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Education in audio engineering.

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Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:21 am

Hi everyone, I just signed up to the SOS website and had a few questions I wanted to throw out there (this thread being the main one though).

I've been an amateur practitioner of audio engineering for about 4 years now (on and off) and really feel that it's what I want to do with my life. I came across my love for audio engineering when I started producing my own music from home at the age of roughly 17 (I'm 23 now). I attended a small learning institute for creative media shortly after I left school and learned how to use Cubase and Reason as well as the basics of EQ, modulation/time FX and dynamic processors. The problem is my formal education in that field stopped shortly after that course because it was not until after I finished school that I realized this is what I wanted to do, which has really put pressure on my available options here and now. I have however continued to hone my skills through self study and personal experience. I'm fully capable of producing a good sounding mix thanks to my countless hours of research and trial and error as long as I have standard studio equipment available e.g. Decent monitors/headphones for which the most part I have not (most of my experience comes from using other peoples equipment).

What I'm now trying to say is that after 4 years of independent learning I feel as though I have come up against an obstacle stopping me from going any further with my desired career. Basically I would like to talk to some people who have had experience with actual courses intended for job opportunities in the field of audio engineering as I am having trouble finding something to suit the costs and lifestyle of a 23 year old male in full time employment. Is it possible to skip the constraints of a course and learn hands on with a professional studio these days? Or is my only option to struggle with work, home and education?

All and any advice/information would be helpful.

Thanks.

(I would like to point out that I have researched educational facilities like SAE and such already and the prices/time are not realistic for me unless I quit my job.)
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby * User requested deletion * » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:23 am

!!!!!!! Please DO NOT give up a job to do an Audio-Engineering/Music Production course !!!!!!
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby narcoman » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:16 am

Fealow, there are no jobs in studios in the modern recording world. So forget that as an option. This is an entirely freelance field and a hugely underpaid one. There are something like 3000 music tech " graduates" ( and for that read ripped off) per YEAR in the UK alone chasing at MOST 2 or 3 low paid jobs a year. If you want to have a job in audio there are roles, but it's not in the studio.

Do recording for love and hope for that lucky gig.... But don't train for it as you would any other field.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:46 am

narcoman wrote:There are something like 3000 music tech " graduates" ( and for that read ripped off) per YEAR in the UK alone chasing at MOST 2 or 3 low paid jobs a year.


No, there are about 6,500 and they come from one of the 139 accredited universities in the UK that offer these courses, plus another 25,000 from private 'colleges' and all send their CVs to 50 studios, 50 PA companies and about 100 post production (games, film, TV etc) studios.

Broadcasters no longer employ audio staff in any numbers, last year the BBC took on two.

Two (LIPA and Surrey Tonmeister) get 80% of their graduates into relevant employment within the industry.

For the rest, it's a short-cut to the fish counter at Asda.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Soundseed » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:26 am

The Red Bladder wrote:
narcoman wrote:There are something like 3000 music tech " graduates" ( and for that read ripped off) per YEAR in the UK alone chasing at MOST 2 or 3 low paid jobs a year.

No, there are about 6,500 and they come from one of the 139 accredited universities in the UK that offer these courses, plus another 25,000 from private 'colleges' and all send their CVs to 50 studios, 50 PA companies and about 100 post production (games, film, TV etc) studios.

Broadcasters no longer employ audio staff in any numbers, last year the BBC took on two.

Two (LIPA and Surrey Tonmeister) get 80% of their graduates into relevant employment within the industry.

For the rest, it's a short-cut to the fish counter at Asda.

And just to add to the above, there was an article on Digital Music News, where they delved into Tunecore's stats... amongst the 600,000 bands/artists, average income per release was just $179. Of that huge number, 99.9% earned less than the minimum wage in the state of California. You can see whey there's no money in recording, because outside of well established indies and majors there is no money in music, so no money to hire studios, engineers etc etc. The real money these days is to be made selling stuff to aspiring musicians, engineers, producers and DJ's on the premise that there is a career out there for you. It is in a few words complete and utter tripe, and it is the totally non existent dream you are looking to buy into.

