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What is required to become this professional?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Arfuss, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Arfuss

    Arfuss Active Member

    So i want to start making beats, and adding my own lyrics to them. Being 100% Independent.

    My own producer, and lyricist. Atleast in the start of my "Career"

    I am doing nothing now. Recently realised music is my passion.

    Was watching this video.

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceadw6KOvEg

    And i am looking for a setup like this.. Just smaller in the beginning.

    What do i need to do to be able to produce high quality music with crisp clear sound?

    I could apply for a Sound Engineer school, but then i have to take up classes that i failed.. I am 21 and dont want to spend time reading math, history etc.

    I need advice and guidance! Please I know i can do it on my own. Just dont know were to start..
  2. Josh Conley

    Josh Conley Active Member

    you need:
    daw software
    audio interface with pre's
    midi controller
  3. Reverend Lucas

    Reverend Lucas Active Member

    Josh covered the gear. Then you just need drive, talent, experience, and luck. History and math don't hurt, either. Good luck, but know that making a "career" in the monetary sense in the audio field isn't easy.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Drop a
    Being an audio engineer has nothing to do with beats or lyrics. That's a songwriter... sort of. Being an audio engineer means going to your local library and taking out every book they have on audio and reading them through. More than once. That should keep ya busy for the next 10 years. Once ya get acquainted with the available equipment? You might be ready to purchase something? How much money you got? $1000? $10,000? How about $100,000?

    The setup you are looking at in that video was over $100,000. How much smaller do you want to go? Because anything less than that will just be beginner junk. And you're likely not to make a living much, with beginner junk? Not even if you have that $100,000 stuff are you likely to make a living. So obviously ya have thought this through, thoroughly and completely? No? You just want to do it because it's fun? It's not fun. It's a career. The career is fun. But it takes lots of work, study, experimentation, numerous equipment purchases, numerous equipment swapout's. In short, it takes a small fortune to get started, professionally. Otherwise it's just beginner junk.

    What have you studied to date? Ya saying I want to be Paul McCartney is one thing. Being Paul McCartney... now that's completely different. It's like saying you want to be like Mozart. Well there hasn't been another Mozart. Some people are touched with pure genius. Paul comes close. He'll be remembered long after he's gone. Likely, Dr. Dre, won't be? Neither will Snoop Dogg. It might be art but it's bull chit art. It's good for the moment and easily forgotten the next.

    I'm a recording engineer and a broadcast engineer. One is powered by my passion. One is powered by my skills and experience. Both are similar. Both are completely different. I never knew one didn't need to be good at both? So I became good at both through my naïveté. It gave me a 50% better chance of staying employed. Back in the day that no longer exists. Though it still exists. But only on TV. 90% of the people here have other day jobs.

    You don't want to study. You don't want to go to school and have to take things you don't want. What kind of passion is that? You just want to play? You really think you're going to make money with that attitude do you? Do you have your high school diploma? Or are you a complete drop Dropout? Also, where the heck do you live? Is there a music industry where you live? Do you have music stores? Or are you in the vapor? Stuck in a transporter? Matter fighting antimatter? Are your shoelaces tied? Did you have your milk today? If you can answer yes to any of these questions? You are already an audio engineer.

    Congratulations! Next.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. Lord_Algae

    Lord_Algae Active Member

    I feel like I can relate to the OP because I just finished watching Breaking Bad, and I realized afterwards that my passion is to be just like Mr.White! I don't know anything about chemistry though, and I don't have the patience to study, but it looked pretty easy so I bet I can figure it out and make mad stacks just like he did. Now, if only I can find an online forum populated with accomplished chemists willing to share all of their accumulated knowledge for free...
  6. Arfuss

    Arfuss Active Member

    Need to get junk equipment in the start to start training.

