To be Young Again…

Dave Cracked Up (Blog), Engineering, Ramblings, Teaching 1 Comment

No… I’m not talking about revisitng my youth and chasing after nubile young ladies … sorry to disappoint if that’s what led you to click your way over here.

Rather, I’m going to ramble on about topics more closely related to the subject matter that is the undercurrent of this blog.

Over the last couple of days, I started getting all nostalgic and weepy-eyed thinking about all I’ve learned in this field we call … “Audio Production”.

The Beginning of the End for Me

I can’t really recall if anything specific “bit” me, nor can I pin-point a time when I was turned on to multi-track recording and mixing. I know it was a couple of years or so after I graduated from McMaster and had moved to Vancouver with my new bride.

I took an audio engineering night course through BCIT and during/after that, I think I was pretty well hooked. I don’t recall many of the details of the course, but I got introduced to some mic techniques, basic audio routing / mixing board theory and all of that kind of 101 stuff.

A couple of years later, in Seattle, I took another, more indepth, continuing education program through the University of Washington (U-Dub) that ran in the evenings. This course included a lot more detailed, hands-on studio work than the previous course. Lookigng back, it was pretty darn cool – working in studios that had recorded acts like the Violent Femmes, Pearl Jam and R.E.M.

My head was swimming with a whole bunch of information and I didn’t really appreciate it back then, but we were working with Neve Consoles and Studer 24-track machines. The thought of it all – makes me mist up at my ignorance back then.

It wasn’t all THAT bad…

That was all pre-Internet boom / pre-(affordable) DAW days. I still had a “real job” back then and was learning a lot of this stuff on my own through magazines and anything that I could glean from books (yes, real, paper-and-glue things) like “Modern Recording Techniques” by David Miles Huber – who was an instructor of mine at U-Dub.

I was thankful that, at least I had those resources to learn from … even if it did take me years to get to where I am now.

Back to My Point

What prompted all this nostalgia? We need to jump ahead to the present where we have a whole legion of blogs, podcasts, forums, videos as well as magazines and books on pretty well every minute topic connected with “Audio Production”.

I’m as happy as a pig in poop “curating” the re-vamped Inside Home Recording site every day – reading all the feeds from blogs that I find indispensible on recording, mixing, mastering, songwriting and composing (to name a few disciplines).

What really did me in this past week was stumbling across Mike Senior’s site “Cambridge Music Technology“. You may have come across Mike if you read SoundOnSound‘s “Mix Rescue” and “Studio Rescue” columns.

At first glance, his site looks as though it is just another resource and angle on breaking down the essential aspects of running recording and mixing sessions. It’s actually more than that – he shines a flashlight on some details that you may or may not have thought about or been aware of too.

But There’s More!

What REALLY blew me away with Mike’s site is that he’s posted a freakin’ truck load of

here’s the link by the way… 😉

I found myself scrolling through the list lamenting to myself:

[quote]Why, oh why couldn’t I have had this kind of resource when I was starting out?


The multitrack files are sourced from some of the songs he uses in his Mix Rescue column and, according to his site, he’s cleared them for educational / practice use. I haven’t counted how many full mixes there are, but it looks to be at least over 50 different songs spanning a very wide variety of genres: pop, rock, metal, jazz, singer/songwriter, folk.

It also seems as though there is also a wide variety of performance and quality differences as well – not just tracks that’ll mix themselves. I’ve downloaded a few to try out when I get some downtime … you can never stop learning.

It’s just a fantastic time to be learning about all this stuff … if only I was younger and starting out now.

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