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Tough Audio Projects / Most difficult asks ❓

Let’s be real. Once in a while there are buyers that have no clue what they need when it comes to music & audio, and most definitely don’t have the vocabulary/knowledge to explain what they are looking for.

I’m curious, what have been some of the most challenging projects you guys have worked on recently? Whether it’s someone asking for an impossible edit/tweak or something in a crazy out-there genre


Took me a bit to decide if this fit with the category, but it’s indirectly related and certainly out-there.

I offer beta-reading as one of my services, or I would have never seen this Buyer’s Request, and it’s possible that a factor in my being picked was because I also do music. I kind of wish I could ask the buyer now.

Either way, it seemed like a fairly ordinary beta BR:

I need someone who can beta read a mediaeval adventure-themed short story at ca. 4 500 words or 35 mins

Including an estimated read-time is unusual, but I thought that maybe this was a buyer who had actually done the research, which is always a good sign in a writer. Skipping ahead a bit, I was contacted and got the order, and when I went to download the required files…

It was an audio book.

I did ask if the Buyer had a typed version, to make it easier to follow along, though they were in the process of rewriting so it would have been near useless. I had to almost completely shift how I went about beta-reading for an audio book, nearly on-the-fly, and had to come up with a new ‘mark-up’ method. It was a challenge, but a good challenge. And the short-story was pretty good too!

Although I wouldn’t be opposed to beta-reading more audiobooks, I do think the ‘script’ would need to be mandatory. So, yeah, not so much it’s own “crazy out-there genre”, but definitely a crossover.

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I have been at this for a long time now so many of the technical hurdles have been corralled. Altho one where the client didn’t send either the Rough Mix or Tempo did cause a real curly one recently. Solution: insist on Rough Mix and BPM so if things are not where they are supposed to be, it is easier to spot and solve.

Mostly it is clients who have no idea at all about how the Music Industry and their own Technology work. Rather than asking and following advice, they send over random loose parts of vocal lines in tiny Wave (or mp3) files instead of a Compiled Vocal that is on a Stem. Because they know where it goes in their Fruity DAW, they assume that everyone else will have it appear in the same place because that is is how it is for them. It is a pretty fruitless situation seeing that rather than “sort it” they call me useless.

The other PITA is singers who think that for $15 they can send a vocal performance that is dire and overnight they will be turned into Beyonce. A Mix Engineer can seem like a fairy godmother but there is a reason for the old adage about not being able to polish a turd. If there isn’t a good performance, there can never be a good song. Autotune only makes things worse.

Lack of understanding leading to low rates is the biggest issue overall as a good mix of a common rock song with Drums, Bass Guitars, Lead, and Backing Vox is at least 6 hours of work if you want something worthwhile. Kids got too used to idiots who hurl plugin presets at things and deliver horrid crushed results faster but that is not mixing, it is murdering.

Just a couple of days ago I had a “friend” come whining to me for free advice on a brutalized mix. I had offered to mix one of his Art Rock songs for $150 but he declined on price. He then went and spent $599 on a fool touting his fancy studio and experience, who mixes this sensitive song like it was Rap. Of course, it was murdered. Everything that $599 guy mixes sounds the same, crushed, overloud cardboardy mess but he was hired. This cat wants me to tell him how to fix his song. Next time the response will be: Do you want to take the $150 mix, the $550 mix or the $30 advice?