    Was thinking about Sound Engineering to be able to produce high quality crisp clean sound. How to master, record and mix properly. I have no idea right now.. How to train my ear etc

    The fact that it isent easy to get through. Its what makes it worth it.
  7. unit7

    unit7 Active Member

    The good thing these days is that you'll be able to find second or third generation 'junk' gear that is pretty good. Perhaps not the crisp clean sound of your dreams, but certainly enough to get you started and see if you get the taste for it.

    And with the internet there's so much info and inspiration just like the clip you posted. Check out the beginner's departments on audio/gear sites. Shows like Pensado's place can be very inspirational, though not always for beginners. Anyway, if you're passionate about this you'll be able to learn a lot by yourself. Though eventually - I'd recommend asap... - even if you want to be independent you'll have to hook up with others and learn how to collaborate with creative people.

    I don't see the need to critize you for being a little naive. Not that I'd encourage anyone from dropping school/education, but this business and the art community overall is crowded with people that didn't at all 'work' in conventional education. Common for many of the successful producers/engineers/songwriters seems to be determination, and mega passion in the sense that a 40 hour week is considered vacation :) Talent is a plus of course.
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    You're contradicting yourself. In the first sentence, you say you "need to get junk equipment to start training", and then you follow that up with "to be able to produce crisp clean sound"

    Junk equipment will only get you a junky sound and will put you further away from "crisp clean sound" than you are from Venus.

    Tools matter... big time. If you start with junk, the only result will be awful sound, which will end up frustrating you to no end...and it won't help to train your ears at all to professional standards.

    You've got a long way to go in terms of learning and experience, but you'll learn faster - and with far better results - learning on good gear, than you will cheap junk.

    And yes, it is expensivemto be a professional audio engineer, and it should be. It's what separates the wannabees from the professionals. In the last 10 years or so there has been an influx of terrible audio - and it's because everyone with a computer, a copy of Pro Tools, a cheap mic and some shareware plugs, thinks that they are suddenly "professional audio engineers"...and they're not.. they're just hobbyists who take themselves way too seriously, and then eventually, they end up on a site like this one, asking how they can get a more professional sound, while at the same time telling us that their audio interface is a Realtek or Soundblaster gaming card.

    Personally, I like that good gear is expensive... it keeps away the people who really aren't really serious, and stops them from clogging the gears for those of us who have spent the better part of our lives - and our money - investing into our craft.

    If you are truly serious about this, then throw away that mindset of "I need to get junk equipment in the start to start training". However you do it, figure out a way to build your foundation on quality equipment...take on a second job...or a third... then devote all of that money to your investment and your education. Don't spend a dime of it on rent or pizza. Earmark that money strictly for your audio goals.

    People will only take you as seriously as you take yourself. Every single professional here sacrificed a lot to get where we are. You'll get more respect - and learn much more, if you are also willing to make sacrifices.

  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Well, training on junk gear doesn't quite cut it for me. Let's just talk monitors, why would you train your ears on monitors that give you a bad representation of the music ?? If you really want to do this, get the best gear you can. You don't need 14 preamps to start.

    Get a good preamp / AD with a pair of relatively good monitors and a mic that fit your voice. Buy a bunch of VSTI and start making music.
    Maybe a ISA one(+the converter) with any audio interface that has a spdif input for the ISA would be a good start.

    Now I don't know how it goes with RAP/DANCE/TRANCE music. But you can't do everything yourself. You'll get to a point where you'll want to sell your product. To do that you'll need to promote it. Will T-Pain come to your place and do some tracks ? I wish you have that luck and those contacts one day. ;)

    Anyone gets to spend a certain amount of energy per day.
    Compose, Record, mix, master, advertise and sell... This takes time, motivation, energy and knowledge.
    It is a lot of job... A lot more difficult than going to school.
    I've been doing audio work for the past 30years and there's some stuff I still can't grasp even now.
    Do yourself a favor, go to school and grab what it takes to be a professional.
    OR keep music as a hobby where you experiment by yourself and go to school to get a strait job.

