Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


How to learn sound engineering?

Related threads:
Tech: Insert cables for mixer send/return ? (13)
Tech: Sound Engineers (112)
Tech: Powered PA Speakers? (18)
Advice on a mixer (26)
Tech: Submixers or switches (14)
Sound information. Mixer on stage? (28)


CharleyR 07 Dec 05 - 06:30 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Dec 05 - 07:21 AM
Mooh 07 Dec 05 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Dec 05 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Tom 07 Dec 05 - 01:25 PM
Micca 07 Dec 05 - 02:01 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 07 Dec 05 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Fullerton 07 Dec 05 - 03:59 PM
GUEST 07 Dec 05 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Dec 05 - 05:50 PM
treewind 07 Dec 05 - 06:08 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Dec 05 - 08:13 PM
BanjoRay 07 Dec 05 - 08:21 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Dec 05 - 09:54 PM
Bob TB 08 Dec 05 - 02:28 AM
Herga Kitty 08 Dec 05 - 04:49 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Dec 05 - 03:25 PM
Ebbie 09 Dec 05 - 04:35 PM
Bob TB 12 Dec 05 - 03:23 AM
Polly Squeezebox 12 Dec 05 - 08:38 AM
Bob TB 12 Dec 05 - 03:32 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: How to learn sound engineering?
From: CharleyR
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 06:30 AM

Question for all the sound engineers out there: how did you get into sound engineering and how did you find more opportunities to use/develop your skills once you'd learned the basics?

I sound engineer for my local ceilidh series (different scratch band every time, so good for learning about different instruments) and I do sound from stage for my own ceilidh band, and I am looking for suggestions of how I could find more opportunities to do sound for other people to increase my experience. I'm trying to find something that's a step in between just doing the things I do now for people I know and being skilled enough/having had enough practise to be able to approach and offer to engineer for people I don't know, if that makes sense. Seeing as I'm more familiar with acoustic instruments and music I think I'd like to be more of an acoustic music specialist (but maybe learn about other types of music too just so I know how it works), the folk world seems to appreciate people who know that you don't have to feel the bass in your chest at a folk gig :-).

I'd also like to try recording, but I'm right at the start of that project so that's a different matter (have just bought some software for use on home computer, next step is to learn how it works!), but if anyone also has any words of wisdom to offer about how to learn recording please feel free to add them.

Ideas anyone? Thanks!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 07:21 AM

Live stuff, use the test instruments on either side of head. They are the only ones that matter.

Computer recording, I know of more than one person who has gone back to real-time analog desks because using menus to alter paramaters is so slow. I don't do recording myself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Mooh
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 09:32 AM

I do very little sound engineering and that mostly assisting at shows I play, or sessions I record, myself...seat-of-the-pants stuff.

There is a 4 day course dealing with acoustic stage engineering offered every year, and I assume this coming year too, at the Goderich Celtic College.

Peace, Mooh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 11:48 AM

I looked for books on this fairly recently and didn't find any.

It amazes me that at concerts we can have a megawatt power plant at one end of the system and the fragile human hearing apparatus at the other, and there are no dials to make sure that the power coming through is not dangerously loud. At least, the last time I checked, the sound board had no dial registering the decibel level going out.

CharleyF, I have two suggestions: the manuals for the equipment being used and the customer service departments for the manufacturers.
You also might check with local university theatre and music departments for courses.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 01:25 PM

I got into sound engineering when the leader of the band (and owner of the PA) told me he was tone deaf. I figured I needed to protect myself. Anyway I took a one-day workshop at the local folk music society and after riding shotgun for two concerts I started doing them on my own. The folk society held concerts on Friday and Saturday each week so there was ample opportunity to practice the craft and learn on the job with a variety of styles and band configurations. If you have such a society nearby, then offer your services to them. The pay usually isn't much but the experience is priceless. If you don't, then look for venues that sponsor open mics/stages and again offer your services. These might not pay anything, but the experience is invaluable. I'm now teaching the sound workshops which have expanded to six days along with the number of sound systems in use at the society and I can't agree more with the previous poster who said, "Use your ears" and be sure to protect them too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Micca
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 02:01 PM

If you are in the UK The Music Technology Dept (Commercial Road campus near Aldgate East) of the London Metropolitan University used to run both long (degree) and short courses, further info 1 Here 2 or here for Audio systems 3 or here for more


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 03:33 PM

In Canada, there is a course at one of the Ontario Community Colleges. One of the guys was looking to retrain, and took a course there for 1 year. He's now off cruising. Literally. Most of his current work involves doing sound on cruise ships. He's had gigs from the Caribbean, through to Alaska and Europe on the various cruise lines.

