Lindsey Kappa, Austin, TX
“I knew when I was 14 that being a musician wasn’t always a guarantee,” says Recording Connection extern Lindsey Kappa.. “So I ended up going to a concert for my cousin’s band, and after the show, he recommended, ‘Hey, why don’t you check out sound while you start trying... Read more
Clever Empire, Los Angeles, CA
Tanner Bjorklund (“T-Strix”) was a gifted teenage rap artist who attended the Recording Connection because he wanted to try and record his own music. After graduating, he had the skills he needed, but as an artist, he still found it challenging to be both in front of the board and... Read more
Mike Messina, New York, NY
“I’ve honestly been interested in sound since I was like five years old,” says Mike Messina. “I just screw around with sound effects and music—sound effects from movies, video games, animation—I’ve been doing that most of my life…I’d put a sign on my [bedroom] door saying, “Recording session in progress,... Read more
Jake Kiyokane, Los Angeles, CA
Externing at Serenity West Recording in Los Angeles, Recording Connection master’s program student Jake Kiyokane has learned an important secret to breaking into the recording industry: be available as much as possible, even beyond the lessons. “I started just putting myself out there more a little bit,” he says, “just hitting... Read more
Recording Connection graduate Garrett Pace: HIRED!
Never presume. This is one of the biggest lessons to take away from the story of Recording Connection grad Garrett Pace, because at first glance he seemed the most unlikely student to get hired by his mentor. Classically trained as a singer and multi-instrumentalist, Garrett held a bachelor’s degree in music... Read more
Jacob Keithley, Corpus Christi, TX
Perhaps nothing is a better birthday present for any aspiring audio engineer than a job offer and that’s exactly what Jacob Keithley of Corpus Christi, TX, got just days before turning 22! While some externs start Recording Connection knowing exactly what they want to do and which areas they want to... Read more
Sebastian Lefeld, Orlando, FL
“Whenever I take a break,” says Recording Connection graduate Sebastian Lefeld, “I’m always thinking there’s someone else out there who’s doing what I do who’s not taking a break, and I get back to work.” It’s this very work ethic that not only helped Sebastian make the most of his Recording... Read more
Thomas Dante, Houston, TX
It’s something we tell all our students: when you extern in a real recording studio with a mentor, you’re not only learning audio engineering—you’re auditioning for a job. Impress your mentor, and he might just hire you! That’s exactly how Thomas Dante played it, which is how he landed an... Read more
John Curtis, Nashville, TN
When John Curtis signed up to extern with Ric Web at South Studios, little did he know that within less than a year, he’d be running a recording studio of his own but that’s exactly what happened. Getting into a real studio and learning the craft was dream come true... Read more
Taylor Crommie, Los Angeles, CA
Talk to any famous musician, producer or audio engineer and ask them what they have to say about learning, about growing creatively and technically and chances are, they’ll all tell you, learning is a lifelong pursuit. The people who make it are always growing, always gaining exposure to as many... Read more
Alex Arnold, Philadelphia, PA
Sometimes, you have to close one door before another one opens. And sometimes the connections you make now will come back to help you in the future! Recording Connection graduate Alex Arnold learned this firsthand when his former Recording Connection mentor called him up a year later with a job... Read more
Ayaz Ismail, Dallas, TX
Learning on-the-job definitely has its advantages—for example, the opportunity to have a seasoned industry veteran help you produce your own music! Ayaz Ismail of Dallas, TX experienced this firsthand when his mentor, music industry veteran Rick Rooney at Planet Dallas, worked with Ismail to help record and release his own... Read more
Nacor Zuluaga, New York, NY
Despite a language barrier that would have deterred some people, Recording Connection extern Nacor Zuluaga’s commitment to the craft of audio engineering not only gained the trust of his mentor, master engineer Mark Christensen, but also landed him a job working with his mentor long past his externship! Nacor was slated... Read more
Clint Badal, Modesto, CA
Clint Badal is a recent graduate of the Recording Engineering program at the Recording Connection. Clint has stated that his mentor was not only very professional, but also that he really knows his stuff and wants his externs to be as knowledgeable as he is about audio engineering. In their... Read more
Dustin Bannister, St. Louis, MO
Dustin Bannister is a Recording engineer from about an hour and half from St. Louis, Missouri in a town called Patton. While still enrolled in the Recording Connection Program Dustin successfully opened his own studio called “Blue Creek Productions” in March 2013. During his time at the studio, Dustin had the awesome... Read more
Mentor: Matt Stein, Brooklyn, NY
One on One: A Formula for Success Matt Stein is no stranger to success in the recording industry. In 2005, he was nominated for a Grammy award and has overseen Swan7 studio, which he founded and was recently featured in “L Magazine.” In addition to his years of experience in production... Read more
Every single day I make time for what I love to do
“I try to stay consistent. Every single day I make time for what I love to do and what I want to be my career. So every day every chance I get I either try to mix a project, make a beat, or write a song. If I can’t do any of those things for whatever reason I will either promote myself by posting/showcasing the work I’ve already or networking with other people to get more work. Every day I have to make time for that stuff.”