    For me, RAP/Dance music is like taking shortcuts to be an artist. Playing samples on a computer, speaking to the mic with no melody is a quite narrow talent. I give you this, you need to have a good rithme.. But there is some rap/dance artists I respect because they go further; they have music knowledge and compose their own music. In your video, did you see the violins ? When you write a score and take real instruments in the studio, this is music to me.

    Now, you have to ask yourself, do you have what it takes to go further ?
    If the answer is any close to yes, this meens you'll need to aquire some knowledge at some point. You have to decide if it's now ! (y)

    My humble opinion...
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.... oh, wait... everyone is doing it. Except most of these "every man" home recording hobbyists who are doing it, are doing it badly.... very badly.

    Why? Because they don't have the gear and they don't have the knowledge.

    And if you want to have even half a chance in this business, don't limit yourself to just one or two genres of music. If you are to become a true audio engineer, then you' better be prepared to record anything and everything... from rock to jazz to country to metal to punk to polka to classical to blues to dixieland to ska to reggae to rap to acoustic to.... and so on, and so on.

    Audio engineering involves a vast scope of knowledge and skill. Just because you can rip a sample, put it on a DAW timeline and rap or sing over it doesn't make you an engineer. Anyone can cut-copy-paste.
    But that's not audio engineering... that's just simple, basic editing... that I could teach my 7 year old niece.

    You need good knowledge, you need good gear. Those are the two main things. You cannot choose one or the other. You absolutely must have both. There are no shortcuts... don't even look for them if you want to be good at this.

    You'll need a nice preamp with good converters. You'll need a few good microphones, both dynamics and condensers. You'll need to have a working knowledge of all the tools that an engineer uses everyday in their job.
    You'll nee a nice pair of STUDIO monitors.... and your home theater speakers ain't gonna cut it. You'll probably need a MIDI controller of some kind. You'll need a space that has been properly treated acoustically, and by "proper" I'm not referring to mattress padding stapled to your walls. You may even need to look into sound proofing, if you plan on late night sessions, or if you have pissy neighbors. All of these things - and much more, are all basics in terms of needs. Figure around $10 grand to get started in the right direction with a solid foundation when it comes to equipment and the room you are planning on working in. Yes... you can cut corners. But every time you do, you'll also be cutting your quality. Your recording system will only ever be as good as the weakest link in your equipment chain.

    So, now that you've heard what it takes....to echo my compatriot PC... do you have what it takes? Are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to work hard - at two, maybe even three jobs - to save money for the right gear, and to pay real engineers to teach you the right way?

    Are you willing to intern at a pro studio for several years, learning under the guidance of professionals? Your job will include making coffee, wrapping cables, cleaning gear, sweeping the floor.... and maybe, just maybe, assisting on an actual session from time to time.....all for free? (And in fact, you may even end up paying for the privilege of being an intern or "shadow"..).

    It's not so much about being "willing"... It's mostly about actually doing. If you are serious, then you have a better than average chance of at least being involved in the recording industry.

    But only you know the answers to those questions. ;)
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    +1 Words of truth.

    One of my first gigs was playing with an old time Polka band in some hick town on a Friday night. The real bonus, I walked away seeing the fun people had, and how fun it was to be playing with other people who loved music as much as I did. Judging music by Genre, no more.

    Often the music you love most is the one you record the least. Nothing ever seems to live up to our favourites, thus, its a big world. Most of this business is living in the past, or bringing the past back in some way or another. Get that, and doors start opening. Good luck.
  12. Lord_Algae

