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

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.
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
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.
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
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...
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.
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.
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/'s really not much different than recording and mixing music. Just two different mediums.

So that's my story...well, most of it.
Yeah i could rant a while on this one. Well i got started by selling out to a country label in Nashville at 17 and having my tunes butchered. Then said that will never happen again. Then ended up learning a ton about studio production from my mentor starting on an Neotek Elan and an MTR80 back when Pro Tools was still Sound Designer. Fast forward to running a 160 input SSL9000J studio and a Neve VR60 for 5 years to opening my own smaller studios to not having a job. Wow i love this industry!
I'll try and keep mine short and sweet...
I am almost 35 and have been playing guitar since I was 16. I started writing music shortly thereafter and recorder three cd's in my early twenties (check them out on Those experiences peaked my interest in recording but i did not really start getting into it until a few months ago.
My dad recorded a cd for his mother, a mixture of songs he'd written and others he knew she liked. My boys went to bed many nights in a row listening to this cd. That really stuck with me and I realized i wanted to record the other 25 or so songs I've written and have not recorded. I wanted to pass them on to my sons and to future generations.
I am a pastor vocationally and also write music for a church context. I hope to record those songs so people from our church can enjoy them at home and in the car as well.
All in all- I'm a noob at the recording and mixing thing. I am looking forward to learning along with my eight year old son.
First of all - Thanks to Lee for wanting to hear these stories and taking the time to ask; God knows the only people in ,y life ever interested in hearing the tale have long since bored of sitting through it again!

So, I started playing music at 8 years old. Played 2 instruments by 13, 4 by age 18 etc. was playing semi-pro at 17 in NYC (read: regularly playing, but for little or no pay). At 17 I started working as a guitar tech for the guy who (at the time) was Bo Diddley's second guitar player.

Despite my ease with picking up and learning various instruments and even though i knew that music was what i wanted to do for ever; I couldn't read music and didn't have the stones to apply to Berklee. So after high school I went to BU instead. I guess I figured I would stand outside Berklee and see if I could the theory of osmosis....or something like that.

With all my history and connections in NYC this proved to be as successful as it now sounds and I split Boston after about three months and went back to NYC, where I worked as a guitar tech and musician for about 3-4 years. Through tech-ing and playing I had been in several studios, many small but also some bigger sessions too (Mary J. Blige, Steven Tyler and my personal favorite Rob Fraboni).

So at some point in this process, realized that if nobody was going to pay me enough to play music (which is what I really wanted to do) then I might be able to make a living recording music. So, I took out all the necessary loans (which 15 years later I am still paying back) and went to school for it.

To cut a ponderously long story a little short, that education has taken me from being an unpaid intern working on Multi platinum recording artists' basement studio to a minimally paid head engineer in a studio in St. Louis working on a Rock and Roll HOF's "comeback" record, to recording my own band's record in a $2M studio outside of Austin, TX with a Grammy award winning engineer (side note: Rupert Neve's phone number was on a yellow post-it on the console! Very awesome thing to see turning up to work every afternoon). From there it's took me back to NYC to being a somewhat better paid head engineer doing the audio post work on Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and lesser know anime cartoons, to finally being back in Texas and being a minimally paid guy playing and recording my band's material as well as engineering, mixing and producing artists that I choose in my home studio.

Looking back, I don't think I would change a thing. Certainly, all the moving around hurt my ability to network and prosper in one given scene. Certainly, as my wife would tell you, all the playing and recording work I've done for little or no pay, hurt my bottom line. But, I don't think I would change too much about it.

I mean, most of us dont get into this gig for riches anyway. we get into it because we love it and are good at it. I still get downright giddy when there's a new awesome piece of gear or plug-in released, I learn some new tip or trick for a mix, I mic my big room in a different way for awesome results or I find a new forum (like this one!) that lets all of us like minded individuals connect, learn and help one another.

I still consume everything written about the topic that I can get my hands on and obsess over a mix problem endlessly until solved.

I still grumble and bitch when I talk about the current state of the biz. And, despite all my grumbling, I still can't imagine a world without it.

