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Pro Audio Equipment Design

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Anonymous
April 17, 2005 2:45:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Had a curious thought just now. Are most of the people who design audio
equipment experienced in music production? It seems to me like it would be
essential for one to have this kind of background in order to have any shot
at making a successful design.

If the answer is yes, then I'm perplexed by the fact that I get the sense it
seems to be huge commitment to become experienced in music production, as
well as a huge commitment to understand and become proficient in electronics
design.

I'm pretty sure I want to do something along these lines as a career, but
ECE is so time-demanding I find myself lacking the skills (and equipment) I
need to critically evaluate something I design (in a qualitative sense).

Anyone have any insight to offer?

Dave
Anonymous
April 17, 2005 3:59:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Two answers:

1) Teams. Designing a product is rarely a one-man effort; build a group
which covers the skills and experience you need.

2) Time. Both to learn the skills -- and yes, it is a commitment; this
is a career you're talking about, not a job -- and to iterate over a
design because you *never* get it all exactly right the first time. Do
your best, test it against the real world, repeat.
Anonymous
April 17, 2005 5:41:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Maybe this is semantics, but I 99% of the people who design pro audio
gear have a background in producing/engineering. I don't consider the
C1000 to be a pro product.

The people I know who make great gear that we all talk about and use
here, not only have a background in engineering, but test their
products out by makeing recordings with them. Their time is way skewed
towards designingin/manufacturing, but they all have personal studios
where they will try out gear.


I'm sure that they will tell you that their engineering skills are
developing at the same time as their design skills. If I were planning
to get into design as a carrer, I would plan to amke my skill
development as a desiginer and user a life long plan.
Related resources
Anonymous
April 17, 2005 5:52:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:
> I can recommend Moulton's _Golden Ears_ CD set.

Thanks, Scott; I'd heard good things about that set from other folks but
confirmation is helpfu.
Anonymous
April 17, 2005 9:08:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1Eu8e.13155$If1.3428615@read2.cgocable.net> NO_SPAM_PLEASE_jmd_2003@msn.com writes:

> Had a curious thought just now. Are most of the people who design audio
> equipment experienced in music production?

Most? I doubt it. But some are, and there's usually someone with some
audio production experience on the design team. However, these days it
may be someone whose experience is limited to audio production at home
on a computer.

> If the answer is yes, then I'm perplexed by the fact that I get the sense it
> seems to be huge commitment to become experienced in music production, as
> well as a huge commitment to understand and become proficient in electronics
> design.

It is. Often as not, the actual electronic design details are done by
an experienced electronic designer. But it takes someone with audio
production experience to understand how the product should work -
define what it needs to do, how well, and for how much. Greg Mackie is
a good example of that kind of person. When he ran the company that
bears his name, he was fair circuit designer - he could make things
that worked pretty well, but mostly he came up with great concepts for
products and defined their functional specifications. Then he let the
the team of engineers fill in the details, test the performance, and
bring back the results for his approval.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 3:25:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Studios used to have engineers and technicians. The engineers would have
a problem that needed fixing, so they would ask a technician to build a
sollution... It think it was as simple as that.
Now of course you need buzz words, a "target group" and endorsers etc...
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 5:35:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Caffrey <mike@monsterisland.com> wrote:
>
>Maybe this is semantics, but I 99% of the people who design pro audio
>gear have a background in producing/engineering. I don't consider the
>C1000 to be a pro product.

How about the Mackie consoles? Much as I like Cal Perkins, I have to
say the Mackie SR24-4 is a prime example of a product that had clearly
never been tested by someone with actual mixing experience before it
shipped. There are so many little gotachas with it.

>The people I know who make great gear that we all talk about and use
>here, not only have a background in engineering, but test their
>products out by makeing recordings with them. Their time is way skewed
>towards designingin/manufacturing, but they all have personal studios
>where they will try out gear.

Sadly, the great gear is a tiny fraction of the pro audio market. Not
necessarily just expensive gear here either... there are a lot of very
finely designed inexpensive products out there, that clearly were built
by engineers who wanted to solve an actual production problem. But there
is a lot more trash on the market than there ever used to be... I think
part of this has to do with the huge expansion of the market in the past
decade, and the fact that most of the market now consists of inexperienced
people who listen to marketing.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 6:08:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

So is there a resource somewhere that I've missed (besides this NG) that
reviews the actual design and performance of various products and filters
out marketing. Would have to be, I'm assuming, some kind of non-profit
effort.

Dave


> Sadly, the great gear is a tiny fraction of the pro audio market. Not
> necessarily just expensive gear here either... there are a lot of very
> finely designed inexpensive products out there, that clearly were built
> by engineers who wanted to solve an actual production problem. But there
> is a lot more trash on the market than there ever used to be... I think
> part of this has to do with the huge expansion of the market in the past
> decade, and the fact that most of the market now consists of inexperienced
> people who listen to marketing.
> --scott
> --
> "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 6:22:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Grant <NO_SPAM_PLEASE_jmd_2003@msn.com> wrote:
>So is there a resource somewhere that I've missed (besides this NG) that
>reviews the actual design and performance of various products and filters
>out marketing. Would have to be, I'm assuming, some kind of non-profit
>effort.

