There are indeed times that an artist needs to be told that they can do better. When the label model works well, the person at the label has a vision and can hear when a record isn’t being executed properly. Whether it is a bad mix, bad production, a vocalist who needs to get off the smack, or just half-assed songs having someone who understands your release to comment on it can be make or break.
The question is, if you are an artist without a label how do you find someone to help give you an objective perspective and maintain your quality control? Odds are that over time if you are playing out you are going to meet some managers, labels, producers, booking agents, etc. that have expressed interest in you. If these people seem to get your music it is not a bad idea to keep in touch with them. As a producer some bands that have contacted me that I really liked couldn’t afford me or schedules didn’t line up. I will often tell them to keep me in the loop and send me roughs of their music in hopes that if I can help them out and get them to a level where we can work together.
Most music business figures I know, have a few bands like this on their radar. The band may not be ready to work with you, or you just like them and would be willing to help but not full time for one reason or another. If you do not have someone like this you can reach out to someone you feel may potentially do this. Find a manager or a producer for a band that is a step or two ahead of you that may be able to give a helpful ear. If this seems out of touch to you, even turning to your fans (more than one since some of them may not have the most experienced ear) and getting feedback through different stages of the recording. No matter what your quality control will improve if you allow some people to give you insight on what you may have lost perspective on. The recording process can be very overwhelming and we all go through points where we can’t see the forrest from the trees. In this case, get someone to help with quality control.