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Thread: The Journey of the Engineer. I want to hear YOUR story.

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtoDeficient View Post
    . . I HAD a story. . .Typed the whole thing. . . then it never posted. . .

    But that's okay. I guess my jorney isn't over yet.




    And woah. I though this thread was deleted or something. Didn't notice it went to a sticky

  2. #22
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    Great Thread!!!!

    I'm 60 this year - so obviously I started in the days of 2" tape.

    I started first as a musician, recording live "sessions" with 2 room mics to 1/4" reel to reel back in the mid 60's. That grew to two 1/4" reel to reel and lots of bouncing of tracks.

    In the late 60's and early 70's I was in a couple of bands that recorded in commercial studios ranging from 4 track to 8 track to 16 track (we thought 16 track was the "big time" - and it was back then.) I spent as much time as I could hanging in the control rooms and asking questions when the engineers had a free minute.

    I started to get calls to be a session drummer in a few local studios - which allowed me to hang more and occasionally help set up mics and do the things an "assistant engineer" would do. I often was any extra pair of hands for complex mixes etc. (long before automation)

    Eventually, I bought a 4 track cassette (anyone remember Fostex?) and I soon upgraded to a 8 track 1/4'reel to reel (at that point I thought I was on a fast track to professional engineering heaven).

    Within a few years ADAT came out and I bought one to sync with my 8 track reel to reel (15 tracks). Soon I had two ADATs and was mixing to 2 track DAT.

    After a couple of years I went to computer - using Cakewalk - at first for the MIDI while still recording guitars and vocals to ADAT - and a year or 2 later went completely to computer.

    While I now have more tracks available than I could ever use, and more processing options and editing capabilities than hours of the day allow ........... sadly, I now spend more time with my nose in technical manuals than I spend with my hands on an instrument.

    I still have't decided if the transition is a good thing or bad thing.

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    I was born, a poor black child...

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    Hey, I can tell that there are many people in this thread who know a hell of a lot about production and engineering. I don't have much of a story yet, I guess im just a starry eyed kid trying to make some hiphop music that people can enjoy.
    So to be blatantly honest, I came fore some advice. I have been recording in a tiny closet on a yeti usb microphone using garageband to do all my post production (I know, it is very advanced :P)
    But next year me and a few friends are getting a place together and we are setting up a studio, most likely in a medium sized bedroom.
    I have done some research and with my budget (between 3-4 thousand) I found a couple pieces of equipment that seem appropriate.
    For a microphone I am debating between the Rode K2 and the Nuemann TLM 103, any experience with these?
    I heard great things about the FMR RNC-1773 compressor, it is also very cheap
    I downloaded Logic pro 9, and I was wondering what plugins or tricks you could recommend.
    Finally, I was going to spend a few hundred dollars on bass traps and other sound-designing objects.

    I know that I have many questions, but I would really appreciate if you veterans could give me some advice.
    Thanks for your time

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by btref View Post
    I know that I have many questions, but I would really appreciate if you veterans could give me some advice.
    My advice is that you ask specific questions in the specific forums. We have a mic forum, a studio building forum and a digital forum that would address your specifically mentioned needs and you'd get quicker attention there.

  6. #26
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    Brand new to the forum and wanted to share my story!

    I started off in high school recording in a guys basement studio and decided... ONE DAY I WILL HAVE ONE OF THOSE! BUT BETTER!

    Life took a bunch of twists and turns. I ended up playing minor league baseball, teaching, engaged etc. etc. etc. Finally music was able to make its way back into my life. In 2009 I turned my sisters old room into a studio (kind of) and recorded a full length album with my bandmate Ron. Though the songs for The Echo Project were a little generic, we were very happy with what we had accomplished. I learned so much about how to record audio digitally, and even more about how to mix.

    Now our creativity has evolved... We're also becoming more ANALOG. I own a Reel to Reel that we track some guitar on, and sometimes vocals. Then we transfer back inside the box. Sounds warm and fuzzy! I moved into a new house and have designated 2 rooms to my studio. Its not much. An amp/vocal room and a control room. The control room is pictured at the bottom of the page. The bands name is now Kid Everything and we are in the middle of creating a very experimental concept album that deals with the "construction" and the "deconstruction" of sound. I won't go into much detail because I this isn't a page to tout about my band... I am just very excited with what we're doing. You can read more at the link posted in my signature. Long story short... For this album, I will actually be recording the audio sounds of tuning guitars, taking instruments apart, putting them together, and even destroying them! I will soon be sacrificing a 25 dollar craigslist electric guitar for the sake of this album. The middle of it involved chaos and dissonance, and will feature the audio of a broken guitar in the background. It will be interesting to hear how it comes out; I have never heard a professionally recorded track that has the sounds of a breaking guitar in it. It may prove difficult to not peak the sound, and I also don't want to completely squash the sound either!