As well, he's worked for Ringling Brothers, and a number of travelling rock bands, since graduting 4 years ago.

Enjoys it thoroughly and makes great money


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: GUEST,Fullerton
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 03:59 PM

If you are really serious

Lots of Beeb engineers start here...

Tonmeister course.

Very high entry requirements.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 05:48 PM

Hiya,

You don't say which side of the pond you're on? In the UK there are lots of courses, most of which cost an arm and a leg and concentrate mostly on recording. The best way really is to do as much as possible, and to observe whenever and wherever possible.

The best piece of advice I ever got was to stand behind the engineer at every gig you can work out what they're doing. Never be afraid to ask questions - pretty much any engineer will be happy to tell you what they're doing, although probably only briefly because they'll be desparate to get to the bar and/or have a fag! If they won't tell you, they don't know!

As for getting actual paying work, that's down to the old fashioned way. Know the right people and be in the right place.

Good luck.

QTWF

PS - In response to the reason why a desk doesn't tell you how loud a gig is: A desk only puts out line level. Enough to maybe drive a pair of headphones! It's the amplifiers at the other end that make it loud, the desk has no way of telling what it's driving. Simple and cheap SPL meters are available and pretty much everyone has one.

Health and Safety laws cover anybody who works in loud environments, so anyone working at a gig should be offered ear protection if it's a potential issue. I'm afraid it doesn't cover punters, who are assumed to have made an informed choice.

Sorry about that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 05:50 PM

What does SPL stand for in SPL meters?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: treewind
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 06:08 PM

Sound Pressure Level

The SPL meter works by using a microphone, instead of measuring what's fed to the speakers, so it will measure the sound level of anything.

Of course it's true that the sound engineer at a concert may not use SPL meters, but his ears should be telling him what he needs to know.

Some venues have SPL meters permanently installed, with a big stripey thermometer-style gauge on the wall, and cut the power if you light up the top segment.

Anahata


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 08:13 PM

Many rock bands wth attitude will refuse to play venues with power shut-off systems - certainly the thought of anyone turning even my modest 8 kilowatt system off and on again at the mains makes me shudder for both fuses and speakers (because the "soft-start" will still be hot and the gain up so there will be a huge switch on thump). Oh, and anyone standing near the speakers.

Whatever happened to the anthem of the 60s and 70s - if it's too loud you're too old. Kick drum on rock music should be felt rather than heard.

Acoustic-style music (and folk) is different. It doesn't need to be that loud, merely clear, and it doesn't need the physical bass. The primary need is to avoid high frequency splatter and mid-range intermodulation. Turning down usually helps with both of these.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 08:21 PM

I fou find a sound engineers who's been at it for years, when you ask him questions you'll have to shout or use sign language - he'll be deaf as a post.
Ray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 09:54 PM

The Acoustic Musician's Guide to Sound Reinforcement by Mike Sokol, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1998.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Bob TB
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 02:28 AM

I recall working in a hall with a sound level trip some years back when Herga Kitty tripped the power without any amplification at all! The trouble is these things don't tune out the room resonances - hit the right note and no power.

If you need an SPL meter its too loud!

I learnt from books ("Use of Microphones" by BBC engineer Alec Nisbett is an excellent primer and available used on Amazon) music magazines, talking to people and just getting out there and experimenting. Start with samll gigs for next to nothing and work up. There may not be a "Teach yourself sound engineering" book but there are plenty of books out there on acoustics, loudspeakers, microphones, theatre sound and production, etc. Just read them all. In the US the Audio Engineering Society have lots of interesting publications. Knowledge of acoustics is important for live work - no nicely designed rooms like the studio boys get! My background in electronics design was a big help.

