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

TRNSTN

New member
I grew up with friends in bands, spent a lot of time in practice rooms hanging out with friends, Always wanted to be involved in Music but couldn't play anything.
I was working and my hours got cut in 2008, signed on to a music course because it had a music theory class and I still wanted to to learn guitar. I signed onto a
music technology course because the course was 6 months away and ended up getting enough credits to go onto a music production course. It was tough and a learning curve, after studying music production for 2 years did a final year of music enterprise studying the business side of the Music Industry and got a 1st class honors degree.

Then got funded by the princes trust to buy equipment and now I'm trying to record independently just recorded my first band, putting together a website to try and get business.

Always looking for advice and criticism

https://soundcloud.com/askew-a/no-respect-more-high-end

Transition Audio | Recording and Mixing
 

richie.huckeby

New member
Well I was always the musician. I didn't care about the recording process no matter what band I was in or what studio we were recording in. I started playing drums at 6, no lessons and self taught. Just felt the beat in my heart and had to follow it. Anyways, I have recorded in just about the whole spectrum of studios. From crappy home studios to multi-million dollar campuses. Over the years I have never paid attention to what the engineer was doing and I really didn't care. I just wanted to record my drum tracks and then do my thing. I wish I never had that attitude.

Now, being in my late 30's, I am recording everything for my drum tracks on my own with the help of my music partner/guitarist. I went out and bought some nice mics (e602's, 421's, NTK), Tascam 1800US and have been using Cubase 5 and I am really happy with my drum sound. But, this is the first time in my life I have ever started to care and dive into recording, mixing and the such on my own. My guitar player is very helpful, but he cant sit next to me all of the time and guide me, and he himself is self taught.

What can I do about mixing down my drums? Help them sound cleaner? What can I do about setting levels for mixing with other instruments? Also, when I think I do have something figured out, which I understand its trial and error, I get a surprise result. What can I do about mixing all of my songs at the same volume? And why is it that when I get something that sounds good through my monitors, I burn it and take it to my car and it sounds like crap? lol. I am a newby guys, a 37 year old newby. I will appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks for your time and I am looking forward to my journey.
 

Mickster

Well-known member
Also, when I think I do have something figured out, which I understand its trial and error, I get a surprise result. What can I do about mixing all of my songs at the same volume? And why is it that when I get something that sounds good through my monitors, I burn it and take it to my car and it sounds like crap? lol. I am a newby guys, a 37 year old newby. I will appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks for your time and I am looking forward to my journey.

Well........settle into your seat and buckle up.........because you're about to take quite a ride into our world.

Many experts here will help you with your drum recording and mixing. Check through all the threads. As for keeping the volume of your finished songs the same..........experience will get you there as you develop your recording skills and learn about mixing and mastering. That's a common question here. Check out the Mastering section in the forum. As for mixes that sound good until you play them somewhere else. 1. Learn how your monitors sound with material that you are very familiar with................such as a CD of your favorite band....etc. That will tell you what to expect. 2. You don't mention the "space" you use to record in.........but trust me.......it's going to need some real work to make it translate what you hear from your monitors correctly. So....read up in the forum in the Studio section about what other do for the same problem you're having.

And keep in mind that you will need to spend a little $$$. But if you ever feel like it's too much.........it could be..........so ask here before you buy!!

Good luck and happy times!!!
 

RandallYeager

New member
Forums are a great place to get solid advice, so long as everyone stays humble and argue like they all no better. Engineers have one rule, there are no rules.
 

richie.huckeby

New member
Thank you guys for the info. I will look into all of it! I have set aside a few hours this evening for just tooling around with mixing. Thanks again.
 