OMG! One week left!
“How the heck did I even get to this point. I’m amazed at myself. lol. This it the final academic lesson in the textbook, Mastering. It was a very brief chapter, beginning with a “Crash Coarse” in mastering, & in the first paragraph, they explained there really wasn’t such a thing. Ironic right? lol All jokes asside, it’s my understanding that the RRFC offers coarses in mastering as well, but because I’m in the Audio Engineering program, an extensive knowledge of mastering would just not be pheasable. There’s another textbook just for that, I think. But they did give a good rundown of what it is, & even posted some very helpful videos on how other audio engineers mastered their songs on DAWs. Another irony: DAWs don’t offer a lot of mastering tools, even plugins that you can buy aren’t nearly as good as the analog mastering gear that can sometimes cost upwards of $100,000. My mentor explained to me that if you were just recording a mixtape, you could possibly get away with just mastering on Pro Tools, but if you’re realeasing an album, you can’t afford to flake on the mastering. That is most important. So essentially you can only pre-master on a DAW (like Pro Tools).”
I finally had a chance to blend a mix and it was fantastic!
“I was in the studio Monday and Tuesday this week going over chapters 3 and 4 learning about digital audio formats, quantization errors, sampling rates, and ADCs, bit depth and how that is related to amplitude, the Nyquist Theorem. We even had a chance to talk about some of the first digital recorders that he used when he first started audio engineering himself and to see how much technology has progressed to make recording more efficient. Signal flow is also important when micing instruments and getting the best sound quality. There is so much that goes into producing the best sound quality when recording that when you’re just an average listener listening to music on the radio or an album that people don’t even realize! I always wondered how albums sounded so “perfect”. Now I know why. Yes, artists are incredibly talented, but watching how Edwin does his job as an audio engineer brings a lot of things to light.”
After a couple weeks of hard work, I finally created a song that worked.
“For the song assignment, I had to create a 30 second musical piece using only a 1kHz sinewave and audiosuite plugins. This assignment was both fun and frustrating. As I spent hours using the audiosuite plugins to manipulate the sinewave, I was amazed with how a 1kHz sound could become a kick drum, snare, synth sound, and just about any other sound I needed to fit the composition of my musical piece. It was very easy for me to get overly caught up in the details of the sound, which was frustrating due to my lack of experience and strong desire for things to sound perfect. After a couple weeks of hard work, I finally created a song that worked.
For my SoundCloud profile, I uploaded two songs I produced that were written by my friend Justin Peasley. He is an extremely talented guitarist (and my roommate), so I plan on collaborating with him and creating an album of our music. With his guitar talent, our composition interests, and my music production education, I am confident that we will be able to create some great music!”
He pushed me in the right direction
“I wasn’t sure how to do what I was hearing so I asked my mentor for a little push. He pushed me in the right direction and I got what I wanted. I had the strings almost sound like they were slowing down and dropping in pitch, like on a record player if you put your finger on the vinyl and made it spin slower. He was actually impressed and liked it a lot. He liked it so he jokingly said he was going to steal it from me.”
