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Starting Out-Don't Go To A Private Audio School!!! 
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Dags said:

[Dr.Hash: This leads me into my point, which is these courses are not taking these
changes in the music industry into account, they don't care that you
are being trained for jobs that don't exist.  One thing Greg hasn't
mentioned is how many graduates a year are there from these audio
schools vs how many actual jobs there actually are.]

 

Can't this be said for every course out there though? I have friends (and a wife) undertaking masters and doctorates in engineering, science and psychology with no absolute guarantee of employment at the end of it.

Because there are so many people with similar qualifications coming out of universities and private schools, employers have plenty of choice. Only the top ranking students end up with the best options for employment at the end of their degree. Plenty of competition out there. And candidates with extended practical experience as well as a degree will be viewed more favourably than those just waving a bit of paper. But this isn't new news, surely.

 

[Dr.Hash: If these schools
took into account that and started to offer a more balanced education
that understood music technology is making the "music" recording side of
the audio business obsolete then we as I say might have a more healthy
music recording industry. ]

I'm curious - what would you like to see added to the standard audio curriculum offered by these institutions that would cater for this outcome of a more balanced education?

Because I, for one, would love to see a shift towards ending the loudness war in mastering and a return to more natural dynamics in recorded music - better for our ears! 

headphones

Dags




 

Look as for your last comment the whole mastering thing is subjective as for things that should be added to the curriculum for one I would add a marketing subject and not just traditional marketing for example understanding how social networking is rapidly defining and shaping our buying habits. 

 

Another thing that needs to be looked at is the idea of being a "small mobile independent unit" this is becoming the business modal or at least this is becoming the business model from what I am seeing.  "small mobile independent unit" is a term Robert Fripp coined when he was describing the music industry once all the big record companies where gone.  If we are not seeing this coming true then we are close. 

 

This is an easy statement to back up if EMI and the company that owned EMI has been forced into bankruptcy protection and also Abbey Road Studios are also under threat meaning it will have to be sold to recoup debt then the recording industry is in some serious trouble.  Don't forget EMI owns three of the biggest copy writes in history The Beatles, Queen and Pink Floyds master recordings. 

 

This needs to be understood and how the distribution industry has changed and how we as "small mobile independent units" distribute our work in that new marketplace and how this all ties in with the new marketplace that is defined by social networking.  Or to put it more simply how do market forces affect the research and development side of our art.  If for example all we do is make music for the masses how will that impact in the long term of what we think of as good music.  Are we so close to the dystopian vision of Huxley and Burgess that it is too late and music is now nothing more than bubble gum something to consumed and then discarded or even worse Beethoven is reduced to being nothing more pastiche or a caricature.

 

Finally and I have been rabiting on about this but the DAW needs to be understood as something more than just a simple recording device as it is with Pro Tools.  A DAW is an instrument and one that can be played live and or in the studio but it is more than that now it is an entire eco system from the computer itself, the interface and then the DAW.  This is a profound way of looking at the DAW because if software makers claims are even close to being true and if as I have purported that indeed we no longer have a quality issue at the mid end of the spectrum, then we have no limits to the possibilities about where we can go next with music. 

These are just some of the concepts that musicians, music technologists and audio technicians will have to face in the next twenty years and these are some of the concepts that audio schools and music collages alike will have to look at but if we don't do it soon we may end up with the Huxley and Burgess dystopian vision. 

 

For anyone not familiar with the works of Huxley and Burgess I am talking about Brave New World and Clockwork Orange. 

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Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:51 pm
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[Dr.Hash: This needs to be understood and how the distribution industry has
changed and how we as "small mobile independent units" distribute our
work in that new marketplace and how this all ties in with the new
marketplace that is defined by social networking.  Or to put it more
simply how do market forces affect the research and development side of
our art.  If for example all we do is make music for the masses how will
that impact in the long term of what we think of as good music.]



