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Top Audio Engineering School??

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by obe1ben, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. obe1ben

    obe1ben Guest

    hello, my name is Ben Christy and I am 16. I am currently very interested in attending a school with a very successful audio engineering program. I'm sure this topic could be controvercial, but I was just wondering what schools are the top for audio engineering. For example like the "Harvard" of audio engineering?

  2. djrr3k

    djrr3k Guest

    Well. Here is my take. I went to the Recording Workshop and Full Sail. I learned a lot at both, however once I got into the professional world I really put it all to work. Schools can give you a solid foundation, but don't let it get to your head.

  3. obe1ben

    obe1ben Guest

    would one school give you an advantage to the other. Put it this way, if you were to apply as a recording engineer or w/e and lets say you went to Full Sail would they most likely chose you over other aplicants because of your schooling?
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Ben, I'm not terribly impressed by most of the recording schools. It might be better if you were to receive a bachelor of science degree from a major university in the recording arts and sciences/music? I have numerous friends that followed that route and I find them far more competent than most of the quickie recording school folks, although neither is a guarantee of employment. If I was hiring, I wouldn't be impressed with one quickie school over another, I'd much rather get to know you by speaking to you? If you were swift, I'd know it. If you were stupid, I'd know it. I know a fellow who received a Ph.D. in recording engineering from the University of Maryland! I told him that I did not know of any University that offered a Ph.D. in recording engineering? He told me that at the University of Maryland you could design your own Ph.D. program. LOL!! I was asked by a friend he was recording, to go to University of Maryland Baltimore County to mix her a TV mix of her latest CD without the vocal so she could sing live on a TV show I was doing in New York City. The control room was the biggest joke I'd ever seen from a major educational institution. He had equipped the control room with a Crest PA board. I asked why he did not have a recording console and he gave me some kind of blather about this lousy PA board having better specifications than any recording console but it was completely inappropriate for a recording situation. He also wanted me to mix through an early Valley People Digital limiter on my stereo mix bus. I told him I don't mix through limiter's and he didn't understand how I could possibly get a good mix without one?? He was quite amazed at what I came up with without that crappy Digital limiter! He was incompetent! Today, he finally realized he was a lousy engineer and is now a lawyer. And that was for a major educational institution!

    A few years later, I was coproducing a jazz album at Maryland's largest independent studio, Omega Recordings where their chief engineer had gone to Full Sale in Florida. When I requested a ribbon microphone for the trumpet solo and female vocal solo he had the audacity to say to me "We don't have any ribbon microphones. Ribbon microphones are noisy." First off, ribbon microphones are not noisy! Microphone preamplifiers are noisy and the good ones may happen to induce a slight bit of noise but not much when you have a trumpeter or singer just a few inches away from it. And you never say that to a producer if you have a shred of brains. That, from a "Full Sale" graduate. So I was just as unimpressed by that moron as I was the Dr.!

    Of course at the Independent recording schools, they will teach you how to play with ProTools and twiddle the dials on a big console. That does not make you a recording engineer but it does give you some working knowledge of the tools you will be using later in your career, if you can make a living at your career? I have been more impressed by some of the students from the community college than I have been from either the large universities or independent recording schools, with very few exceptions.

    Very few people make a legitimately good income from recording popular music. It would be more practical to learn something about radio and television broadcasting. That's how I have supported my recording habit most of my life. Although I do have GRAMMY, EMMY and Soul Train music award nominations, that and $5 will get you a cup of coffee from Starbucks. So, talent and passion along with intelligence and a good personality I think we'll take you further?

    The bitter old woman at Voice Of America television
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. McLaughlin

    McLaughlin Active Member

    Aug 7, 2006
    I'll just throw out the Institute of Production and Recording. Its equivalent to Full Sail (I have to say better since I am a graduate :D ). Full Sail and IPR are basically #1 and #2, instructors at both will tell you the same.

  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    I second what RemyRAD is saying.