“What I loved about this chapter was the fact, that you can truly “calculate” the details of how to build your room. Put pen to paper, and meticulously create a space that will work well for your needs. Do you want more room sound? Great, treat the room accordingly. Do you want a totally dead room? No problem…treat the room this way. Much of this really boils down to going after what you want, and realizing that different projects will have different necessities for sound. It’s important as an audio engineer to try and prepare for as many scenarios as you can, so that you’re ready for whatever your clients throw at you. Or…at very least…know where you can rent the space to do it! At the end of the day this was a very helpful chapter to open my eyes to the importance of Acoustics, and to pay closer attention (and not take for granted) how much of a difference Acoustics, and the treatment there of, make in the whole process!”
End of Week 12 Entry
“This week involved Karlo helping me with a new mix assignment that will progress over several chapters, the first chapter required me organizing a general mix session which included me setting levels and panning. Slowly but surely I’m starting to get the hang of the interface and where everything is located. Karlo also spent time on a new assignment to create a hardcore rock intro with several tracks for Ink Master.”
With a little practice I learned how the patch bay works
“This week has been filled with so much knowledge. So many things that are helpful. I learned how electricity moves in the wire, and how resistance is used and needed in the current to have a successful cycle. I also started to learn the equipment in my studio. My mentor took me around the studio and showed me how the whole studio is wired and hooked up. Then he showed me the patch bay. That is the coolest thing. How the whole studio is wired to this one central area that is easy to access. Then he showed me how it worked and I had the opportunity to try it out. With a little practice I learned how the patch bay works. This week has been amazing. Thank you!”
The First Chapter
“It’s always good to know what kind of material you’re working with, in this case sound. Before the first chapter, I didn’t know what sound actually was or how our eardrums worked. It’s very interesting and a great introduction to music!”
“The band tonight was called Swami and they were good. Super nice guys. I think they would be intresting to work with. I’m learning that it takes a lot more to record a band than a rap or hip hop artist. There is a lot more that goes into the recording process.”
Still rolling along here!
“Hollis and I dove into time based effects today! Delays, reverbs, phasers, flangers etc. Im really getting an ear for everything in noticing the different sounds and the effects all of these have on vocals etc. The flanger interests me for some dubstep or edm type music, meaning I would probably use it more in that genre or with an acoustic guitar. Still rolling along here, I’m sad that my lessons will be ending soon.”
I hope to see him in action again soon!
“I got to sit in on a session with Joe on Tuesday July 14th. He was engineering a session with an artist by the name of Roy. I watched in amazement as he did his thing. I was impressed and amazed on the confidence Roy and his Producer had in Joe, knowing everything on the mixdown and mastering was going to be perfect. With a resume that Joe has along with the experience, I would feel the same. It was a great session. On Friday after a Q&A with Joe, I got to sit in on 2 sessions with a Rec graduate by the name of Fabian. I met his artist by the names of Pig and Red Rum. Before the session started, I watched him mixdown vocals in a song they were working on. Watching him mixdown I was also amazed on what he has learned. He has the knowledge which I know came from Joe, but also from him honing his craft. The time you put in will determine how far you go in this field. I was very impressed. His other artist Slimtino recorded a song and I can’t wait to hear the final results from both songs. I hope to see him in action again soon!”
This week at Bates Brothers Recording
“This week at Bates Brothers Recording we didn’t have a session for the day but we went over the chapter about acoustic treatment and monitoring. We went all over the studio looking at the angles and looking at the acoustic treatment they did to get a good noise free studio but also have a great sound too. We looked at the glass that was angled in the frame that caused reflection all over the studio and in the control room they have acoustics to absorb the sound and behind them they have a wall to reflect the sound.”
Today I had a chance to sit in on another full session
“Third session and still going strong! Today I had a chance to sit in on another full session, but this time with a different artist. I’m glad I had the chance to sit in on someone different because, then I had a chance to see Edwin work with a different artist and see how his methods change. This particular artist aims to make it big, but as it turns out, she wasn’t completely “on” today. I wouldn’t have noticed, because at least she was able to finish a rough draft of one song and then start another. However, she did come in right from the start to give some of her own ideas and ready to work. She could also hear when something didn’t quite exactly sound right and would try to do it all over again.
