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How did you get into this business
Old 12th July 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by ddavid
Saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan...that was it...
bought a guitar and a real small reel to reel recorder (kind with the small reels) and a little round microphone and away we went.
beatle/reel to reel guy here too. when i heard i wanna hold your hand that was it for me. started playing my dad's nylon string that day, never looked back.

the highlight was scotch taping one of those little mics (my brother's mic was square) that came with reel to reel to my dad's guitar. when i heard my 1st feedback coming out of that tape deck, i was a beatle. no talking me out of it. believe me my dad tried.

actually i still am a beatle now that i think of it.
Old 12th July 2006 | Show parent
More cowbell!
natpub's Avatar
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Wow, you mean there are others?!?!
Old 12th July 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
beatles? nah. only john, paul, george, ringo and me.

bet you didn't even know that steve edelman was the tambourine man.
Old 13th September 2006
Gear Maniac
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
So, how did you get into business?

Okay, first of all my English isn't the best, so I'm sorry if I screw my post.

I've been reading this board for while and I followed most of the topics (I was pretty impressed by the project studio topic) and was wondering how you guys got into business. I mean nobody was born as a audio engineer and at least here in Germany its rather difficult to get some education.

Have you visited some school/university or have you simply started as a stage hand, audio assistant and worked your way up?

I'm a bit curious about it, because I'm trying to get into it somehow. I always wanted to be involved in the process of making music and since I won't make it as a musician I decided to become an audio engineer. As mentioned above, here in Germany its kind of hard to get a technical education. I came across the SAE Institute and after working my ass off at some low level jobs I could afford it. So I'm currently studying there and I'm trying to get some job in the business. However, its rather hard to get one. I offered everyone that I will work for free, in whatever position they could offer me (stage hand, assistant, even as a cable guy) but nobody was interested.

Ok but enough of me. I just wanted to know, how you personally made it into the business.

And please, don't start a pro-con discussion about the SAE Institute, I already had that on another board.



PS: I'm loving this board, much friendlier than all the other boards I visit.
Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
Gear Guru
What business? You mean people actually make money doing this?

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
SnakeCained's Avatar
🎧 15 years
My parole officer suggested it!

"What are your plans on release?"

"Umm.. ahh not sure"

"What do you like"

"I quite like music"

"Ok become a record producer"

I started as one and am working my way down towards tea boy

Seriously this was something that happened as I was making other plans (to paraphrase)

Strangley all the best people seemed to have stumbled into it along it.

And yes getting paid is still a pain! WHERE'S MY MONEY SONY YOU C%N*S!
Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
College buddies were all singer-song writers (one just signed to Universal), no one had money to record, I was the one that went out and bought a 4 track and mic, then when we wanted to do more I bought an 8 track, years later then interned for free at bigger studio, then bought 3 tascam da88's and a board, then finally bought a house and built protools studio into a three car garage, work for myself, be professional about it yet upon a reputation of good work, teach on the side... its been about five years having my own studio. www.earwitnessstudios.com
my story,
Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I was the idiot in my band that was interested in sound... so I was the idiot that got my parents to co-sign a loan for a PA. The band broke up, I had bills to pay so I worked the PA as a "for hire" service... then I sold the hardware and moved to Boston where I went to college for radio production... got a job doing radio, had a regular shift on a hip NY radio station... after a year I looked up at the speakers in the radio station control room and said "fvck this" I don't want to play other people's ****ty music on the radio... so I got a touring gig... went back to college for video production, kept touring in between semesters [and occasionally during semesters] and when I wasn't touring I was the "house engineer" at a club that did national acts... worked 1 day in video production after I got out of school, said "this sucks" and went back to touring.

One day I looked around and said to myself "self, you do realize there are no old people out here... maybe you should think about checking out studio work... old people work in studios all the time". That very night a very famous rock star threw a mic stand at my head after he pointed his vocal mic into the 2" horn on his monitor wedge so I walked down the stairs, woke up my bus driver told him I had an emergency and needed to get to the airport right away [this was about song 4 in the set]. Got out of the bus at the first airline terminal bought a ticket on the next plane out. Got drunk as a motherfvcker in Cinncinati for the next 3 days then moved back to Boston where I belonged. Worked at the same club while I tried to find a studio gig... found one for no money which got me to a place where I was assisting an outside engineer who thought I was worth the effort.

