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

cmaro14

New member
Hello,

I have a bachelors in recording arts and have been working part time in a music studio. I have been producing in my home country for many artists but Ive always felt my mixing needed some more work as I can never seem to reach that "professional" level of sound I want to achieve. I want to, perhaps, take some more courses specifically geared towards mixing and hopefully that helps.
 

bunnym4dness

New member
Still in the beginning stages, just now 21 :D. I've been playing music since I was 8, but around 13 after a year or so of learning the guitar is when recording caught my interests. Had myself a little tascam interface and cubase LE I messed with and would just record riffs, and that was pretty much the limit until 2 years ago.

I went through my first 3 semesters of college and absolutely hated it. Couldn't find any enjoyment out of it, seems kind of cliche but I only enjoy music and it's what I'm really good at and it's the only thing I've stuck with and never quit after so many year. I was long past the point of thinking I could become a rock star lol, but I knew I wanted to involved in some way in the music business. That's where the interest in recording kind of remerged, I found out that my local CC actually did a AE certification program through the college where are the classes were actually done at the main studio in Columbia. That really sparked my interest because I hate classroom settings and this program would be soooo cheap to find out for sure if it's something I want to pursue. Needless to say I loved it! I really learned a lot after the load of classes there and a few internships around town from live sound, to booking, to recording.

I'm currently in the process of starting up a multimedia studio with a long time friend and new business partner of mine, I've been planning this for close to a year now. And am actually going to be going back to school in Charleston, SC this fall to get a degree in "computing in the arts" essentially a form computer science, a very wide degree with field of studies from music, to design, to theatre and then a minor in business management since I'm only a few credits away from what I did a few years ago. I'll use that to become more rounded in other aspects of what were trying to accomplish, graphic design, movie applications, etc. And will allow me to live down there for next to nothing and will at least give me a back up plan.

We're setting up shop in downtown Charleston and are going through some of the planning phases right now as well as the acquisition of gear for me :D. Will be a "home studio" at it's finest. Live and mixing room, photography studio, and a graphics room. I'll be on a sleeper sofa in the mixing room :p. It's going to be a fun next couple of years. Gear > real bed
By now u must be 30!
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
As I've got older, I get bored quickly so I look for unusual projects - I've done a few for some quite unusual clients. By far the most fun are the tracks I do for burlesque. My early show tracks would be simple editing of suitable music into a complete, but unique track the dancers develop their choreography for - so it might be three tracks that have to be blended together, so you get the usual problems of matching keys and tempos so the transition from one to another is appropriate. Cubase is great and lets you stretch and squash and do useful stuff. Then the dancers started doing 'causes' - shows with a common theme. Messages and information have to be built in. The last series was on a theme of women's sexual health, and I got 'the menopause' to do - which had to not only have the usual music edit, but had voiceovers and sound effects - along the lines of inserting words such as 'feminine dryness' and squeaks and creaks. I've just finished another on the subject of er, making yourself happy, if you get my drift and it was about ice cream, but clearly ice cream was a euphemism. You sit in the studio with the dancer and they explain what they want, you try things, reject some, accept others and suggest new things that could work - like trying the short phrases slowly and speeding them up, or changing the pitch. This one also needed a bed under the joining section between the two tracks she needed. Took a while to do, but she was very pleased with this one. My wife and I get invites to the first performances, which is nice - but they're very strange shows until you work out what is going on.

We normally talk about the usual humdrum recording sessions with just music, but I really like these weird things. taking two or three tracks, chosen because of the words or music and making them fit together is a tricky skill to master, but a good one to learn!
 
I gotta say...

It's been a long time since I've been in hear and it's pretty bizarre how things evolve over the course of just a few short years. As a fan of the music production process and an ever so avid seeker of "perfect sonics" in a mix, its amazing how the vibe in this place has helped me develop my inner geek in the past.

Having gone from musician, to bedroom engineer, to dedicated student, to amateur freelance engineer, to professional engineer, to studio head engineer/manager, to finally end up working in a professional world-class studio fit enough for multi-platinum kings...it's pretty bizarre how you just sort of "end up" as something. But I don't care about my story. I'm curious to hear yours.

I'm curious to hear about what drives you. What fantastic session you had lately. What ground breaking technique you feel will have the world on the edge of their seats 10 years from now. I want to get back to why you do this in the first place and what you aim to accomplish as the engineer that you are. Then I'd love to stay in touch with you. I'm all about fresh starts and new beginnings. What do you say?