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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby * User requested deletion * » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:43 am

Soundseed wrote:The real money these days is to be made selling stuff to aspiring musicians, engineers, producers and DJ's on the premise that there is a career out there for you. It is in a few words complete and utter tripe, and it is the totally non existent dream you are looking to buy into.


Yes. It's like offering driving lessons to an eskimo.

It's surprising that SoS haven't bought into this business. The SoS school of recording would make a mint; even on a correspondence level there would be some mugs...erm, I mean some perspective audio engineers that would sign up at the drop of a baseball cap.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby narcoman » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:53 am

The Red Bladder wrote:
narcoman wrote:There are something like 3000 music tech " graduates" ( and for that read ripped off) per YEAR in the UK alone chasing at MOST 2 or 3 low paid jobs a year.

No, there are about 6,500 and they come from one of the 139 accredited universities in the UK that offer these courses, plus another 25,000 from private 'colleges' and all send their CVs to 50 studios, 50 PA companies and about 100 post production (games, film, TV etc) studios.

Broadcasters no longer employ audio staff in any numbers, last year the BBC took on two.

Two (LIPA and Surrey Tonmeister) get 80% of their graduates into relevant employment within the industry.

For the rest, it's a short-cut to the fish counter at Asda.

Exactly. I was just being kind......
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:09 am

One way of doing it is to get yourself a day job that is flexible enough to give you time off for the times you need to do music. You can then start doing recording for people in the evenings and at weekends. Once you've gained a good reputation you may well find that you have enough work coming in to allow you to give up your day job. You don't need a huge amount of gear to get started these days and, even when I was starting out, I did quite a lot of paid work with a Revox, a small mixer and a few microphones.

In conjunction with this you should look at part time courses in related subjects. You might find that the IPS (formerly the IBS) might have some useful training days and I would suggest that a basic electronics course from a local college would be very useful.

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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby zenguitar » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:48 pm

Niaeve (sic) Newbie wrote:
It's surprising that SoS haven't bought into this business. The SoS school of recording would make a mint; even on a correspondence level there would be some mugs...erm, I mean some perspective audio engineers that would sign up at the drop of a baseball cap.

Now there's a thought... Free SOS Producer mug when you sign up for the course, and all graduates receive a baseball cap with Professional Mastering Engineer emblazoned on it.

How about some suggestions for the curriculum? To get things started... 'Broom familiarisation 101: - How to identify the parts of your broom, 'which end do I hold?' answered, recognise the differences between a Mop, a brush, and a broom.'

And to the OP. Please don't think we are having a laugh at your expense, we are not. Your question is one of the most commonly asked questions in the forum. And as you can see, there are a lot of organisations out there that want to sell the dream. But the hard truth about the business is that there are thousands more graduates every year than there are potential employers, and most of those employers are small operations that rarely recruit anyone.

If you are genuinely interested in making a career in the industry the regular advice here is to get a degree level qualification in a related field. Acoustics, Electrical Engineering, Electronics, and so on. On the rare occasions a studio or broadcaster does have a vacancy it will be on the bottom steps of the ladder, you won't be mixing/producing/tracking, you will be plugging in cables, maintaining equipment, tracking down hums and buzzes, and yes, making tea and sweeping up. A broad qualification in electrical engineering that covers everything from mains power to audio and video signals, to electronics would get your CV on shortlist. Add to that, a summer job working for a scaffolding firm and a fork lift ticket while you are at university would make you very attractive to live PA and lighting businesses too.

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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:13 pm

Having just had a chin-wag with the MD of the UK's largest PA operation, I can assure you, they are not looking for audio engineers. Not now, not ever!

