June 23rd - 27th 2014. A week in a top-notch studio in London!
This was a great experience. I spent a week at Alchemea College in London. In their own website words... "one of the world’s leading audio colleges, specialising in sound engineering and music production".
There is so much I could report about what I learned there, but will highlight one or two aspects of interest. First off, the two principal tutors, Neil Pickles and John Oliffe being at the top of their game were really quite inspirational, and it was fascinating seeing how they think and operate, using the amazing equipment at the studio's disposal. Their frontline mixing desk is the SSL Duality (all £100,000 of it!), and I could only drool over the other equipment most of which I had read about but not seen in action before.
During the week we recorded session musicians to build up a completed song. This was great experience in the detail of microphone placement, signal processing and mixing. In particular I was taken by the complexity of properly recording a full acoustic drum kit - a subject I am now obsessed with in getting the best multitrack recording of drums.
I picked up a few tips regarding recording/processing acoustic guitars which is central to my own studio work. Regarding singers - yes although pitch correction tools are available, if the recorded vocal track has guitar on it as well there is no real prospect of adequate pitch correction. Its the usual thing: get the best take as you possibly can: accurate pitching and timing are essential.
There were also visiting experts giving evening talks. We met Paul White (editor of Sound on Sound), I have read 100's of his articles over at least 15 years! Also Gary Bromham came and critiqued our own recordings which was very useful. I played my recording/edit of one of Katy Haymer's songs (see Samples page) and he was very complementary about Katy's composition! Sam Stubbings gave us some industry insights. For example iTunes he said was "absolutely king" 99.9% of all singles are there, and in effect its the only online music retailer which actually pays the artist. Spotify apparently pays peanuts! So there you have it! Get your compositions on iTunes!
Have run out of space guys.....