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Success Stories Page 61

Hear from Our Students and Graduates
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Some of our graduates have gone on to become audio engineers, musical artists, and studio owners. Other graduates are producing and making their own Hip Hop, EDM, rock ‘n roll, R&B, Country and rap music.

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Learn how to be highly discreet while recording artists.

“This chapter focused heavily on signal processing. My mentor went over the quiz with me and we dove deeper into what he had showed me the week before. We spoke heavily about equalizers and he drew out a bunch of diagrams for me to look over. I re-drew them so that I knew what was going on a little more. After a while he let me play with the levels for each filter again. Then I sat down with one of the students who had been there longer than me and went over some more notes that he thought I should have. This was also the week of the secret sessions party that my mentor throws every month. There was a nice turnout, and my job was to make sure that everyone was accommodated and that everything was clean. I also took care of door duty for a while, along with running out and grabbing items that the party may have needed. Another great time!”

Learn by doing.

"When I came into the studio, my mentor had the bounced audios from all of a client projects lines up on separate tracks on a single session: sort of like a CD playlist. He had been making sure that the volume of each project was about the same, and before I got there he had been working with the EQ and listing for spikes or other things that needed to be adjusted before this session would be burned to a CD for my mentor to listen to. If it meets with his approval, then the songs will be sent on for mastering. An unwanted sound was identified and erased from one of the songs. After the automation on the songs had been examined, my mentor added fades at the end and beginning of each song and ensured that the proper amount between each song was maintained. Some songs were given longer fadeouts and some shorter. When it was all finished, my mentor bounced it to a disc for my mentor. My mentor and Joaquin also discussed the balance that must be maintained between quality and cost. Clients want their music to sound perfect, but most also want to keep costs down. The result is that studios must produce excellent results quickly so that their clients are happy. A Joaquin quote: You need to respect everyone's project. I downloaded a patch for Pro Tools that I hoped would make the studio MAC able to recognize my audio files, but when tried to open it from my portable hard drive, the audio files folder was still empty. I told my mentor that the audio files are there but they only show up on my PC. He got a HP laptop and sure enough they were there. After about 30 minutes of trying different things to get the files to show up we found a method that worked – copying the session information to the saved files on the MAC. We were able to see and hear the work I had done even that morning. It was the first time in about a month that my mentor was able to hear my work. He was impressed with the amount of work I had done typing in MIDI without a keyboard – I couldn't take my keyboard on the plane. He said he was "stoked" at all the changes that I had made and how far my "project" had come. The last time he was able to listen to it, it only had the first vocal, the guitar and some strings. It now has over a dozen tracks including bass, piano, woodblocks, various percussion and 3 harmonies. I am still working on inputting the bass and piano for the Bridge. Once that is done I will need to work on EQ and mixing. I'm learning a lot, but there is so much left to do! Learning is what this project is about."

Learn hands-on, and one-on-one, with your very own mentor.

"In lesson 12 we talked about compressors and what they do and how they worked. I learned a lot from this lesson because this was one of the only things I did not understand. A compressor is a control that limits the dynamic range. It sets a threshold so that no signal will go higher than that set threshold. It also has an attack, which lets the volume go to the highest level you want, and has a release that lets it go to its lowest level. In a compressor there are also noise gates that will let certain sounds through and others not if you have two tracks or beats playing at the same time. We went over my mentor’s compressors. He has three Avalon 737 and two 747, which are also EQ's. He showed me how they worked first-hand and how they adjusted the sound. He also showed me the compressor that comes with my Pro Tools and how to use that the correct way. After are lesson I stayed for a session he had planned and he let me set it up and import the beats off their USB drive. He said I did an awesome job at it and did not see a problem and I told him I usually do it at home and never had a problem so he was proud of me, which made me feel good. I am studying hard and cannot wait for the next Lesson and what lies ahead. So far, so good, glad I joined the Recording Connection."

Learn by working hands-on with microphones.

