May 15, 2017 - Robert John Hadfield

The Role of the Master’s Hand in Our Modern World

This is our competitive advantage in our business, and it works.


There is a classic poem called The Touch of the Master’s Hand. Although it is often used in faith settings, I believe its application fits professional settings even more profoundly.

The poem tells of a violin at an auction. The violin is dirty and old and therefore the bids are dismal. But before the bidding ends, a talented violinist comes forward, picks up the old violin and plays some beautiful music, and suddenly the bids for the violin start to go through the roof. The value of the violin was tied to the music that could be created on it by a master.

There is another similar idea in the world of music that says simply, “it’s the singer, not the song.” And If I can add my own little twist to that phrase, “It’s the singer, not the microphone.”

To illustrate what I'm talking about, Sarah Mclaughlin will sound better singing campfire songs through a $100 hand-held Shure microphone than a 1st round reject from “American Idol” will sound singing Ave Maria through a $4,000 Neumann U-87 studio microphone.

We frequently make the mistake that equipment and technology matter more than they really do. Technology has simply created a level playing field for talent to rise to the top.

When I was a working musician in the 80s and 90s, we chose recording studios based on the equipment alone. If a studio had a Studer 2 inch tape machine or Neve consoles, we wanted to record there. If the studio had great microphone collections and nice sound rooms, we wanted to record there. Sadly, we paid almost no attention to the engineer who would be operating the equipment.

We were caught in the failing notion that you NEED to have the right equipment if you are REALLY going to do the job correctly.

Looking back this was an unfortunate and foolish way to think.

If we are wise, we will let go of our preconceived notions about what we “need” to do a job. Education, equipment, experience, etc are all nice things, but if you are smart in today’s world, you look for the Master who can make the music and quit worrying about the violin.

This is especially true in our modern world. Technology has acted as an equalizer. For example, you can literally make a feature film on an iPhone today – and people have. But just because you have the equipment, doesn't mean you have the talent to make a good movie. The film that Spielberg would make with an iPhone will be different than the one my next door neighbor would make on the same iPhone. Once again, the touch of the master’s hand is all that really matters.

This is also true in our analog-to-digital business. There are many people in this business who started a company transferring cassette to CD because it seemed like a great way to make money, so they bought equipment and hung out their shingle.

But it often leads to a phone call like one we received in the studio last week. It went something like this:

ME - “Hello, this is Audiomover, how can I help you?”

CALLER - “Yes, thanks for answering. I have been looking at your web site and I think you can help me.”

ME - “Sure, what’s up?”

CALLER - “I sent some tapes to (competitor) recently and I just received the stuff back. I was a little bit disappointed. They looked like a pretty good company on the web, but I don’t think they really know what they are doing. I read your bio and watched your videos and I would like to send my things to you.”

Yes we have great equipment in our studio, but more importantly, we understand the world of audio and video. We have a passion for this work. I have personally been in recording studios since I was a young teenager. I understand the technology, I understand the history, I understand the common problems, I know what to look for, etc. In other words, in my own way, I add my own little “master’s hand” to the equipment and projects in our studio. I bring decades of care and experience to the table. What that means for you is that this company is more than an entrepreneur’s idea to make money.

In our modern world where brands have become somewhat interchangeable, you can differentiate your company by using yourself as the competitive advantage. Whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee of a company, the master’s hand can be yours. Your value will increase, and so will the value of your product.

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