still actively involved in different music projects.
 

jamesperrett

Active member
I still hear good mixes made by people older than me and I've just reached 60. One of the problems we have now is that we have so many choices when we mix which can lead to constant tweaking and much confusion. I avoid using templates and long processing chains wherever possible and I'm finding recently that people seem to prefer my simpler mixes - often just pushing the faders up to the right place and adding a touch of reverb to certain sources is all that is needed.
 

keith.rogers

Well-known member
There's no "number" for any specific person. If you have your ears and they are Ok, frequency-wise, then anything else going wrong, well, "it's all in your head," as they say. :)

Everyone ages differently, and different parts go at different times. My knees weren't the first to go, but they've been trying really hard for some time! Hearing, technically, probably depends more on choices, poor or good, made much earlier that we can't undo, like closing bars playing in front of a stack several nights a week, working in a shop cutting wood with a radial arm saw and zero hearing protection, etc. Boy, if I knew then... Sounds like you dodged those bullets, so good for you!

I'd try to figure out what you think is worse in your later work than before, and understand why you're are feeling a lapse. Times do change, and the kind of mix that was great 40 years ago is going to probably miss today's market by a wide mile, though, of course, there are places the tried and true techniques may still apply. (I don't know, as I'm a late *home* recording entrant.) Don't be afraid to ask for comments/input at places like this, or any where else where you hear mixes that sound better than what you are doing.

I'm past 70, and my ears have taken a beating, but I still hear a lot of things pretty well, and I, increasingly, use some of the digital tools to confirm that I'm not missing something, which I might do without them.
 
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Track Rat

Dungeon Studio
I'm 65. I think I'm doing my best work minus some high end I can no longer perceive. I'd like to think I've learned some things over the years that still kinda serve me well.
 

Slouching Raymond

Active member
often just pushing the faders up to the right place and adding a touch of reverb to certain sources is all that is needed.
That just about sums up my mixing technique.

My dad was a keen photographer, but his eyesight went, and he then took a lot of out of focus pictures.
He died before autofocus came along.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
Times do change, and the kind of mix that was great 40 years ago is going to probably miss today's market by a wide mile
This really struck me and it really annoys me.
Or at least, it might do if I was trying to sound like what's around today or operating under commercial constraints.
I must admit, it's hard not to think in terms of how a song was mixed once one starts mixing and I often focus on the mixing of what I'm listening to, which also annoys me ! Fortunately, like many home mixers, I can still also just listen to and appreciate a song without paying heed to how it was mixed.
 

Ed Fones

Well-known member
Is anybody like me who goes at 'new' things with such eagerness that I drive everybody around me insane? To me every day is a learning day.

Strangely I can still hear the teacher asking me "What do you want to do in life?".....................And I still don't know!!

Edit: ...............No? Just me then. :unsure:
 
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TAE

All you have is now
I'll be 69 in a month.
Remember, the Byrds told us "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now!"
Damn you're an old fart! LOL I'll be 69 on 9-19

FWIW It was Dylan who penned that line.. The Byrds just Myna birded them (y)
 

TAE

All you have is now
Is anybody like me who goes at 'new' things with such eagerness that I drive everybody around me insane? To me every day is a learning day.

Strangely I can still hear the teacher asking me "What do you want to do in life?".....................And I still don't know!!

Edit: ...............No? Just me then. :unsure:
Hmmm? Kidnapping an heiress and threatening her with a knife might liven things up....

Or hell a herd of Winnebago's :laughings:

 

TAE

All you have is now
Me personally it's been all downhill since I was 19 ( that year came with some of my highest highs and lowest lows and the world was my oyster) but since then what a long strange trip it's been heading down to the bottom of the hill ...hopefully still have a few miles of road left to slide down cause it's a hoot Blessed beyond my wildest dreams, overpaid albeit some lumps. bumps n warts. Musically for sure my agility and ability to master a riff or lick has been compromised but it is made up for in all that knowledge and information I have amassed in this journey down the hill. I am a more accomplished player today than I was at 19 fo sho...just not nearly as hip, slick n cool...that ship sailed. :laughings::eek:
 
Hi all!
I'm 54, and I've been writing music for, like, 20 years and more and I'm still looking for someone to walk me through doing it all properly. With most teachers, it's one of 3 things....
"You've not got the Most Modern Software/Most Modern Applemac Logic" (I use notation software cos I'm disabled and it's easiest for me and lots of these 'teachers' can't even read notation!)