He offered me a gig in his studio for $2/hr. (cash).... minimum wage was $3.15 at the time but I didn't give a ****... I had some money stocked up from touring and other nefarious endeavors so I took the gig worked an average of 100hrs. a week... made it back up to Boston for a conjugal visit with my live in girlfriend [now spouse of 18 years... but we've been living together for 24]... got promoted to "engineer" could barely make enough money to eat as I was at the bottom of the "engineer food chain" so I went back to my favorite club to do more live sound... eventually picked up more engineerring gigs... some at the studio where I was "on staff" most at other studios... did another couple of tours, did whatever work would pay the bills... I've been a guitar tech, drum tech, keyboard tech... tour manager, road manager, stage manager... rigger [uhhhh, "gear hanging American"], runner, valet, truck driver, recording engineer, record producer, solder monkey, studio designer, gear pimp, columist/writer, "bouncer" (who actually doubled as the back up soundman for the venue where I was "bouncing"), album drum tech, engineer manager, secretary, recording studio manager, you fvckin' name it I've probably done it [except lights... I tried once but I sucked so bad at it I never had the heart to do that to any band ever again!!].

Now I have my own private studio, have an ownership position in a couple of gear sales companies, still write for some magazines, websites, and any place else I get get a check for tapping out words... my wife and I are getting along great, my teenage kids don't hate me [I can still get on the phone and call a friend and be "Mr. Kool Dad" with tickets, "meet and greet" passes, etc.] and find people sending me money for the most ridiculous non-labor intensive things you could imagine... but it took 30+ years to get to this point.

Best of luck with all you do!!

PS... the "lying while learning" thing is more spot on than I would ever want to admit!!! It is indeed the real story behind the previous tale of woe.

Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by Fletcher ➑️
PS... the "lying while learning" thing is more spot on than I would ever want to admit!!! It is indeed the real story behind the previous tale of woe.
Amen. If there's ONE thing i learned from doing sound, security, lights, etc., for rock shows over the years, it's "look and act like you belong and no one will question you or your credentials".

Hate to say it, but you need to PLAY the part before you'll ever actually GET the part.

That said, i'm glad i don't "do music" (on any level) as a fulltime job. Too much hassle and not nearly enough $$$.

Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
I'm gonna be honest with you kid.

First I learned a little and I mean very little!

Then I lied a little, with the little bit of knowledge that had and got a little work.

Along the way you meet people - some of them never stopped lying, that's the way they survive!

They weren't worth a pinch.

Also along the way, you meet people who have no need to lie anymore and they are the guys that ain't affraid to give a little.

They give a little and you learn a little more!

The more you learn, the more your lies become little white lies and you become better at telling them.

The better you get, the more work you get.

The more work you get, the more you learn.

The more you learn, the more work you get and the less you have to lie.

Eventually you don't have to lie anymore and that comes as a sense of relief!

The moral of the story is: don't stop learning and as you learn, don't stop giving.

And of course, use the force - for good, nor evil!

I was going to say build it and they will come.
However, this post is on the money.

Just don't make the lies too big OR involving other humans.
Too big and you won't be believed, and other humans tend to show up right after you lie about them.

Seriously though, I was a drummer who went to a studio with another band and when I saw that place (Summit, Dallas) I said...."I am going to do this!". I then built the studio with some "help" from the local music shops and they came.
No sh!t.

Then once I was booked solid months out and saw the money I was having to split with a money partner I picked up on the way, I decided I didn't have the stomach for it.

Go it alone!!!!
Make friends, not partners!!!

Good luck!

Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Dad wanted to play electric guitar and brought home a hollow body Les Paul looking Harmony guitar. That sufficed for a few years. Dad then brought home Realistic (Radio Shack) reel to reel deck that would OVERDUB one track with the previous one IN SYNC!
Parents got divorced soon after that... mom kept the stereo with the tape deck... hehe!

Got a drumset, a bass and the guitar, bass, tape deck and drumset kept me busy for a few years.
I then got another reel to reel... started bouncing.
I then got a 4 track (Akai Quad deck in about 1972) but it didn't have sync.
I added sync (which took a year of failed experiments.)
Had an art rock band at this time, too.