I'm not that old yet (39), but inside I'm still that truly memorized kid that eats, breathes and sleeps all things music and recording. The road goes on forever and we wouldn't have it any other way.
In third grade, I missed the "finish pillar" at the end of a footrace and put my left hand thru a glass storm door. ER cleaned it, sewed it up, good to go.

I started playing classical guitar and sang in the choir beginning in fourth grade. By seventh grade I had graduated to electric guitar and hard rock. My sister was 6 years older, and she turned me on to Deep Purple and Iron Butterfly. Sabbath picked up where they left off.

One day while pushing the lawn mower, a lump the size of a robin's egg popped up on the back of my left hand. X-rays showed at least three pieces of glass inside, a couple pencil points and a quarter inch triangle. A general surgeon lined me up for surgery, 75cc of Demerol, bright lights, on the table when he decided to refer me to a hand specialist. Rockin. After surgery, it took more than a year to recover full use of my hand and get back to the level of guitar playing I was at before having the glass removed.

I practiced up to seven hours a day, played in garage bands, and ran sound for other bands up thru senior year in high school. A high point was a seminar put on by Marty McCann of Peavey electronics, designer of the HDH stack, and CS series power amps that were a building block in many professional sound reinforcement systems of the time. The primary take-away was the concept and details of setting mixers to unity gain.

Senior year I began experiencing pain in my left hand, like having an ice pick stuck thru it, while carrying books....and while playing guitar. X-rays showed another glass pencil point inside. Hand surgeon went in after it, couldn't find it, and told me it was cutting thru a nerve each time I felt the pain. He wasn't sure which nerve, but said when it was cut completely thru, I could lose all feeling in my two middle fingers....or lose the use of those two fingers. Looking at at least another year to recover and get back to the level of guitar playing, plus long term consequences, I hung it all up.

I built some killer stereo systems during the following years. I hung out around the desk at live venues, and spent a few interesting hours with a guy who claimed to have been on the plane with Lynyrd Skynyrd when it went in. According to him , the pilots came back and said they were out of gas, some guys didn't make it to their seats yadda yadda, and he woke up strapped to his seat in a cornfield. I took it with a grain of salt till he asked me to watch the desk while he got his car after the gig, he had some cables he wanted to take home to solder, and came back driving a Ferrari 308. By strange coincidence, I ended up tour guiding .38 Special around town while they were on tour break some years later. Two guys rolling on the ground outside a 4 star hotel, doorman had concerns, I asked them what was up and they said they were headed for The Crafty Cockney, the best rock club in this city.

I said guys...The Crafty Cockney has a dart board...and maybe a want rock, come with me. We had a national repped sound reinforcement retailer in town at the time, and your band didn't make it in the door of the local clubs without $50k in PA and lights. That all had to be paid for, so we had some pretty good local acts. On the way they introduced themselves, when we got to the club I laid a napkin at the feet of Driver's bass player, 'wanna jam with .38 Special second set?" They did and it was sublime. Ass kicking hard rock, mixed right, and every babe in the place on my lap. I was signing autographs for beers. Unbelievably, Bon Jovi showed up in a limo after their concert, tween second and third set; I had visions of a legendary performance third set, but we had all the babes locked up and the Jovis left in search of greener pastures.

I had graduated from pickup truck stereo...couldn't find an active crossover to tri-amp a driver array that ran on 12 volts in those days, and Fosgate and Alpine power didn't play nice together without, so I took the $7k from the insurance settlement when the truck was broken into and started playing with newfangled toys involving something called 'MIDI".

It was keyboards only in those days....syncing audio required SMPTE and six figures to do right...and I also didn't have $8 grand for an IBM PC, so my first studio was centered around a Radio Shack mixer, two cassette decks, a Strat my brother built, that I was afraid to play, a Yamaha DX100, and a Yamaha Portastudio (that I still have) with a built in drum machine an a whopping 1200 note MIDI sequencer onboard. The main bottleneck there was volatile memory and no storage. You had to start and finish one song before you could erase the data and start a new one. That was a bit of a buzzkill.