"You need plugins made by.......(insert posh company name here!)" (I tell them it's the TECHNIQUES I need help with, not the SOFTWARE, but they never listen.)

And.... "That mix is.... a little skinny, no?" (WTF do you think I called you in for!?!?!)

AARRRGGGGHHHH!!!

Chris.
 

keith.rogers

Well-known member
Hi all!
I'm 54, and I've been writing music for, like, 20 years and more and I'm still looking for someone to walk me through doing it all properly. With most teachers, it's one of 3 things....
"You've not got the Most Modern Software/Most Modern Applemac Logic" (I use notation software cos I'm disabled and it's easiest for me and lots of these 'teachers' can't even read notation!)

"You need plugins made by.......(insert posh company name here!)" (I tell them it's the TECHNIQUES I need help with, not the SOFTWARE, but they never listen.)

And.... "That mix is.... a little skinny, no?" (WTF do you think I called you in for!?!?!)

AARRRGGGGHHHH!!!

Chris.
The folks saying you need this or that software/plugins/etc. are, by and large, folks not producing anything at all like what I'm trying to do. Maybe if you're doing dub-step or whatever is popular among the kids, yeah, you need a subwoofer in your monitor setup, probably, but you are reading in the wrong places if you feel like all you hear are the wrong things.

I think Joe Gilder's videos are pretty straightforward, and his "5 steps" is a good place to start because he emphasizes the setup of the tracks and a "static" mix before anything else. You can stop right there if you have 1) good performances and 2) capture them well.
 

jimmys69

MOODerator
There is a line between what is a good mix and a bad mix. The problem is, the line is likely as wide as the Atlantic ocean.
The greatest factor to me is the song and artist/s itself. Great songs are what they are and are good because of the song, and not so much the recording itself. Would you want to hear 'Imagine' or 'All Along The Watchtower' all pristine with modern effects and melodyned? Maybe? But it is obvious that it is the actual product and emotion that really stands out. Not necessarily the environment or need to sound like 'modern' music that is commercially acceptable today. Trends in music are just what is popular to a group of people now. Classic songs are forever.
It seems to me many try to achieve/recreate some kind of sound that was created before and forget that it isn't really about the technique, but more absolutely the performance. Then get caught up in what compressor or effect is needed, when it really comes down to the room and the talent in it.
 

TAE

All you have is now
Great songs are what they are and are good because of the song, and not so much the recording itself. Would you want to hear 'Imagine' or 'All Along The Watchtower' all pristine with modern effects and melodyned? Maybe? But it is obvious that it is the actual product and emotion that really stands out.
TRUTH! The real trick is capturing that genie in the bottle. Capturing said Genie has nearly nothing to do with any equipment and mostly blessed humans telepathically transmitting the magic from the cosmic river of the muse.
 
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TimOD

Member
I'm 65, and I'm recording, playing, and writing/co-writing songs, and still having a blast. Actually, my music world/activities are increasing, it seems. I'm still learning, but my skills as a producer/mixer have definitely improved since I started about 15 years ago with a Portastudio and a 4-input soundcard. I got some Widex hearing aids a year ago and the adjustment into those is ongoing, but it's working. Anyway, I'll stop when I physically can't do it anymore.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
It’s an easy one. I AM too old for certain genres and styles. I’ve always been too old for metal or really loud stuff. I was too old at 25. However, some people are too young for some styles. This is why Alan parsons for example, is still good. He doesn’t produce the music he’d be bad at!
 
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