They need systems engineers, electricians, riggers and HGV drivers, but never in a million years do they want any music technology graduates!
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:06 pm

Well that was certainly eye opening and helpful o.O

I would give a more in depth reply, but I'm a little busy right now so I will do so later when I'm free. your thoughts, opinions and information have provoked my curiosity so I would like to investigate further if you don't mind.

Thanks.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:09 am

After carefully reading through all your replies, I can determine what it is I want to do.

Ideally I would like to work with independent/local artists producing demo's, E.P's and such to start with. In the long run I would eventually like to have my own locally recognised studio to which anyone looking to produce material worthy of platforms like iTunes and Spotify could drop by for a chin wag and a cup of tea (As well as still catering to artists who are just starting out).

I already have experience in this kind of field, I just never got paid for it. I worked with several local female artist and their acoustic compositions to come up with fully arranged songs that would help them get gigs and give their names exposure. This of course benefited me as well with some decent experience.

After reading through all of your thoughts, I agree that the dream of landing a job at a top studio is a bit fool hardy. But I guess what I really want is to work with talented people and make great music. Following an independent route is a good way to do that I think. I already know enough musicians who would jump at a free demo or E.P. and I happen to live in a very musically inclined town e.g. enter shikari made there debut in my lovely town of Hitchin and we also host one of the worlds biggest (variety of) music festivals were I work "Rhythms of the world". So there will be plenty of chances to meet aspiring artists and like minded people.

With all that said I guess the reason for me wanting to drop it all for an "audio course" is that I feel constrained as to what I can do without a piece of paper saying that I can do it if you get me? To be honest I think I know at least half of what I could learn from these courses already just from my own research and learning, the only thing I lack is a long line of experience. Also one of you mentioned about electronics and acoustics education. I would very well consider them, I'm just lacking in the maths department (It was never my strong point to say the least).

I think the best thing for me to do (as was already mentioned) would be to start up slowly with a basic home studio and advertise myself to local artists looking to be heard. I already have contacts that can help with getting peoples name out there as a lot of my network are musically/technically inclined individuals e.g. I have a friend who is a mastering engineer for Dolby cinema (Well done to her!) and various other people who own music venues and work in composition/engineering as well as producing music for TV. I guess I forget they are there sometime and don't use them as often as I should do -_-

Anyway, what are your thoughts on my approach to this after your feedback? I think what it all boils down to for me is this...

"Is it reasonable to call myself an audio/sound/mixing engineer without it actually being down on paper?"

That is what discourages me most of the time.

Thanks again everyone, I look forward to hearing back from you
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby johnny h » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:05 am

Fealow wrote:After carefully reading through all your replies, I can determine what it is I want to do.

Ideally I would like to work with independent/local artists producing demo's, E.P's and such to start with. In the long run I would eventually like to have my own locally recognised studio to which anyone looking to produce material worthy of platforms like iTunes and Spotify could drop by for a chin wag and a cup of tea (As well as still catering to artists who are just starting out).

I already have experience in this kind of field, I just never got paid for it.
Getting paid is the thing
I worked with several local female artist and their acoustic compositions to come up with fully arranged songs that would help them get gigs and give their names exposure. This of course benefited me as well with some decent experience.

After reading through all of your thoughts, I agree that the dream of landing a job at a top studio is a bit fool hardy. But I guess what I really want is to work with talented people and make great music. Following an independent route is a good way to do that I think. I already know enough musicians who would jump at a free demo or E.P. and I happen to live in a very musically inclined town e.g. enter shikari made there debut in my lovely town of Hitchin and we also host one of the worlds biggest (variety of) music festivals were I work "Rhythms of the world". So there will be plenty of chances to meet aspiring artists and like minded people.
A low level studio attracts low level artists in general.

