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Starting from scratch article

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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby blinddrew » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:40 pm

I'm happy to get involved in this as well (it would seem rude not to). Might be easiest for me, Mike and Matt (and anyone else* who wants to get involved) to continue this conversation via other means.
Will PM accordingly.

* as long as your name starts with an M...
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:18 pm

You can call me "Mr Spoons" ;)
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby CS70 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:33 pm

A cool idea. I've been thinking about making some for a while, as I still do remember very well how it was to have zero clue on how to about stuff. Time and priorities have so far been the reason for not making a page or two...
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby MOF » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:15 pm

This is more complex than it seems at first. You have to break it down into separate sections based on what newcomers are trying to achieve, e.g. recording one audio track at a time with one usb mic’ into Garage Band on an iPhone, iPad or Apple computer is fairly easy to describe, but once you factor in importing backing tracks or creating them from scratch it becomes more difficult.
Then you get into multi-channel audio interfaces and adding in midi systems.
I started out on Pro24 (like Reason) and that loop based system was not intuitive for me, when Cubase (midi only) came along I moved over to that. Others stuck to it and Notator. You need to find out how people work best.
I started out with a mono tape recorder, moved onto a stereo Sony “sound on sound” capable machine then Teac 4 track etc etc, I was able to progress over time to synching up multitrack tape with midi modules via an Atari 1040 through a separate mixer. My move from Cubase on the Atari to Logic on a Mac clone was a steep learning curve and my point is that you possibly underestimate how difficult it is for newcomers to assimilate all that knowledge and also do they know what it is they want to achieve?
Some people will be happy just using samples (DJ remixers), or drawing in midi events for software instruments and drums with a mouse.
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:34 pm

MOF wrote:This is more complex than it seems at first.

Welcome to our world! :lol:
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby CS70 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:41 pm

MOF wrote:This is more complex than it seems at first.

Very good points, and a good idea would be to break things down into typical goals (they are fairly common judging both by personal experience and SOS posts) which put together individual snippets of knowledge, possibly with some gluing comments to make recipes for reaching a goal.

Agree that the level of breakdown would have to be judged carefully (or emerge with experience and consequent refactoring) and probably there would be (and should be) many slightly overlapping "recipes".

They would still require the reader to make a little effort but that's a bit of the point.
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby ef37a » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:38 pm

A splendid idea! There will I am sure be much discussion and some good advice distilled down but I would like to mention something Drew said in another post?

"Do not get sucked into the upgrade trap". If my infestions of forums have taught me one thing it is that beginners see the fabuous and expensive gear, especially in the pages of SOS and think their £100 interface must be SO far below it in sound quality that they have no hope of producing acceptable work. Not true of course but it takes quite an effort to convince them that such a "cheap" device is, in reality way better than the Beatles had at their disposal.
There are of course those that want to go REALLY cheap but usually because they have no idea at all what to buy? The first generation 16 bit mixers are an example. They look the business, cheaper than a AI, more "channels" and way more knobs and switches. They are not that good of course and don't really lend themselves to track building.

If I were pressed to a figure I would say £300. 100 or so for the AI, another one for a mic (SM whatsit, or one of a variety of capacitors) and the last £100 for headphones, cables, stands and other bits. Monitors? Lovely idea but 300 quid really goes nowhere and then there is the room!

Lastly, many of you will not be surprised when I say the advice should strongly suggest the study of basic electrics? Amps, Ohms, watts and volts and an attempt at least to lift the veil on decibels.

Oh yes! and tell 'em to buy a ^&%$ multimeter.

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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby blinddrew » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:50 pm

It's a huge topic obviously, I'll link in with Mike, Matt and Mr Spoons to look at how we break it down into sensible chunks without a) boring the experienced readers and b) swamping the newbies.
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby The Elf » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:04 pm

At least with a mag article you're not going to suffer from that next post "Ah, but..." that dogs simple answers to simple questions! :lol:
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby MOF » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:07 pm

Lastly, many of you will not be surprised when I say the advice should strongly suggest the study of basic electrics? Amps, Ohms, watts and volts and an attempt at least to lift the veil on decibels.

Oh yes! and tell 'em to buy a ^&%$ multimeter.

I did my own basic electronic circuit construction, when kit was so expensive and which is now useful for making up leads, and I did Physics to A level, which is useful for having a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of sound/music technology, but I wouldn't say most people today need that level of technical knowledge.
Nowadays you need to know how and what things to plug into other things and how to route and manipulate them in a virtual environment and use your eyes and ears to decide if it's about the right level or not.
I know where you're coming from but most people won't / can't get that skill set. There's a danger that in suggesting that, it will put people off (who only have the creative skills) from getting into music recording and eventually, if they progress, hopefully they'll employ the necessary skills and facilities that we technical types provide to get them to the next level.
P.S. I consider myself creative and reasonably technical.
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:16 pm

MOF wrote:I wouldn't say most people today need that level of technical knowledge....

