Tim Gillett wrote: It's sad to see people having "plateaued out", continuing to make the same mistakes as they did years ago,
The 'student' needs guidance. Another story -
Many, many, many years ago when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I had hair, a friend and I decided to design and build a mixing desk. "How hard can it be?" he said, little realising just how hard it was going to be!
Long story short - we cribbed big chunks of design from the old black Soundscraft 'Series II' desk that was in the studio and made various improvements (or so we thought) on that design. Our desk was not as good. The phase compensation on the EQ drifted more and the impulse response on the mic-pres was not as good. It was however OK and we sold it for a modest profit and came to the stunning realisation that there must be more to designing a desk than we thought.
We spent several months building that thing and, driven by more urgent pecuniary needs, went back to repairing home organs and PA rigs.
About 30 years later I was chatting to Graham Langley of Amek fame and mentioned our failed attempt all those years ago - and in a few short sentences, he explained where we went wrong! It was so obvious and so clear - but it involved a knowledge of capacitors and how they behave (amongst other things!) that we just did not have back in the late 70s. A few words of instruction from a guru would have set us straight!