“I had my third lesson this Monday with my mentor. He helped me understand microphones and their patterns so much better than I could with just reading a book, or even the curriculum assigned to me by the Recording Connection. I was there from about 11 in the morning to mid-afternoon, and then a few days later for the entire day. First I learned what it’s like to be at the front of the studio, manning the entire front desk. I learned the correct way to answer phone calls from clients while recording sessions are happening, in order to keep the business moving along smoothly while management is occupied. I went over the entire lesson and quiz in detail with my mentor, also business networking with another extern that is working in the studio as well so we can work as a team. Everyone is very nice and helpful and I feel welcomed and it really sticks out to me how my mentor brings things into real world scenarios. This helps me a lot.”

Make the right decision by joining the Recording Connection program.

“I spent the early afternoon with my mentor going over the Lesson and quiz assigned to me by the Recording Connection. Every time we went over a microphone, my mentor would stop and let me inspect one of that actual type of microphone in order to get hands-on visuals that I need. He told me that different microphones have different pick-up patterns. He also told me what was the most typical use of each mic. He gave me four microphones and told me to get the best sound I could from a guitar amp. I played around with the placement and the gain for about an hour. At that point my mentor came back and seemed to be pleased with the results I had made. I looked up the microphones he let me use when I got home and found out that one of them was almost $3,000. I was happy he trusted me enough to leave me alone for an hour with it. A few days later I spent an entire 8 hours straight in the studio. I had been invited to 2 sessions this day. One was for some voice-over work at 1:00 PM. The other was for a vocal track for a heavy metal band at 7:00 PM. The person who was supposed to be there for the voice-over called in and cancelled. My mentor said that rather than wasting the trip, as I live an hour away, I could stay at the studio anyway and be his right hand man. I got to sit by my mentor the entire time, doing some video editing for a client, and I was asked to do some market research for a client. This was a great opportunity for me to see how people are making money in the business. The singer for the band showed up forty-five minutes late, where I set up the entire recording session for her. Great experience, and I have certainly made the decision to join the Recording Connection.”

Work for the well-known artists in the industry .

"For this lesson I went into my mentor’s studio prepared with the assignment handed over to me by the Recording Connection. My mentor explained everything so that I could understand it well. I stayed in the studio after our in-depth review to make sure I now understand what everyone else was doing. This was a slower day around the studio. The next day was much more exciting, and really kicked up in to high gear. There was a small industry party for the studio to try and branch out a little bit more and gain more sponsorship. Originally, the studio is sponsored by a Vodka and Arizona but they also wanted Artful Dodger, which is one of Jay-z’s clothing lines to take notice. My job was to help make sure the guests were comfortable and to make sure everything was also going smoothly for my colleagues. I helped to watch the door and to see who was on the list as well. Since it was somewhat of a secret party, not everyone could just come in. I also was able to speak with the creative designer about some fashion-related topics and he gave me his card to keep in touch. That’s a great person to network with due to his high standings with the company. All in all it was an amazing week for me."

Learn hands-on in a professional recording studio.

"Today I arrived at the studio and met another extern enrolled in the Recording Connection in the control room. This extern was trying to learn Logic, playing with a little composition, and getting some help along the way from our mentor. This student then finished what he was doing and opted out of an invite to sit in on my lesson. I had one-on-one time with my mentor from this point on, where I asked my mentor all of my questions about the engineering industry, as well as how it works because I recently had some pretty awful music-party experiences. It is my greatest fear that even if I obtain all the skills required to produce the music I want, if I can’t “shoot-the-crap,” so to speak, I won’t be successful. It seems like there really aren’t that many people outside the studio who actually care and listen to what’s coming out of the speakers. My mentor words are always very encouraging for me. We made sure to go over the Lesson assignment, as well as the Quiz that is due into the Recording Connection. Here we started to look at microphones. My mentor took apart a cheap microphone to show me what a condenser looks like. I was very appreciative of this because it strengthened my understanding of how a condenser microphones works. My mentor proceeded to show me some of the most commonly used mics in the studio and explain how and why they were different, as well as what they were most often used for. I was glad to get an inside scoop on some of the industry standard microphones. He also drew some helpful polar pattern diagrams for a number of specific, commonly used microphones. We went over the studio’s microphone rules and I learned the most important one: Never plug a ribbon mic into any jack with phantom power! After the lesson a client arrived, and he was actually on time! Then my mentors’ engineer showed up and they set up for the recording session. This was great. I got to sit-in on an actual recording session and learn how this engineer tracks vocals for the client’s Hip-Hop project. It was pretty cool to be there and I was able to gather a lot about how the process works, and how long it can take to get a good recording that satisfies the client!"

