You are here

Starting from scratch article

For feedback and suggestions about the SOS magazine, app, web site or forums.

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Kwackman » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:08 pm

RobinC wrote: 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.

I think some of Zukan's tutorials do that.
User avatar
Kwackman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1293
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Belfast
Cubase, guitars.

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:57 pm

James Perrett wrote:
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.

I like the cut of your jib sir! :D

I've been 'background mulling' about all this today and my thinking is leading me in the same direction.

Plus I well remember in the early 70's when I was getting into all this stuff one of the then recording magazine had a freebie card one month with diagrams of all the then common plugs and how they were wired for various applications. (The DIN plug- now known as 'MIDI plug' - featured prominently in both it's three- and five-pin iterations, and nary an XLR to be seen!) I kept that card for years...

The advantage of an ongoing series of short articles is that the writing responsibility could be shared around. However, it would then necessitate a constant editor to ensure a degree of uniformity of style and that gaps or overlaps didn't result.
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6468
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:23 pm

James Perrett wrote: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.

Tee hee.... I had the same idea a year or two ago and started writing a series of one and two page pieces along exactly those lines that I nominally called 'Tech Notes'. There must be 25 or more done now -- enough for a couple of year's worth of issues already! -- and I continue to add new ones when inspired by forum questions and emails, etc. They're all on file awaiting a publishing opportunity, and we are currently thinking about ways of making some of them into videos too. One day...
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 23487
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:25 pm

Kwackman wrote:
RobinC wrote: 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.

I think some of Zukan's tutorials do that.

Already exists in the Mix Rescue series.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 23487
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby zenguitar » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:18 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
James Perrett wrote: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.

Tee hee.... I had the same idea a year or two ago and started writing a series of one and two page pieces along exactly those lines that I nominally called 'Tech Notes'. There must be 25 or more done now -- enough for a couple of year's worth of issues already! -- and I continue to add new ones when inspired by forum questions and emails, etc. They're all on file awaiting a publishing opportunity, and we are currently thinking about ways of making some of them into videos too. One day...

Bite Size Basics.

Has the potential to be the new Synth Secrets. And the first year syllabus for most MT degree courses ;)

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 9143
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Devon
When you see a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby ef37a » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:25 am

I have now read all the comments so far twice. Cannot slate the noob with "RTFM" of I don't do my homework!
I am pleased that my comment about "electricals" has generally gone down well.I am only too well aware that technical stuff can scare off the beginner but maybe that is a good thing?

The idea of a division between art and science has always been more illusion than fact IMHO.
Da Vinci comes immediately to mind and of course Einstein. You really cannot have art without technology. Even back with the cavemen I bet Ugg and his mates hotly debated the relative merits of various species of hollow trunks? (&^%$! Beech? Got no low end "thud"!)

Painting IS chemistry with a big C. The development of musical instruments took the talents of many artisan AND musicians and their skills must certainly have been merged? I recently saw how they make gut strings on TV. What a process!

On another tack, I think there is now at least one generation that has never used a tape recorder, even to copy off the radio or rip vinyl. The majority of DAWs emulate a tape machine and a mixer so it is little wonder the 15 yr old is boggled!

The starter series is going to be difficult I am sure. The main issue I can see is getting people to define what the final, desired result is going to be?

Oh and it needs to be on paper. Many people have only one computer, can't wrestle a DAW AND read guide!

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:59 am

ef37a wrote:I am pleased that my comment about "electricals" has generally gone down well.I am only too well aware that technical stuff can scare off the beginner but maybe that is a good thing?

Dave.

Dave: I actually wrote a response about 'electricals', but out of respect for you didn't post it.

Suffice to say that I disagree with your premise.

And I think you may want to reconsider your second sentence above. Do we really want to scare people off?

Very many people who drive haven't got a clue what goes on under the bonnet. They seem to manage perfectly well as drivers. There are no questions on the workings of the internal combustion engine in the driving-test.
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6468
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:32 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Very many people who drive haven't got a clue what goes on under the bonnet. They seem to manage perfectly well as drivers.

I don't really want to drag this out as I suspect personal beliefs are well entrenched... but I don't think this is a valid comparator for the arguments made.

A competent driver may not have a working knowledge of crankshaft bearings or valve clearances, just as a competent sound mixer may not know about transistor bias currents or twos-complement PCM coding...