With all that said I guess the reason for me wanting to drop it all for an "audio course" is that I feel constrained as to what I can do without a piece of paper saying that I can do it if you get me? To be honest I think I know at least half of what I could learn from these courses already just from my own research and learning, the only thing I lack is a long line of experience. Also one of you mentioned about electronics and acoustics education. I would very well consider them, I'm just lacking in the maths department (It was never my strong point to say the least).
If you know it what's the point ? The piece of paper is totally worthless. In fact I would say it could even be a disadvantage

I think the best thing for me to do (as was already mentioned) would be to start up slowly with a basic home studio and advertise myself to local artists looking to be heard. I already have contacts that can help with getting peoples name out there as a lot of my network are musically/technically inclined individuals e.g. I have a friend who is a mastering engineer for Dolby cinema (Well done to her!) and various other people who own music venues and work in composition/engineering as well as producing music for TV. I guess I forget they are there sometime and don't use them as often as I should do -_-

Anyway, what are your thoughts on my approach to this after your feedback? I think what it all boils down to for me is this...

"Is it reasonable to call myself an audio/sound/mixing engineer without it actually being down on paper?"

That is what discourages me most of the time.

Thanks again everyone, I look forward to hearing back from you

If your friends run studios go and work for them and learn stuff in the real world. Music technology courses are run and taught by failed musicians. They failed at music, so decided maybe they could record music instead, if only they knew the tricks of the trade. Having wasted a few years doing some useless course and failing to get a job the only option left is to teach the same useless course to more deluded hopefuls. Why its allowed to continue I really don't know.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby hollowsun » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:18 am

Fealow wrote:I feel constrained as to what I can do without a piece of paper saying that I can do it if you get me?

<snip>

"Is it reasonable to call myself an audio/sound/mixing engineer without it actually being down on paper?"
There are no bits of paper that matter in this business and Music Tech (ahem) 'degrees' aren't worth the paper they're written on...

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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:31 am

Thanks for the feedback John.

I never really charged those artists from the past as they were "friends" and they were doing me just as much of a favour as I was for them. But I was kinda just starting out then (first pair of decent monitors, pro tools, M-audio interface and condenser mic's)so I did not really feel obliged to charge them we are also talking about events that happened well over several years ago now. Of course if I was to do that sort of thing now I would obviously charge as I'm using my free time off work to provide a service. I just need to get some decent equipment and space first (I sold most of my old stuff when I moved into a box room in a flat last year...).

I understand that a low level studio attracts low level artists, but that is what I want to begin with 1) To hone my own skills and 2) being somewhat of a producer too when working with an artist, I'm able to improve on what they already have. Most importantly I enjoy doing both of those things to the utmost

As for working with my friends already in parts of the business, its not really an option as they are not in a position to offer me work. They are able to help me with promotion and things like that however as well second opinions and a helping hand.

"If you know it what's the point ? The piece of paper is totally worthless. In fact I would say it could even be a disadvantage". This I can now agree with as I have very much been an autodidact with everything I know since I was 18 years old. I was just doubtful at first as practically most people around my age would be at uni right now.

Thanks John.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:32 am

hollowsun wrote:

Image

Point well taken!
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby James Perrett » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:18 am

I have no music related qualifications - just an electronics HNC and quite a bit of real world experience. None of my recording clients have ever asked to see any qualifications.

In recording, I've found that if people find that you're a good person to work with, they'll come back. While many of your clients may be at the bottom end of the market to start with, the trick is to move upmarket with them as they become better known.

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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:26 am

James Perrett wrote:I have no music related qualifications - just an electronics HNC and quite a bit of real world experience. None of my recording clients have ever asked to see any qualifications.

In recording, I've found that if people find that you're a good person to work with, they'll come back. While many of your clients may be at the bottom end of the market to start with, the trick is to move upmarket with them as they become better known.

James.

Thanks for the simple advice James

I Actually have no issues with working with the bottom end of the market, I quite enjoy it to be honest. They are always more willing to give me a bigger part in its direction that way Thus usually giving a result that sounds better than it should have if I had just been a zombie and mixed it seldom.