Become involved with a working recording studio.

“My office 9th week with my mentor was great. My mentor explained everything and even told me a few extra techniques and points regarding Pro Tools. A session began with some artists coming in around 7 that night. I helped with setting the mics up for the drums and watched some engineers plug in the patch cables in preparation for the session. It was some more of a learning experience so I appreciated it. In regards to how things are going, I love everything. I love being in the studio and the atmosphere is very relaxed until it’s time to really handle business, then it’s all work yet still fun. My mentor is a great mentor and I’m still amazed to be in such a nice studio. I am really loving this opportunity given to me by the Recording Connection.”

Work as a full-time extern by joining the Recording Connection.

"Lesson three was all about microphone designs and uses. The Lesson broke down the microphone internally to show how a mic has a current produced by the motion of its diaphragm. The Lesson went into detail to distinguish from types of mics such as a dynamic, dynamic ribbon and condenser mics. My mentor taught me about all the different characteristics of a microphone like its sensitivity, overload characteristics, frequency response, and noise. I understand that microphones with a larger diaphragm in some cases pick up the lower end of a sound more. I also learned about the polar patterns like Omni, bi directional and cardioid patterns to name a few. I learned there’s no rule to mic placement just guidelines to aid you make your own decisions based on the sound you want to produce and last, but not least, experiment. I learned about proximity effects and that the off axis frequencies can sometimes be used depending the sound you want to get. My mentor showed me some mics from different manufacturers he had available in his studio and showed me their specs and types, giving me examples of how he would use each. I went home and printed the models for my own notes. Moreover, my mentor also went over some examples of recording techniques he uses to combine mics for different sounds. Once again I am truly enjoying class with my mentor and I feel I am learning very much from my mentor and I can’t wait for the next session. This week I got to spend two days in the D.O.B. Sound studio with my mentor. On Monday I was in the studio as my mentor and I went over some mastering techniques and picking out reference tracks. He adjusted compressions, modified frequencies on equalization, used automation and at points of the tracks he went in to manually clean up the song. He went over some other techniques to help your system run smoother by saving memory being used by the plug-ins and other advices/tips like documenting everything and staying organized in saving settings you’ve used to avoid the extra work trying to reconstruct a session. The following day, we met up again and went over our Assignment 6 assigned to us by the Recording Connection. The Lesson was mostly on amplifiers and their different variations. The book explains more or less how each amplifier works for example the equalization amplifiers loop negative feedback into the frequencies to attenuate a specified frequency. We then got hands-on the remainder of the day, as my mentor asked me to set up a microphone as if an actual client were to come in for a vocals session. He specified which room he wanted the artist to be in. I picked the Neumann TLM 103 that is a Condenser with a large diaphragm and has a very sharp/clean pick up and I had remembered on our microphone Lesson my mentor had told me that was typically the microphone he went to for vocals. I connected it to a microphone snake he has in the room that goes through the wall the into his Neve portico pre amp and then into the Patch Bay. After I had my microphone track armed to record, my mentor went in the other room and as he spoke into the mic he asked me to put his vocals through a reverb so I used the bus to send the track into another reverb track, etc. Great experience for me as I continue to get more and more practice."

Work as a team in working studio.