About 1991, I got an IBM, 8088 based computer at a local electronics swapmeet for $129, my first, no harddrive. The rich people had 80286 based supercomps, but I tricked that mother out, taking it from 286K of ram up to the full meg, CGA graphics, Seagate 5 meg hard drive, 8086 processor, 8087 math-co, it was...a rocket!

I dropped Twelvetone's "Cakewalk 2.0" on it, and never even came close to filling 256 MIDI tracks. I still have that system in storage. The inability to sync audio was still a problem. Multi generational bouncing from cassette deck to cassette deck ran you into noise problems early on, but I got a few ideas on tape.

286, 486 DLC, Pentium, PII...I kept upgrading my processing power and adding outboard gear, but I never got the audio quality I was looking for. I finally moved to my present location, with plans to be buried here...I may set up another house or three on a beach somewhere, but this is my main base for good. I waste a year hunting thru boxes everytime I move and I've got better things to do. The studio pretty much stalled out with a PIII running XP and a Behringer 1622 board. The onboard sound card and mixer had a noise floor around -35 colored everything I recorded and sounded like crap and my ears are too old to listen to anything short of 44.1/16 done right.

Somewhere along in here I decided to risk losing my hand, and played guitar sporadically, but not being able to record and evaluate took all the joy out of it. Between construction and computer networking, (I lucked into 'owning" an airline's global WAN, but they divested me of root, admin and enable when they all figured out they had to ask the night sysop for roomie poured crete, set steel, hung dishes, tuned signals, and tuned dataflow for Australia's WAN, after she welded 220kV circuits live, and she liked to talk networking, what can I say?) I had retired from wage slavery at age 42, and gradually began to Feng Shui my house and lifestyle. Two years ago, I went looking for a suitable Gibson SG to replace the one I sold after my second surgery, and was going to have to settle for a standard...Customs were listing at $4500 and I wasn't having it. The love of my life and I walked into a Guitar Center on my birthday, and she immediately told me she saw the guitar she'd pick. She knew some stuff, but was a hard partier so I checked every SG in the store and had it down to 3 standards. I asked her which of the 3 and she stuck to her guns and pointed to the spotlighted store showpiece on black velvet in a glass frame above the counter.

It was a Custom Custom SG and its mine now. I replaced the tuners with lockers and it plays like a dream. Its listing for double what I paid for it on Ebay and I'll be buried with it. I might even know how to play it by then. I can hear it in my head, 32 years worth, but my fingers don't quite obey...yet. I figured I might as well upgrade the studio to match the axe and...32 months later, I'm closing in on completion. The patch rack in the tracking Room ran into a snag last Thanksgiving...some bonehead wrestled with 8-10 snakes behind each rolling desk rack, but thought he could hardbolt the patchbay and tame 24 snakes in the dark behind it. I do Christmas for my kids right, so it went on hold till I could build a rolling rack after the holidays.

My bro and sis drag me down to the Florida islands for Christmas and it works me. Just getting the decorations up here, buying, wrapping, cooking, unwrapping, undecorating, snow, ice and ex-girlfriends who ski but still party hard take all I've got, but this year the bar was raised. Bro and Sis decided to do Christmas at Thanksgiving, good idea, but the tranny dropped outta the Jeep the week before and the race was on. I dialed it all in, but was stuck for a present for my brother.

Travel guitar leapt out and bit me on a cable run at Sam Ash, I'll take a pair and FedEx them to Sanibel, please. Laptop already packed, I grabbed a Focusrite 8i6 and the smallest monitors in stock, Alesis POS that buzzed at 35db SPL that were swapped for Yamaha HS50s on the way to the airport. TSA trashed my of three Marshall minis quit working, they pried the metal grill off my Ipod amp, that's a speaker, guys....SPEE makes sound from an electrical signal, and just what kind of tool do you use to bend a 9 volt battery in half, anyway?

