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Author Topic: How did you learn audio engineering?  (Read 18048 times)

Han S.

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2005, 05:04:48 pm »

rankus wrote on Sat, 16 July 2005 20:54

henchman wrote on Fri, 15 July 2005 22:51


People end up with unsuable recordings for a variety of reasons.  Personally I think that the quality of audio engineering is reaching abysmal low levels.
If seen people walk away form a $500k recording session with crap results.







I run a small "demo studio" (in one room and broadcast quality in the other room) and yes I have the multi-generational education..... But I must say that in the last year I have had at least 4 bands come through that have been to the local "big" studio (Greenhouse) and have come away with unusable even disasterous recordings.... (And we are not talking low rate intern recordings here.  These were done by the "name" fellows, for big bucks!)

All these acts have commented on how much better my prosumer recordings sound than the that "big" console "big engineer" over there....  They ask "why".... I say: "Because they have their formula recording style and did not bother to actually listen to the bands sonic message, and they forced their template on you...."

These bands also comment on how uncomfortable they felt at the bigger studios, and that they felt that they were being pushed in directions musicaly that they did not feel represented their band.....These bands all felt that they were being looked down upon in one way or another.... (really talented bands by the way)


I suppose my point is that the "tech school grads" have been taught that "this is the way we do it" and are shown how to record a pop or hip hop record by rote, and then go out into the world and force that template onto music regardless of style...

Are we losing the ability to be CREATIVE in the studio?  I think so.... specialy in the bigger joints...  The schools need to teach that the music comes first, not the template..

Can you imagine what would happen if a band like The Ramones had hooked up with one of todays producers?  :  " Your singer will have to have some lessons, and we will need to autotune and comp, and the drummer sucks so we will use a studio drummer, and possibly have Slash in to play guitar leads.... The Ramones would never have had a fucking chance in todays production driven market!  Listen to the fucking bands man! Let teh music speak! .... Rant out..

PS: I am doing demos by choice, because I can experiment as much as I like, work with young talent, spend more time on MUSIC etc.  ..... Love it!My favorite band lately, was 16 years old playing southern rock that sounded as good as a "blues legend" that I recorded a few days earlier.... It keeps me young!!!  Twisted Evil




Well, actually both Henchman and you have a point, Mark (Henchman)because he perfectly describes what's wrong with todays 'engineers' who rather look at music than listen to it.

And you perfectly understand what drives a mucician, a studio can be quite intimidating to an unexperienced musician and it's our task to make them feel comfortable, which is something that can't be learned at school and has nothing to do with fancy gear whatsoever.

I sometimes advise bands to go to another studio because I don't have the right feeling about then, the combination of them and me probably don't work and the worst that can happen to a studio owner are unhappy clients.

It's all about and for the music, I just want to be part of their world, become another bandmember who works with them, laugh with them and cry with them if needed.

Part of our job is to serve.

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Han S.

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2005, 05:07:10 pm »

Ooops, double
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Han S.

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2005, 05:10:25 pm »

Duh!
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Curve Dominant

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2005, 02:46:27 am »

rankus wrote on Sat, 16 July 2005 20:54

henchman wrote on Fri, 15 July 2005 22:51


People end up with unsuable recordings for a variety of reasons.  Personally I think that the quality of audio engineering is reaching abysmal low levels.
If seen people walk away form a $500k recording session with crap results.


I run a small "demo studio" (in one room and broadcast quality in the other room) and yes I have the multi-generational education..... But I must say that in the last year I have had at least 4 bands come through that have been to the local "big" studio (Greenhouse) and have come away with unusable even disasterous recordings.... (And we are not talking low rate intern recordings here.  These were done by the "name" fellows, for big bucks!)

All these acts have commented on how much better my prosumer recordings sound than the that "big" console "big engineer" over there....  They ask "why".... I say: "Because they have their formula recording style and did not bother to actually listen to the bands sonic message, and they forced their template on you...."

These bands also comment on how uncomfortable they felt at the bigger studios, and that they felt that they were being pushed in directions musicaly that they did not feel represented their band.....These bands all felt that they were being looked down upon in one way or another.... (really talented bands by the way)


I have had virtually identical experience here in Philly: Top notch artists, pros really in every sense, who were just plain getting shafted by the "pro" studios with their "edumacated" engineers who had thinly disguised contempt for the artist's visions.

