Professionalism and Competence in the Home Studio

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ltlredwagon, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. ltlredwagon

    ltlredwagon Guest

    This forum is such a valuable resource and I hope I can get some feedback.

    My son and I write music. My background (music major in college) is classical, orchestral, choral and popular. My son is a budding jazz guitarist and song writer. We want to compose and sell our music. We are setting up a studio in a converted garage. Currently it is G5, ProTools, Digi 002, keyboard controller, software sampler, Behringer, some mics. Just learning. Don't know what the hell we're doing really. A few lifetimes ago I had my own orchestra, but now I don't. I think I'm going to have to get really good at midi, and some of the (very expensive) orchestral samples I've heard recently have given me hope. My son is more leaning towards live recording but loving midi also.

    We both highly value and respect real competence and professionalism, both in instrumental performance and in the technology of recording, and know the dedication and hard work required to achieve it.

    We are NOT interested in getting jobs in the recording industry and we are not interested in starting up a recording business. We DO want to be competent at what we do so that our own products are highly professional and so that if we later decided to offer services to select artists we could do it at a high level.

    In reading the posts at this forum it seems my possibilities are:
    1. School - Full Sail, LA Recording Workshop, Musician's Institute, College Programs. This is tens of thousands and I don't mind paying it if it gets the result I want. But when I look at paying $15 - $30K or so I also have this thought:

    2. I find a guy who is trained and patient and I pay him $30 - $50 an hour to help me set up my studio and train me in my own studio using the exact equipment and software I have selected to create what I want. Seems like 500 - 600 hours of hands-on training in my own studio (with my son and I working away on our own projects between periods of consultation) would be better than any school. I'm happy to be told I'm completely wrong about this if that's the case. Liability: not always easy to find such a person; there are people who very good at what they do who are HORRIBLE as teachers; before you've learned where the power button is you're buried under a mountain of words you don't understand and other things that are so "silly simple" for them and so overwhelmingly complex for you.

    3. Correspondence schools. These are comparatively inexpensive, but I'm doubtful about them being a good place to start. Comments?

    4. Do-it-yourself. Get a little help on the setup and then struggle though horrible manuals, videos, books and learn by experience and through tips from magazines and from forums like this where people offer their experience and insights. Maybe because I AM untrained the whole thing seems more complex than it is.

    I would really appreciate some comments. I know there are true professionals on this site who appreciate my dilemma. I know I am competent as a musician/composer, but I want to be able to get that on to a CD without spending most of my time being the total effect of the hardware and software required to produce that CD. Bob
  2. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    I'm entering my 4th year as a recordist (I'm 42, for what that's worth). I'm not a musician - setting up a little recording business was my goal, so in that regard we are different, but when was getting started I was certainly pretty clueless - and I still have a LOT to learn.

    What I did was just start recording. I was doing a little FOH work for acoustic groups and (with their permission) I recorded every show - no charge. I used that material to learn to mix. My first concert probably took me 100 hours to get to a final mix. I don't know how many times I started back with the raw tracks, but I learned a BUTTload on that project.

    I'd say you need to get some good monitors (you didn't mention monitors) - just start recording and messing around. If you know a good engineer who can help you learn some tricks, get what help you can. Recording and posting the results online will get you lots of help (some of it from losers like me, so be careful!) and in time you'll learn enough that you'll be able to decide for yourself how to expand your toolbox.

    If you have the passion, you'll learn by doing.
  3. tofumusic

    tofumusic Guest

    It's a good situation you're in. I think you could learn alot together on your own and if I were you I'd try it out. As for schools I'd check out the UCLA Extension catalog (online at http://) - they have some pretty good courses. Forums are also invaluable resources and I don't know what I'd do without them... The idea you had about finding someone who's both patient and experienced enough to teach is a good one. If you can do that I'd recommend it, start with maybe 1-3 days a week or something and practise alone also, excellent idea. Best of luck and be sure to use the forums, from what I've seen rarely does a single question ever go unanswered. I can't wait until my boy is old enough to get into this stuff! Have fun.
  4. igloo

    igloo Guest

    be sure to check out reviews of orchestral libraries that rate their flexibility and ease of use.

    If you want it to be powerful and expressive, be prepared to spend big money. Check out Horizon Series Chamber Strings, East West Quantum Leap Orchestra (Gold or Platinum) and Garritan Strings. Check out sites of people who rely on these tools to make music for a living and contact them, asking them for advise.

    There are plenty of composers who work this way before laying real tracks for big budget soundtracks. Maybe you should look for a more MIDI friendly software, such as Logic, MOTU Digital Performer, etc. These allow you to edit and program MIDI info in a more user friendly interface than Pro Tools.

    Check them out, and good luck!


    PS. Even if you can't find a private teacher. Ask people who know this stuff and practice, practice, practice..
  5. ltlredwagon

    ltlredwagon Guest

    Igloo, Tofu, Zemlin – these are very helpful suggestions. Much appreciated. Bob
  6. Ragged

    Ragged Guest

    We were incredibly fortunate in having a grammy winning engineer come out and mix our last album, I learnt more from him in a week than the last five years of intrepid DIY.

    Option number two is a fine idea IMHO, find the best you could possibly afford.


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