    I would much rather have someone working for me that had a good sense of him or herself, knew their limits, was willing to learn and had a good set of ears that could be trained.

    I have had many people apply for internships here. They come from various backgrounds and various schools. I would say the audio schools 6 week wonders are the worst when it comes to knowing nothing and thinking they know more than they do. Full Sail is expensive and most of the graduates from there say they liked the school, liked working on all the expensive equipment but unfortunately don't have a clue when it comes to earning a living in today's audio marketplace.

    Most of them seem to think that every studio is equipped with SSL consoles and Pro Tools HD and and Icon console which is simply not true. They are, in most cases well prepared and have done a lot of different things and if they paid attention and got involved in the classes generally know their stuff.

    The interns that have worked out the best are the ones that gradated from a four year university with a degree in broadcasting or audio and have a college background in other subjects like business and accounting.

    Today if you want to be in the audio business full time you are probably going to be working for yourself with maybe a partner or one employee tops and you need a well rounded background in subjects that are not covered at Full Said or the Recording Workshop. Things like accounting, marketing, business and psychology (you will need that to understand some of your clients)

    If it were me I would go to somewhere like Peabody, MTSU at Murfreesboro , Ohio University, Cal Arts, or any of the top rated colleges that have music recording programs. While at college I would get a good general education and try to get in as much business subjects as you can.

    Get a good education at a good college that has an audio program and you will be in a much better position to get a good job and stay with it.

  7. RockmanXPR

    RockmanXPR Active Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    Northern California, Bay area
    I hope the experts like Remy are still reading this thread...

    I'm also tinkering with the idea of getting into the music/movie/TV recording industry but unlike most of the "Kids" who ask these questions, I'm 36 and have been in the workforce for 13 years.

    Here's a little background on me: I have been in the Semiconductor field for 13 years, starting out as a basic technician building small simple robotics for wafer transfer, I didn't have any real basic knowledge or schooling for such a job but I was a quick learner and got lots of OJT from work. As the job went on I became a Quality control guy for the company and then becoming what I do now, I do field work. Now I'm installing much larger systems worldwide. It's a good paying job but the industry has way too many ups and downs and another fact is I'm usually away from home 80% of the time.

    So by mentioning all of this I can attest to getting lots of hands-on experience is 75% and class/training will just help get a knowledge of how to set things up.

    My plan of action if I want to change careers is to go to Foothil College here in the bay area of california. Luckily I already live here :p Here's a link to their site: http://www.foothill.edu/musictechnology/
    How does their intinerary look compared to the other schools?

    Now my biggest worry is will there be job availability when I'm done with the coarse? Will I have the intiative to get things going? Those are my biggest worries, but I believe doing at least one year of internship will help get you started. But where do seek Internships?

    I do play guitar and have various equipment to play with but I would love to turn a love/hobby into a career, think this is a wise move in my position?
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Dear RockmanXPR, it sounds like you already have a solid knowledge and concept of most things electronic? Ain't on-the-job training great?? We don't need no stinkin' English! ".....when I'm done with the coarse?" LOL! Let's hope that course isn't that "coarse"?

    In your region of Silicon Valley this particular school seems to offer some fairly comprehensive entertainment oriented production offerings? With a reasonable introduction to audio/video production facilities this educational institution provides, that, coupled with your already working knowledge will get you up to speed quickly I believe? Of course nothing can replace actual experience but you already know that.

    Can you make a living in the audio business in Silicon Valley? I would imagine you have a better chance there than in Altoona Pennsylvania? A lot of your success will depend upon your sense of business, marketing, self-promotion, who you know or get to know and never turning down a job related to the business of audio.