When I graduated from highschol I started trying to get someone interested in buying ME an 8-track studio that I knew was for sale.
Got that going with some people and learned a lot real quick.

Started playing in clubs since I was finally old enough to get in the door.
The other bands needed p.a. help, so there was another gig.
Suddenly the better bands wanted me.
I also had the studio key!

For several years me and a friend recorded and produced bands (1980/81)
I recorded everyone on anything at hand.
Played in more bands.

My own 1/2" 8-track rig in 1985.
Bought a 24 track room in 1986 (ironically the same place I sold out of that was the 8-track I owned when I was 19!)
Did band after band from '86 until '92.
Six bands were signed from my demos (I was too dumb to benefit.)
Finally my favorite band landed a deal on MCA... toured US twice.

Got burned out and went to a radio/TV production house in 1992.
Did nine jillion radio/TV spots, re-built the eight rooms, wrote and/or recorded/produced about two hundred fifty production music cuts.
Decided that I needed to make more money that the studio biz paid and quit.

I have a DP5 based rig at home with some nice gear that I have collected over the years. I still do a few CDs for friends.
I make my money in the Corporate AV biz now.

Ta DA!

Danny Brown
Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
uptheoctave's Avatar
🎧 15 years
A wealthy scoundrel seduced and betrayed me.
Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
Jules's Avatar
Saw a friend move up from gopher / tea boy - to assistant engineer to engineer at a 3 studio complex. I begged his boss for a job, he didnt give me one, but when he was on a long holiday, his studio manager did! (boss was a bit pissed off when he found I was working there on his return!) 1st job was to wash his Porsche....
Old 13th September 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
T.RayBullard's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Ive been singing professionally for 14 years. got into recording initially so I could record my own voice demos(classical oriented engineers were expensive!)..anyway, went to school, got my undergrad in vocal performance, sang professionally, did voice over work steadily(mainly anime), and also played pedal/lap steel in a few classic country type bands...so I got entangled in substances(Opiod pain meds, benzodiazapene tranquilizers and anything else I could get..) after my last OD from mainlining coke, I found myself on a plane to infantry school and US Army Basic Training..joined to get focus and get my head in the game. went to iraq/afghan (total of two years) and after that came back and lucked out by getting a diplomacy gig and moonlighting singing with the US Army Europe band..got a bonus, fortified my recording kit, and rekindled my love for recording classical/acoustic music. Studied with several of the masters here, did a lot of recording for free, and after a while, started landing big clients. Stayed really busy recording, was able to buy more gear, and decided that location recording was what I wanted to do permanently. now I am close to the date of my seperation from the army, and will be opening my own location classical business in NC. Wife and I got approved for a very nice mortgage, so I will be pulling out all of the stops in my mixing/mastering rooms(I dont do studio work, so I dont need any typical studio gear...all on location for me)..been fun living in Germany, and got a beautiful wife and daughter out of it. I will pick right up where I left off with me playing in bands and singing.

I couldnt be happier. Drugs are bad. Gear is good.

Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
the1Hub's Avatar
🎧 15 years
lets see. started out playing piano very young. but i found baseball shortly there after piano goes on the backburner (stupid choice). allways loved to listen to music, my mom had a few beatles, and led zeplin records (wich i still keep in my studio) so i even though i played alot of sports growing up music was never really gone. started to play guitar around 12. hurt my knees playing baseball and that was the end of that. focused on playing guitar from then on. played in a band in high school that recorded an album in a real studio. thats when i got the bug.

later that year i went to collage with a schollarship to play guitar. i took a job at guitarget and worked for the discount and the networking. there i met a few guys that really were good at making records. one of them is on this board. anyways i started to collect gear hear and there when i could afford it, and learn as much as i could from people. i also started making my first serious recordings at home at that time.

skip ahead a couple of years, still going to school and working at guitarget, i was approached by a band to come play some gigs for them. after turning them down numours times they finally came in one day and paid me just to go jam with them. of course money talks a lot louder then words when your a poor collage student. somewhere along the line they neglected to tell me that they had a record contract and one day practice is moved to the biggest recording facility in town thanks to the record company. there i met a couple of the engineers and started to learn from them what i could.