I agree - the marketplace has changed, and I don't pretend to understand it. But surely there is much, much more scope for independent bands who aren't making label-driven bubblegum music to get their music heard by the use of social networking media? Every band now has the ability to promote themselves through myspace, arsebook, and even youtube. We don't have to make music for the masses in order to participate, and this has been the biggest shift over the last two decades: artists are sick of the same pulp that record labels are telling us we should be listening to and promoting on commercial radio, and have found ways of bypassing them. The term indie was coined for bands creating music that was not funded by a record label so they could do their own thing and ignore what radio wanted to promote. The emergence of cheaper audio technology has allowed them to create reasonable sounding tracks in their modest home recording studios or in cheap independently-owned semi-pro studios, and the internet has given them a way of promoting it.



But surely, the most basic thing that first must be understood before anyone can do all this is a) how to write a decent tune and b) how to use all this brand spanking new gear to record it?



Greg has already indicated that there are composition courses available for those who wish to learn what makes up a killer tune, and we're all aware there are a multitude of audio technology courses available to train engineers on how to record and mix this tune. Courses such as these are there to provide an insight into how the technology all works so that the humble home engineer can have some fun recording his mates' band and maybe learn a bit more about what it takes to be an audio engineer.

As long as one doesn't go in there expecting to be the next Geoff Emerick when they come out, I'm sure that these courses meet the needs of most enthusiastic students.



Dags

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Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:51 pm
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simmosonic said:

This audio school debate is very interesting, but there is so much negativity. I’d like to provide an insider’s perspective on it…

[snip]

I am thankful that private audio schools exist; the public schools and universities can never afford the quantity and quality of equipment that you can find at some of the private schools. The public schools rely on Government funding, and therefore top quality industry-standard gear is unlikely. Look at the audio equipment in public universities and so on, it’s rarely, if ever, the same quality or quantity that is available at some of the private audio schools.

[snip]

I cannot think of a single Government-funded (i.e. ‘public’) audio school in Australia that offers such facilities and is open to just about anyone with sufficient enthusiasm.






Greg, I think you've made some really good points on a range of issues. I need to challenge you, however, on your assessment of the university (publicly funded) sector and the standard of the facilities on offer. Having taught university level music production for 17 years and having designed two major facilities from the ground up, I've got a pretty grounded perspective on this. The fact is, there are some excellent facilities in both the TAFE and University sectors, at least as good as the one you describe at AIM. I think you will find a number of people will take issue with your assessment.

I set up the studios at the University of Western Sydney in 1994 where I also authored the music production curriculum and they were always serious proposition. Great acoustic designed rooms, great mic collection (Neumann, Schoeps, DPA etc..), always the top level Pro Tools setup, AMEK automated console, Dynaudio M2 monitoring, top level outboard etc. Many of the students that went through this system were very successful in production areas. This course had a great reputation for putting out savvy graduates who were very capable in production environments. Ask some of your colleagues at AIM.


I have since moved up to Brisbane and am working for Queensland University of Technology. In recent years I have designed the new QUT Gasworks Studio complex. It is undoubtedly one of the best music production education facilities around. Neve 1081, Quad Eight, Chandler EMI pres and comps, LA2As, 1176, Vintech pres/eq/comps (Neve 1073), Pendulum Audio ES8 (Fairchild), Focusrite Red, Thermionic Culture valve stuff, Barefoot MM27 monitoring, Otari and Studer tape machines AMEK and MCI consoles.. the list goes on.... There are three studios in this building designed to allow all conceivable signal paths and workflows. We have another 4 studios (including dedicated audio post facilities) and a range of computer labs at another location.

You can see it here. QUT's Gasworks Studios facility in Brisbane: 
http://www.facebook.com/media/.....2f939a4fd3



If you are ever up in Brisbane, come up and I'll show you around. AT might even want to do a feature. Ha! So some of us would like to say hey.. take a look around - you're not the only ones with a good facility. 