But a competent driver should know how to check the condition of their tyres, how to top-up the fluids, and how to use the gearbox effectively to control the speed of the car on a steep hill. And a capable driver will know how to assess the road and use the controls properly to navigate a bend safely under all conditions, rather than approach too fast and then brake all the way around the corner... a potentially lethal scenario I see every day! :-)

All Dave is suggesting, I think, is that someone interested in becoming a sound mixer should acquire a similar level of understanding of the basic technicalities to enable them to deal with common situations in a competent manner.

Of course no one wants to scare anyone off by over-complicating things unnecessarily, but the basics are ... basic, and easily understood if taught well. More importantly, this level of knowledge could easily save a life by preventing someone doing something stoopid like removing a safety earth to 'cure' a hum problem!

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 23487
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:50 pm

Given my pathological fear of upsetting anybody I'm slightly reluctant to chip in here but, I'm with Mike on this. There are people who have no desire to understand the recording process beyond what is absolutely necessary to get their music 'on tape' and their aspirations may be no more than having something to play to their mates from their iPhone in the pub or to 'Aunty Doris' (AKA Mrs Trellis) when she visits at Christmas.

What happens after they have their first song recorded may well be something different and the subject matter for the follow up series of articles but the first series should be accessible to a musician with no tech aspirations or aptitude whatsoever and be sufficient to get them able to record a guitar and vocal and maybe the odd overdub onto their computer with minimum fuss. We all know where that can lead :headbang:
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9553
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby The Elf » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:53 pm

I think Hugh and Mike are actually saying the same thing. You don't need to know how an alternator works to drive a car, but knowing how to put air in a tyre is a basic requirement for getting from A to B. I haven't a clue how a transistor works, but I can use millions of them to mix a song.

The problem I often come up against is that people simply don't care about basic technical knowledge - and simply think I'm being arsey when I try to impart a bit of it, no matter how gently I try. Ignorance seems to equate with 'cool' in some circles...

If anyone *wants* to learn then it's to be encouraged. I'm sure there is basic knowledge that I don't even know I don't know!
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12313
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby ef37a » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:12 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:
ef37a wrote:I am pleased that my comment about "electricals" has generally gone down well.I am only too well aware that technical stuff can scare off the beginner but maybe that is a good thing?

Dave.

Dave: I actually wrote a response about 'electricals', but out of respect for you didn't post it.

Suffice to say that I disagree with your premise.

And I think you may want to reconsider your second sentence above. Do we really want to scare people off?

Very many people who drive haven't got a clue what goes on under the bonnet. They seem to manage perfectly well as drivers. There are no questions on the workings of the internal combustion engine in the driving-test.

Our minds might be closer than you think Mike! I had thought of putting in a car analogy but did not want to go on any longer (I know I do from t2t!) .

I would have said that I am sure we have all been driven by people who obviously have no clue about the relationship of engine speed to gear choice? They either stay "low" and rev the nuts off the motor or chugg along in too high a cog and come close to stalling.

My comment that "maybe some people are not suited to the tasks of recording?" means that people need to put in SOME effort! Two examples come to mind.

Mention Ohms Law and many run for the hills or glaze over but it is of course exactly the same level of maths as MPG (KPL?) or speed distance and time. They need to apply some effort to grasp some different quantities but the equation is simplicity itself.

The other situation is Signal Block Diagrams. I have on several occasions referred noobs to these when they have a problem routing a signal through a small mixer (or they want to do something a bit "off the wall*) Very often, back of metaphorical hand goes to metaphorical forehead and "Oh! Can't cope with DIAGRAMS!" My response varies but I will confess it has sometimes been.."Well you are going to have to b****y try!"

We have to face the fact I am afraid that some people are just lazy ******s!

*This is where a little electrical larnin' is vital. Unless they are very rich and can employ a tame tech' peeps that want to make experimental hookups or try some weird equipment combination will have to understand how to and make up the approriate cables or sometimes switch boxes. Nothing active or dangerous but simple interfacing gadgets.

It seems to be the case that the British seem to almost revel in being technical dunces? Even at high levels? I well recall a University Challenge question where none of the four participents knew that UK mains (and that of most CIVILIZED countries!) was 50Hz!

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:16 pm

TBF we are often 'preaching to the choir' in these forums but on the occasions when that is not the case I can see a techie approach being intimidating to a non-tech savvy 'noob'. I taught driving for many years and always preferred to teach a bit of tech knowledge to my students but it is not appropriate in every case. The job was to produce safe drivers and an understanding of how a car works always helps. But it is beyond some and the lack is not a bar to being a, basically, safe driver. LODs (little old dears) are often the least capable of understanding the tech but statistically amongst the safest drivers, young men the best at understanding but the most likely to crash.......
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9553
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Moroccomoose » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:19 pm

Hi Hugh (and the gang)

I love the idea of this,

Perhaps the series could start by defining a minimum basic setup - one entry level mic (maybe two if being generous!) , a 2x2+midi interface and entry level DAW with stock vst(i)s only.

