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3 STEPS TO BECOMING AN ENGINEER

Discussion in 'Recording' started by eBrown100, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. eBrown100

    eBrown100 Guest

    It's a bird, it's a plane......Nah, it's just me, eBrown100 and actually I'm trying to sprout wings and fly. How does it all start though I wonder. I spoke with David Moulton (Grammy Nominee, Best Engineer, ClassicaL 1999) over the telephone about 2 or 3 weeks ago. He's a cool cat and I mentioned that in another post (a guy was looking for "Golden Ears"). He said something that really gave me a new perspective. He said, "I wan't you to be able to hear what happens as you record and manipulate audio." So I figured

    1. The first thing I should do to gain skills as a producer/engineer is learn what sounds right. I've been looking at some monitors that are very expensive, the Dynaudio BM6A, the Event PS8, Mackie 824, etc(Suggestions Are Welcome). I figured that I should buy a pair of these, buy a few classic CD's from each genre of music and listen to Levels and Dynamics, Imaging and Soundstaging, and Sound Quality to learn how to began thinking about audio. Although these monitors are expensive I figure they'll yield a bigger reward as I learn how to hear better. Golden Ears, sounds appropriate b/c a lot of what people discuss on these forums, I have no idea about. I hear people speak about Compression Artifacts, Harmonic Distortion and Dithering, Noise Floor, transients and nuances, phasing and time align and I'm thinking to myself....Man I must be missing a lot. I really want to learn how to be a really great producer/engineer, but it seems like the learning curve is not even a curve, it's more like bow.

    2. (I don't know what "2" should be or if "1" is even right.

    3. I would really like to hear some guys comment on how an aspiring producer/engineer begans his journey to greatness.

    P.S. Much Respect to the People Here at RO (I've learned a lot in the past few days of knowing about the site.)
     
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I think #1 is right on - However, I'd go about it a little differently...

    Near-field studio monitors are (IMHO) not the way to listen. For tracking and mixing, maybe. You want to hear full-range sound on "real world" loudspeakers.

    As far as "expensive" is concerned, that's relative - All the speakers you mentioned are dirt cheap in the grand scheme of audio. $10,000, $20,000 - That's more like "expensive."

    Now, don't think I'm saying that you can't get *good* speakers fairly inexpensively... But I would highly suggest something of a "budget" range from a more "audiophile" pedigree...

    B&W 603's ($1,000/pair) or 604's ($1400/pair) come to mind... IMO, they'll absolutely olbiterate any of the boxes you've mentioned and afford you something that the others won't - END USER sound.

    Hook them up to a nice amp with a ridiculous amount of headroom (a used Bryston 3 or 4B would be a great match), light some candles and kick back. Learn what good sound is supposed to sound like when it's done - concentrate on the detail that comes from listening on "larger" speakers - which is the way it's been done for decades until these irritating little "mini-monitors" started sprouting up all over.

    Disclaimer to avoid the flame: I'm certainly not saying that good work can't be done on small monitors - But I would imagine not too many people would say "I'd rather just listen to my little active Mackies from 3 feet away, than a set of 604's with a nice amp behind them from a comfy chair."

    Of course, this doesn't take the room itself into consideration (which is just as important) but that's for another thread. But again, the "real world" dictates that the room interacts with the sound (again, why near-field monitors are almost worthless, IMO).

    Plus, when all is said and done, even if you don't decide that you want to get into this industry, you'll have a nice sounding stereo system that'll give you years of good sound - Instead of e-baying your nearfields off for a fraction of what you invested in them.

    By the way - Here's a link (hopefully not cookie-dependent) Bowers & Wilkins "entry level" but great sounding speakers.
     
  3. eBrown100

    eBrown100 Guest

    Thanks for the help Massive. The B&W's look impressive but they look like they put out a lot of sound. I'm building my studio behind my home, do you think the B&W's will be too loud. I was kinda leaning toward something in the Alesis brand, the Mackie 824/624's, the Event PS8's, and the Dynaudio BM6a/Bm5a's. Besides the B&W with the amp you mentioned costs a grip. The nearfields that I mentioned are barely affordable themselves considering that I have to buy mics, acoustic treatment, and another Midi/Audio Interface (probably the Tascam 1884...I already have the M Audio Omni Studio w/Delta 66). I'll be recording everything from Country, to Hip Hop, and maybe some Rock and Roll. My friend has a band here where I live called Starchild [http://www.myspace.com/starchild]. I think that they may come over when I'm done building. I would like to go and listen to all of the monitors listed but the town I live in doesn't really sell pro audio gear. If you'll give me an opinion about the nearfields mentioned above I'd appreciate it. Thanks again Massive.

    P.S. in the meantime I'll be looking for an affordable amp for the B&W's on ebay.
     
  4. axel

    axel Guest

    yeah good point made, about the end user sound.
    i use mainly genelec's 8040's in my studio but drifted lately to check all my stuff on some really old tesla's (there very ancient homespeakers from eastern europe)
    there damn good to get an idea, what it sounds on those in millions and trillions spread home hifis or lowfis.
    who the hell has real hifi at home?? one in a 1000 maybee.

    so i reckon it's good advise.

    just look at people like lee 'scratch' perry, he not even had stereo monitoring in black ark, and made some damn fine productions.
     
  5. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Of the monitors listed, the only ones I'd really consider would be the Dynaudios...