But other than my exception to your inaccurate assessment of other facilities, I think you nailed some solid points. It's about staff, curriculum AND a good facility. We're totally in agreement that the last bit is a waste of time without the first two.

Cheers,

Julian


Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:55 pm
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In reference to my early posts on this subject, Dr Hash wrote: " I think we need to take what you have said with a pinch of salt.  I say this because you seem to be using this forum to promote your school and their faculties.”

Sure. A pinch of salt always spices things up a bit…

But seriously, as I wrote in my initial post: “I am sorry if this reads like a promo for AIM, but there is so much negativity in this topic about audio education in general that I feel compelled to respond with some (hopefully) positive real-world examples. If it is okay to mention the names of audio schools in a negative context, as has been done numerous times in this thread, then it is only fair to allow mentioning of a school’s name in a positive context.”

Where does one draw the line between speaking positively about something, and promoting it? One can easily be interpreted as the other, and there is ultimately little difference between them – especially if the defence of a school provides an overwhelmingly positive impression. The difference in this case is, of course, that those positive comments came from someone (me) with a vested interest (i.e. an employee of an audio school), so they can easily be dismissed as promotional. So be it…

In defence of my own position, however, I believe that nothing I wrote about AIM was gratuitous, nor was it unwarranted in light of the negative extremes that had already been voiced here. I was addressing many points raised in the previous posts (separated by lines of asterisks), and using real world examples (mostly from AIM) to back them up. Real-world examples is where I drew the line: I refrained from providing any kind of contact details, specific locations or on-line links to AIM, preferring to keep the debate within the confines of this forum.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have followed my first instinct and not mentioned the name ‘AIM’ at all, choosing to refer to them as 'my current employer' instead. I actually decided against that because the other posts on this thread did not hold back on naming schools – in fact, there were even some unnecessarily derogatory re-interpretations of one school’s name in the initial post. Therefore, if it is considered acceptable to mention names in a negative context, it is only fair to allow them to be mentioned in a positive context as well.

There was also the foregone conclusion of credibility. Had I not mentioned the name of my current employer and still painted the same overwhelmingly positive picture, people would no doubt be asking for the name of my current employer to add credibility to my statements. Can’t win on that one, obviously…



Dr Hash also wrote: “Not only that but you also seam to be promoting a fair few brands as well.  I am sorry but we don't know who you are sponsored by and let’s face it a few people in these schools and across the audio industry do have sponsorship deals or that is my understanding.  Feel free to correct me if I am wrong and if I am I am, sorry but this is a debate and one that I will not hold back from.”

I mentioned “a fair few brands” in support of the argument I was making regarding the quality and quantity of equipment offered by one private audio school in particular [my current employer]. Anyone familiar with the industry will recognise that they are all very reputable brands, many of them are also very expensive and highly regarded, and some are ‘dream’ items for many aspiring engineers.

The sponsorship concern is interesting; I have no idea if there is sponsorship going on with my current employer, but I’m not sure if it is even a valid point considering the diversity of brands I mentioned in my initial post. If there is sponsorship, I don’t think our students are suffering from it in terms of having a particular brand forced upon them in preference to others – which was one of your earlier concerns.

I do know that sponsorship deals have been offered to my current employer and refused. Typically, a sponsor will offer a certain amount of equipment in return for a complete list of email addresses for all enrolled students (great marketing value, of course). My current employer has had moral issues with that in the past, and probably will have in the future as well.

My current employer does, however, use only Macintosh computers throughout all of its audio facilities – for standardisation purposes. Perhaps there is some kind of sweetheart deal going on there; that would not be surprising in any industry, considering the number of computers they buy. However, the software running on those machines comes from diverse sources: Protools, Logic Audio, Ableton Pro, Sibelius; I do not know what else, but I cannot see any serious limitations being imposed due to any kind of sponsorship exclusivity that may or may not exist.