I've made it the mission of Curve Dominant to understand these artists's visions, and translate them into recording productions they can be proud of, which reveal their core essence. I confess: I don't try to do this alone. I work in tandem with the artist, to the point where my studio becomes THEIR studio too, and we are an artistic collective, collectively working to realize THEIR vision. Hopefully I come to a place of understanding their vision to the point where it becomes OUR vision, and then WE are all working together towards a mutually understood goal, and getting to that place of mutual understanding is really the mission of Curve Dominant. Because once we arrive at that mutual understanding, the rest of the production process will flow effortlessly, and the client will be sublimely satisfied with the result.


Quote:

I suppose my point is that the "tech school grads" have been taught that "this is the way we do it" and are shown how to record a pop or hip hop record by rote, and then go out into the world and force that template onto music regardless of style...

Are we losing the ability to be CREATIVE in the studio?  I think so.... specialy in the bigger joints...  The schools need to teach that the music comes first, not the template.


The audio engineering schools cannot possibly teach a wide variety of students how to love music in such a way that would produce engineers who could serve artists in an intelligent way. It's impossible. There are laws of time and physics that prevent this from ever actually happening. It will never happen. Audio engineering schools will never do anything but provide large schools of fish which will swim into our industry completely unprepared to serve artists in any meaningful way, and thus will continue to be part of the problem of our industry -  not just today either, but traditionally a HUGE part of the problem IMO.

Quote:

Can you imagine what would happen if a band like The Ramones had hooked up with one of todays producers?  :  " Your singer will have to have some lessons, and we will need to autotune and comp, and the drummer sucks so we will use a studio drummer, and possibly have Slash in to play guitar leads.... The Ramones would never have had a fucking chance in todays production driven market!


A more exquisite example I could not possibly have imagined. One shudders at the sort of butchery the Ramones would suffer were they to show up at the doors of the studios run by Henchie et al...but we digress...

Today, for better or for worse, the local independent producer is doing the job of A&R. The major label CEOs will tell you this. They've told ME this, point blank: The locally situated independent producers are now in the position of being the scouts, developers and marketers of what talent is out there.

So, if you discover today's equivelent of the Ramones at an open mic night at a dive bar somewhere, and convince them to let you produce their recoerdings, it is up to you whether to autotune/beatdetective/samplereplace their works into oblivion, or record what they do live "as is" and let the chips fall where they will.

Owning your studio and being an indie producer allows you to make those choices on a project-by-project basis.

It's the Wild Wild West, all over again.

Quote:

PS: I am doing demos by choice, because I can experiment as much as I like, work with young talent, spend more time on MUSIC etc.  ..... Love it!My favorite band lately, was 16 years old playing southern rock that sounded as good as a "blues legend" that I recorded a few days earlier.... It keeps me young!!!


Rock on, good brother!

Curve Dominant

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2005, 03:10:37 am »

Another thing...

There is a huge distinction between:
A) what "sounds good" from a purely audio perspective,
B) what "sounds cool" from a purely musical perspective.

Modern audio engineers make the choice between those two options.

Option "A" tends to interfere with the artist's intent.

Option "B" tends to serve the artist's intent.

Agreed?

t(h)ik

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2005, 03:59:45 am »

Eric Vincent wrote on Sun, 17 July 2005 09:10

Another thing...

There is a huge distinction between:
A) what "sounds good" from a purely audio perspective,
B) what "sounds cool" from a purely musical perspective.

Modern audio engineers make the choice between those two options.

Option "A" tends to interfere with the artist's intent.

Option "B" tends to serve the artist's intent.

Agreed?



Sorry, A huge distinction?

I thought good and cool could co-exist...reference: thousands of major label records.

Not sure what this subject has to do with learning to be a AE...but..

I learned it from this forum and turning the green knobs....

I am just an AA and not an EE...

Are you talking about your personal experience or is it your intention to say big studios suck?

I am a newbie and find it interesting that you could be thinking there are more artists today who are all just as talented as the greatest bands/acts in history, they are just misunderstood therefore suddenly the trained professionals and their industry are now incompetent and unable to capture the true essence of these brilliant outside the box (and outside the box set  Very Happy) artists.

So generally speaking, you would say the same people who gave us all the great music over the last thirty years are now unqualified hacks because they can't capture the intent of someone who practices twice a week?

Ref: Ramones...maybe you heard some of the Nirvana albums?

I think Steve Albini is still in the business.

He did NIN as well....very unconventional...

