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Thread: What do recording students need to know?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SafetyCopy View Post
    Interesting answers, and different from the approach I would take.

    Because technology changes so fast, I would concentrate on basic theory, starting with the nature of sound, how it propagates, speaker design, types of microphones, time, amplitude & frequency domains, history of recording (how analog magnetic tape works), digital recording (Nyquist Frequency, sample rates, bits, dither, A/D D/A issues) listening to and discussing some favourite CDs and what we are hearing about how they were made - critical listening) - and then move on to nuts and bolts "How do I mic a drum kit?" questions - then mixing, including editing and processing as described by the above-named domains - and as was suggested, synching to video or between dig machines, and ending with a field trip to a studio and having the class record and mix a song.

    I hadn't thought to include connectors and such, but balanced/unbalanced is a must and that would be helpful.
    Nyquist frequency? Analog tape? That might be interesting at some point, but learning needs to be incremental, incorporating things that are useful at a given level (unless we're just talking about learning abstract things for the sake of learning how to learn).

    It would be like taking a beginning piano student on their second lesson and launching into esoteric and obscure details of baroque ornamentation.

    If you were teaching a student how to use a pocket calculator, would you first have to teach them how to use an abacus and a slide rule?
    Lee Blaske
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  2. #12
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    You wouldn't have to, but I think you would be remiss not to mention the abacus and the slide rule, if only for the "In my day, we had to walk 10 miles to school in the snow uphill both ways" effect.

    It needn't be extensive - just a few minutes might be enough for some of it.

    I think things should be taught in context. Does that make me an elitist snob?
    "Death Therapy, Bob. Guaranteed cure."-Dr. Leo Marvin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill@WelcomeHomeStudios View Post
    what do they need to know? A lot more, or something a lot different, than what they're currently being taught!
    I think Bill nailed it. There are people who are (perhaps) very good at tracking and mixing and even some of the other basics but ask a random person who bought PTLE at GC two years ago and is cranking out nice rock songs what "impedance" is (or similar) and to explain it and how it relates to audio engineering in a practical manner ... 8 out of 10 probably won't have any idea.

    Not a knock at all, they just not happen to need to know that for what they do. Or understand electronic theory or electrical signal flow or similar like some people here do as a requirement of what they do. But if the thing is being taught in a formal academic setting like the OP describes, they should at least be taught a basic understanding/overview of some of that stuff.

    Will an "engineer" need it to track and mix his buddies and make good tracks? No. Should it be taught in a formal program (at least in a cursory way)... I think so.

    Look, we live in a fast-food era. Everyone with a DAW wants to record and mix and make a hit right now... they don't have time for the other nonsense.

    So... is it a "Recording Class" or an "Engineering Class". Kinda two different things. There are painting classes at community college (out of curriculum, anyone can attend) and then there are art programs in curriculum. Two different things.
    Last edited by Lawrence; 09-30-2009 at 10:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
    Not a knock at all, they just to not happen to need to know that for what they do. Or understand electronic theory or electrical signal flow or similar like some people here do as a requirement of what they do.
    Actually, for the new batch of folks coming up, would it be more important to know electronic theory, or to delve into the basics of learning to write code for DSP algorithms?

    OTOH, did Horowitz need to know how to tune a piano?
    Lee Blaske
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske View Post
    OTOH, did Horowitz need to know how to tune a piano?
    If he didn't understand how a piano is tuned and stretched intervals, then all he would be able to say would be "Yes" or "No" or "I only like it when so-and-so" does it."

    It would be hit or miss. Very inefficient.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske View Post

    OTOH, did Horowitz need to know how to tune a piano?
    No, he HAD PEOPLE TO DO THAT FOR HIM.

    Guys, some of what we do as engineers and particularly as producers could be classed as 'art' I guess, but it is a bit of a self-indulgent stretch. Where we may each appreciate what another one of us might have done, and talk about it in 'arty' ways, on a day to day basis most of us are more comparable to carpenters, not Horowitz.

    If we are trying to teach the youth a trade, they need to know the tools, and how to use them properly, how to maintain them, etc. They might not need to know how to build a car in order to drive a car (the most often given analogy of this type...) but it sure would be helpful if they knew how to pump gas, check the oil, and change a flat. Knowing a bit about RPMs, gears, and gas milage might help, too.
    Bill Park
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske View Post
    ... The value of an unpaid intern to a recording studio is free slave labor. The interns didn't understand that. ...
    You make a false assumption. We always paid our interns the same wage we paid any entry-level employee. We were the only place in this town that did. I made a lot of noise about that when we first started taking on interns. Otherwise, the concept is flawed.
    Bill Park
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    The elites have squandered the country's wealth on two of the costliest and most useless wars in American history while blithely pretending that the environmental crisis doesn't exist. We no longer have any mechanisms within the formal structures of power that will protect or advance our rights.
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    Showbusiness. We're all here because we're not all there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske View Post
    Actually, for the new batch of folks coming up, would it be more important to know electronic theory, or to delve into the basics of learning to write code for DSP algorithms?
    I'd say the former if they want to work for Bill since he isn't in the business of writing or selling DSP algos. I suspect he does deal with lots of varying electronic components that need to interface though... understand some of that could be helpful.
    Last edited by Lawrence; 09-30-2009 at 10:25 PM.

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    They need to know how to produce and record a great sounding song on an analog 16-track, and only an analog 16-track. Back to the basics, and then build from there...
    Todd Robbins
    TX3 Productions, Inc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Robbins View Post
    They need to know how to produce and record a great sounding song on an analog 16-track, and only an analog 16-track. Back to the basics, and then build from there...
    I get it. Can't agree from the standpoint of what was originally asked, but gee, wouldn't that be nice. Limitations can be a fine thing.
    Bill Park
    Welcome Home Studios

    The elites have squandered the country's wealth on two of the costliest and most useless wars in American history while blithely pretending that the environmental crisis doesn't exist. We no longer have any mechanisms within the formal structures of power that will protect or advance our rights.
    (Chris Hedges)


    Showbusiness. We're all here because we're not all there.

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