Personally, I have no sponsorship deals although I have worked very hard over the past decade or so to establish very good relationships with a handful of manufacturers whose products I respect for one reason or another: in particular, DPA, Schoeps, Audio-Technica, Rode, Nagra, ATC and Grover Notting. Those brand names are hardly mentioned in my initial post, if at all.



Dr Hash also wrote: “Once again feel free to correct me and I must do more research into this but most mid priced equipment into reasonable convertors (no one seams to have mentioned about the fact that most mid priced audio interfaces use the same brand of converter)is better than what all the greatest recordings in history have been made with.”

Okay, now we are getting into very different territory. Is most mid-priced gear of today better than the gear that all the greatest recordings in history were made on? That depends on your definition of ‘better’. Sure, it might be quieter, with lower distortion and so on, and therefore it might be technically superior. Is it sonically superior? That’s another question, as discussed in my interview with Rupert Neve (you can download all three parts in pdf from here: http://famous-first-words.blogspot.com/, scroll down the right side to ‘Downloads). I also discussed it in my First Word columns in issues 28 and 29 of AudioTechnology (‘The Three Ts’, parts one and two). It’s about things such as harmonic distortion, which can have a positive or negative musical influence depending on the order and quantity. It’s also about headroom. Most affordable audio equipment of today uses chip-based circuitry that has a maximum supply voltage of +/-18V DC, which provides about 20dB of headroom above a nominal operating level of +4dBu. Some people will argue that 20dB isn’t quite enough for good clean audio, and I’d tend to agree with them. But we are now moving away from the point…



Dr Hash also wrote: “With UAD emulators and any good priced and well designed software, coupled with as I say a mid priced microphone and pre amp plus a couple of bits of outboard gear (a compressor or two) and a modicum of knowledge you should be able to make great sounding recording at home, without the AIM, JMC or SAE trained technician.”

The UAD DSP systems and modelled algorithms are excellent, and I’d rather have one of those than an original 1176 (for example) going through DA and AD conversion in real-time from my DAW. The degradation of the additional conversion is more than the degradation of the emulation, especially if the emulation is up-sampling.

I would argue, however, that a well-trained graduate of an audio school will be no worse off than someone self-trained with a modicum of knowledge, and more than likely better off through their experiences with a wide range of microphones and other equipment to choose from, and the theoretical knowledge and practical techniques passed on to them by their teachers.

Look at it this way; if there were two versions of the same engineer, one self-trained with a modicum of knowledge, and one who built upon that modicum of knowledge and self-training by doing a course at an audio school, which one is going to be better off?



Dr Hash also wrote: “One thing Greg hasn't mentioned is how many graduates a year are there from these audio schools vs how many actual jobs there actually are.”

Ah yes, that stale old bean.  It wasn’t mentioned in the initial rant and ensuing debate, but if it is here than I will address it…

I think Tom Misner gave the best answer to that question when I asked it of him in an interview titled “Who Does Tom Misner Think He Is?” in Sound Australasia magazine in 1996 or thereabouts. Tom pointed out that music schools and conservatoriums are pumping out hundreds of flute players every year, when there are only a handful of paid full-time positions for flute players in all of the orchestras across the country. Interestingly, the music schools and conservatoriums are never put under the same scrutiny about these employment prospects, and yet they have many parallels with the audio schools: private and public, expensive, huge numbers of students, and so on.

The other problem with the jobs question is it *often* assumes that all audio students are looking for a job recording popular music in a multitrack studio upon completion. Sure, many of them dream of that, but many of them do not – they want to know how to make better recordings of themselves and their bands, or they want to set-up their own commercial studio (something I generally discourage, by the way, unless they own the building and can do it without entering a partnership or significant debt). Some enter the course with the goal of working with music, but along the way discover other aspects of audio that are more interesting, and choose to pursue those avenues.

As I have said many times in discussions with potential students and/or their parents, “there are not many jobs but there is a lot of work”. (One former employer mysteriously stopped using me as a ‘recruiter’ on Open Days after I threw that little piece of reality out to an audience of potential students and parents!)