“For this week’s Lesson we went over the 10th reading assignment assigned to me by the Recording Connection, which is all about the Pro Tools. The Lesson was a topic that I understood the contents of. The rest of the night was spent with half of the band Endway, who are about to be signed to Atlantic Records. They were working on a single. I got to hear almost all of it and I thought it was one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard. The drummer was playing to it when I first walked in. The singer was trying to find a couple lines to go along with one of the verses. I was lucky to once again sit in on the session with the owner of the studio. He is so smart and very generous. I asked him only a few questions so as to not interrupt his work. He did give me a few tips and he was using a couple of really neat plug-ins that I asked about. He was combining electronic bass drum and snare drum tones with the live drum sounds and blending them together. The results were utterly fantastic. Overall it was another great lesson. So to say the least, the past few weeks have been quite busy. I had the hands-on recording lab on Sunday, plus two one-one-one Lessons for back-to-back weeks. All sessions were fun. Tuesday the 18th we went over Lesson 7 which consisted of the various set-ups of microphones and the beginning of how to get audio into Pro Tools. We began by discussing the four main ways to mic up an instrument(s): close, accent, distant, and ambient. My instructor showed me various ways in which to do this and what general applications they are usually used for. For example, for a tight drum performance you would want to use close micing as the microphones would pick up mostly the drum kit and would minimize outside sound sources. We also discussed organization in Pro Tools and how it is vital to organize all sessions in a neat manner and also to backup files. When I arrived for the lesson the piano had been miced up as well. The owner of the studio was working on a project so another student and I began to record him playing. He played a neat song on piano over a hip-hop drum sample. It sounded great and he seemed satisfied with the result afterward. The lab on the 23rd was nice as well. A drummer came in and we had an 11-mic set-up for him. Luckily for me I arrived quite early and so another student and I began setting up all the mics for the drum kit. The drummer arrived about 12:30 and we recorded him playing mostly simple beats for around 2 ½ hours; he was an excellent timekeeper. He then revealed he was going to play bass as well so we quickly set up a bass rig for him. He continued on the bass for about an hour and he also seemed thrilled with all of the results of the recordings. The lesson for last night, also went extremely well. It was my first actual one-on-one lesson. We went over plug-ins, what they are, how to find them, and what applications they can be used for. The rest of my lesson consisted of me messing about with the settings on various plug-ins and seeing which ones I enjoyed the most. I also told them about a minor issue I had with my Pro Tools in which it would only play a second of what was highlighted but luckily they told me how to fix it quickly. Overall the past couple of weeks have went well, especially the lesson on the 25th. I’m looking forward to next week’s lesson. Thanks goes out to the Recording Connection, I’m glad to be getting a lot of time in as well. And I enjoy my mentors…they’re great people and they definitely have a lot of experience. It works out very well for me since I joined the Recording Connection.”

Learn by doing.

“This week with my mentor we continued talking about Consoles. I actually started this week’s discussion by talking with my mentor about a recording job I had done over the weekend. We discussed the mic positioning and general setup that I used. It was good to get a professional opinion on what I do for fun, and the cash doesn’t hurt either. Once done my mentor and I dove straight into the quiz review. We talked about amplifiers at great length, and I mean GREAT. He started by explaining to me the way Greek amphitheatres were basically acoustic amplifiers. The way they designed, their stages, and theatres in such a way that a single person could be heard by thousands without the use of electronics was amazing to me. He broke down the whole process to me, down to the pots full of ash to compensate for delays, genius! Then we went on to discuss current P.A. systems and how they work today. Very, very interesting. We then covered high frequency distortion, which may not always be audible, but could cause discomfort in the listener. We also went over tubes and how exactly they work, and how they are similar and different from transistors. I have been playing tube amps for years now and I never knew quite how they worked until today. I had an idea, but now after joining the Recording Connection do I get the nitty gritty specifics. I also found out how and why they wear out. To me this kind of information taught to me by my mentor is priceless. We started going over combining and distribution amps to get a heads start so my mentor and I will know where to pick up on our next session.”

Learn by hands-on application.