Rod Norman

New member
I was working in advertising in NYC when I decided I needed to understand what each of the disciplines needed from me. I studied photography, film, studio recording, field recording with a Nagra, dubbing, and mastering. Luckily, I had three or four sessions each week in a studio of some kind. I would ask the engineer one question each visit.By the end of the first year I had a treasure trove of information. The engineers also began to tell me their secrets. Several took me under their wing and helped me with more detailed information that I never would have asked about. I started with a Teac 4-track with the crappy little mixer designed for it. If I could make a good recording with that, I would go further. In the meantime, I learned to read meters and adjust for the frequencies and how they showed up on the VU meters. Once I got a good response from some work on that system, I bought a Tascam 8-track, set up a Performer system and midi. I essentially had one of the first home recording studios in NYC. All the others were in office buildings or rental spaces. About this time Steve Winwood built his"home" 24-track studio and produced his own album. I studied commercial productions, and trained my ears to hear all the frequencies in a production. I learned about the orchestrator, a carfully diagramed system of the ranges of each instrument in an orchestra overlapped and learned how to use orchestration in my own productions. I finally had a finished piece that I played for an engineer on his system. He was impressed and the maintenance engineer wondered how I had gotten this done in my bedroom. I made mistakes; a lot of them, but I also learned a lot of tricks. I graduated to a 15ips two track mastering deck and then to a digital cassette tape deck for mastering. I essentially had one of the first digital home recording studios. I used a mac plus for Performer and then graduated to a power mac. I produced material for demos, for commercials, and for artists from Japan, Germany, Russia, France, England, Poland and the Ukraine. During this time I had advanced to Creative Group Head, SVP and had the financial means to expand, still in the bedroom. I built an all-in-one rack with the keyboards on slide out shelves and lots of outboard effects. I had used dbx noise reduction at first but eventually learned how to reduce noise through good engineering. I had reverbs, delays, maximizers, synth boxes and compressor/limiters, all matching the ones in the studios. I had no sound acoustic control in the bedroom (except for the bed) but I learned to compensate for the room with headphones and carefully adding only what was needed and no more. I checked everything in other listening environments until I knew my acoustics were no longer a problem. For several years I ran a recording studio built by an excellent blind musician for his work and we did some incredible recordings of everything from heavy metal and blues to choral works. I now have a custom built computer for film, animation and recording, running Adobe Premier Production Suite and Blender. I do a lot of work for film, both production and recording. I make exotic sound tracks and sell them to the bigger studios for use in much of the films produced today. (They are atmospheric in nature) I do sounds for space stations, interior room sounds for background and machine sounds for location work. I also record bands live in multitrack using an ASUS laptop and M-Audio converter. I feel I owe beginners so I try to help out the same way I was helped. Unfortunately, a lot of my advice is seen by some as "off the scale" Nevertheless, it works. I'm building a new studio in a new house now and will have photos at some point in the future.
 

DJPhenomMusic

New member
Hey everybody! Cool thread had to share my story as well, so here it is...I started as a DJ in 1996. I was just a little kid and developed my skills basically in my room with my parents yelling at me to "lower the music". Anyway around 2001 I had found a version of Fruityloops and started messing around with that program but never took it serious. I continued to DJ and around 2008 I started getting serious about production and mixing. Truth is I never had a real passion for mixing just for producing. However, once I realized that great mixing skills would take my music production to the next level I aggressively started searching for that perfect mix! I pretty much learned everything online between blogs, forums, youtube, how to videos, ect. I still consider myself a student of both production and mixing even though I've been running my own studio for the past 6 years full time. Going back through the archives and hearing some awful mix that I did 5+ years ago actually makes me smile. It puts things in perspective and shows me my progression! I pretty much used the WAVS plugings for the first few years and they were very good. However, once I discovered UAD plugins I never wanted to touch another sonic mixing plug-in again. I am a huge fan of UAD! Currently I am working with multiple artists in the Hip Hop, R&B and Reggae genre's. I do all the production as well as mixing. I also have my own website which you will find in my signature at the bottom. We specialize in radio friendly beats for artists in the genres I mentioned earlier. The site also offers a blog with many helpful tips on mixing and being an independent artist. Looking forward to the future and always looking for new tips, tricks, advice and networking. Hit me up!
 

reverbdk

New member
I've been a member of this site for a few years (more inactive than active sadly), and have reached the point where I'd like to share my story. Recording prior to this year has always been primarily a hobby of mine that I fell in love with. A little background: I went to college and graduated in 2010. I stayed a year after that to get a Masters degree for teaching mathematics and that is what I currently do.

There were two instances that gave me exposure to the art of audio engineering while I was in highschool: 1) I ended up taking the lead sound tech position for several drama performances for my school. I really did not know what I was doing, however I made sound come out and I had the wireless mics working for a period of time. During one performance, the Shure mics we were using were interfering and dropping out. I had no idea what was going on, but I made it look like I was fixing the problem when everyone in the audience turned back to see what the issue was. It was a large audience. One of the leads in the performance cried because her solo was messed up, and I was traumatized :).
2) I took an independent study Electronic Music class senior year. In other words, I had an hour to sit in a soundproof booth and mess around with Fruity Loops and a MIDI keyboard. Me and some friends made ridiculous mixes of themes (like the Mortal Kombat theme) and I made some original electronic stuff. It was great.