My only issue after having a whole night to think about this is the lack of a decent space and equipment right now, I'm more than willing to get a small loan to help with the start up costs. I would just have to move home to really make this work. A box room in a flat is no good at all.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby narcoman » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:31 am

Be jolly careful. It's not cheap to get a set up that goes beyond what hobbyists already have. By the time you've set aside a years worth of rent for a live room your into five figures. PM me for a chat..... I wouldn't want you to get not huge debt without really knowing what you're getting yourself in for.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:44 am

narcoman wrote:Be jolly careful. It's not cheap to get a set up that goes beyond what hobbyists already have. By the time you've set aside a years worth of rent for a live room your into five figures. PM me for a chat..... I wouldn't want you to get not huge debt without really knowing what you're getting yourself in for.

PM sent!

Thanks for you concern and time Narcoman
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:45 am

Fealow wrote:Ideally I would like to work with independent/local artists producing demo's, E.P's and such to start with. In the long run I would eventually like to have my own locally recognised studio to which anyone looking to produce material worthy of platforms like iTunes and Spotify could drop by for a chin wag and a cup of tea (As well as still catering to artists who are just starting out).

I already have experience in this kind of field, I just never got paid for it.

You have the right attitude, but the wrong information. So here are some facts for you to mull over -

The various government agencies and arts councils list about 750 studios, of which about 50 are real businesses, the rest being loss-making demo rooms. The Yellow Pages list far, far more - the list being made up of every nit-wit and his mother-in-law with a laptop and an unregistered copy of Reaper.

But let us go back to the 750. The guys behind the big desks at Abbey, Air, Angel and all the smaller rooms are free-lancers. And then there are the 700 demo rooms dotted around the country, manned by dreamers who honestly think that they are one of the 50 mid-sized rooms. These demo rooms are all making a loss - sadly and all too often, without the owner realising it.

You didn't get paid for arranging some female's songs, because she didn't want or need to pay you. If you had been able to fix her car, or build her a kitchen extension, she would have found the money. But she knows full-well, that behind you, there is another hobbyist prepared to do it for nothing and behind him, there is (Yes! You've guessed it!) yet another hobbyist prepared to do it for nothing. And so on, and on, and on!

Musicians have never paid for studios. In the past, it was the labels, today it is the management companies and/or the agencies. But getting money out of musicians is pretty hopeless. They come to us and claim that they have no money whatsoever. Yet somehow, they manage to have a whole rack full of vintage Fenders!

They tell you, they are just fulfilling a dream. Go figure!

Once they have 'made it' (whatever 'it' might be!) they still don't pay for studio time - they build their own studios. The three best studios in London today (IMO) are not the three 'A' studios I mentioned above, but the private toys of big names.

The demo rooms get nothing.

Period.

If someone comes to me, asking to make a demo, I ask them why they don't just buy a USB mic and record the thing in their laptops. If the demo works, they will get a gig at one of the festivals and be seen by management who will put them into our place with real musicians who can read music and don't stamp their feet and pout if the producer tells them that they are off the beat.

Here are the facts on demo rooms -

It costs about £20,000 to put a demo room together (if you know what you are doing and you can do everything yourself).

Bands and other animals will pay £100 a day TOPS for recording a demo.

Demo customers only record on the weekends.

If you get a 50% booking rate as a studio, then you are really, really lucky!

That means the best you can expect is a turnover of £5,000 p.a.

You won't get £5,000 p.a. because the demo room market is 20-30 times oversubscribed. You might be one of the lucky few and get £500.

You can sometimes make a demo room work if you combine it with something else like a set of rehearsal rooms or a music school AND you are living in a part of the country where there is nothing else like to compete with your business.

But then you are running a business that will take 12-16 hours a day and not 'fulfilling your dream.'

But there is something else and it is the reason why you cannot get rich, running a studio. Scalability!

I was talking to Richard Boote, owner of Air and The Strongroom and he put his finger on the one big reason why studios are a crap business. We were sitting in the CR at Air and he said "The trouble with this place is, I can only sell it 365 days a year."

