Help Needed - Career depends on it!!

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by SPIT, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. SPIT

    SPIT Guest

    Having to choose between two universities at the moment, they both have their equal shares of good and bad points. However, i have a question, which i suppose may be a bit idiotic, but i want to know what you think.

    At UNIVERSITY 1, they have 2 control rooms hooked up to 2 live rooms.They have 1 post production room and 4 production rooms. Each room is fully kitted out and professionally finished. Here are images of the studios : Case
    Equipment based around Yamaha NS10s/Tannoy Reveals, Tascam Control Surfaces, Yamaha mixers and numerous outboard gear. Mainly PC- Based running Cubase SX 3 and Nuendo.

    UNIVERSITY 2 however, matches university 1 on equipment: running Yamahas/Tannoys etc, Digidesign Surfaces, Yamaha mixers and numerous outboard gear again. This uni owns an equal amount of Macs as to PCs, and runs lots more software: Pro-Tools, Cubase SX2 and Logic, also runs Linux along with Windows. The difference here is that university 2 has "studios in boxes". What i mean by this is that the 'studios' are just lots of equipment placed on workbenches within acoustically treated 'sheds'. The presentation of them is awful and there are wires everywhere. The 'live' rooms are just normal rooms with black curtains draped around the equipment. It looks shoddy, and as if no decent work could come of it. Kinda like this with dusty black curtains placed around the equipment.


    Questions are:

    What would your choice be if you had to choose between these two and why?


    Would the building of the studios in UNI 2 produce lower quality results? I say this as the main live room and control room in UNI 2 are just two rooms next door to eachother, which a shoddy piece of glass in the walls. It all looks a bit dodgy.

    The reason im asking is because university 2 is where id prefer to go (as the area is better - although it doesnt matter if i have to go uni 1), but the facilities are making me doubt it. hope you can help, and you can answer honestly

  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    So... just where do you think you're going to find a gig once you get out of school? :? It's getting a little harder than chinese algebra to find a gig... and the schools are turning them out at a fast and furious pace meaning there is more competition now for fewer entry level positions in the history of recorded sound.

    Here in the US "Cello" in LA just closed, "Hit Factory" in NYC just annonced that the building will be 'equipment free' come the end of March... and there is a line forming right behind them with more and more closures on the way.

    So... your options will be to perhaps find something in video post [one of the few areas where audio is growing] but remember that audio is the red headed stepchild of video so don't expect much love from that area of the industry... or if you want to get involved with music you will either end up as a slave at some shithole or opening your own shop [and if you choose the latter route, you're gonna wish you hadn't wasted your money on school].

    From looking at the pictures it seems that "Uni-1" is better capitalized than "Uni-2" which means they can probably afford better "professors"... now at some places their teaching staff is comprised of real professionals who no longer wanted to live the lifestyle of 15 hour days and 6-7 day weeks... but that is the exception rather than the norm.

    The norm is punque assed bitches who couldn't buy a gig in the real world so they took a chump change gig teaching at one of these "trade school Universities"... in other words, the majority of the instruction staff at these joints can run the software but don't really have a clue about what real engineering is all about.

    I would have to say that you may stand a chance of learning a bit more at "Uni-1", especially in terms of microphone selection and placement as you won't be fighting the piss poor acoustics of the rooms found at "Uni-2".

    If you're going to open your own shop someday then having at least kind of experienced what a "real" room can sound like will be of great assistance. The real fact of the matter is that the equipment is $*^t in both schools... but neither will be working on teaching you how to really "listen" for the subtle nuance of tone and timbre as it relates to the song at hand... but you might [hopefully through ossmosis] pick up the vibe on how a proper room might sound.

    Let me also mention that if you're serious about wanting to learn the craft that you investigate some other schools. Schools that have 4 year programs designed to give the student a broad background in theory as well as "operation" of the recording equipment.

    In the US there are several schools of that nature... University of Miami; Middle Tennessee State University; Berklee College of Music; University of Massachusetts-Lowell to name the first ones that come to mind. I'm sure there are similar courses of study within the UK.

    At the end of your time in school you should have learned basic acoustic theory, basic music theory, basic audio theory [what is phase, what is polarity, what is headroom, what are the differences in microphone design, how do the various gain reduction cells in dynamics reduction devices work and how will that knowledge apply to your work (OK... I'm stretching it here a bit but work with me)]. You should also have studied basic business administration, basic science and have a handle on rudimentary math... etc.