    I would love to record more quality rock and roll along with operas and musical theater but most of what I record these days are foreign language news programs for the Voice Of America television (formerly USIA). But hey, I'm still sitting behind a substantial audio console just so I can present to people of other nations around the world some really terrible sounding audio, for which I am not at fault for nor can do anything about. Most people know it as "garbage in equals garbage out" and so there is no quality-control amongst field shooters and video editors. But it's a job in the audio business that won't get you wealthy, will keep you from being poor, won't get you any major words, royalties but it can provide you with a sense of well-being, accomplishment, professionalism, doing a job you love. I still try to go after the kind of creative recording opportunities that make me proud enough to want to play it for everybody. Unfortunately there are only so many hours in the day and so I'll just have to be happy getting paid quite well for delivering really bad sound. This had started just as a part-time freelance fill-in position back in November and now has expanded into full-time with from 6 to 14 day weeks. I'm lovin'it! What I'm not lovin' is one of the few places across the street to get something to eat, home of the "Golden Arches" and their newest advertising slogan "I'm lovin'it!", quite frankly, it's giving me gas.

    To pooped to pop a microphone
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  9. that's the second reference to mcdonald's in a matter of a few weeks.
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    I'm so sorry. Would you rather "have it your way"? Ya' know..... you could "Eat Fresh" audio too?? But there's no way I would include a "Sub" way in my monitor system. Sometimes folks want their mixes super loud. So loud that my eyes pop outa' my head but that's another Phish story...

    But I digest........now

    MS Remy Ann David
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    I'm with both Remy and Tom on this one.

    I've had numerous inquiries for both employment and internships at my studio by numerous Full Sail and other quickie school grads. I've hired 1 and she lasted about 4 weeks. She was fully aware of the fact that she new more than I did about recording and was constantly amazed that I was not using limiters on each recording channel for the orchestra I was recording. She was also blown away that I had chosen to use Grace preamps on an orchestra over something better like Focusrites or Avalons...

    There are some EXCELLENT college programs which can teach you recording and audio engineering. And, if you're smart, you can parle that into a career upon graduation. Whether it be at a studio or at a church (this is probably the biggest employer of audio engineers in the country - not only that, the job and the pay are relatively steady. I know many folks who have been the AEs at their churches for 20+ years!)

    A couple programs to consider -


    Another way to go would be to major in music (either performance or ed, or hell, even pedagogy). I find that most successful engineers are musicians first. The degree in music versus the degree in audio arts and sciences is about equally as useless, but they truly do educate you, so that if you are one of the fortunate ones to land a job in that field, you at least won't be a fish out of water.

    Good luck!

  12. RockmanXPR

    RockmanXPR Active Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    Northern California, Bay area
    Yea yea, I keep getting Course and Coarse wrong! At least I know the the difference between Then and Than, good old Texas high school education :p

    On a serious note, yes the Bay Area has some good studios here, the one I'm looking at even for just Intership is Skywalker Ranch and Praire Sun Recording. Well I'm no complete expert on things electronic that's for sure.

    Glad you gave some positive feedback on Foothill College's audio curriculum, makes me feel a bit more assured to apply there.

    Thanks Remy!
  13. JLiRD808

    JLiRD808 Active Member

    Sep 29, 2005
    Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
    Home Page:
    Did somebody mention the Recording Workshop? Is that the one in Ohio?

    I'm living in OH and am looking for a good school also. I know it's not gonna guarantee me the world but I am interested in learning in a classroom teacher/student environment. I've been teaching myself stuff from books and online for awhile now and feel like I wanna TALK TO SOMEBODY. Most of all it seems exciting to me.

    I checked out Recording Workshops website and they seem very simple, affordable, and straight-forward. They're not flashy, hot, or expensive like Full Sail.

    Can anyone else recommend any schools to look into? I am in Ohio but I got friends in LA, SF, Boston, San Diego, NYC...in other words, I'm willing to relocate for a year or two if it could pan out to a job in the music industry.
  14. I find this to be a really interesting thread as I am considering various schools such as full sail and expressions. I have 1.5 quarters left at UC Davis and I'll be leaving with a degree in Technoculture (kinda a hybrid between film, audio, and the theory of technology).