He can't drop the price to £50 a week and rent it out one million times.

When I invest in a business, the very first thing I look for is scalability. Combine that with a good measure of profitability and realism and you might see that rarest of sights - me blowing the cobwebs off my chequebook. (Well, nowadays, it's an email to the bank, followed by a call-back, but you get the idea!)

So, why am I here, sitting in the studio office, waiting for crew to arrive and set-up for a recording in my studio?

Just fulfilling a dream - go figure!
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:53 am

That certainly is something to mull over and I certainly am starting to realize a lot more about this industry then I did a few days ago. Yet it still only deters me a little bit. All that information was certainly helpful and will be given great thought.

I guess the best I can do is pursue my passion and keep an eye out for that lucky break

I think what I'm looking at for the next few years though is working from home. I want to look for some accommodation that gives me space to at least fit in a decent/entry level set up and start by working with locals in my free time. I have also been known to work with people overseas (e.g. re mastering/mixing songs). Does that help clarify my intentions for the time being.

I am also a musician/composer myself so the studio will have my personal uses too for extra income.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby grab » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:51 am

Since you have no commitments, why not ring round all the PA companies you can find and see if they're looking for roadies? Worst-case, they'll all say no. But you don't have a house and family tying you down, so if the only PA company willing to take you on is in Aberdeen or Cornwall, you can up sticks and move tomorrow. Sure you'll just be a gofer on minimum-wage, it won't cost you anything (apart from maybe your own steelies and maglite), and at least there *are* a few jobs going in that area. From there, you're in with the people who can give you a chance to drive a desk. And if it doesn't work out, at this point in your life you've not lost anything.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:04 pm

Fealow wrote:I guess the best I can do is pursue my passion and keep an eye out for that lucky break

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yuwhUx35Uc
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby James Perrett » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:35 pm

narcoman wrote:Be jolly careful. It's not cheap to get a set up that goes beyond what hobbyists already have. By the time you've set aside a years worth of rent for a live room your into five figures.

I'm not even sure that a large live room is necessary for most people nowadays. If I want to record acoustic instruments I would rather hire somewhere like a local hall for a day (or someone else's studio) and take a laptop setup to do the recording. Pretty much everything else can be done in an acoustically treated bedroom.

Many people at the bottom end of the market will be happy to work with a hobbyist standard setup - provided the operator knows what they are doing (which is by no means certain).

James.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:50 pm

Thanks Grab, it does sound like something looking into. YOu right about me having no real commitments though, so perhaps I should take more advantage of that.

Nice song there Red, am I meant to laugh at he humour and context or cry at my already shattered dreams? haha.

I had been thinking that james, as long as I can find a room with some good dimensions and enough space to put the control room in as well as record in it. I know my set up would probably be considered hobbyist to begin with, but I would be doing everything I can to use the 3 days off from work I get to generate some income for the studio. I should probably mention I work nights (hence the amount of time I get off work). And yes I do know what I'm doing behind the console, I'm just a little rusty (I sold most of my stuff when I moved about a year ago) which is why I would like to find a setup and room that works for me in the short term so I can get things flowing again.

Thanks for all your replies as usual.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby The Red Bladder » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:20 am

Two words of warning - don't rent!

And whilst we're about it, never buy on credit, either!

There are far too many misapprehensions in what you are writing here and you share these with all those who like you, dream of setting up a studio (and are reading this BTW).

Firstly, the cost. A large studio means an investment of AT THE VERY LEAST of £1m. Half of that will go on the building, a quarter on the desk and a quarter on other equipment and treatments, etc. Anyone setting up today and wanting to be in the 88R league, would almost certainly have to spend four or five times as much, as all the business is in city centres. There are about five such studios in the UK and they take about 60% of the studio rental market.