Bro loved his axe, and I loved mine, when the Focusrite wasn't losing USB connectivity with the lappy, anyway. Back home after the trip, I diddled with Focusrite, lost patience and swapped the interface with an M-Audio CS600 which worked right outta the box and has ever since. Sonar X2 Essential, Amplitube, Sampletank and T Racks later, and pretty much by surprise, I have a highly mobile recording studio with a noise floor I can't hear, digital audio sync, and ideas flowing faster than I can get my fingers to work.

After Christmas I built the rolling rack for the Tracking Room and still had some major hassles taming 25 snakes, but the wiring is done. My vocal instructor sixed 'stay at home and play with her credit cards hubby',and she wanted a PA she can carry, so I picked up some Carvin PA speakers and Behringer unpowered stage monitors at burglary prices and flew them by the bigscreen in the living room. An old Sony 235 watt integrated amp drives the array to 133 db SPL at three quarters meter throw on the amp, so I can finally let my bass guitar thump the way it needs to.

A bunch of old 14 inch flatscreens married up in my office, along with a mixer and an Altec 2.1 computer audio system, and Cakewalk's and IKmultimedia's generous licensing system are going to bring that up soon as an alternate mixing station. The travel guitar and mini Marshalls ended up in my bedroom, along with a couple old Galaxy Androids, and now things are coming together fast. Since Thanksgiving I've gone from zero functional studios to five...this Remote, the Tracking Room, the office mixing room, the playback room with the bigscreen, and my practice room with headphones.

An LLC I set up to dodge legal responsiblility for hard partying ex's car adventures has been retasked as a tax shelter for my audio hobby, I've got the logo and graphics for brochures and a website finished and paid for, (who knows...maybe an Indie label and Publishing?), and I just finished the major software installs in the Tracking Room.

My mood lighting controller doesn't have a MIDI out, but I have the MyDSP software/interface and a laptop I need to slick crazy ex's **** off of, a couple three Sony Handycams, a greenscreen in the tracking room and white seamless in the playback room.

Today I have to cut grass and weed eat. They farmed this land for 150 years and cutting, trimming and sweeping takes 15 hours per iteration. With rain like we've been having, it needs cut twice a week. On the plus side, its very quiet here, you can feel city stress just falling off you on the drive out. 35 minutes driving gets me to a top ten US downtown, an international airport, all my banks, and the ritz mall I have no use for, but which attracted three big music stores, and I can hear the air over the ducks wings when they line up on final for the pond, 150 feet away.

Tonight, I need to get MIDI dialed in in the Tracking Room. Wiring done, and LEDs blinking when they should, but I gotta config channels to get 5 hardsynths, I don't know how many softsynths, a bunch of outboard FX, and Sonar X1 Studio all on the same page. At that point, practice moves from the Remote to the Tracking Room, and I have to decide whether to bring up the Office/Mixing equipment first, or put X2 Producer on the Remote. I will NOT be left without a place to hammer ever again.

Ideas...yeah, I have a few...about 32 years worth, but my fingers are 32 years rusty too. We'll get around to that. I'm not sure what to tell you guys in LA and Nashville. Land around here is cheap, plenty of room for you to nestle up to where the industry is going to move, right here, but I have a fat pipe to the net and daddy had 39 US patents, bless his heart, we can telecommute if you'd rather moshpit with the bucketheads a while longer.

I gotta run. My son has discovered girls and $$$, and he cuts cheaper than my roomies, hotbabes charge more and need to be free to tell me how to marry Britney and Slash for ALL the marbles.

This adventure is just beginning....
You all have a great story :)

I from Indonesia, 25 old, interested with audio since my age 19..
My first 'toy' is Fruity Loops. Move on to cubase, and now happy with S1.

I am very excited to write my story but My english very limited :(
Hi. Funny, but I knew I would engineer when I was like 7 years old. Told dad I had to grow my hair long for my job. My brother and me got cassette recorders for Christmas one year and they were my first multitrack. I learned a lot about noise bouncing on those things! Dad had a 2 track tape recorder and I remember using it in ways it was not intended to be used lol. My room mate's brother owned a real studio. (my pal and his brother were in a band that made some $$. buddy partied like crazy while his bro turned the rehearsal space into a commercial studio) My friend talked me into letting brother hear some stuff I was doing on a 4 track and he offered me a job that day. My cheeks were seriously sore from smiling for days! We became fast friends and still are though I have been out of the business for quite a while. I still record but its just for fun now.
Great idea for a thread. Thought i would add my 'journey' (good exercise to help me remember some stuff!).