Every time someone forms a band there is an opportunity for a sound engineer – either in live sound or recording. People are always going to be forming bands, so there will always be that kind of work. So the goal is to ‘tool up’ with sufficient knowledge, techniques and equipment (i.e. laptop, interface, a handful of microphones) to be able to pursue and do that work. This philosophy of mine ties in nicely with the approach of my current employer, which is to create independent professionals who are just as comfortable sitting behind an SSL in a huge studio as they are squatting on the floor of a rehearsal room with an MBox and laptop, holding a boom arm on a film shoot, running the PA system at the local pub, or assisting a load-in and set-up for a conference. Those are the versatile audio professionals of today and tomorrow…

I won’t go into figures regarding payroll jobs; the figures are not large but they are also on par with other avenues of education in similar creative endeavours, and therefore it’s a moot point. How many art students end up working in payroll jobs related to the arts? How many music students at the Conservatoriums throughout the world end up working in payroll positions as musicians? How many photography students end up working in payroll positions as photographers?

Many of those students are earning an income from their studies, but are not necessarily in payroll positions…

It’s all about dreams. If people have a dream of doing something, and are willing to pay for education to help them pursue that dream, is there anything wrong with a school offering to provide that education? Of course not, but how the school does it is another question. As with any industry, there are some operators who are less ethical than others…

Since 1985 I have been responsible in whole or in part for helping many young people either achieve their dream or realise it was not really what they wanted to do. Either way, I find that very rewarding – regardless of who my employer was at the time.

Instead of the slippery ‘jobs’ question, it is more realistic to ask: ‘how many former audio students are happy with what they got for what they paid’. From the answers to that question you can start talking about the differences between specific schools and try to identify the better from the worse, rather than trying to tar them all with the same brush. Then you’ve got something that’s really worth discussing. Until then, however, we are at risk of talking in circles…

- Greg Simmons


Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:59 am
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Julian Knowles wrote: "The fact is, there are some excellent facilities in both the TAFE and University sectors, at least as good as the one you describe at AIM. I think you will find a number of people will take issue with your assessment."

Good points, Julian; I stand corrected. And updated!

The next time I am Brisbane I would happily drop in to visit the Gasworks Studio Facility; it sounds fantastic.

- Greg Simmons


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Ok Greg fair cop and one that I fully expected but as I said if you don't ask you won't know.  I was also testing the waters so to speak seeing what sort of metal you had.

 

As for your statement about mid priced equipment absolutely that is the next question one must ask but I believe you can impart that sonic quality by using emulators or this is the argument that emulator manufactures are using and one that I am experimenting with.  You are right about some mid priced equipment not being up for certain tasks.  For example to record hi quality acoustic music every little thing helps.  It's really hard to capture delicate nylon string guitars let alone the room sound with pre amps that don't have enough juice or pre amps that have enough juice but are unusable because of noise.  This though doesn't mean that you cannot make hi quality recordings with mid priced equipment and it's even more so the case if I am correct and we are moving away from bands to hybridisation.  Hybridisation for those who are not in the know is music that uses real and virtual instruments.  Because we are using less real instruments and because we are mixing in the box the quality of the converters and like become less important or so the theory goes.  Also Greg you are not taking into account what the listener is listening music on and what they can hear themselves.  Yes it's an old chestnut but one that needs to be understood because if I am correct and the listener cannot hear the 5000 dollar microphone and pre amp what is the point.

 

Of course I have read your link and the thing that I found interesting and one that I am trying to explore at the moment (hopefully with university funding) is the very idea of how to take the box (daw) and put on a credible show just me and the box because you are right you no longer need talent or to be a competent muso or to understand basic theory or even production history, the box does it for you.  This is of course nothing new but I am a more than a competent musician (even if I do say so myself) by taking the framework of say Pink Floyd and songs such as Echoes or Shine On I believe that you can have a structured song with improvised elements and put on a very creditable show.  What does all this have to do with what we have been discussing, a lot!