Then each 'episode' could challenge itself to a new recording problem/creative idea using only the basic setup and household items -

It could be different instruments, tackling room problems with household items, maybe more out-there things to get the creative juices going like using how you might create an echo chamber in the bathroom or how you might convert biro pen tapping into midi percussion and so on.

But always using the same basic setup. (perhaps, not necessarily the same brands of hardware each time, but certainly the same level of expense and/or signal flow complexity (or rather 'simplicity')

Perhaps the willing recording holy could be persuaded to take the kit and see what they can come up with, in a sort of 'star in a reasonably priced car - (erm studio setup)' type challenge.

They are my thoughts!

Stu.
Moroccomoose
Regular
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:00 am
Location: Staffordshire
 

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:51 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I suspect a 'live sound basics' article would be rather harder to produce than one relating to simple recording procedures given that there are so many variables with live sound.

Sod the 300-word challenge, I can do live sound 7 words:

Jack comes out, jack goes in = noise.

:D

More seriously, start small and work your way up?

Introduce concepts at a pub room level with a pair of speakers and how they connect up, followed by then over the months build up the stacks/speaker arrangements involved as well as discussing the tech options for getting you out of tight acoustical holes (oooh... Matron) along the way?
User avatar
Pete Kaine
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3001
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Manchester
Kit to fuel your G.A.S - https://www.scan.co.uk/shop/pro-audio

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby ef37a » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:20 pm

Hmm, I think PA/ sound reinforcement should be done separately from home recording.

I would bet for every 100 bedroom wannbe music producers there is just one who wants to go on stage and perform AND needs to know the sound tech' ropes? Then the techniques for getting a good recording in the can and providing good sound coverage at a venue are very different. "Live" albums of famous band are usually done with the luxury of multiple mic splitters and a man in a van with 64 way desk and recorders. The FOH sound is another, very separate animal.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:14 pm

Got my first one in the planning stage:

"Audio plugs and sockets and what they're used for"

(This directly as a result of recent (and not so recent) forum posts and PMs)
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6468
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby ef37a » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:21 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Got my first one in the planning stage:

"Audio plugs and sockets and what they're used for"

(This directly as a result of recent (and not so recent) forum posts and PMs)

"........If you have a male socket, why not call it a Plocket and refer to its plug as a Sug?

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:13 pm

PW and I often debate the definition of a plug and a socket, usually when on long motorway journeys. He argues the Ministry of Defence's policy that the terms refer to the bodies of the connectors, the plug being the insertive one.

I prefer to think the plug is the one with the insertive pin terminals....

But whichever way you decide, you're always stymied by those connectors which have the properties of both...

Our long journeys simply fly by... :lol:
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 23487
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Wonks » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:41 pm

You should record the conversations. They would be... riveting.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8627
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Starting from scratch article

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:41 pm

A thread on any forum... :

"Could someone please explain why is the sky blue?"

"Ah; but it isn't really blue."

"Quite; it's not nearly as simple as that."

"Don't forget sunsets."

"And dawns."

"And then there's the whole issue of rain."

"Quite. Then it's not blue at all."

"Of course it is. It's only at ground-level that it appears not to be."

"But of course the higher you go it starts to go black."

"Why is that?"

"Well it sometimes appears blue because it's reflecting the sky."

"Eh?"

"Oh sorry. I thought he asked why is the sea blue. :blush: "

"I think pollution is a terrible thing. Blue Sky? Have you ever been to India?"

"Well that depends which part of India you're talking about."

"Quite so. I was in the Himalayan foothills once and we had blue sky all week."

"Hang on. he only asked for an explanation of 'blue sky'".

"But it's not nearly as simple as that. If you don't give the full explanation he'll never understand about refraction, water vapour, atmospheric pressure, high-altitude dust and all the other vital aspects."

"On the subject of high-altitude dust, I seem to recall..."

"No that's not right. What's your source?"

The O/P: "I had no idea it was so complicated. I think I'll take up knitting instead."


There's nothing so simple that you can't make it complicated if you put your mind to it.

[Climbs off hobby-horse]

I'm done on this... taking up knitting... :angel:

:D
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6468
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users