audio engineering diplomas/degrees worth it?

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forge
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audio engineering diplomas/degrees worth it?

Post by forge » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:50 am

I've been an "audio engineer" of sorts for many years now, but aside from doing "audio design" in year 11 and 12, over 15 years ago, and a couple of vaguely relevant units at university that were part of a different course and didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, I've not really studied it in an "official" capacity and I'm completely "on the job" and self taught, which is well and good for the work I've done, but most of the work I have had has tended to be in a lot of the more boring sides of the industry.

I've always secretly fancied getting into things like film post or sound design, or even some of the bigger studios where you would be involved in much bigger projects - something like that anyway. I've always kind of assumed that it would mean going back to the beginning as a runner or "tape op" (or whatever that is now) or something, and that kind of thing becomes pretty unrealistic when you get into your 30s and have kids/responsibilities etc

I never really wanted to be an audio engineer, I just kind of fell into it as a musician trying to pay the bills, so over the years I've learned everything I know from making music myself or pretty boring and mundane audio work, like conferencing/AV, or smaller advertising type studio work which I did for a number of years, and it was all OK, but nothing like as exciting as I would imagine it would be to work on a feature film or sound design a game or something

so I'm kind of at a point where I either want to just do something completely different and practical at Uni and just make music for the love of it, or have one last push and try and get into what I've always assumed was a pretty difficult side of the industry to get into

is the SAE a good pathway to doing this? It's fucking expensive and in my experience all I've ever heard is a lot of jaded and disillusioned people saying it was a waste of time and money, but they have all been in the same boring types of audio jobs I've been in, maybe I'd hear differently from SAE graduates who ended up in these more interesting kind of jobs....

Guess I'm most keen to hear from people like Subbasshead, knotkranky, leedsquietman and other dudes who seem to have landed some of those more enviable jobs

and with the current state of the world economies and entertainment industries, is there any point even bothering any more?
Last edited by forge on Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

Meef Chaloin
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Post by Meef Chaloin » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:55 am

i didnt get any pathway from my diploma but i did learn a lot so can't really say how much it affected my life (im not working in music so...). I think maybe if I'd stayed in London and done a lot of networking (two things im not keen on) maybe I would've got something but its been of no real benefit so far.

leisuremuffin
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Post by leisuremuffin » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:57 am

i taught for SAE and can assure you that they are scammers and a complete waste of money.


any SAE grad that went on to do great things would have done so without SAE.

forge, you could probably get a gig teaching at SAE, you don't need to go there.




.lm.
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forge
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Post by forge » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:04 pm

leisuremuffin wrote: forge, you could probably get a gig teaching at SAE, you don't need to go there.
.lm.
thanks LM

I have approached them here before, at least for tutoring Ableton, but they said they didn't need anyone - I guess I imagined they would use tutoring there as another one of their dangling carrots to make you study there - in other words, only give jobs to people who have studied there

But really the things I'm wondering about is any of the high end gear that you'd find in a proper film studio or something - I've just never had cause to use any of it

thing is there is actually a Games industry in the city I live in and I have more than once seen jobs up for sound designers for games, and while I have done a bit of sound design for animations and soundtracks to small corporate type videos over the years, nothing quite specific enough to land that kind of job

so I guess I'm at the point where I either want to just make music my secondary passion I do for the love of it and give up on the whole audio thing and do something different, or go full throttle and have one last push at landing a proper audio job that doesn't consist of editing the breaths out of VOs on some car ad.

when you've spent this long on something it becomes harder and harder to change course, but there comes a point where it starts to feel a bit like a total waste of time pursuing a career that you don't see as having any real future

forge
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Post by forge » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:08 pm

Meef Chaloin wrote:i didnt get any pathway from my diploma but i did learn a lot so can't really say how much it affected my life (im not working in music so...). I think maybe if I'd stayed in London and done a lot of networking (two things im not keen on) maybe I would've got something but its been of no real benefit so far.
yeah the networking thing has never really been much of my thing either

leisuremuffin
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Post by leisuremuffin » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:07 pm

forge wrote: But really the things I'm wondering about is any of the high end gear that you'd find in a proper film studio or something - I've just never had cause to use any of it