    Lord_Algae Active Member

    All kidding aside, one thing you've got going for you is youth. If you're really serious about this and you start networking and meeting all the people you can who work at studios, somebody might take you under their wing, but you really need to temper your goals and expectations a little. I know all the kids wanna be the next Timbaland or Skrillex etc., but that's few and far between. More likely, it'll be exactly what others are already telling you: unpaid internship doing all the grunt work for quite a while before you even get a sniff at touching any gear. Personally I wouldn't waste much time and money on low-end gear - that's what I do, but's that's because I'm too old to get an internship so I'm kinda forced to make due with what I have available. You, on the other hand, can get yourself an internship and learn the right way if you really want it badly enough.
  13. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    I want to fly! Seriously, I got to the having a few quid stage in my life and I woke up wanting to fly, I knew overnight I'd found the thing I wanted to so, would be good at and really really needed to do. Three lessons in, the instructor told me I had no spacial awareness and really wasn't made for flying. I didn't give up, I did all the ground school stuff, books are my thing and I really knew how to fly, on paper. I tried again, and a different pilot told me after the first that this would be his final lesson, as I just didn't have coordination. A year later I tried helicopters, after I read and learned all the theory. Even worse!

    I'm now a happy passenger. My point is that waking up wanting to do something doesn't mean you have a passion. Having a passion means you have already been doing it on your bedroom, with the junky cheap kit and have outgrown that equipment. It means you know what you want to do and the only limit is technology. This is then something cash or credit can do for you. Most music producers are constantly upgrading. Your missing element is developed talent. My advice is to buy the cheap kit now and see how good you are. Even cheap kit sounds good. When your ears have developed, then you hear the differences, and then you spend more money. However you might discover that spending days finding just the right sound, or just the right loop mean you get bored. At the moment you simply don't know, do you? It's foolish to invest in equipment before developing your talent, because like me and flying, it could be a surprise to discover wanting badly is no guarantee it will happen.

    Please don't say 'having a passion'. This was a phrase prospective students always rolled out at interview. So we'd always say "show me some examples of your work" and they'd look confused? We'd ask what shows they been in, what bands they'd played in, what types of music they recorded. If they had done nothing, we didn't want them as that's not passion, it's a passing phase.
    Space and pcrecord like this.
  14. studioray

    studioray Active Member

    Get yourself a subscription to Electronic Musician and Mix Magazine and read, read, read. (Or any of the other mags chock full of info) Then fire up your equipment and try to duplicate the techniques that you just read about. Also listen to your favorite records and try to duplicate the sounds that you hear on them. But I mean REALLY try. If you have to work on the EQ for one vocal for 4 hours to find out how to get a certain sound, DO IT. Ditto for compression, reverb or anything else. This will train your ears and many of the techniques you hear on records are knowable through listening and trial & error. When I was starting out, many things that I learned after 5 hours of listening and trying to copy, I then read about later on, and found that I had nailed it perfectly!

    Also Google and youtube are your friends - there's tons of info out there on how to execute just about every recording technique ever used.

    And you can make a career of it if you are REALLY driven. Every one of my friends that wanted to make a career in music has done so. EVERY one. But then again I live in NYC where the demand is higher.

    Lastly, with the bang for the buck that you get with equipment these days, you can make start making records with an investment of $10K or so. If you are doing all electronic, you can definitely get by with that. If you are doing a lot of acoustic instruments and vocals you may need to spend more. Back when I only had around that much invested in my studio I made multiple recordings that got national airplay and charted in Billboard.

    I've also seen a $400 AudioTechnicha 4033 beat out a $3500 Neuman U87 in blind listening, and I've witnessed a hit song mixed on computer speakers. Would a million dollars of equipment be better/faster/easier?? You bet! Would it sound better? Quite likely. Is it absolutely necessary? NO.

    Good luck!

  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Classic Advice.
    Read those trade mags full of ads and shills. That a learn ya :rolleyes: Next thing you'll be buying a $6000 clock and you be telling us all how to record like the pro's do.
    All in fun of course, but far from real.
  16. studioray

    studioray Active Member

    Huh?? Am I reading that wrong or is that a sarcastic reply to my post? Sorry but I am one of the "real engineers and musicians" who has been in this business for decades - and I make a very good living from it. I was trying to share some of the things that helped me to succeed ... why the hostility?
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    All in fun but I have to say, you got to be kidding? You have been in this business for decades and thats the advice you are giving a newbie, to get those particular trade mags and start reading lol ? Are you serious? Nothing but crap and/or steering interviews for the most part.