My motto was taken from the book "Stage Sound" by a chap called Collinson, seems unavailable now. He says "Good sound reinforcement is conspicuous by its apparent absence". Remember, for folk/acioustic music at least, you are simply faithfully reporducing the sound the srtists make, but a little louder.

Tips (others may disagree):

Get good quality mics and speakers. Easier now than it was 20 years ago when I started. If not you'll simply be fighting the equipment deficiencies.

That done, ignore the EQ controls, at least to start with. Keep mics at least a hand span back from the sound source and you should hardly need any EQ. Maybe a little bass cut if a vocalist insists on working close. Mid boost can help vocals to cut through the backing (good for dance callers).

Use graphic or parametric equalisers to take out room resonances before you start - don't try to equalise the room individually on every channel!

Keep it simple. Don't try to be clever.

Use your ears.

Remember that the audience are there to see the artist, not to stare at a bunch of metal work, or an artist with a mic for a head! I like to keep the stage clear and clean with mics, stands and monitors as inconspicuous as possible - "conspicuous by its absence".

Time to get of my hobby horse and go to work...


Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 04:49 PM

Bob

I'd forgotten about that particular trip! What I really remember from Puddleduck and Hawkes Vernon Sound days, was that you made sure the foldback for the band on stage was good and well-balanced, not just what was coming out of the main speakers for the dancers' / audience.

Kitty


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 03:25 PM

Yes, my daughter can trip SPL's with no amplification as well.

Incidentally my hearing was tested a few years ago when my wife said I never seemed to hear her. The hospital said "normal". I said "Do you mean normal for my age?" They said "No, normal".

I agree good mics are a must - but that does NOT necessarily mean Shure. I often prefer AKG.

Speakers, you can build your own cabs cheaper than buying, so long as you are prepared to tolerate weight. What you need is freedom from unwanted vibration or internal standing waves. If you are going to amplify double bass, bass guitar, or kick drum, go to the diy subwoofer page at (I think) subwoofer.org. All the maths is there. Otherwise make an IB (infinite baffle = sealed, it cuts low bass a bit but tightens the sound also) cab. For treble, save money on compression drivers and crossovers, and use Motorola powerline piezos, put two in series to move the crosover point up a bit, and ignore the 400 watt peak rating and use as if 400 watts RMS each - they are cheap enough to destroy a few, at about GBP 11 each, but in fact are hard to blow so long as you have enough amp power not to be running the amp into distortion (and no-one turns things on or off without warning).

Amps, most lightweight ones sound sharp and horrid.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 04:35 PM

Of course, Richard, your hearing used to be better than most people's. *G*


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Bob TB
Date: 12 Dec 05 - 03:23 AM

A good mic does definitely NOT mean Shure. I still have a (nostalgic) liking for the SM58 for some uses but my favourite for acoustic music remains the AKG CK1. Excellent for unaccompanied vocals as well as instruments. Being a condenser it is very flat (often used for room EQ measuements) and is excellent on fast tranisents (harp, dulcimer, etc) Pity they discontinued the full range. I have also used Sennheiser with good results.

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Polly Squeezebox
Date: 12 Dec 05 - 08:38 AM

If you really want to learn the techniques and technicalities - go join a good hospital radio service. Most instruct up to BBC standard and qualification for free, whilst you are also doing a good service for the community. Good ones not only put on a studio based radio service but also do outside broadcasts, so giving access to practise in that genre. They will also give you access to more formalised study and qualification.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How to learn sound engineering?
From: Bob TB
Date: 12 Dec 05 - 03:32 PM

I would agree that Hospital Radio can give a good grounding in the basics and is well worth doing. If you are interested in live work however it can only be a basis to build on. Live venues are never anything like a studio, working real time in bad acoustics with stroppy bands who never turn up for sound checks... come to think of it who would ever want to do that anyway! :-)

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 November 10:47 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.