Or by modern do you intend to say since January?

I am not saying you are wrong but listening to a big studio record and hearing whether or not it is a grand or upright placed in front of the drumset is much cooler and gooder than guessing if it's supposed to be a keyboard or not, like you would in my studio where I understand all my customers and am keenly aware of their artistic intent.




Lemme nough

Tik
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Curve Dominant

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2005, 01:01:42 pm »

sixtiksix wrote on Sun, 17 July 2005 08:59

I am a newbie and find it interesting that you could be thinking there are more artists today who are all just as talented as the greatest bands/acts in history, they are just misunderstood therefore suddenly the trained professionals and their industry are now incompetent and unable to capture the true essence of these brilliant outside the box (and outside the box set  Very Happy) artists.


I find it interesting I could be thinking that too, especially since I wasn't really thinking that. But it certainly is an interesting theory!

Quote:

So generally speaking, you would say the same people who gave us all the great music over the last thirty years are now unqualified hacks because they can't capture the intent of someone who practices twice a week?

Ref: Ramones...maybe you heard some of the Nirvana albums?


I liked Nevermind (didn't care much for their later work) and give mad props to Butch Vig...he's a good POSITIVE example of what I was talking about.

See Tik, there's the positive side and negative side of ANY discussion. You keep highlighting the negatives (not uncommon in these circles).

t(h)ik

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2005, 02:49:13 pm »

Eric Vincent wrote on Sun, 17 July 2005 09:10



Agreed?


I am truly sorry if I was negative.

You asked, I commented.

It's hard to be pointed in this medium without coming off as a hard ass.  If I said these things to your face you may still think I was fukked up but, would see my stance as engaging rather than trying to shit in your coffee...

Lemme nough

Tik
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that_kid

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2005, 06:14:32 pm »

I'm not sure I've learned enough to consider myself an engineer.  I've been into music and sound ever since I was in grade school and I always was backasswards when it came to learning things.  I've done some mixing for things at my church, school and such but I've never done anything "major".  I consider myself green when it comes to mixing audio.  While I can listen to something and say "wow that's a great mix" I'm still learning how to create OK mixes, that's why i'm here trying to learn as much as I can.  I wish I could've learned mixing on a analog system with 2" tapes and all the trimmings but I missed that boat.  So now I find myself trying to get backtrack and learn the basics before anything else, with todays DAW's it's like giving a new licensed teenage driver a hotrod and telling them to have fun.  I've been reading so much here that my head hurts.  Can anyone share some things that they found to be crucial when learning audio engineering.  I still have so many questions but I do want to make sure I cover all these forums before asking too many questions.  I feel that alot of what I need to know has probably been asked/answered already
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Bill Mueller

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2005, 07:52:51 pm »

Eric Vincent wrote on Sun, 17 July 2005 03:10

Another thing...

There is a huge distinction between:
A) what "sounds good" from a purely audio perspective,
B) what "sounds cool" from a purely musical perspective.

Modern audio engineers make the choice between those two options.

Option "A" tends to interfere with the artist's intent.

Option "B" tends to serve the artist's intent.

Agreed?


NOT Agreed.

About ten years ago (maybe longer) I mixed a few songs for a Bob Rivers production of the band Brother Kane out of Seattle. They sent me the 2" and I mixed the song and sent them a DAT. Bob called back and said "The mix is perfect, the band loves it, but where are the guitars?" I said, "In the song". He said, "No at the end of the song, where is all the feedback stuff?". I said, "Oh, I thought you wanted me to clean that up!". He said, "No, it sounds too polished without out it". So, I recalled the mix (I used to be one of those horrible SSL lovers I hear about here) and unmuted the guitars at the end of the song. They loved it.

My point is that there are very few happy accidents. Even when you want it to sound raw and unpolished, it takes lots of educated craft. All of the greatest sculptures, painters, musicians, writers, poets, designers, architects and dancers in history STUDIED their craft in order to master their art. I have been blessed with the experience of touring with some of the greats of rock and roll and to a man, every raw, dynamic, apparently spontaneous note and movement on stage was planned, rehearsed and re-rehearsed until it was a near rote response. THEN they were able to actually enjoy their own performances to the point of natural expression and spontaneity.

There are lots of people blogging and commenting on the internet about this or that. Except for the rare exception, we are all NOT creating liturature. We are amateurs and we sound like it. A lot of modern music is like the internet. Anyone can purchase a cheap recorder and rely on happy accidents to "make it big". Does that make it music? I think not.