    Sorry, no hostility, I'm poking you because I cannot believe you really think this. Forums are about as real as it gets, however, they are also full of support for purchase, mass info so you need to be able to read between the lines. Youtube is pretty bad as well. Actually most of what we read is really subjective. Mags are great for ads. Love them for that.

    Sound On Sound is about the only one with integrity.

    Best advice, get a real job that has more truth than luck and do this as a hobby.
  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    @studioray : seriously? you made a living out of recording and your education came from those magazines ?
    I thought the most of them was gear porn (publicity). I'm not sarcastic. I never read them and I want to know if they are really full of good info..
    If so, I'll take a look at them.

    I honestly hope you will answer that you went to school to learn the basics. Or was lucky and started as an intern in a studio.
    I personally think that you need to train your ears and this can take a short or a very long time depending each other aptitudes. Having a push in a professional environement or in school is a must ( I think )

    Learning by myself took a very long time and I'm not living of it. The demands is very low in my area and many of my customers become home recordist after they see what I do. Good thing I have a good day job ;)
    So yeah, making money out of recording gets harder everyday.. we get more than a new newbie everyday on the forum and It's seems like a tendance to buy limited gear to record instead of paying a pro studio. I guess you need to be VERY LUCKY and have a hit song to get noticed. Then it maybe possible to live from it.
  19. studioray

    studioray Active Member

    "All in fun" Oh really? "No hostility"? When I converse with my peers on the other forums, we don't usually say to each other, ""you got to be kidding" "Are you serious?" and "Nothing but crap" Your forum etiquette leaves something to be desired...

    Sorry, but yep, I'm serious. I completely disagree with the "nothing but crap" part. The in-depth interviews with various credible producers and engineers provide a lot of know-how and insight. So do the articles regarding things like mic techniques and compression etc.. I had schooling and a mentor, but after I went out on my own, what I learned from reading those mags was an invaluable addition. And I still read them.

    And as far as "Forums are about as real as it gets" ... well I love the forums as well and have learned tons from them too over the years - but I can't say that they're better than the trades. And they are not the be-all end-all in my opinion. On the downside, forums have many newbies and hobbyists posting misinformation.

    "Google is pretty bad as well." Again I completely disagree. For a newbie wanting to search articles on various techniques, it's very valuable - in my opinion.

    The OP was asking how he could make a career out of recording. Well I have done so full-time for over 20 years, and I support a family with it. I simply wanted to help and stated the experiences and observations that helped me, no need to flame.
    Chris Perra likes this.
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    What is required to become this professional?

    Man, are you touchy.
    I guess we should add drama into things.
    NOTE to the OP. Also be aware of ego and drama and people that will do everything they can to crush you if you disagree or call it out.
    I'm actually giving the OP a taste of this businesses first hand, using this as an example now.
    This is also what you are subject to. Drama and ego just like this. And it comes in the studio all the time. The business is full of this so you need to have a thick skin, not a soft one that will crush the minute you are questioned, faced to expand on why you think something works. Its a wonderful business but full ego and temperament..

    @ studioray, are you offended I used the word crap in the music business? Would BS or hype or misinformation be a better term for trade mag marketing?
    Yes, I have an opinion on trade mags and think this is pretty funny reading a guy with decades of experience is here saying this.

    That Sounds like this useless review:
    shoot-out, hands-down, Winner!
    by Hunter from Nashville, Tn

    Music Background: Producer, Musician, Writer.
    February 19, 2010

    I say Really?
    I don't disagree, AT, Neumann, Shure, DPA etc all make excellent products but,
    This is exactly what I am talking about, and what you don't read about in trade mags. WHY?
    In your own words, why would this have ever happened?

    Please elaborate (and thank you for seeing past the ego and drama here)?

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