“This week’s lesson with my mentor was that I have really been looking forward to. I love microphones, unfortunately I have not known as much as I would have liked. That’s why I joined the Recording Connection. This week my mentor and I started out by going over the quiz that had been assigned to me by the program. I was a little fuzzy on the dynamic mics, as I had not realized that a ribbon mic was a dynamic. After we talked about the different mics in detail I had a much better understanding about the different types and why they were different. We went over the polar patterns because just reading the book didn’t quite all come together for me, as I still didn’t understand how to read the charts in reference to the pickup pattern. However, that’s what my mentor is here for. He is very good at explaining things with visuals so I can fully understand. We went out into his recording room and went through his vast collection. He went over each mic explaining how they work, and what their ideal application would be. It was very impressive and made me realize that I have a lot of microphones to buy, and now I have a better idea of what would work best for me. So far this has been my favorite session so far since I joined the Recording Connection. I now understand more in-depth the mics that I already have. I may not have been using them to their full potential, but I am excited to record with them this weekend and try out some of the new knowledge I have acquired. I definitely learned a lot this week. I had no idea how uneducated I was on things that I use almost every day. This was an eye opening experience for me and only makes me want to learn more about it. I had so many questions for my mentor that we are going to pick up where we left off next week, and I think we’re going to go over microphone placement and actually get to play around with different instruments! I am definitely excited for the next round. Now I am going go play with my gear, I have a lot to experiment with now that I understand what I’m doing!”

Meet graduates from the Recording Connection that are still working with your mentor.

"This was my first official day at the studio with my mentor. I met with him and the first thing he did was give me a more detailed tour of his recording studio from the last time I had met with him, which was the day of my interview. I got to look around the building as my mentor explained the purposes of the different rooms and what they were most often used for. We then jumped right into an overview of Lesson one and reviewed my quiz answers. After we went over the Quiz my mentor asked me some questions about logarithms and the nature of sound reflection. My questions on reflection started a discussion about the structure of the studio room we were in and my mentor explained the functional specifics of the sound absorbing pads on the walls. I learned that even the paint on the walls was special in that it reflects sound differently than regular-old paint. After the in-depth assignment 1 review, we spent some time just hanging around the studio observing and listening to some of the things that go on there. Most of this time I found myself in the studio lounge, which sort of acts as the central hub for the whole building, people meet and talk here, and it’s the best place to eat, relax, and business network. I briefly met two engineers who work and spend a lot of time at my mentors’ studio. My mentor invited me to sit in on a recording session with a client the next day and meet an alumnus of the Recording Connection who is still working with my mentor still to this very day."

Learn in a real recording studio from day one.

“First day went GREAT! My mentor and I went over the Lesson assigned to me by the Recording Connection, where he also gave me some of his own wise words and advice about being a novice in the industry. Everyone showed me around the studio and the progress they have been making. It is so awesome to be able to experience the actual building and construction of the studio. I also got to meet several of the other members of their team who seemed very interesting. I feel very lucky to have been placed with this studio and look forward to the next 6 months! I will be meeting with all of my mentors’ again this in a few days, very excited to be in the Recording Connection.”

Plan out your future.

“This past week, my lessons with my mentor went very well. Having completed 18 Lessons, I’m also excited about completing the program later this month to receive my audio engineering certification. In addition to my own lesson, I had the opportunity to audit several other classes, and refresh much of what I’ve already learned in my own previous lessons. Despite the fact that I’ll be finished with the program in 2 weeks or so, I’ve been speaking with my mentor about continuing to audit classes and helping other externs along the way, which is something I’m really looking forward to. I’d really enjoy helping others to grow their knowledge base in addition to expanding my own. I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to find a job or internship in the music industry, as a first step towards making a career out of my passion. I’ve been mixing more or less non-stop over the course of the past few weeks, in addition to auditing several classes other than my own every week and attending recording sessions we’ve held. Actually, this past weekend I had the opportunity to work with my mentor at the board while we recorded and tracked much of the session with him. It was great fun and an amazing learning experience. While I made a few mistakes, I learned how to avoid them in the future and know what I need to do to be comfortable behind the board. I’m also looking forward to setting up my own website the Recording Connection is giving me as soon as I complete the necessary material and layout planning.”

Work with your own mentor one-on-one.

“My mentor has really been awesome and has certainly let me get hands-on with tracking and editing and using the board. We have talked about mics in great detail and I have been allowed to help set up and mic different things. He has been letting me get super hands on now, which is exciting. My mentor has me getting in the recording booth and talking into the mic and letting me run the board and Pro Tools! He lets me record, edit, cross fade and helps me understand the different functions in Pro Tools. I have been keeping up with all my studio assignments, so that I am well prepared for my sessions with my mentor! I am super lucky to have my mentor as a teacher. He will be working with Grammy winning producers and attending a seminar which you had to be one of a few picked to be a part of!”