The first record that pricked my ears up to music was 'What A Bloody Long Day It's Been' by Ashton, Gardner and Dyke. It was when i was about 7. I used to randomly pick LP's out of my dad's record collection and play them on headphones on the record player by his bed. He was into Dylan, The Beatles, Van Morrison, Cream, The Band - all classic stuff but none of it really did a lot for me. It was only the LP by Ashton, Gardner and Dyke that really captured my imagination and actually made me imagine a 'space' (i'm very much a synaesthetic kind of person) whilst i was listening. There was a such a great energy and sound captured on that LP and i couldn't get enough of it. I started messing around with all sorts of instruments at that point - my dad was desperately trying to get me to develop an interest in guitar (his instrument) but i was having none of it - piano, keyboards and electronic sounds were what eventually fascinated me the most. I really do put it all down to hearing a particularly sweet organ sound in one of the tracks from that LP. It had quite a lot of reverb on it - there was something completely other worldly about that sound to me at that age.

I composed my first fully formed tracks when i was 12 using a Yamaha pss680, Roland tr505 and a Korg Poly800. I would record a track onto a cassette then playback the cassette, play along to it and record the result into another cassette recorder. In this manner i would bounce from one tape deck to the other. Tape hiss would build up with each bounce so i couldn't really record more than about 4 or 5 tracks before it became very noticeable in the finished result. To achieve reverb i would route the synths through one of my dad's guitar amps which had a built in spring reverb. This would have been about 1988 - 90. I then got hold of an Atari 520ST and used a tracker style program (can't remember the name) to make lots of short experimental stuff. It had built in samples iirc. From that point i got into DJ'ing in a big way (house and techno) and concentrated all my efforts into that throughout the 90's. I didn't get back into writing until about 2000. During that year, using a Yamaha SU10, i made lots of experimental and sometimes quite silly tracks by randomly recording audio from the tv or bits of records - anything really. It was only after this point i started taking this music lark seriously...

Around 2001 i had access to a pc (the first time i had ever used a pc i might add!) so, after some messing around with a copy of Cubasis Go, i bought a copy of Fruityloops and started furiously composing. Between 2001 and 2004 i must have finished around 200 tracks - about 60 of which were released (my main output was as 'Boc Scadet') on various small labels. That creative run kind of burnt out and i started to concentrate my energies learning about sound from an engineer point of view. This eventually led to enrolling on a Music Technology BA where i really honed my skills, achieved a distinction grade (whoop!) and took the idea of becoming a freelance mixing and mastering engineer seriously. In the uni studio, i was taught by John Gallen (still a working producer/mix engineer i believe) who had a lot of experience and knowledge to impart - it was a valuable experience to be present during his lectures.

I now have my own business - Crimson Sun Audio - can't post links yet as post count is too low but add a .com to that and you will find it :)
I started off as a musician and that's what made me so interested in audio engineering, it started with bands and seeing as I was the most technically minded I used to set up our live gigs as well as play at them, most guitarists I meet seem to be more interested in the technical side for some reason...

started with a boss digital 4 track in the late 90s, then moved onto a zoom 12 track, then 24 track, all hardware units by the way, no computers, and eventually got a PC with Sonar which I used for years, then eventually built a custom made PC (supercomputer) just for recording and bought Cubase 6 in 2011 with it and now use version 7.5 and am loving recording and mixing more than ever. When you've been through a 4 track and learnt that way, and moved up, it really makes you appreciate how good the newest DAW's are and it has run flawlessly since then with no crashes at all. I recently went on an open day for SSR in manchester, and was impressed by the courses they offer but would honestly rather do a degree in physics or electronics engineering than do a degree in audio, I'm very interested in building my own gear like compressors, EQ's e.t.c and modifying things.