Updated: Jan 10, 2022
Whether you are a professional audio engineer, a home studio maestro or a musician DIY recording your band; editing audio and specifically drums is a time consuming and often mundane task. Most hate it, and a fair few strange people (including myself) enjoy it. There's no in-between. It's like Marmite. (This post is not sponsored by Marmite).
Whichever end of the recording spectrum you sit, there are different benefits (and downsides) to delegating your drum editing to someone else. My hope with this blogpost is to give you an unbiased take on whether or you should or should not do your own audio editing. Firstly, let's talk about delegation.
Delegation, otherwise known as outsourcing, simply means allowing someone else to do a job that you'd usually do for you. At it's core, delegation is a business strategy that allows people to shift off mundane, lower value and lower skilled tasks to someone else. This enables people to free up time and headspace to do other things - usually higher value tasks. It's the reason why supervisors tell shop floor workers what to do, while managers tell them what to do; all while CEO's are sipping cocktails on a beach.
Some of you (especially you control freaks) may be wondering though; why would someone want to delegate? If you can do something yourself, why pay someone else? Surely no one else can do that job better than you? Well...there are many benefits to outsourcing tasks such as:
Avoiding tasks that you don't enjoy doing
Letting someone more skilled do them resulting in a better outcome/product
Freeing up mental headspace - making you happier
Saving time (our most precious resource as humans!)
...and with that time, doing more things you enjoy
...or completing higher value tasks, increasing your potential earnings.
On the flip side, there are several potential downsides all depending on your own views and situation:
less control over the process
it costs money
it can take longer
it can take some time for someone to learn your process
So let's talk about delegation specifically in the context of drum editing - what are the benefits? Firstly if you are a professional audio engineer, it's likely you are extremely busy with many other more enjoyable and important tasks to do than editing. In this instance, it may benefit you to outsource editing.
Doing so is going to save you large chunks of time, and not only that but free up headspace to focus on other more important tasks more sharply. We all know drum editing can be a huge slog and a time suck which is why so few people want to do it. With this free time, those with families and a hectic social life can spend more time with those they love.
On the other hand, if you have reached a cap on how much money you can make in relation to time in your business and you have no extra hours in the day to earn, delegating low value and time-sucking tasks can get you to the next income level. For example; if it takes you 10 hours to edit drums on an EP and it costs £15 per those hours to hire someone for that job (£150), and you spend those 10 hours taking on a new recording client in which you charge £50 per hour for (£500) - you have earnt yourself an extra £350. The best thing is that time would have been used to edit drums, a task you are not actually directly getting paid for, so you are earning extra by putting in no extra work hours.
If you are more of a DIY recordist or a budding part-time audio engineer with a home studio - the benefits look a little different. Although everyone leads busy lives, people at this end of the recording spectrum usually find themselves with more time to inject into this type of task, or are happier to do so. It's for this reason that most of them would prefer to do the task themselves rather than pay for someone to do it - makes sense right?
If you are in this boat, there are still a few reasons why outsourcing drum editing could benefit you. Firstly, if you hate editing drums, it takes you too goddamn long to do and you just want to get to mixing already - this can be a frustrating place to be. I've been there. Sometimes it's better for your soul to just pay someone to do it. It completely depends on what you personally value more.
Also you may not feel like you are totally competent at editing. Let's be fair, recording and mixing is a very intricate and thorough process for the majority of us. Throwing learning how to put things in time in a specific way or without jeopardising the sound you want into the mix (no pun intended) can be a total mindf*ck.
No matter how simple the task may seem, there will always be someone that is more skilled at that task out there that may just be able to provide you with better results, or a sound that you were struggling to achieve. If we all could do everything perfectly, most businesses wouldn't exist. Freelancers are there to help you go that extra mile you couldn't otherwise go.
As I mentioned previously, with every positive there's a potential equal and opposite negative. The first one being that you have less direct control on the direction/outcome of the project. Yes, you will be working closely and communicating with the audio editor to ensure you get the results you want, but you're not physically doing it - and that bothers some.
If you like to have total and utter control over a specific process and don't usually like to let people interfere, this may be your worse nightmare. This is absolutely not a negative trait to have, but if this sounds like you and you choose to outsource editing it may cause a big headache for yourself and an audio engineer in the future!
Secondly, it costs money to hire someone - simple as. Money makes the world go around and choosing to give yours to someone else totally depends on your own internal value of the product or service at stake. Will this money be worth the thing(s) I get from spending it? That's the internal question that is going through your mind when pondering a purchase.
So put simply; if paying someone for more spare time in return is more valuable to you - you'll do it. If money is your drive and you can earn more by delegating - you'll do it. If money is the forefront of your mind and no benefits outweigh the cost - you won't. What is most important to you?
You may be saving time in your own schedule by delegating, however you will have to wait longer to have your drums edited and ready to mix in front of you. It takes time to choose someone to hire, tell them your needs, send files to them and get them back. If you are physically able to edit drums yourself (and quickly) and have a tight schedule to make, it may be simpler to just edit yourself.
We all have our own way of doing things and our own opinion on how things should be done, especially in music and audio. Some of us are more strictly bound to these methods than others and may find the process of someone trying to match how they like things doing very frustrating.
Delegating work is like hiring an assistant - you do have to put in some initial groundwork, communication and patience with that person. Sometimes things may just click, you'll be on the same wavelength and they will know exactly how you like your editing done and smash it out the park every time. However the majority of the time there will be a period where the editor will be learning how to complete the project exactly how you want it; through the process of asking questions, trial and error and fine-tuning. That's simply because us audio engineers have a high attention to detail and usually we're more stubborn towards our own methods. If you are good at communicating and your editor is flexible, willing to learn and open minded - this should be a fairly stress-free and quick process.
All the above information should be enough for you to make the right decision on whether outsourcing your drum editing is for you or not right now. If you are audio engineer with little free time and/or want to expand your income and you have the money to invest in it, then hiring an audio editor will be very useful to you. If you are a novice with little experience on audio editing and want to achieve professional results, outsourcing your drum editing to a professional will definitely help you - they do this for hours day in and day out. If you don't have the funds to invest in hiring someone, have the time to edit yourself or even enjoy editing and it doesn't seem like it's worth spending your hard earned cash on - then don't bother looking to outsource any time soon!
If you do decide to hire an audio editor for your drums (or any part of your project for that matter). Then consider checking us out at: https://www.drumaudioediting.com. Your first song of editing is completely free!