    But I'd still rather have the B&W's...

    The "loud" part is where the volume control comes in - Your speakers have to give you great sound at certain levels or they're not worth using. They don't need to be cranked, but IMO, they need to be *capable* of being cranked. Otherwise, it's an uphilll battle. Headroom is good room. You don't need 6' Dunlavys with 1200 watts, but some decently sized (for the situation) boxes with around 2X the suggested program power (a 200 watt amp for 100 watt speakers) is ideal in my book.

    Axel's Genelecs are another respectable set also - One of the few boxes that say "studio monitor" that I actually like. You could *maybe* find a used set of 1030's... Maybe... It might be hard to find them, but they're certainly a great sounding bunch.
     
  6. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    you do not need at this point (or even for a while later) to spend an exorbitant amount on speakers. Quite frankly you could get some near fields for less than $500 (powered ones too) and learn. But where you really learn is by 1. hand son producing & or engineering. 2. working on sessions with seasoned vets to learn from. Sadly #2 is a hard thing to find. But if your worth your salt you'll find a way.

    I use monitors such as I decribed and my work gets nothing but compliments for what I'm responsile for. I rarely work on good mains, and not always in good rooms. So there MUST be more to it than that.

    peace
     
  7. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    developing your ears to tell the difference of what sounds 'right' and what sound 'wrong' must be at the top of the list- and it takes time to develop your chops- no othr wat around it but to put inyour time
     
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    John's pretty much dead on. If you're looking to develop your ears, you want to do so with professional quality products. The B&Ws are a great (and in the grand scheme of things) affordable solution. Though, truthfully, I much prefer the 7 series or 8 series, but that will push you well out of what's considered by most to be affordable. Another avenue you might want to look into is Paradigm or NHT. Both of these are significantly different flavors than B&W, but good nonetheless. (Stick with the Monitor series from Paradigm)

    For straight forward "monitors" the dynaudios are great. Strangely enough, I've found the Event ASP8s to be quite nice too. You can tune your ears on nearfields, but to get the true experience, you do need mid/far fields (the B&Ws, Paradigms, and NHTs fit that bill).

    Personally, I use Dynaudios (BM15s) for mixing at the mid-field and NHT2.5i's for farfield. These are not "mastering grade" speakers by many peoples' standards, but I find them to be VERY accurate and dynamic. (Using the correct amplifier - I use Rotel personally, which I refer to as the poor man's Bryston 4B.)

    Just some thoughts..
    J.
     
  9. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    again..as this gentleman said ..this is the key. It's MORE about you actually manipulating , or being in the presence of such that will teach you what you want to learn. You can actually only learn so much from only listening to finished masters on any set of speakers. It's by playing with the production/engineering process first hand that you really learn about compression, EQ, phase, masking, sibilance, soundstage..etc. a million things. That's why I recommend you save a few buck on these first pair of speakers..unless your rich. If you stay with this, you'll buy more pairs in the future..gauranteed.
     
  10. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    I was down at Gravity Studios in Chicago on Monday...and yes I got the internship!!!! Anyway...I heard B&W's there for the first time and I almost crapped myself. It was absolutely the only way to listen to music! Damn I want them now!
     
  11. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    congrats on the internship!
     
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    No doubt Art! Keep up the good work.

    I believe they have the Nautalis 801s right?
     
  13. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Ya know...I'm not even sure what model they have! I just sat there with my jaw on the floor. Sitting at that studio was like being on set of a Jenna Jameson porno shoot for me! hahaha
     
  14. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Thats killer man! Good luck with everything at the new studio!
    Way to go man! :D
     
  15. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much. I got a lot of support and confidence from all of you guys, and I don't think I would've walked in the door without it! I hope that eventually I can work my way up to part-time there. I like to set small reachable goals not only because it's easier to obtain, but I don't want to jump in over my head.

    Here are a few more ideas for the topic of this post:

    1. Set small obtainable goals for a few reasons:
    -You won't be way in over your head in most cases
    -It will be a slower journey, but one that you can learn from (you have to crawl before you walk)
    -In most cases you won't be setting yourself up for disappointment

    2. Love what you do:
    -If you don't love what you are doing with every ounce then you lack the drive and determination that the "other" guy has....which will leave you defeated and burnt out.
    -People that love what they do don't consider what they do to be "work." On the morning of a session you never hear me bitch about waking up and saying "^#$% I gotta go to work." I'm normally up before my alarm goes of getting all excited with every piece of gear that I turn on.

    3. Listen to every style of music and respect it...you don't have to like it!
    -There still are musicians out there that use music as a way of pouring out their soul. Because of this...even if you don't like it...respect that this person is putting their ass in the air and dumping their heart into this. It sounds dumb, but should be taken seriously.
    -The second you put on the "blinders" to the music you listen to...you've limited what you can do for your clients. I don't like emo, but record a few emo bands that come back to me because I stay current on the emo scene. I know what the other bands are and aren't doing and can mix some originality into a bland genre of music. I've incoporated some funk-ish drum beats behind an emo song which really made it move. It gave the song it's own genre. I don't like a lot of funk or emo, but because I listen to the music I know what to listen for.

    4. Take yourself seriously:
    -If you don't take yourself and your work seriously...who will?

    5. I'm typing too much...I can go on for days.
     
  16. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    6. Typing too much can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. :lol:
     
  17. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    7. John's a smart ass! hahaha
     

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