A mid-sized studio (that's us BTW) costs between £250 and £1m. And even at £1m, you are scraping by, as you must have about 100 sq m live room and a grand piano etc., etc. if you are to be viable and attract customers. There are about 40 such places in the UK, maybe fewer and they take about 30% of the market.

The remaining 10% goes to the 700 demo rooms that cost less than £100,000 to set up.

Now let's do the basic maths -

The total market for studio rentals comes to about £20m p.a.

The set-up costs (or present day value) for the five large studios comes to very roughly 35m and they should have a turnover of about 12m.

The remaining 40-45 have a collective turnover of 6m and a capital base of £25m.

The brave 700 have a collective turnover of £2m and a capital base of £35m.

So you see that the capital base of the top five that take 60% of the market is about the same of the bottom 700 that take just 10%.

And the top five are loosing money!!!!!!!!!!!!

To put the whole thing in context - Avid's market cap (roughly the equivalent of a capital base for a private company) is HALF of its' turnover! That is about right for a company that is just about breaking even. The top five studios would have to achieve a turnover six times greater than they do, to become viable commercial companies that could attract real money from outside investors.

As it is, rich men throw money at them and at the mid-sized studios for two reasons -

1. They are idiots!

2. They know that as long as the business owns the building and land outright AND the studio is able to just cover its' costs, they are really in the real-estate business. If you rent, you are not in the one and only part of the studio game that actually is very profitable!

In the past 15 years, studio properties have increased in value (in the UK) by about ten to 15 times their original value. I know people who struggled on until they were 65, hardly able to feed their families, only to be very pleasantly surprised by selling up and retiring as millionaires!

It's a funny old game! Aye?
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby blue manga » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:47 pm

hollowsun wrote:

Image

That is fckin brilliant
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Folderol » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:31 pm

hollowsun wrote:
There are no bits of paper that matter in this business and Music Tech (ahem) 'degrees' aren't worth the paper they're written on...

Image
How times have changed! The last time I saw something like this, the text was 'Sociology Degrees'

To the O/P

If you really, really enjoy this field then don't do it as a full time occupation. The constraints, pressure and deadlines will take all the fun out of in a remarkably short space of time. If you keep it as at least semi-hobby you will have the feeling that you can walk away from it any time it gets too much - not that it would actually be a good idea halfway through a session!

Perhaps the best move would be to try to get/keep a full time job that is pretty much crap but pays well, and use any spare money to indulge in what you really want to do. That keeps you financially afloat while having something to look forward to at the end of the day.
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Re: Education in audio engineering.

Postby Fealow » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:25 am

Thanks for the insightful info there Red! Scary stuff o.O

However, I'm not really looking to go as far as a £1m studio or even £100,000. What I want to do follows along the lines of what Folderol said, A small home set up capable of doing just what I need it to while working a full time job. And with any luck scrape some money in from the studio while indulging in what I love doing. When I said about getting credit to start out I simply meant a very small loan, probably no more than £1000 to get me set up to a semi hobbyist level. All I really need at the moment is some monitors and interface keyboard and a mic or two. The computer I have at the moment is custom made and moderately high spec. It uses about 60-70% CPU with reaper when I have 32+ tracks with about 2-4 plug-ins on each track, which is not bad in my opinion (for something I put together myself with £490). I could probably lower that CPU usage by being more efficient with my use of plug-ins, but like I said I've not had a decent set up for a while so I'm a bit rusty.

However, if I ever should get a chance to move up in the career ladder all of that information you provided Red will be useful!

At the moment I'm concentrating on finding somewhere else to live with a good space for a home set up. My current room is actually a good shape and size for acoustics, but there is too much stuff in it to move anything around (mainly my double bed). Not to mention I pay £400pcm for a room which is a bit steep considering I also have broadband and mobile contract to pay for as well as trying to fund/save up for a home studio. Even finding a room for £20 less is £20 in my own pocket.

Anyway, enough about my personal life.

I appreciate all your input guys
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