I had a chance to see Edwin use more of his music producing skills to give her suggestions on how she could make her track different. In an industry where a lot of the music on the radio sounds the same, Edwin gives some clever ideas on how to make the track sound fresh and not so homogenous. She worked on a lot of harmonies with her track. However, they had to remake some of the track because the artist couldn’t remember which musical direction she wanted to go. She was having some pitch issues as well and Edwin had to spend some time figuring out which pitches needed to be centered. It didn’t help that the second piece she was working on constantly switched between G major and G minor every two to four beats. It makes the track sound musically interesting, but very time consuming to work with when you have an artist who has some pitch issues. So, I had a chance to see Edwin use a lot of the auto tune. Overall, it was a good session and I will be seeing her again the next time I go to the studio.
In terms of reading, now I understand how sound waves travel to the microphone and then the analog-to-digital converter converts the voltage into sine waves the computer interprets the waves into actual sounds based on the amount of samples taken per second, also known as sample points. Now I understand how the Nyquist theorem works in order to produce the most accurate sound so it does not sound distorted when it’s reproduced. I still need to read the rest of chapter 3 and it is loaded with information. I can’t wait to see what I read relates to work in the studio.”
I have just been tracking as much as can.
“I have been fortunate to sit in recording sessions with up and coming rapper Jay Tha Prince, who has Songs with Artist Like Kevin Gates & Juvenile, as well as female artist Ashley Bank$. At his point, I have just been tracking as much as can. I like the how the book stream lines and focuses on developing a proficient work flow.”
“I know this section wasn’t the most fun or entertaining, but if you really have passion for music, you can appreciate all facets including how we hear songs. This chapter was an eye opener for me, and I feel like I have a solid ground to build up from now.”
There’s a lot more to the music business than I thought!
“I learned a lot just in one day of being at 5th St Studios. There’s a lot more to the music business than I thought! I love the fact before we started my mentor gave me lots of advice about time managing clients and helping them achieve what they want to accomplish. I’m excited to sit in a session and experience the hard work and drive that goes on in a studio. More importantly I can’t wait to get hands on. I learned the history of how a recording studio use to record music before we got all this technology and I had no idea how far we came. Also I learned that recording studios use to record in mono before they discovered stereo. I had no idea how much positioning and different things audio engineers do just to get a perfect clean sound. I learned that there are a lot of different microphones that do different jobs to capture sound.”
Really looking forward to EQing the song I’m working on
“This lesson was on equalization. Very, very interesting lesson. It packed a lot of information into it and I feel somewhat challenged by this portion of the process. Which is by no means a bad thing. Seeming a little time consuming at least at first when you finally understand it, but probably gets easier with practice just like doing anything else you do for a while. Definitely part of the process, in my opinion, that you need to train your ears for. A little bit of fine tuning that seems to require your fully focused attention. Really looking forward to EQing the song I’m working on for homework as well as other projects I’m working on.”
The variety of practice has been invaluable
“Since my last post, I’ve been back and forth between Las Vegas and San Diego, piece-by-piece tracking a demo for my own band in San Diego, DETHSURF, and mixing it in Vegas. Additionally at Audio Mix House under the supervision of Josh, I’ve single-handedly set up, mic, established gain structure, tracked, and torn down a drum set numerous times. That variety of practice- being a guitarist by trade and having minimal knowledge of drums- has been invaluable. I won’t air some mic and placement tricks I’ve learned along the way, but I will say I’m excited to have a couple of the input lists up my sleeve.”
Today’s session I started my first mix in Pro Tools
“Today’s session I started my first mix. The engineer went over the basic key commands for Pro Tools, and how I should name and organize the tracks in the session. I learned how to cut notes, duplicate, delete sections, and clean up the gaps in each section. Today I also got to sit in while Josquin and the engineer recorded an artist on the keyboard and I also got to watch them work on another artist’s song.”