Lee
Like some of the other, I am an old pro..55 this year. The first thing that comes to mind for me is how far music production and mixing has turned since the days of analog. I remember cutting Inner City Blues with Wah Wah watson ( he was on the road with Marvin for years) at Westlake on Sunset avenue, and desperately trying to find out how the engineer was soaking my voice with this killer reverb,...and he had no reverb unit! I took every opportunity to learn how he was compressing the bass, and how he turned a deep full bodied snare into a thin crack snap with a pitch much higher that the snare actually was, Everything was 2in tape then, so I got my first lesson on slicing tape to edit.
When everything went digital, and every kid with an Adat or a computer thought they could cut a record in their basement now (which can easily be done), yet findin themselves completely depressed when the finished product didnt sound half as phat as their favorite artist, I started letting kids know who came in my studio in the 90" ( I still had my MCI 2") that the reason was because Eminem, Tupac, Lincoln Park, Aerosmith, etc, werent cutting digital. They were still using 2" tape, and the only thing they used protools for was to edit (great editing software). After showing them the difference between whatever instrument they layed on my Adat or HD24 (which have great A/D converters, just about every single one of them used tape. I couldnt find enough reels. Although things have drastically changed, sound hasnt.
 
As I've got older, I get bored quickly so I look for unusual projects - I've done a few for some quite unusual clients. By far the most fun are the tracks I do for burlesque. My early show tracks would be simple editing of suitable music into a complete, but unique track the dancers develop their choreography for - so it might be three tracks that have to be blended together, so you get the usual problems of matching keys and tempos so the transition from one to another is appropriate. Cubase is great and lets you stretch and squash and do useful stuff. Then the dancers started doing 'causes' - shows with a common theme. Messages and information have to be built in. The last series was on a theme of women's sexual health, and I got 'the menopause' to do - which had to not only have the usual music edit, but had voiceovers and sound effects - along the lines of inserting words such as 'feminine dryness' and squeaks and creaks. I've just finished another on the subject of er, making yourself happy, if you get my drift and it was about ice cream, but clearly ice cream was a euphemism. You sit in the studio with the dancer and they explain what they want, you try things, reject some, accept others and suggest new things that could work - like trying the short phrases slowly and speeding them up, or changing the pitch. This one also needed a bed under the joining section between the two tracks she needed. Took a while to do, but she was very pleased with this one. My wife and I get invites to the first performances, which is nice - but they're very strange shows until you work out what is going on.

We normally talk about the usual humdrum recording sessions with just music, but I really like these weird things. taking two or three tracks, chosen because of the words or music and making them fit together is a tricky skill to master, but a good one to learn!
Rob, that sounds incredibly interesting. I would love to hear what youve done for those shows. Cool
 

Twiddler

of the Nurgulated Plupper.
Hi! I'm largely a self taught engineer who's been doing this long enough to be far better at it than I am. I started in the 1970s. As a child I could play a lot of different instruments and we had a Tandberg reel-to-reel tape machine as part of the family stereo. You could record a track on the left channel, then bounce that track onto the right channel of the tape whilst simultaneously recording another part. Then you could copy it back to the other channel and do it again. The degradation was pretty awful but it was tremendous fun. Then in 1986 I bought a Tascam 244 portastudio and started recording all of my many songs. Then in 1991 I lived in and worked an eight-track studio, which we upgraded with Cubase on the Atari and a rack full of synth modules. It was amazing, like flying a spaceship! All of that fell to pieces when my business partner inherited a six figure sum and shoved most it up his nose and bought himself all manner of fancy lingerie. I always harboured the idea of rebuilding that studio myself, and in 2008 bought all the same gear, more or less, from ebay and set about continuing with the songs that remained unfinished from the mid 90s. After marrying a German lady who came to live with me in the uk, and an unexpected daughter appeared 26 years after my son was born, we were forced to leave the uk as brexit meant my wife wouldn't be allowed to carry on living there. Thankfully where we live now is a massive upgrade in terms of life quality. We live in a detached building in the centre of a tiny village near where Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic all meet. Years ago it used to be a bank. We have the top two floors and half of the basement, which we share with the only village shop for miles around, that occupies the ground floor. I rebuilt the studio which we moved from the old premises in Devon in the basement of our new home. in what used to be the strongroom. Drilling a tiny hole is a huge undertaking that requires specialist equipment, although we would probably survive a direct hit from a nuclear missile. Things sound great down there and I do as much music as I can, although I'm quite broken in some ways and am always busy with a sick wife and a young daughter. I'm hoping that I'll live long enough to be able to finish and release all of the ongoing musical projects that are in the works.
 
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