David KellerManor Recording Connection

Week 3: Learning studio culture, and how things work! Posted on 2015-02-01 by David Keller

No rhyme or reason (pun intended)

One thing that I continue to learn as this program continues, is that I will learn new things from MANY different sources.  There will be the curriculum, sure, but how and when I learn is every bit dependent on THE MOMENT.  For instance, when I ask Andy to give me an example of Pulse Code Modulation in analog-to-digital conversion, we may begin by looking at an example or video in ProTools, but then quickly segway into how to add compression or effects once I see a new feature I get curious about.  After that, Andy may tell me a story about a band, followed by him showing me a particular ProTools session for that band, followed with an explanation of what mic or effect a particular track had on it, etc. and etc.

 Basically (and I love it), what I learn cannot be constrained to orderly procedure, but as in music itself, must be allowed to run freely as the moment turns.  Inhibiting inspiration in learning all I'm learning is like inhibiting musical inspiration when it strikes.  Don't kill the buzz!

This week in particular, our emphasis was on the theory of how digital audio works.  Not easy.  I had to probably re-read and study my material three or four times.  In fact, it is too boring to list off what I learned here without explanation, so I will simply leave you with generics.  In summary, in this chapter, I learned how a digital signal is derived, how it is regulated, how it is made clear, and how digital technology has evolved over the years.  Great stuff.  In fact, digital music is only made possible through binary 1's and 0's!  Math makes the music we hear!

The curriculum played a big part in my learning this week, however, and normally it does not (I am just learning SO much in other ways).  Plenty of questions were asked, and class/lab time flew because of it.  I had to really write down my questions and keep Andy and I's convo more on track than usual to get the answers.  However, I also have since last blog been to two recording sessions with bands, worked on a bit of hands-on projects by helping fix Andy's vocals for one of his band's tracks, AND helped him set up microphones and run a session for a couple bands!  

Learning equipment has been BIG, and I am always fascinated by studio culture and flow of business.  I ask Andy tons of questions about how he handles certain situations, and what his opinion is of certain studio operations.  He truly has his own "matrix" and says each studio has one uniquely.  

To sum up all of what I learn is tough if not impossible.  However, to summarize some of the "intangables" i learned this week, I would say I learned some good quotes from Andy, such as "Always gotta have everything backed up!" and to one of his bands, "Let's check our tuning once more, I'm still hearing something in that G & B."  I also learned how to chop, copy, and paste my favorite bits and pieces of different takes in a compilation track on ProTools, I learned how to set up a session, which mics to use and how to place them on a drumset, how to set overhead mics and keep them equi-distant from the snare drum, I learned there are sessions when Andy runs in 'producer' mode, where he directs and inspires his band, and others where he simply supports and fills in gaps for artists.  Furthermore, I learned some on what not to tell bands, like "Hey, you guys sound just like The Eagles!"

In conclusion, enjoy some more of my photos below, which include some equipment, session photos from sit-ins, and good-'ol-fashioned Andy time.  See you next week!

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