 

This is because all of a sudden Greg's small time audio jobs dry up why would I need to hire an engineer to mix me when I can set up an entire show including EQ and compression and trigger the changes as needed hell I can control lights and video as well all with a couple midi footboards and a couple of keyboard triggers.  This is the future and one that Greg in his spiel is not addressing and of course private audio schools by default, this is what I am trying to put out there this is the future.

 

Another thing that Greg has not addressed and perhaps he doesn't need to but I think is super important in twenty years were are going to play these gigs.  If the current trend of less and less urban space for living continues and more and more people are crammed into the city and its surrounding radius bands playing at pubs will become a thing of the past.  Ok Melbourne's venues have hit back and as far as I know Perth and Brisbane have a fairly healthy live music scene but Melbourne's victory has to be seen as only battle one and the battle is going to go on for years to come and ultimately it is one that pubs and bands will not win.  Also I have named three live music scenes that "I know of" that are healthy however we have 5 major capital cities and over 22 million people.  It the music industry doesn't look so healthy now does it?  This is also something that also needs to be explored how and where we are going to perform in twenty years 

 

Hence it is important, one to understand the change that is going on and one that Greg has discussed in his blog link, the unfortunate thing is Greg is not embracing this change and in fact is quite anti this change why is this?  Is it because he is going to loose money?  Is it because Greg is not an artist and doesn't understand the change in music/production/distribution and how it is empowering the composer like never before.  This is a scary thing for technicians because it makes them obsolete.

 

Finally Greg has put it out there and I will address it although he has said it in the subtext he is intimating that we all have our own agendas by joining in this discussion, absolutely!  The new economy is no longer about bums on seats or records sold it is about hits on websites. 

 

This is the fundamental change that needs to be addressed because this alone will redress the balance in the recording and live arts today.  This is because the more hits to your website the more advertising you can sell or a better sponsorship deal will be offered.  This gives us back our research and development money that we have lost because there is no longer any money in the traditional model.  Ok we are only at the beginning of this revolution but it is taking place.

 

I hope I haven’t gone too far off topic.

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Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:59 am
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[Dr.Hash: Finally Greg has put it out there and I will address it although he has
said it in the subtext he is intimating that we all have our own agendas
by joining in this discussion, absolutely!  The new economy is no
longer about bums on seats or records sold it is about hits on
websites. This is the fundamental change that needs to be addressed because this
alone will redress the balance in the recording and live arts today. 
This is because the more hits to your website the more advertising you
can sell or a better sponsorship deal will be offered.  This gives us
back our research and development money that we have lost because there
is no longer any money in the traditional model.]



So why start a thread shitcanning private audio schools when you could have created a thread titled "The internet is the future for musicians wishing to make a buck" or something similar?



I'm out



Dags

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I think you answered your own question I have over the course of this discussion increased the traffic at my own website and various other internet holes 10 fold.  It is all part of university studies or I hope it will be.

 

Also all though I could have started a topic as per the one that you have described but my point would still stand and it is one that I believe in.  This is "private audio schools" are bad for the audio industry full stop.  They churn out technicians, these technicians realize that artists are their bread and butter and a whole bunch of half truths are then put out there to confuse the artist.  Hmmm starting to sound familiar!!!

 

Also why would we not question a regime such as "private audio schools" as Greg has so kindly done he has proved my point over and over again.  It is in his words when he has said that most of his income is derived from a "private audio school" so it is in his best interest to keep churning out "audio technicians" and to keep propagating half truths.

 

This is the singular biggest problem I have with "private audio schools".  The artist has finally at his or her command something that Beethoven could only dream about.  In six months I could digest the necessary information to make reasonable recordings at home on mid priced equipment (if I am correct and the punter can't really hear what the audiophiles hear then this is all you need).  Ok this is only the engineering side of it and it does not take into account the many years it takes to master song writing and instrument playing but in six months I could learn enough to never need to go into a studio ever again.  Further more I could also teach anyone who wanted to learn this in 6 months.  Now the regime at Aim may be different but at the schools that I have attended and I know of, the idea that mixing and a good mix can be as simple as the correct gain structure is absolutely foreign.  If only somebody had sat down with me at the very beginning  and showed me this concept and how it effects the mix and final sound.