    Anyway... all of your studio pictures look great! Here is mine, from the best angle my iphone could get. More gear to the right. Amp room not pictured.

    Thanks for providing such a great forumn for people to share on.photo-jpg

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    I like the idea of this thread, but I don't have a story yet.

    As for the technique I think the world will be in amazement at, it's not exactly a technique, but I really hope that the world appreciates the talent of all aspects of a song, not just the common pop star singer, but the musicians who play the backing track, the sound engineer etc...
    [SOUNDCLOUD]http://soundcloud.com/ollie-kaye/let-me-go[/SOUNDCLOUD]
    check out my band [URL="https://www.facebook.com/blindsummittheband"]Blind Summit[/URL]

  8. #28
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    I will add my short and evolving story. It started for me when I was about 12. My mom and step dad were both very music people (my step dad recording his own album on some type of 4 track recorder?). My mother bought a keyboard and my step dad had several guitars. My mom started playing and I was able to mimic what she could play, within a few days I was able to play back some decent pieces but I didn't know anything about music or notes or anything else (Come on I was 12!). Anyway so I decided I wanted to learn about music. I loved to sing so my mother decided joining the school chorus was a good choice. Signed up, they had auditions, I passed and was allowed to join. Unfortunately I was the only male that made the team that year and as such I was going to have to do all the male parts solo which sounded fine. First day of real practice came up, my part came up and I choked. Left the class dropped it and was done with music. Even to the point where I quit singing in the car.

    Fast forward and I'm now 25. I have worked in the computer industry since I was 13 and just quit. I moved into a new job which kept my girlfriend at the time (wife now) and I moving alot. Every 2 - 6 months we pack up and off to a new spot. Often in tiny towns without much to do. My wife had seen me a few times at best buy or a music store play the keyboards so she suggested I try to learn an instrument. I picked up a guitar and got to work. I love playing it and I'm still learning every day. Since then I've started work on a few more instruments (keyboard, drums, violin, whatever I can get my hands on). Finally this year (I'm 29) I decided I really wanted to sing and I started taking vocal lessons.

    Even though my vocal coach doesn't approve I was using my computer alot to try and help figure out my problems (record, play back, cry, record, cry). As I started doing it more and more I started wondering about the differences and what makes a recording sound good. I started reading and gathering the basics to make a half decent recording and started reading online. I've looked around town to try and find studios to learn from or to get someone to "share the secrets" but haven't had any luck. Finally I stumble across this forum and started reading. There is more information here than I could get through in a couple years. So I will learn from this place and my story will continue. I'm back in a steady location now and have gone back into computer work. I figured with a background in computers the computer recording part should come pretty easy. I don't think I've ever been more wrong about anything in my life. I can hook it up and make it record but I'll be damned if I understand much about any of the settings.

    Not an engineer but everyone starts somewhere. Maybe in a few more years I'll have something new to add to the story.

  9. #29
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    I've had the bug since I read a home recording feature in stereo review magazine (US publication) in the 70's. They used a Tascam 8 track to record a jazz band.
    I'm both an amateur musician and recording enthusiast. My first rig was my grandfather's old 4 channel Dokorder reel to reel.
    You could multitrack with it and even "punch in" I only had an acoustic and electric guitar, but when I wanted to put some bass on there I would string the electric with two of the fattest strings I could buy, tune down an octave and mute the strings at the bridge with toilet paper.

  10. #30
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    I started off writing poetry in Grade school, then decided to become an EMCEE after hearing Redman's first single "Blow Ya Mind". I Always had a penchant for the arts like drawing, creative writing, acting, and music. I became interested in recording my own vocals and making my own beats in 96. I didn't have the money to go to a studio and I didn't know any producers to get beats from. So I started doing everything myself. My ears were always great. Even before recording and mixing. In music theory class, my teacher always said how great my ears were and to always trust them. Whenever the school nurse did the hearing tests on us with those big ass noise canceling headphones where she'd push a button on a box then there would be a beep that was loud to soft...I always aced those tests.

