A really great sound recording is more often than not, full of dynamics. The emotion, the noise floor, ‘the minor fall and the major lift’ as the late Leonard Cohen sang, all contribute to an engaging mix. You want the quiet bits quiet and the loud bits loud and as much of a difference as you can between them (or whatever sounds good).
However, super high highs and low lows aren’t so great when working in a team. Emotion is great in a song, but not so great in a team dynamic. I’d even liken my ideal team to a slammed signal through an Empirical Labs Distressor. There’s a little grit, lots of buttons and plenty of options that are easy to punch in and punch out and see what works best for the track. The sound coming out the end isn’t super dynamic but it’s full of excitement. It’s easy to find something that works for the mix as a whole and commit to it. I find the biggest difficulty when working in a team is commitment and communication.
Generally, I’m not scared of commitment when recording, I love the excitement of a great sound to Tools and committing to it. Similarly, I’m happy to commit to an arrangement or 0r sound in a group in the interest of keeping the project moving. Obviously it’s important that everyone’s voice is heard and that the group is happy with the arrangement, but it’s important to keep momentum going. Another big thing I’ve learnt about working with teams is constant communication – not just agreeing on an idea or goal before going our seperate ways to do our own bits. It’s really important to agree and continue communication until the next studio (or wherever you’re working) session. This is not to be misconstrued as micro-managing. There’s a very fine line between these two different approaches, and this line also moves a lot depending on who you’re working with. It’s really important to be able to read and understand different people’s approaches, emotions and expectations.
I wouldn’t change a thing after working in teams at SAE, it’s been a massive learning curve and is definitely something I’ll be doing a lot of in my future as an audio engineer.