College came around and I wanted to get into communications or audio engineering. At the small liberal arts school where I felt so at home, hey naturally did not have either program. They had an old, unmonitored school radio station that had seen better days and a small recording studio on the third floor of the library. The radio station ran on a 150 CD changer, and no longer had FM or even AM transmission privileges. I took it as whatever and continued making low quality tunes from my Alienware laptop and MAudio MBox. The songs were okay enough to impress my girlfriend at the time, but the quality was terribly muddy and...well...here - (see:https://soundcloud.com/brobront/crimson-gold-and-brown).

Then I met Brooks. The man who would revitalize the school radio station to internet streaming, an active library of automatically rotating music, an ATTEMPT at getting an FM license, and plenty of equipment to bring it back to life. He literally rebuilt it from the ground up, and I was along to learn. We ran CAT5 cable, audio cable, installed XLR faceplates in the walls, recycled numerous computers that the college did not need and installed Linux on all of them. The radio station is still up and running, with the website that Brooks designed and created himself. Here it is:The Hawk Radio. You may also notice that the radio station is named after him now (The Brooks A. Whiteford Studio). The guy is the most resourceful engineer I have ever met, and I learned uncountable things while I was there.

Around the same time I became a Media Technician on campus to make some cash. At first, I would run simple projector/Laptop setups for presentations, or I would use a little Mackie for Jazz concerts. My confidence grew exponentially as there were numerous stressful setups and concerts throughout my years there. Brooks and our good friend Yost had numerous stories that they would share about being a media tech. We loved it. Eventually I would go on to run Coffeehouses live and other concerts on campus. My new experience with live sound grew into a true passion.

I once dumped a girlfriend because between spending time with her and spending time in the school radio station, I chose the radio station.

While working as a media tech I also got to know the guy who came to pull a "Brooks" and develop the recording studio on the third floor of the library. His name is Andy, and he should have moved to the city earlier than he eventually did. He was an art student through and through, who worked the media as his primary income. Most of his job was receiving new software or hardware and figuring out how to work it, then installing it for the library and student body to use. He invited me numerous times to sit in when recording student artists however, and this where I got my first true taste of audio recording.

As I graduated and moved on to study for my 'real job', I lost touch with recording due to lack of ANY equipment, debt to the federal government, and yet another girlfriend to take up my time (this one didn't work out either). I worked my ass off to get a Master's degree in one year, and got hired as a public school teacher. Me and that girlfriend broke up because she wanted to get married and move to an area in Maryland that sucks terribly. I wanted to live a little.

The bug kept biting. I found my way into helping run sound for theatre productions at my highschool, and helped build a small group of students who now run the sound for me. I recorded a slightly higher quality album based on an adventurous trip abroad I took to teach and study during my Master's (see: https://soundcloud.com/brobront/sets/maturo). All the while I accumulated little bits of equipment at the time. Up until this past year my primary projects were done with a Yamaha AW1600 and Reaper on a homebuilt PC for mixing (though the Yamaha does that well too).

Recently, it has appeared that I may want this to be more than a hobby. Brooks works for an automation company, however now is in the process of becoming head of an AV company in southern maryland. I have worked professionally with him on a couple large events for colleges that his company was hired for. I am consistently seeing opportunities to practice recording and mixing, however I am still insecure about the quality of my recordings. I have bought several pieces of equipment to get me going for awhile. Don't worry, they aren't because I think the quality of my recordings will get better because of the equipment, but at least now I have the stuff I need to streamline my gear and work efficiently.

The bug just keeps biting, and I want to keep learning. Needless to say, more recordings will come. This is my latest one, recorded on the AW1600 and mixed in Reaper, (spontaneously purely to try out a new pre-amp I bought for my condenser mics). Mastered with Ozone with a default preset, a slight change to the compression was made. Each track has basic EQ and Compression, no other effects. (https://soundcloud.com/brobront/hey-man-yamaha-aw1600-recording). The beginning has some room ambience because that mic was recording the melody guitar at the headstock and I normalized it. I felt it worked well with the body mic for the melody guitar and I did't want to turn it down.

I would apologize for the length of my story, however I think I've wanted to get it out and tell someone for sometime now. Thanks!
 