    As a kid, we used to always have two boom boxes. One with the beat to a song playing (cuz B-sides on tapes usually had the instrumentals) and the other with the mic recording. Man those were the days.

    My first piece of music equipment was a Boss DR-5 drum machine. It had three instrument tracks and one drum/percussion track. But damn if I didn't create some incredible beats at the time once I got the hang of it. I had guys coming over to my place that owned all this beat making equipment listening to my work asking "You got all that sound out of that little box??" Once I became ready to record, I bought a Tascam 488 MKII digital tape recorder. I could've went with the four track model but the 488 had 8 tracks. All of the cassette tapes I used were like the Maxwell digital tapes that could record crystal clear at high speeds. Since the 488 recorded at double the speed usually, I was always making incredibly clear songs. You could only record on one side of the tape though. EQing on that thing was decent but I had no compressor or pop screen so my vocals were always distorted because I felt they had to be at least a little in the red. Yet my vocals on the MKII were a lil too much in the red. Hey, chalk it up to inexperience.

    Pretty soon those tapes were beginning to slow me down. I needed more space, better quality and faster recording speeds. Plus I wanted that true digital sound that tape couldn't offer. So I stacked some money, and traded in my 488 MKII for a Roland VS-840. The VS-880 was out but the machine costed nearly $3K and the VS-840 was a condensed unit of the VS-880 line and was only $1.1K. The VS-840 recorded on Iomega Zip disks. The model I had would only do up to 100mb zips. There was a model that did 250mb but it was more expensive and I couldn't afford it. Coulda just bought a 250mb internal drive to replace the original but its cool no worries, besides..zips were becoming cheaper and cheaper. I could buy a pack of 5 for like $60 then they started dropping even more in price.

    That VS-840 was incredible! Onboard effects, 4 regular tracks with 4 stereo tracks (2 banks of a 2 channel track), 64 virtual tracks, the ability to record at different speeds for CD quality sound, all the way down to live sound, mixing and mastering capabilities...and if I bought the optional CD-Rom drive I could burn my own CDs right from the finished mix in the board. But alas I didn't buy it. The DR-5 was from Boss and since its the same company as Roland, many of the features worked together like the time sync. We could sync the two tempos (non-midi, just using the built in metronomes on both units and our ears) then play back the parts of our beats on the DR-5 we wanted to dump into the 840...then go back, clear those tracks on the Dr-5 and add more to the beat. Local artists would come through and we'd have all kinds of sessions. Since I got to work with so many diverse artists, I developed my ears even better. Shit, working with Blue Raspberry from Wu-Tang was the toughest sessions I ever did. That chick put my board through its paces!! hahaaaa Seriously...who uses 7-10 tracks for adlibs and underruns alone??? The only way I was able to get the music off the 840 (like the 488) was to use this old ass Bose tape deck/radio/turntable. It was like from 1975 or something. It had RCA audio inputs which was good. Since we used the digital HIFI blank tapes (expensive as hell), we could get a crisp sound from digital to analog. I even had the Bose speakers that went with it. They were kick ass but were completely stereo so my mixes from the 840 weren't coming out that hot. It was better than the 488 but only by a slight stretch. I was able to overcome the distortion issues with the vocals when a neighboring engineer showed me how to use and tweak the built in compressor. After he showed me that my songs came out sounding so much better. I never forgot how to tweak my compressors and that created a passion in me to create more of my own effects from the various ones on the effect board.

    You know...the one advice I must give to budding engineers is this: Never tell anyone who has their own studio that you do your own engineer work. Just pay for a few sessions of studio time. Go in the booth, make your songs and sit in while they're mixing and just watch. Ask a few questions here and there about the stuff you see on your own equipment and how the other engineers use it. Most times they'll love the fact that you seem to be interested in recording and engineering that they'll just ramble on and on. Take mental notes only on the most import answers. Truth be told, if you have plugins and software that have the same features as the big studios, chances are they will work the same way. All you need to do is get your acoustics right.