Well, i wouldn't go to any SAE location to experience that. Tom Misner is a well known scumbag. When he opened the big flagship studio in byron bay, he rented a shitload of extra gear to be in the racks for the photos and tours. Funny bit is, you can se in one of the promo pics that there were a bunch of PT HD interfaces that were turned on but not connected to anything. lol. Also at the new york location that i worked for, there were two beautiful rooms with neve and sll consoles. Amazing. However, the neve had been in a room with a leak in the ceiling and was always glitchy and fucked up. Water had been dropping on it for days and days at one point. Also, while both of those rooms had really nice 24 track 2" reel to reel machines, the only pro-tools available were 8 channel LE interfaces!!! LOL! what the fuck is the point of having that with a large format console? Also, the 2" reels for the students to record on had multiple splices in them and were recorded over billions of times. They were used when the school got them, and the NEVER bought new tape. OH, and the live rooms connected to the neve and ssl rooms both had incredibly fucked up and noisey climate control. have fun recording with the hum and ratle of the AC unit. plus- fucked up patch points and tie lines, not enough mics and cables for every student to do a project at the same time, lots of shit in disrepair, items in the racks that were just empty front panels, and all sortd of other shit i could tell you that is just awful.

in short, fuck that place.



.lm.
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forge
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Post by forge » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:21 pm

:lol: well that's put an interesting perspective on it! 8O :lol:

leisuremuffin
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Post by leisuremuffin » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:24 pm

you should read Tom Misner's AUTHORIZED biography, "the Misner Factor."

The motherfucker actually admits to being a scammer. He was teaching out of recording magazines when he first opened and had no set curriculum. Also his "state of the art studio" that he first taught in was a DIY console his friend built. He also admits to basically stealing tape machines and all sorts of other sketchy shit. It's amazing that he actually made that book available for students as if it were a triumph. The guy is fucking nuts. he's a real mean shit of a person, too.



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Marx
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Post by Marx » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:29 pm

Forge,

instead of taking out a loan for school, you should take out a loan to start a business. Put out ads and work with bands for reasonable prices at first. as more and more bands work with you, you start to earn a reputation and more more people start calling for stdio time

leisuremuffin,

I was seriously considering going to SAE NY but I was terrified about going into debt with the economy the way it is. Thank you for making the decision a lot easier.

Meef Chaloin
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Post by Meef Chaloin » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:45 pm

Marx wrote: I was seriously considering going to SAE NY but I was terrified about going into debt with the economy the way it is. Thank you for making the decision a lot easier.
bah its mostly fear mongering anyway

micah frank
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Post by micah frank » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:32 pm

Forge,

I taught at SAE and was a student myself. It's a tough call. A few people in my class went on to have careers in music although I think their ambition was more of a factor than the school experience. I got a really good studio job immediately because of some connections I had, not the school. Teaching there is another story and one that I'd prefer not to get into ;)

I agree that taking the money and putting it elsewhere (like in a biz plan) would be a wise move. It seems like you already have more experience than the school could realistically offer you.

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Post by glitchrock-buddha » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:46 pm

Sure it's worth it! My SAE diploma got me a job at an Environmental Consulting Company!!!.....

....

....


Oh no, wait... that was my other Post-Grad diploma..... Sorry. :oops: :P

...But I do like having that Piece of Paper that says I'm supposed to know something about Audio stuff, even though I spent most days that I should have been at school either drinking or being hung over.

Out of a one year program, I went for the first two months and then stopped. I did my entire audio portfolio (which was supposed to be done in the studio) in my bedroom with an mbox, Logic 6, a Powerbook, one mic, an oxygen8 and a guitar. Did it all in the last 3 weeks of school and got a great mark! :lol:

meh, no regrets I guess.
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Baron von Case
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Post by Baron von Case » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:53 pm

No that I am getting my BA in psych in May, I sort of wish I had gone into Sound Engineering. Luckily in getting my degree in psych I've learned about the hindsight bias. :wink:

I won't rule out the possibility of maybe taking some classes someday, but for now, I want to get as far away from academics as possible.
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leisuremuffin
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Post by leisuremuffin » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:57 pm

micah frank wrote:Forge,

I taught at SAE and was a student myself.

SAE NY? When did you go there / teach there? I wonder if we knew each other. Your name doesn't sound familiar though....


.lm.
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weeddigger
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Post by weeddigger » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:59 pm

I work a shit job for a big Corporate type place, answering the phones and doing customer service...

A good buddy of mine who works here graduated from SAE, or some place like it..

Yeah, he's right here, next to me, and he's working this shit job just like me...

I ask him a lot of stuff here and there about Audio/Midi, the whole shabang, and he knows his shit, but... he's still here...
If you can imagine it, it can happen...

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