MrUserNameIV

SenselessActsOfCreation
Played music my whole life, started to learn how to record because I wanted to compose my own music and started recording friends, taught myself how to program synths, and write listenable songs, repeated that for a while, got an audio degree so I can know about more rules to break and pretend I know what I'm doing, set up a small/modest home studio, recorded my music and other people's music, engaged in songwriting for myself and others, then repeated it again and again until the present.
 

Jake_JW

New member
Why not.
(since I'm new)

I always played music at school (sadly I don't play anymore, all my spare time is in the studio), so I (naturally) went on to 6th form (last 2 years of high school for you Americans) and did a music and music tech course, went to uni and bought into the dream people were selling in the UK at the time 'you can do anything if you get a degree doing it'. Still, I came out of uni and found NOTHING awaiting me but bar work and crap money. So I started as self employed, struggled for a year to get any work that wasn't my mates humouring me, and ended up talking to some chaps who were just starting a studio nearby. Three years on, I'm running the technical side of things, and when we've finished the barn conversion, I'll be managing the place for the owners. Guess I got in at the right time and was very lucky to meet the right guys and have everything work out so far.

Still, I'm working full time at an office to pay the bills. The local scene round here is made up almost exclusively of ameteur musicians, and the local towns and cities we find bands in aren't that well off, so its taking a while to take off, but we have bigger things on the way, and a lot of things in the pipeline so for now I'm happy :)
 
4

4tracker

Guest
I don't consider myself an engineer, but I got into researching how to record better and making better recordings due to the fact that I went into the studio years ago and didn't like the studio engineer's style or sound.
 

CMolena

Member
I have a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering and I recently started to record bands of my community and hometown, including my own band.

I have to work in a full time job to keep the "studio" going on. I finger-quoted studio because I mix in a bedroom and I record around the house. My house has absolutely no acoustic treatment at all. My plans are that in the next 10 years, I will be able to have a comercial studio, mainly to help bands that are interested in a more organical aproach to recording their sound. Sort of like documenting a moment of their lives as music.

That is not necessarily my dream job, but it is something I'm starting to feel very pleased to work with and studying, of course.

I think that at least I will always have a nice little homestudio, if it doesnt work out that way. So, one way or another, I'll keep on going.
 

Aaron Acosta

New member
On my side I've only been interested in obtaining online education. Of course nothing beats simple and straightforward and personal education. But, wanting to lay low key, I practice with some home gear while studying other topics such as Leadership, Communication, and Network+ (CompTIA Network Administration Certification).

I miss high school, being twenty years old. Those days are passed me, so going to work is what I opted for. Currently, I'm working 30 hours a week (seasonal atm) at a large theater in Texas. It's amazing some times. Other days (like this past weekend) were a drag. And I work with people and learn about different people; being a Guest Specialist brings appreciative effort.

Always, I'm creating, inventing, and then starting my own songs in a big project. It's a cycle that never tired me.

The feeling of control in music production and engineering is gratifying. And to learn about hustle is always changing me, constantly.
 

Shackelton326

New member
Well doesn't this look fun! Ok lets take a quick trip though history. Like many others in here I spent my early years a musician. Practiced all day everyday, had dreams of being a professional musician. Finally after years of blood sweat and tears, I got to a point where I was playing music, and actually getting somewhere doing it. Well Lets just say that it turned out to not quite be what I thought it was going to be.

My Favorite parts of playing though was being on stage, and being in the studio. Man how I loved being in the studio. Now I had dappled in recording when I was younger, but never really learned a lot about it. After realizing that maybe professional musician wasn't right for me, I started buying little bits of recording gear here and there, picking up new microphones now and then. I spent a lot of time searching the internet and reading every book learning as much as I could.

I haven't made it to a point where I'm making much money recording and mixing. But I love every minute that I get to do it. I can sit at my workstation for hours and time just fly's by. And learning more about audio production has inspired me to learn more about music too. I've started reading theory books, and learning about song writing techniques. Recording has opened up a whole new world to me.

I'm hoping soon I'll be able to attend the institute of audio research in NYC, but right now the travel expenses of taking a train to the city everyday is just a little too far out of my budget. But the goal is to get my degree, find work in a studio, and one day open my own.

Anyway thanks for posting such an interesting topic. It's been fun taking a quick trip remembering where I came from, and looking forward to the future.
 

jkuehlin

New member
Started playing piano between preschool and kindergarten. Started computer recording and sequencing in 2nd grade, and sound engineering in 3rd grade. By 6th grade had full studio. Graduated high school early to attend U of M, Eastern Michigan U, and then Wheaton. Majored in piano then quit grad school to tour with major production companies and national artists. Was on the road and in commercial production houses for 10 years. Then launched my own studio. Grew it to local market capacity then transitioned into broadcast, post engineering, and gaming.