after the singer looses his mind and quits the band and everything goes to hell i was able to get an internship at the studio. (best thing that could have happend since i was only in the band for the money anyways, oh and a couple of good friends that i still work with.) i soaked up everything i could. after several months of interning i started to get some paying jobs. i left the studio and guitarget to start freelancing around town.

after a very trying couple of years i started to meet and work with or for the right people., one of wich i meet on this board thanks jules. and ive never looked back since.
Old 14th September 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
HudHudson's Avatar
🎧 15 years
My dad brought an Akai X360 1/4 inch reel to reel recorder with "Sel-Sync" home from Vietnam, summer of '69 (somebody ought to write a song about that...). I bought a couple cheap dynamic mics and started making my own Sgt Peppers, bouncing tracks left to right on this 2-track. I became a folkie singer/songwriter/picker and played the coffeehouse circuit while attending a subversive liberal arts college of ill repute in New Haven, CT from 1974-79. I formed a cover band with an old grade school chum in the DC area around 1980 and we recorded a 7-inch single of two of my power-pop originals in 1981 at a local studio and I caught the recording bug for good. 25 years later I still love being in the studio and just signed a contract yesterday for a new place that will have a sweet 300 s.f. mix room.
Old 18th September 2006 | Show parent
Gear Addict
skygod's Avatar
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Life Is Great

From PSW Rec Forum

title=mark fassett wrote on Mon, 25 July 2005 10:47]I learned in radio... started as a DJ, then learned how to do production on an old ampex 440.

Learned music production by myself on an old teac 4 track reel to reel.
Same here back in the early 70s when I was around 15 after listening to Beatles Hard Days Night over and over and over again. I was mesmerized by the vocal dynamics and overall mix. I began on one then two then four wonderful old TEAC 4 tracks, bouncing back and forth and back and forth and back and forth using minimal shure type vocal mics and pzm area type mics. What a wonderful experience. I got hold of a used 8 channel mixer that didn't work very well, opened it up, figured the circuits out and troubleshooted the problems myself with a voltage meter and w/o schematic, bought the parts and soldered these in myself and went to town. Can't even remember the mfg now but it was some early Telefunkenish looking piece of ****.

I remember one evening my mother (a huge Sean Connery James Bond fan) invited me to go and see ‘From Russia With Love.’ Y’know the scene where he’s in the underground grotto under the Russian embassy looking thru the periscope trying to ID at the SMERF agents … he could not see her face, but notices the chick’s legs, and the Turkish guy asks, “What do you see James?” and he responds with something like … “Very nice view from here …” and meanwhile James is admiring her legs, I remember thinking to myself, “How do I get a microphone between this bitch’s legs and tape her thighs rubbing together and her pussy walking up and down the stairs …” welcome to my demented world ...

So I experimented for months on end moving instruments around, cabs around, drum kits around, pianos around, placing mics and recording in and from every crevice of the house, ceiling, walls, hallways, attics, outdoor deck, barn, open fields cranking Marshall plexi cabs to 10, in the car, van, etc. I learned the value of No EQ requirement later if done right at the front end, about natural reverb ambiance, plate echo ambiance in tiled bathrooms and bathhouses and developed the array of advanced multiple micing techniques by trail and error that I still use today 36 years later.

By the time I got to a pro recording studio, when I was 19 or 20 I realized, I knew more about mixing and micing than the house engineers. Same at audio school I enrolled in later. I knew more about the physics of sound than my instructors and left laughing at them two weeks later. Man how I miss the wonder of it all of those early years. It was all novel and the world of audio was a new frontier and exciting. The world was my oyster. Nothing was taken for granted, and there were no forums to whine in and let everybody solve your problem for you. Becoming an audio engineer meant being a faaking engineer, i.e., defining the problem, and working through it logically, incrementally, and systematically until a workable solution presented itself. My my how things have changed over the years ... If you won't get your hands dirty in the trenches... then how will you ever know when they're clean after you wash'em?


Last edited by skygod; 4th October 2006 at 02:59 PM.. Reason: forgot something
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