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Profile picture for user Austin R

Please excuse me if this is in the wrong section and if this has already been asked a million times.

I'm 18 years old and currently attending a community college here in town for an associates degree in business. My passion in life is music (How many times have you guys heard THAT before?). As cliche as that sounds, it's true. I've been in a few bands and have some basic recording experience. I'm able to hold a pretty basic conversation about recording and sound in general (at least I like to think I can lol). I've run live sound on several occasions and got very positive responses from people on the sound of the show. I feel like a pretty driven kid when it comes to things I enjoy. If I enjoy it and set my mind to it, I can pretty much accomplish anything.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me ask, would a school like [[url=http://[/URL]=""]The Recording connection[/]=""]The Recording connection[/], which claims to offer live, on the job experience in real studios with actual recording professionals, be a worthwhile investment? This sounds extremely attractive seeing that I learn best when I work with someone who actually does, what I'm trying to learn, well.

Sorry if that sounded like rambling lol


Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Mon, 11/02/2015 - 19:50

I used to get interns from Chillicothe ( The Recording Connection) all the time, and in my experience, none of them had gotten their money's worth. I'm certainly not against anyone getting an education in this field ( or in any field for that matter), and in fact, I urge people to do so if they are serious about entering this craft... but 6 weeks is nowhere near a long enough period in which to learn what you need to learn in this business to start working at a pro studio - not too mention that there's not a whole lot of work left to even get at commercial studios anymore, with so many of them shutting down in the past few years.

If you look at it as a sort of "introduction to audio recording" course, or as a way to find out if this is really what you want to do, then you probably won't be disappointed, but you'll certainly want to follow that up with more education.
They can't teach you what you need to know in six weeks; and since you're going to be sharing lab time ( actual studio time) with other students, it's not like you'll be getting a one on one education for that six week period.

Most studio owners I knew felt similar to me, based on their own experiences with these "graduates"; in that they also found that not very many of the students knew much. I had probably 20 interns from Chillicothe over the 18 or so years I owned my own studio(s), and out of that 20 or so, I don't recall any one of them being able to walk into a session and engineer on their own. There was one student from the RW who had it together, and he was vey knowledgeable, but he'd also taken it upon himself to follow up his time at Chillicothe with private instruction afterwards.

In fact, that's how I met him. His instructor was an acquaintance of mine and had booked some time at my studio after hours so he could teach this student, and they would rent my control room so that they could record and mix. I actually ended up hiring him ( the student) a few months later, and he eventually became a great engineer. But, he didn't get to be that good because of his time at Chillicothe. ;)

But know this: Times have changed. With so many home studios popping up, and so many pro studios closing, there's not much - if any - work to be had for entry-level engineers anymore. Albums aren't made as much in studios as much anymore as they are on laptop computers in airport lounges between flights. LOL

If you happen to have designs about opening your own commercial studio, know first that the competition is ridiculously high. The wide access to cheap recording gear has created hundreds of "studios" in basements and bedrooms around the world. If you still want to go through with it, you'd probably be better off to seek out a local community or city college and take a course in Pro Tools. Then, talk to one of the instructors about taking additional courses on mic technique, gain structure, midi, and processing. If you can find an instructor who will teach you privately, that's your best bet. But don't go into this thinking you're gonna get rich, cause you won't. There are thousands of veteran engineers - cats who are skilled, talented and highly experienced - who are barely scraping by these days, and many of them have very high end gear; some have easily a hundred grand invested in preamps, mics, room treatment, monitors, and computer systems, that they'll likely never even break even on, never mind making any profit. Unless you find some kind of specialized niche, you'll just end up one of a hundred home studios within a 200 mile radius of where you live scraping by on very low revenue.

Are you sure you want to do this? From what I understand, there's a very high demand for Paramedics, Nurses, and other health care industry people these days...

If you want to be able to pay your bills, audio engineering would probably be one of the last things I would suggest as a career anymore... ;)

Just sayin'.


Profile picture for user DM60

DM60 Tue, 11/03/2015 - 08:16

Sweetwater offers weekend classes on recording, live mixing etc. at their site in Eastern Indiana. About $1500 with hotel. I suggest you check them out and investing on a weekend won't hurt anything, and $1500 is a cheap in. They also run live mixing classes, so it is not a bad place to start.

While recording and mixing live are not the same, there are some overlaps and you could get a lot of practice doing live gigs. You might want to check that out before you spend too much money and not get what you are looking for. Just my 0.05.

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Wed, 11/04/2015 - 04:06

Mixing Live at a club and engineering a recording and/or mix session isn't really the same thing, although as DM mentions, there are some overlaps; such as mic placement, gain structure, cue mixes, and busing/routing.