 

This is the singular most important fundamental in our business is understanding how gain structure affects your mix.  The really funny thing about this though is Pro Tools the industry standard doesn't even have a gain trim built into its mixing architecture you have to either apply in off line so permanently or use up one of your plug-in spots.  Although I haven't checked out Pro Tools 9.

 

Now feel free to correct me out there in audio land but who here agrees that in our business the biggest hurdle to getting a good mix is gain structure.  You can I believe make the shittest equipment sing if you understand the inner gain structure of the piece of equipment and where the sweet spot is (once again this information has been gleaned from this very magazine and Stav’s word, in an article many years ago Stav suggested that this was the case) then once you have the sweet spot of the pre amp or whatever piece of hardware you are using, you then need some way of turning it down before it goes into the software mixer so as to leave headroom.  This can be done with the output attenuator on the device or by way of your software mixer.

 

This should be the first thing you learn in audio school and once again maybe the regime is different else where but to understand that you need to leave a certain amount of head room for the mixing side of things and also you need to have an average level as well and how to hit this in between well is our bread and butter.  Once again Pro Tools and this was the last time I checked doesn't even have an rms meter on every channel. 

 

Once again I might be off topic sorry if I am.

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Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:51 pm
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I have been following this forum with interest and although recent posts have skewed things off into a very different debate, as the CEO of the JMC Academy, I felt the need to set some facts straight from the earlier posts



Firstly with some of the issues Dr Hash raises

Facts

We Did Not Double Our Audio Numbers

Our numbers are capped at JMC, based on the amount of studio time we can provide. We guarantee a minimum amount of studio time per week however we cannot guarantee that students will be self-motivated to attend all these scheduled practicals. If you want me to personally investigate the specific situation with your girlfriend, with respect to her timetable, assessments and attendance, feel free to contact me directly.

 

Expansion

The expansion is to include a 2nd TV Studio, rehearsal rooms, library and study spaces, student areas, office spaces and only 2 new classrooms. These are about adding value to the student experience not about fitting in more people

 

No Extra Studios

Yes, one of the Council conditions was to close our studios at 8pm. In order to meet the required studio time allocation we now have 2 Studios for Semester 1 students

 

Entry Requirements

Minimum entry requirements are not unique to JMC. Have a look at other institutions as well as TAFE’s offering degrees and even Universities who have removed ATAR or are now providing alternate entry

 

Bachelor Degree

JMC not wanting you to finish a Bachelor’s degree doesn’t make sense. As an organisation we endeavour to retain students not lose them. We can only do this by providing a quality product and continuously improving it.

Maybe this comment was more directed to SAE who in my understanding actually charges more for their first two semesters compared to their other four.

 

Leniency of Marking

The reason the JMC Academy’s Director of Education advised Mark that he could not fail students simply based on poor referencing was due to the fact that this was not stipulated as part of the assessment criteria at the time. Dags talks about using standard criteria to ensure consistency and fairness. How would it be fair to fail students on criteria not stipulated prior to submission? Notwithstanding, in acknowledging this at the time, as part of our continuous improvement we changed the assessments to now have referencing as an assessment criteria.

 

Sponsors/Branding

Other than ProTools, which is industry standard, our facilities are balanced in brands and equipment to achieve the educational outcomes required. We do not receive items for free or trade for our student information. All our equipment is paid for, thereby we do not benefit by promoting Brand A or Brand B.

That said, if providing ProTools 101 & 110 at just over $100, rather than over $1,000 payable elsewhere, is considered capitalistic, opportunistic or brand promotion then I am happy to wear it.