    I hear the pros here saying that Full Sail is over rated and to just work on your own skills, but here is my dilemma:

    I'm not looking for a quick fix. I don't think big schools like full sail or expressions are going to be my golden ticket into the industry (i'm particularly interested in sound design for film). I AM however finding it very hard to really dig in to all of the nitty gritty details. I am a ghost on these forums who checks here every day or so for tips. I read whatever websites and and articles I can. I am a student member of AES. I own Pro Tools LE and an 002 and try to record and mix whatever I can get my hands on...but now that I am close to graduating I am still feeling very inadequate and most jobs (even entry level) seem to require knowledge of various tools and programs that I lack.

    I'm writing this long winded post because I don't want to attend Full sail or expressions and later find out that I wasted a ridiculous amount of money. I just want the OPPORTUNITY to strap down and learn the tools of the trade from knowledgable professionals.

    So any thoughts on my situation? Is it foolish to look into these schools? Am I really better off learning on my own and hoping that one day some kind soul will take me in and teach me everything?

    the schools i am referring too:



  15. Yes, Recording Workshop is the one in Ohio (Chillicothe, specifically). While the program was extremely cool, hands-on, and informative--and I have to assume was somehow instrumental in getting my first "real-studio" position (and, similarly, for the other graduates reporting their work)--I don't know that time spent on Recording.Org and having the $3,000 to learn equipment wouldn't have been just as helpful.

    Recording Workshop is really loyal to their graduates and continues to provide resources and recommendations to this day (years later), but strongly consider whether this alone is worth the time and money for the coursework.
  16. JLiRD808

    JLiRD808 Active Member

    Sep 29, 2005
    Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
    Home Page:
    How about those "Recording Mentor" programs? The ones where you pay to be an apprentice in a functioning studio...

    I've checked out http://www.recordingmentor.com and http://www.recordingconnection.com and they seem alright. Their websites are pretty shabby but maybe they make up for it in substance.

    Anyone know about these? They say they can put me in a working studio in my area and can usually get me a job AT THAT STUDIO or another when the mentorship is done.

    Here's the curriculum for Recording Connection:

  17. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    This is a tricky question these days.......I went to what was probably one of the first schools for audio in the country, College for Recording Arts in San Francisco, in 1976-77. I also went to Institute for Audio Research in NYC in 1983-84 which started as an AES workshop. The former was a well rounded curriculum with business, law, music theory, engineering, workshops, etc....the latter was more technical with acoustics, digital circuit design and so on. I'm glad I learned what I did, but the industry model is changing beneath our feet as we discuss this. Big studios that employ people are folding like card houses. I opened my own one horse town 3 years ago with no plans of hiring any help. I'd say if you truly plan on getting into this field, you'd best go to work for a broadcast company or do your own thing. I second that it helps to have some business background and to be a musician. I've been self employed pretty much my entire life, and been a performing musicican for 38 years. It helps to speak the language.
  18. Slavebell

    Slavebell Guest

    hey what u al think bout S.A.E. institut?

  19. eveaudio

    eveaudio Guest

    An echo and an advert...

    I'd like to repeat something that has been repeated a bit here - but not enough in the world-at-large, I'm afraid: expecting these schools to make you a super-engineer is like beating a wargame on your XBox and thinking you can go win the Iraq war by yourself. (Please, let's not go there with the discussion!!!!) There's more than tech to this...

    I have met a lot of grads from these schools and almost NONE of them are working locally. This is because using the gear is only about 30% of what it takes to make it. People skills and a basic understanding of business are crucial - not to mention the fact that you must have a unique and well-formed marketing strategy to stand out. Most of these grads just don't get it.

    As a result, the program I have developed for Otterbein College (in Columbus, OH) has equal parts tech/business/hands-on. It's small now, but it's growing fast. Drop me an e-mail if you are interested in learning more:


    BTW, one of my students just got a gig as a sound engineer before she even graduated, so we're doing something right! :)
  20. denise

    denise Guest

    Hey Ben, Did you ever find a good recording school?


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