Plan for a future in the music industry.

"This week I helped set up drum mics and prepare a booth for recording bass. I sound checked all the drums, also getting to lay down some guitar riffs for a beat that was being worked on in the studio. The remainder of this day I shadowed my mentor everywhere, watching the way he went about business in the studio. I looked up some Pro Tools tutorials and tried to learn a few of the differences between that and Logic; the DAW I am familiar with. The next day I continued to shadow my mentor. I set up a mic for recording acoustic guitar and sound checked that. I watched some of the ways my mentor goes about mixing down a project and noted the different plugins and all the processes that he goes through. I also took some time to look at the patch bay in the studio and learn the way my mentor likes to patch different things through to the system. A couple of days later, my mentor had a new artist in the studio and we were just listening to some of his beats and they were planning a whole day of vocal recording on Monday! The remainder of the day I got to hang out with my mentor and the artist, and near the end of the day I had my one-on-one with mentor, where we went over the entire Lesson assigned to me by the Recording Connection. There were very interesting points that my mentor trained me on this week, as well as positions within his studio, that will be very helpful for me in the future."

Work hands-on.

“Last week I went into the studio to train with my mentor mentor before he travels to London for a client he is working with Internationally. We also planned a date we would resume next week when he gets back into town. I got to do a lot of things in the studio this week with him, and I was really happy for all the opportunities the Recording Connection has provided me with my mentor. I set up a vocal microphone in the vocal booth and helped two other recording connection students set up and mic a drum set and then I helped my mentor mic a piano. The clients were recording a song for a movie and a well-knowlan artist came in and did vocals. I was happy with everything I got to do. The clients stayed pretty te so we didn’t do a Lesson assignment. But I did not mind at all, and I didn’t find myself bored at all as I am always constantly doing something. This was a truly great experience.”

Produce your own music when you enroll in the Recording Connection.

“Today my mentor and I went over the Microphone reading lesson assigned to me by the Recording Connection. This has actually been one of my favorites so far since I am a singer! I loved learning about the different types of mics and what they are used for and how they work. My mentor showed me all the different mics in the studio and how and why we use each of them. I’m starting to get pretty experienced with the mics at my mentors’ studio, since one of my main jobs at in an extern session is to help mic the drums. Putting mics on the drums has helped me immensely in learning about different microphones since we use just about all of them on a drum session! I was interested to learn that my mentor actually builds his own microphones. I hope to one day know that much about mics enough to be able to build them. I mostly want to get to know mics because as a singer, they are a very important tool for my recordings and my voice! In the studio I got to work on my song called “Last of my Soul” that I am recording at my mentors’ studio for my EP this year. This was strictly a vocal session overdubbing over the already produced instrumentals. Because of this, I got to work one on one with the mic! We ended up using the vocal condenser mic that we always use for vocals. We have it set up with a shock guard and a pop filter. Overall, it has a really great sound to it! We placed the mic a little under my mouth level so that I could let my voice flow out easily without craning my neck and straining my voice. After the vocals, we mixed in some reverb to complement the soul feel of the song. My song is now up on iTunes! I’m so excited that I not only get to extern at my mentors’ studio, but I get to create my own music there!”

Feel at ease while working along side the leading professionals in the industry.

“This was an incredible first experience. I was immediately ushered into the studio, as there were two sessions that my mentor had lined up for me to be a part of. There was an accordion player as well as a singer/guitarist. I got to see how the studio works and the atmosphere was something to take note of as well. And on top of that, I did not feel nervous at all as my mentor is very easy going and I felt very relaxed and comfortable. Any questions that I had at the time he was quick to answer, I even gave my input on a few sections and my suggestions were used. He explained to me that often times it is better to simply have the artist formulate their own solutions to attempt to correct their problems, rather than potentially impeding on their creativity with potentially project altering suggestions, this will likely be very useful advice for the future.”

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