Started off with a lexicon omega and a pair of KRK's. Now breaking ground to build a premier regional sound stage and audio post company!

I was following some troubleshooting threads for Pro tools, meandered on to the site, then realized it was a home studio forum after some other pros had helped me out. But its interesting. I'll hang around as time allows :D
 

Martin Maniac

New member
My story started when I bought my first 5" reel to reel recorder. We used to record tv shows and edit in funny lines just to have a blast. I then moved up to a Teac 2340 four tack recorder, to record songs and live bands who were friends of mine. Eventually I moved up to a Tascam DA-88, and now work with Sonar and Audition software on my computer. I have a nice home studio set up just for me. I don't want to record anybody else. I went to a local community college and took a couple of very informative classes in music production. I get a kick out of making recordings and playing them back on my truck's stereo system. I like playing recordings for my family and friends. No desire to go professional. No desire to work in a pro studio. Just like tinkering in my home studio. I do play out twice a week at two senior centers on a volunteer basis. I've been doing it for almost two years now. So I do get to work with many other musicians. We have about 10-12 musicians at each place I play. We're playing for crowds of 45-120 people just about every week. I have a very nice Martin D-35 which I take out with me. It sounds great live and it would be a shame to just keep it at home. Having a home studio at home is great for me for learning new songs, writing songs, and basic practicing for the shows. Maybe, just maybe, I may post originals using TuneCore to try and sell some streams or downloads. I've done it before and it brought in a little bit but not much. Hardly worth the effort, but if maybe I write some good songs they'll sell better. I'm 63 years old now and my touring days are over. So I get a kick out of playing for the seniors and they seem to like me. I don't want to play in bars anymore.

However I still like reading up about what's new in audio and working in my studio to keep it current. What can I say, it's my hobby.
 
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I was 14 and had just moved to Cocoa Florida from Lickwater WV. My Father retired from the USMC and moved us back inside a hollor that saw sunlight 3 months out of the year. I rode a pony 4 miles to the hard road just to catch the schools bus. So after moving to Cocoa, my parents joined the local Church. At the age of 14, I had not met anyone yet as school was still on the summer break.

While attending this Church, I met my first friend, same age as myself and it was pretty cool. The Pastor said he wanted to start a tape ministry and was looking for volunteers. Nobody did. My new friend, Mike, his father was a Deacon. So being 14 years only, me and Mike came up with this plan to record the Church services. Our main objective was to be able to BS in the little booth, check out the girls and not have to listen to the sermons or deal with our parents. Typical 14 year olds right?

Fast forward 42 years and now I help Churches set up their sound systems and spread their message world wide via the www. Even though I never did this full time, I never left the recording industry. I went form splicing reel to reel tape to cassette, then to to Dat and Cd. That processed launched me into website design.

So now I am in the process of building my own home studio to accommodate vocals as well as instrumental work. The studio will be open to any schools or Churches who have a music program free of charge. From reel to reel to 16 input interfaces, it has been a wonderful ride!
 

LaceSensor

New member
I am not a working sound engineer but it has become a hobby for myself.

I pursued a degree in mechanical engineering because it is more in demand and I was good at math in school. However my passion has always been music and naturally I purchased some recording equipment to record me and my friend's playing/songs. During college my neighbor was in the audio/video production program and he got me interested in DAWs, midi, mics, that sort of stuff. Over the years I've become more and more interested in the technical aspects of recording and not it is a hobby. Playing in a band is where I spend most of my time but I do use ProTools at home to record myself. I've been slowly getting better with ProTools over the past 5 years and I now feel half-way competent, although I am not familiar with more advanced mixing techniques nor do I have any training or experience with mastering. My final product is simply for upload to soundcloud and then sharing with friends and family. Hopefully I will pick up some tips and such on this forum.

My studio gear is due for an upgrade in the next couple of years, also need a decent mic for vocals. Right now I'm roughing it with a single SM57 and I use a Boss GT-10 for my guitar amp sims and effects. Occasionally I will mic a real amp, but I like to crank it and that doesn't happen often because of the neighbors. Here is what I want to upgrade in the next year or two.

Current Wish List:
Cheapo Headphone Amp
Akai MPK mini
Vocal Mic
Set of 8" monitors
 
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