 

Student Representation

Although this may not have been in place when you or your girlfriend were at JMC, JMC does now have a student body at each campus, with one student representative having voting rights on our Academic Board since 2006.



With respect to Greg Simmons’ posts, there are some strong and valid points in discussing the need and purpose of private education.  People do forget that unlike TAFE’s and Universities that receive generous funding and heavily subsidised student places, our institutions are self-funded.

In addition, people fail to understand the rigorous and intense accreditation process that we all go through as Non-Self Accrediting Higher Education Institutions. Our courses are scrutinised by University competitors, academics, industry practitioners and where relevant peak bodies.

Although I agree with some of Greg’s arguments and have high regard for him as an audio engineer, his unfair reflection on past ‘employers’ certainly needs some perspective.

As one of those previous employers, I can speak on behalf of JMC.

The JMC Academy has been involved with Australian Universities since the mid 90’s, well before it became the norm. Our students successfully articulated into University of Sydney Masters programs straight from our Advanced Diplomas and prior to accrediting our own degrees we had strong partnerships and articulations with Macquarie University, UWS and UNE.

These relationships were created after representatives from these Universities reviewed our curriculum and student outcomes. In fact as a result, we were consulted by both University of Sydney and Macquarie University in reviewing their own post-graduate programs in audio. By having these relationships we were able to combine the practical and theoretical learning that now underpins our very own Bachelor degrees which launched in 2007 and are in the process of being re-accredited.

This practical application is what Universities are challenged with and continually struggle with. Therefore I am not sure that making the comment that AIM has a deeply ingrained culture of University style education is necessarily a good thing.

Nonetheless, I am not really interested in going tit-for-tat on which organisation is better, however what I will say is that we, as accredited organisations, are all subjected to Federal quality audits that go on public record. We have ours later this year, SAE is due around the middle of the year and AIM’s was last year.

For anyone wanting a read, the report can be found at

http://auqa.edu.au/files/repor.....m_2010.pdf



Finally to contextualise some of the comments possibly referring to JMC



Who is the Money Making Sausage Factory? – Some Facts

AIM & SAE have three intakes per year v JMC has two

AIM & SAE semesters normally 13 weeks long (11 face-to-face) v JMC 18 weeks (15 face-to-face)

Course Costs – AIM $48,600, SAE $39,800  v JMC’s $40,500

AIM & SAE deliver in Trimester mode (graduates every 2 years) v JMC delivering Semester mode (graduates every 3 years)



‘Padding’ Out

The comment of being asked to ‘stretch’ the 1 year course to 2 years is incorrect. This course was rewritten and was even rewritten again when we developed our degree later on. The ‘padding’ referred to by including subjects like business studies clearly shows the misalignment of the need to teach students business and life skills and balancing that with purely teaching them the craft. Not sure why the business units are an issue for Greg, particularly since AIM has similar units in its degree program, as every decent education institution should.



At the JMC Academy our goal is to always provide quality, industry relevant and practical education. If we are providing this goal then the fact whether we are a commercial operation or not, I believe is irrelevant. I will not pay lip service and say that our organisation is always delivering at the highest level, but I can say that we do strive for this. We have student feedback mechanisms, including surveys twice a year (I personally read each and every one), mentoring schemes, welfare support and are constantly reviewing our operations to make things better.  In addition, our units are reviewed at least once a year for currency and improvement and recently we went through a thorough review as we prepare for reaccreditation. This review involved both industry and academics. As we can see from these forums though, every one has differing opinions on what should be included and separating what is essential or important can sometimes be the challenging part.



Finally, I strongly believe that Julian Knowles sums it nicely in saying that quality is not about a stand-alone item but rather the combination of staff, curriculum and good facilities. If an organisation stands still, without renewing, investing and reviewing these, it will be left behind and I can assure you the JMC Academy is not standing still.



 - George Markakis

   JMC Academy


Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:54 pm
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Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:26 pm
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