Not in an introductory series of articles, I completely agree... but I'd argue strongly that they _do_ actually need it, even if they'd rather ignore it as it is underpinning knowledge that supports more sophisticated tasks and applications.

The glaring evidence that knowledge of very basic electronics and use of a multimeter are important and would be beneficial from the beginning of one's journey into audio can be seen in the relentless parade of questions we see here about ground loops and connection formats, and in the poorly thought-out fault-finding practices described so often.

H
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby The Elf » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:19 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The glaring evidence that knowledge of very basic electronics and use of a multimeter are important and would be beneficial from the beginning of one's journey into audio can be seen in the relentless parade of questions we see here about ground loops and connection formats, and in the poorly thought-out fault-finding practices described so often.
Even more basic stuff, like the difference between a TRS stereo connection as opposed to balanced mono - I find myself explaining this almost every other day.
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:21 pm

I think the intention, in this case though, is to provide some uber-basic advice to allow a non-techie noob to start learning the joys of multitrack recording. There is probably something of the kind somewhere on 't'internet-of-things' but I'm sure the combined wisdom on here can do an at least as good a job.

edit :-
The Elf wrote:Even more basic stuff, like the difference between a TRS stereo connection as opposed to balanced mono - I find myself explaining this almost every other day.

Yup that definitely needs to be in the glossary if not the main text.
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby MOF » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:22 pm

The glaring evidence that knowledge of very basic electronics and use of a multimeter are important and would be beneficial from the beginning of one's journey into audio can be seen in the relentless parade of questions we see here about ground loops and connection formats, and in the poorly thought-out fault-finding practices described so often.

Maybe this should be a "paid for" part of the Forum service? :clap:
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:27 pm

I'm sure a suitable balance can be found, and it is obviously important that no newcomer is put off by unwelcome technicalities... but as Einstein is alleged to have said, 'everything should be as simple as it can be but not simpler!'

While music recording is an art, there is a lot of engineering and science involved too, and it really can't be brushed under the carpet in the hope that it will go away!

H
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby CS70 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:56 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I'm sure a suitable balance can be found, and it is obviously important that no newcomer is put off by unwelcome technicalities... but as Einstein is alleged to have said, 'everything should be as simple as it can be but not simpler!'

While music recording is an art, there is a lot of engineering and science involved too, and it really can't be brushed under the carpet in the hope that it will go away!

H

Well a whole lot depends on how things are explained. One of my fave books is Godel, Escher, Bach where the author is capable to explain one of the most intricate ideas in classical logic in a way that anyone with interest can understand.. and without distorting the ideas one iota! I’ve experienced that many times, the ability of explaining is a totally different skill than the ability to know
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:47 pm

The Elf wrote:At least with a mag article you're not going to suffer from that next post "Ah, but..." that dogs simple answers to simple questions! :lol:

ROFL! I don't know what you mean! :bouncy:

You forget 'Feedback' - this very forum section, my friend!

It's been too long...
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Wonks » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:07 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:It's been too long...

At 4", I doubt it. :D
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby James Perrett » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:14 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:We've had similar discussions internally about the need for some more accessible articles for newbies. We definitely need to do something on this... but equally, there's only so much space in the mag each month.

For some reason I was reminded of my early experience of electronics magazines. My favourite articles were the Practical Wireless Take 20 series where each month they featured a simple circuit that could be constructed by beginners which used 20 components or less (hence the name). While most of the other featured projects were pretty daunting to a beginner, these were achievable and I remember my sense of pride when the first circuit I built actually worked.

This makes me wonder whether there might be space for a one page article each month on just a small aspect of audio that beginners (and maybe also some more experienced practitioners) find difficult.

Another thought could be to produce some handy reference cards with, say, all the common connectors on them and how they are wired or maybe one on levels showing the common standards and a chart relating dBSPL to common sounds.
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Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby RobinC » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:01 pm

blinddrew wrote:I've had a quick trawl but apologies if I've missed something, but I wonder - based on some of the new threads over the last few months - whether we're due a new 'starting from scratch' article or series?
Thoughts?

I’d like to a series on mixing aimed at newbies that included online links to files to illustrate points. When someone is describing something about sound im personally not sure I quite get their point with an audio file to illustrate.
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