    My DR-5 got stolen from my group member's house...that stagnated my music creations. Without that box, the VS-840 wasn't doing much. The casio keyboard we had was general midi and had the crappiest synth sounds ever. Smh...I eventually got the DR-5 back from the thief, but it was month's later and my VS-840 wasn't working right because we used it so much we damn near wore it out! haha. Talk about a no win situation.

    I still wrote songs and would go to other studios from time to time, but I really wanted my own again. There is complete freedom in doing what you love on your own without having someone tell you what to do. I needed a way to make beats again. I still had the 840 but then upgraded the zip drive to a 250mb, so it worked go again. During my 488 days, I met a local producer from Atlantic City that made some of the hottest beats I ever heard besides my own. The problem was, he would always use samples in his beats. I would ask if he played out certain tracks...always got a "no, thats a sample." I already knew I just wanted him to confirm. All of my beats were sample free because the DR-5 couldn't sample and I didn't have, need, or want a sampler. To hell with that. If I was gonna make beats I wanted them to be my own. My producer friend asked me if I sampled, I told him never. I hated the thought of having all that talent but then taking someone else's creation and make it my own like I was really doing something. He was so impressed that I never sampled, that he decided to do more original works and less sampling. Then one day a few years later after having lost touch with him, I bumped into him again and he was so excited to tell me how he improved his style, still did sampling but was making even more original beats. The stuff he played for me on CD was incredible and started making my music sound...lame. lol Guess what he was using to make beats?? The original Playstation MTV Music Generator!! OMFG That little game/app/software was INCREDIBLE!!! You could even sample with it! I didn't care to sample but the MTV Music Generator made it that much more enticing to try out. Still, I would make more original beats than anything. I was back on it. The Generator was my life saver. Thank you MTV...for publishing such a wonderful product...then fucking it up in the PS2 version. The beats from the Generator and my VS-840 went together like hotcakes and sausage. I had brand new music, and I had a new, more contained, flow. The only problem I had was getting my music OFF the VS-840. I was still using an old 1975 Bose tape recorder. I eventually upgraded to a CD recorder and had a computer to record songs into as well.

    In 2001 I started going to the Art Institute in Philadelphia for computer animation. Didn't like it...too much drawing, so I switched my major to Graphic Design. That was the best move ever. Someone in one of my classes was fooling around with this software making beats. His track wasn't the best but it was in tune, and quantized. He was placing all these little colorful blocks all over the screen and the software would trigger each block as the transport bar went past. I was amazed! It looked just like the MTV Generator. I had found my newest software to make beats! The DR-5 was dead and gone by that time. I asked the dude what the software was, he said "Its called Fruity Loops 3"...I made the connection between the blocks with colors and the name. He gave me a copy of it and I immediately started crafting tracks. It was like the MTV Generator on CRACK AND STEROIDS!! Before it was called FLStudio, it was Fruity Loops, and I still have beats I made on Fruity Loops 3. The same guy who introduce me to Fruity Loops also gave me a copy of Cool Edit Pro. Just so happens that support for Cool Edit Pro went out the window after Adobe purchased the software and turned it into Adobe Audition...It was cool, same software just a different package. Adobe Audition 1.5 became my baby. I mastered that software and still use it to this day. Lately I've been using other, more up to date software like Adobe Audition CS6, Mixpad, And Audacity, but 1.5 is still my baby. With Izotope Ozone, my songs always came out great. Even before I had Ozone, I still had incredible mixes. Most of the songs on my Soundcloud page were made with Adobe Audition 1.5 except Beasting On Them Boys...I used CS6 and Unknown Angel I used my ipod touch and an app called Music Studio for the vocals (but there's no Auto Noise Reduction for the mic support in that app) and Mixpad to mix the vocals I pulled off the iPod. If you listen closely you can hear seagulls in the background and cars/buses too. I was outside recording. Homeless at the time but still able to do music with an iPod Touch and an old HP Laptop.

    Its not what you got, but how you use it. Never give yourself an excuse not to do. Give yourself a reason to do and figure it out.

    I still go to pro studios. Been in all sorts of them. Always impressing the engineers with my ears. I can use Logic pretty good, I don't care for Pro Tools or Sony Acid. Cubase I can use. FL Studio I use sparingly. Been doing less beat making and more writing, recording, mixing, marketing and things like that. I even started recording and editing video in like 08/09...it's really not much different than recording and mixing music. Just two different mediums.

    So that's my story...well, most of it.

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