Eric, I usually enjoy the enthusiasm and drive you expouse on these pages. However, this comment is a bit self serving. Happy accidents are rare. Continue to drive yourself to learn your craft and you will be successful. Rely on luck or pure instinct and you will lower your chances for success.

The kind of engineering that I usually perform (live broadcast) requires that I can get a reasonable sound on a major act in under thirty seconds without ever before hearing them in person. This is while trying to figure out if all my microphones are actually working. I have no time to experiment with mic placement, the artists "vision" or a variety of eq settings. This does not happen by accident. I have a plan, I execute it and usually things work out alright. (That was self serving on my part, sorry.)

Someday you will hear a demo, band on stage or some kid singing on the street corner and you will know instantly how to make them sound their best. That won't make you incompetent because you know how to make them sound "good" first and "cool" second. That just makes you in control of your craft as well as your art.

Best Regards,

Bill
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wwittman

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2005, 09:23:05 pm »

so "good sound" is antithetical to artiste intent?

I guess I don't know those artistes.

Maybe it's the "artistes' who care more about what they think they learned to do on their MBox than about their playing.
The artistes who spend their time honing their songwriting, playing and singing seem to want to sound good as well.
And usually understand that other people spend time learning to do THAT and make them sound good.

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John Ivan

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2005, 11:01:44 pm »

that_kid wrote on Thu, 21 July 2005 17:14

I'm not sure I've learned enough to consider myself an engineer.  I've been into music and sound ever since I was in grade school and I always was backasswards when it came to learning things.  I've done some mixing for things at my church, school and such but I've never done anything "major".  I consider myself green when it comes to mixing audio.  While I can listen to something and say "wow that's a great mix" I'm still learning how to create OK mixes, that's why i'm here trying to learn as much as I can.  I wish I could've learned mixing on a analog system with 2" tapes and all the trimmings but I missed that boat.  So now I find myself trying to get backtrack and learn the basics before anything else, with todays DAW's it's like giving a new licensed teenage driver a hotrod and telling them to have fun.  I've been reading so much here that my head hurts.  Can anyone share some things that they found to be crucial when learning audio engineering.  I still have so many questions but I do want to make sure I cover all these forums before asking too many questions.  I feel that alot of what I need to know has probably been asked/answered already


Well kid,, I can tell you this. If you have a rig of some kind, record everything you can. Focus on the basics. Mic technique, the basics of compression,EQ and most of all, get with an engineer and BEG them to let you hang around and listen and observe what they do. If you don't play an instrument, learn to play a little bit. You need to know how this feels IMO.

There are no easy answers and you will only learn so much reading here if you don't go apply it every day. The information you'll find here is really really great but it needs to mean something to you and that means you need to be recording all the time.
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Slider2

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2005, 10:16:35 pm »

I learned as a musician with a 4-track, a 57, and one cheap compressor as a kid.
The best training I ever had.
Most often when I went into a "Pro" studio I'd usually see the SDC mics over the kit and the 421's on toms ect...ect.
I usually found it all pretty boring and standard for the most part with little or no experimentation taking place.
Sure you might get a job (or intern) at a studio and learn from some great inspired engineer, or you might work under some jaded closed-minded prick, who churns out boring average recordings daily.
I'm sort of glad I had the chance to learn on my own first with no idea of what "good recordings" were supposed to be, then later watch some seriously amazing engineers like J.J Puig do their thing and really take something away from the experience.
I miss that 4-track sometimes.
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Robert Westerman

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2005, 09:46:57 am »

I was one of Bill Mueller's students, and one of the most fortunate IMO, as I had an opportunity to work for him long after I had graduated his program. If I can do anything that is even remotely worthy of mention behind a console, it's because of Bill.

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henchman

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Re: How did you learn audio engineering?
« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2005, 11:28:59 am »

Eric Vincent wrote on Sun, 17 July 2005 10:01


I liked Nevermind (didn't care much for their later work) and give mad props to Butch Vig...he's a good POSITIVE example of what I was talking about.



That's funny.
On one hand you mention a band like The Ramones having the life sucked out of them by a producer in the studio, then you say how much better Nevermind is than their later album.

To me, Nevermind sounds like an overproduced, edited record, that used drumsamples, which I don't much like the sound of.
In Utero sounds way more likje a great band performing. ANd I like the sound of it much better as well.
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