    Bottom line is that you may want to find more options than these two schools... or at least visit the two schools and try to determine if their teaching staff have actually done something in the "real world" before they failed and crawled into the warm belly of academia.

    Best of luck with all you do.
  3. THeBLueROom

    THeBLueROom Member

    Jan 15, 2005
    IMHO, don't waste your time with either of these "schools", they aren't going to get you any better gigs. If you want some sort of flashy backup degree, pick schools like Full Sail or Xpressions Center for new media. They have all around programs that can get you experience in enough areas to help you start your own gig and make decent money at it. Odds are your career won't be in audio engineering if you want to make lots of money, there isn't really any money in it...seriously. But if you are doing it out of love of audio, just get into a internship at a real studio and learn what you can there, that will benefit you more than wasting a bunch of money on a third rate "school". I know this is not what you want to hear, but you asked ;)
  4. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Lowell MA
    Home Page:
    Well, I went to an accredited university, University of Massachusetts at Lowell. My degree is a bachelors of music with emphasis is Sound Recording Technology. It was hard. I had math upto calculus II, intro to C programming and intro electrical engineering which were not fun and on top of that I had all the gen. ed stuff and also muisic courses(theory, solfege, intrument lessons, ensemble..) and then of course, the sound recording courses. The degree has the highest amount of total credits at the university, if i recall correctly.
    I had in-state tuition that was $2,700 a semester which is cheap for a state university, i think. If you want to learn about "JUST" recording dont go there. But if want to learn about recording but also have well rounded and diverse degree in music with all the other gen ed. classes then go there. I am proud of that degree and the education I recieved and no one can take that away from me. Link below...

    UMass Lowell SRT
  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Everything you've read here so far is good solid advice. I would only ad a few things to what's already been stated here.

    If you ARE going to invest your time in one of those schools, just for laughs; ask them to show you their placement rate for graduates. REALLY. Don't take some BS answer of percentages; put their grubby feet to the fire and ask to see a list. (The room will get VERY quiet and you'll hear crickets and tumbleweeds at that point, I assure you.)

    Personally, I don't like stand-alone "Recording" Schools, no matter how sexy their gear or control rooms look in the brochures. If you're gonna go to college, do it right, and get a fully rounded (and accredited) degree. 20, 30 years down the line, you'll understand why. There is no "quick fix" to getting "Schooled" in this biz. (Hint: Most of what you learn, you will come by ON YOUR OWN. Most of this stuff has to come from somewhere within you; the rest is just details. You either have it, or you don't. It CANNOT be taught. The only thing you'll probably learn is what button to push.)

    Audio schools are not like convenience stores or shopping malls where you show up, pay your $$, and walk out with a career. It just doesn't work that way. I'll go as far as stating that choosing a career in audio is like choosing your sexuality: It's there from birth; you know it because it is in your DNA. You have it, or you don't.

    I'm of two minds regarding the need for College/School in this (or any other business.) Frankly, there are only a few occupations where you can't skip the degree. One is medicine, the other is law. Just about any other occupation is up for grabs if you want to take the hard route (self-taught) or the "easy" route (school.)

    Several of my closest associates (all over 45) are completely without college, but doing incredibly well in their careers (not nec. audio, that is.) Of course, they are the exceptions, just like the 300-400 NBA or NFL Players that grab the brass ring and make it "pro" without college every year or so. Not everyone can pull it off, and not everyone should. It's a very tough go making it in life without college, unless you really want to work hard at it, because you love it.

    On the other hand, four years of a good school can't hurt you at all; you end up with a degree that you will probably NEVER need to show anyone ten, twenty years down the pike,, but you're DONE with it and out, legitimately. (I swear to you on everything that I own that NO ONE, NOT A SINGLE CLIENT, ever asked to see proof of my music degree (BA) from college. Even though it's on a wall in my studio. But I wouldn't go back and change that experience for anything. I learned a LOT MORE than just music in those years.)

    But here's the real bottom line: neither school (legit or "Hard Knocks Univ") will get you there unless you activate your career yourself: Network with other people, go to trade shows, read EVERYTHING you can get your hands on, partake in online forums (like this one), build your website, volunteer when necessary (of course you've got to eat, but don't do EVERYTHING for the $$$), blow stuff up, fix stuff, build stuff, record stuff, mix stuff, FINISH stuff, and get experienced in any way you can. EVERYTHING is an opportunity, and "College" or "Audio School" isn't going to create that for you.

