Audio Production Schools Reviewed: What’s Really Changed?

There’s so much to this, and you might be wondering how it works in the discussion of audio production schools. Well, for one thing, I call them ‘audio’ production schools, and not ‘music’ production schools as mentioned above. Not that the first was invalid. It fits up to a point. But audio is much more than music. You could use what you learn on talk radio. You could use what you learn in a setting where your role is not musical, but purely audio. It will always involve audio, and not always music. These are not music lessons, they will be mostly audio lessons.

What change means is multifaceted. Schools have changed significantly as the need for audio staff has changed in the marketplace. As stated above, some feel that the quality of audio and music has changed, for the worse. That’s something for another debate, but being as objective as possible, I can say that many would agree, there is a lot of bad-sounding music out there. For many reasons, but let’s focus on the audio. You may find many that sound good, some that may sound better than ever, but it seems that number may be decreasing. There are many possibilities why.

One of the MP3 “revolution” and people happy with low bit rate sound. Many throw their hands in the air and say ‘why bother’ when transmitting at 128 kbps or worse. And let’s face it, My Space is arguably the most popular place for this type of streaming right now, and its streaming is the worst. Yes, I’m giving my opinion here, but those who are in favor (of the quality of My Space) say “me”. They have reviewed their players, wonderful. They still transmit at what sounds like an average 64 kbps or worse VBR. Man, it can be painful to hear. I won’t even put my music on your page on your player anymore.

It is so bad. But for many, “that’s entertainment.” I want to say that. They did a big sweep some time ago to get rid of a variety of people posting “music only” player pages. I mean to sign up as musicians. Some even like THE musicians they are fans of. You could go to the music area and find the most played artists and find multiple ‘Mariah’ pages. That? Well, the big moral of that story is that those ‘fans’ were happy with those players. It wasn’t bad enough on the 128kbps iPOD on small earplugs and no bass, they had to have poor quality streaming on small computer speakers now!

So with that new ‘view’ of music (and I mean sight, as it has evolved to be more and more visual than auditory, but that’s a completely different topic) you start to wonder. Why pay more for that preamp, when a sound card might be fine? Why buy even a $ 200 mic when a much-maligned ‘Radio Shack’ mic may be enough? After all, are they going to tell the difference with that format? Well, today many may think that. But then when a new Beatles CD (“Smile”) is released and Brian Wilson ends, is it the legendary CD “Smile” and the charts are burned?

What does that tell you? It’s not just the ‘old fans’ who buy it. I’m constantly amazed at the younger folks I’m noticing that they really care. Those who listen to that in preference to trends. Who likes it and demands a good sound. Music has demonstrated one thing above all else, change, but more importantly, cyclical change. What is good today can be bad tomorrow and vice versa. So audio is becoming important. The ‘big study’ slowdown is starting to ‘slow down’. People who are getting tired of having to be the ‘control dummy’ who prefer to simply play are simply looking to ‘play’.

He plays his instrument, sings, arranges the song, and of course he writes. But the other stuff, being stuck in front of an endless computer screen, that’s SO left in the brain. People on the left or center are perhaps more “right-brained.” They want to make music, not move a bunch of squiggles for insignificant changes (which eventually add up to something). They just want to pick a different chord. Play it in a different tone. Change the temperature by playing faster, without clicking on a small box with numbers representing the BPM. This change is real, and they are making it happen too.