And while your experience in live mixing could perhaps put you ahead of other beginners wanting to do the same thing, it wouldn't be enough to have you walk into any well-equipped studio feeling comfortable enough to do an actual session.

But there's so much that Live mixing doesn't cover about audio recording - editing, processing, midi, multi mic technique, acoustics, etc.

There are engineers who do both live sound and studio sessions - but that comes from both formally taught and accumulated knowledge, and years of hands on experience doing both.

You could try calling a local mid-level studio and see if they'd give you paid private one on one instruction; some might do this, and then again, some might not; those that would, will probably look at you as any other paying client, and if their numbers are down, they'll book anything to get their revenue up. Those that decline will probably do so out of their own protection, because they're not going to want to train someone who could end up being an eventual regional competitor, should you decide to open your own studio at some point, which is a very real consideration, considering that there just aren't all that many jobs left at studios across the country anymore.

Some things to think about:

If you do decide to pursue audio recording as a career, and if you do stick with it and eventually decide to open your own place, you'll eventually understand why those who initially turned down your request for instruction did so. You'll find out that you will be competing with hundreds of other little "studios" - that are mostly in operation to serve the musicians or songwriters who own them - and who charge a few bucks on the side to record others for pocket money; out of which, very few will actually know what they are doing in the craft of audio recording and production.

Cheap gear and recording technology has become so accessible to the masses these days - anyone with a computer ( which pretty much means everybody) along with a free or cracked copy of Reason, S1 or Sonar, a cheap Behringer mic and a Tascam preamp/digital i-o, can record their own music. So, for an investment of around $300 ( not including the computer), they now have their own "studio". They haven't invested much, so they don't need to charge much to recoup that investment, nor do they have the right to charge any more than just a few bucks per hour, because their gear isn't pro-caliber, and because they really don't have a clue as to what audio engineering is really about.

The result is that most of them put out pretty awful-sounding material, partly because of the gear they use, partly because of the acoustics of the space they record and mix in, but mostly because of their lack of knowledge and experience - but that won't matter to their clients, who have grown accustomed to that cheap sound as being the standard, because they've never had a chance to compare the differences between a home recording rig and a real studio. The things is, regardless of how cheap their sound is, these home recording rooms will absolutely eat into your business. You'll find out, as so many others have, how difficult it can be to try to explain and justify to potential clients why you are charging $80 per hour, when the guy down the street is charging $15.

Most of the guys here on RO who now have their own home studios worked for years in standalone commercial facilities, and they learned the craft over the years on very good quality gear - and at a time when there weren't 50 home "studios" charging money to record in a town with a population of 20,000 people. When they did decide to open their own studios at home, they had their years of experience from working countless sessions, and along with installing some very nice audio gear, they also treated their rooms so that they could achieve good sonics. Unfortunately, these people don't make up the majority. The majority is the typical home recording rooms I've described above.

It's not my intention to talk you out of doing this if you have your heart set on it, Austin. But I feel as though someone needs to tell you, in no uncertain terms, what the reality of today's recording business is really like.

Those that are doing well in the business have managed to find a specialized niche', a particular service offered that sets them apart from the hundreds of other little recording rooms that continue to pop up almost daily these days.

Are you still sure you want to do this? ;)

Maybe you should look at training to be an engineer. and then, instead of opening your own studio like so many others, start applying at the companies that make the software and the gear - If I were you, at your age jut starting out, I'd learn how to write code and then seek out a job developing software and gear at companies like Waves, IK Multimedia, UAD, Slate, ... or, Presonus, or Avid, etc. Right now, those companies are the ones making the most money off of the home studio market - because in many ways, they've been responsible for creating it.


Profile picture for user kmetal

kmetal Fri, 11/06/2015 - 06:45

If you know the basics of daw operation, and have run some live sounds, you've got a similar base to what recording connection offers. I know becasue my boss teaches for them at our studio.

I say just keep getting gigs, and go try to either take lessons or volunteer at a studio, see what it's like. While your young you can take some time to experience it, and see where you fit in the studio life, and if the life suits your needs. You'll find out if you want it to be full time, or part of your career. There's no other way, as academic and technical programs do not simulate the real world. I know music program graduates who have recorded less than a dozen bands... Years and thousands later.

It's not the jargon it mix ability that makes or breaks people, it's the lifestyle, and the economy. The late hours, the shitty pay, the drugs, high overhead costs, and broke mucisians. The lifestyle is what it becomes, art is not a job it's a lifestyle. It's not for everyone, and it can't be experienced wholly in an institution.