    "Good Fortune" is the result of good luck meeting preparation. Remember that, wherever you end up. When you're ready, your fate will find you.
  6. SPIT

    SPIT Guest

    looks to me like i posted in the wrong forum :shock:

    Im from England, so i guess these "schools" (which are universities) are much much different than your idea is over the ocean. Its nothing to do with getting 'gigs' its about learning. Im going to learn about studio practice, electronics, composition, acoustics etc from professionals.

    I just asked whether the difference between good and bad studios would inhibit the learning at all?

  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Admittedly many of us swat flies with bazookas, but since you asked for opinions, you may have gotten more than you wanted to hear. Sorry....not.

    Off you go, then! :)

    Cheers, and all that; write when you find work.
  8. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Neuse River Watershed
    Home Page:

    If you're just looking for a cool school in which to study audio engineering with no thought to a career, that's cool. What threw all of us Yanks was your subject line.

    I have a nice recording studio and I make decent money with good benefits and true stability.

    My secret to success? My studio is a hobby and supported by my real job. :wink:
  9. Doc53

    Doc53 Guest

    Although there hasn't been a posting here in quite a while I figured I would add my two cents.

    Do lots of research, you can go anywhere and learn how to become, what Ken Pohlman once refered to as, a "knob Jockey". If you commit yourself to something, you want to do it correctly.

    Two East Coast US programs I found to be impressive are John's Hopkins five year Music Engineering program at Peabody and the University of Miami Music Engineering (MUE) program with Ken Pohlman. However, both are extremly competitive and require a music audition as well as verbal & math SAT scores in the 1400+ range.
  10. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    Kirkland WA
    Home Page:
    I would take a look at the graduates, what are they doing now?

    Are they working in the industry or flipping burgers.

  11. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    Talk to former students of the schools about their teachers and where they currently are in their careers.

    The school and its equipment is not as important as the instructors. Their credits may be impressive, but many of them can't teach worth a damn. I've learned more in two day power seminars where the instructor conveyed his knowledge and passion than during entire semesters with clock punchers who were teaching to collect a paycheck.
  12. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    I'll 2nd JoeH's responce.
    The equipment is almost irrelevant. Most of it will be obsolete by the time you graduate. Don't go to a school to learn how to run a piece of gear. Go to school to learn the basics, the theory, and get an all around education, and you will have also learned how to teach yourself how to run the gear.
    I know it's tempting to go to the school with all the pretty bits. But I would pick the school with the better repair dept. If no one is keeping all the stuff working, it doesn't really matter what they have, or how it's set up.
  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Spit - there are many criteria other than equipment when choosing an audio engineering course. The number one thing is the teaching. If the teaching is good, you can make good recordings on the most basic of equipment and under less-than-ideal studio conditions. Conversely, having the best gear that money can buy is pointless if you are not taught how to make proper use of it.

    I've been involved with a number of UK university audio tech courses, and with few exceptions, they are all good, and some are outstanding. Of the two that you highlighted, both York and Leeds Met are good, and, in that part of the world, Huddersfield is outstanding. If you were to go further south, Anglia Ruskin and Hertfordshire have well thought out and imaginative courses and achieve excellent results.

    Look beyond the hardware and choose a course that stimulates your imagination and inspires you to become the great audio engineer that's lurking inside you.
  14. willieturnip

    willieturnip Guest

    Number 2, gotta love macs :p

  15. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    One piece of advise that appears to be missing here that I feel (as a teacher myself) a need to point out.
    All of the above opinions are correct, but also consider the student body. I've learned this from one of the finest professional orchestra players I know who also happens to be a brilliant writer as well.
    Be in a school where you are not only challenged by a knowlegeable staff, but one where you challenge and are challenged by your peers. The time in front of a teacher/professor is one thing, but the time spent problem solving, creating, experimenting and really learning (not just spewing back what you've been taught) is where much of the "real world" knowledge comes from.
    Also, the idea that an education at the college/university level has become "job training" has really taken off in the US since the mid 80's and it doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, I think it will continue to get worse. The rise of college level AP courses being taught in high schools all over the country is merely speeding up the process so that students are almost declaring majors by the time they're 16 years old.
    It doesn't look pretty from here.


Share This Page