Well, there used to be R/E/.P..... but that was a couple decades back...
--scott


--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
April 19, 2005 1:03:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <oIS8e.13240$If1.3452957@read2.cgocable.net> NO_SPAM_PLEASE_jmd_2003@msn.com writes:

> So is there a resource somewhere that I've missed (besides this NG) that
> reviews the actual design and performance of various products and filters
> out marketing. Would have to be, I'm assuming, some kind of non-profit
> effort.

No, you have to read between the lines, and start with the assumption
that if you can easily afford it, it's probably junk. But there's a
lot of pretty functional junk out there that you can use if you
understand its limitations. That's the good part about what's happened
to the pro audio business.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
April 19, 2005 1:03:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <d40tt0$2ta$1@panix2.panix.com> kludge@panix.com writes:

> Well, there used to be R/E/.P..... but that was a couple decades back...

And Studio Sound. I keep hearing good things about Resolution, but
until they figure out a way to get paper issues over to the US for
free or at least inexpensively, I've been living without them.

Some of the reviews in Pro Audio Review are pretty good, particularly
the ones with the lab measurements. They may not be very extensive,
but they usually give you some sense of how the gear works in a real
working situation rather than on an editor's desk. Recording is OK,
too, most of the time, but articles everywhere are getting shorter (in
favor of having more articles, some of which might appeal to more
readers) so it's hard to get the whole story.

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
February 27, 2013 5:26:02 PM

As the above mentions, sure, I would imagine that most pro audio equipment products are the product of a large amount of time and money invested in by numerous people that make a team.

I would imagine that most pro audio pro companies have several departments,
each dealing specifically with one area and working with the other departments.

I would imagine that the departments would cover at least the following:
Concept design
Electronics
MCU programming / development
Aesthetic Product design
Software design
Testers
Sound Engineer advisors

Sure, I imagine that it may be possibe to design and develop your own products if you have the skils, but as mentioned above, these skills would encompass quiet a broad range of skills. Still, not to deter anyone. if you put your mind to it. with years of hard work, you can achieve anything and there are some manufacturers on the market who are made by a small team, and some which started off small and then grew into massive enterprises.

I would imagine the essential skills that you need to achieve your objectives are as follows, however, I would imagine that there is nothing stopping you from getting other people to do certain jobs for you, there are even companies that will create prototypes for you.

Anyway.

Skills:
Electronics
MCU programming
PCB design
Graphic Design Skill
3d design
Working knowlegde sound engineer in relavent contex, ie. live sound reinforcement, studio sound etc.


May 3, 2013 8:44:46 AM

Anonymous said:
...Are most of the people who design audio
equipment experienced in music production?...
long-running joke, that if u listen to the "factory" sounds in any synthesizer product, the answer is plainly "no!"

or, related -- to put it in terms of my occupation: there are plainly a TON of software designers/programmers in the world who don't have the first clue what it means for a user to properly and efficiently make use of software. :`-(

Anonymous said:
If the answer is yes, then I'm perplexed by the fact that I get the sense it
seems to be huge commitment to become experienced in music production, as
well as a huge commitment to understand and become proficient in electronics
design.
broadly speaking, one area is "science", the other is "humanities". is it really so strange for a curriculum to provide a decent level of exposure to both? some people have formal tutelage in both, but for most people I'd think that engineering is their trade and music is basically a "hobby", even if one to which they are highly committed.
speaking as someone who has a relatively large amount of experience and education in the latter, and a decent-but-still-hopelessly-inadequate amount in the former (in terms of actually being able to design/build electronics at anything above the kit/"cookbook" level), I'd point out that there's a lot less room for mistakes on the engineering side of things, as well as a lot more career opportunity for those skills in non-artistic industries. so if you are really going to pick one to "hit the books" on, I'd go for the engineering.

some of the tools used in music have more "musicalness" to them than others, and as such might require more aesthetic insight to design properly. but, for example, there are mics used for music, and mics used for other, non-"musical" industrial purposes. or even "musical" equipment that is supposed to be used for purely reference/diagnostic tasks -- diagnostic microphones, signal processors, electrical hardware, etc. I could see it being possible for an engineer to truly succeed in designing/building equipment of this nature with little to no insight into the "musical" ... yet still ultimately being a part of "music production". the cliches abound: "it's more art than science", "there is no right or wrong answer" -- but for the subjects just mentioned, actually there ARE right (and thus, wrong) answers, so those questions are well-suited -- perhaps even best-suited -- to being answered by a non-musical engineer.

which leads me to my last direct point about OP, which, is (as touched on by another poster) it's a team sport: there's a lot of angles to production. being an expert in "music production" is like someone saying they're an expert in "medicine". you don't typically hear that because most people have a specialization, and there are very few individuals who are actually GREAT at 100% of the spectrum. writers, arrangers, performers, engineers, mixers, managers, etc. everybody has their niche. it's easier to become great at one niche than great at them all, and practically every one has a corresponding set of possibilities that involve being a designer of electronic equipment which facilitates it.

----------

"I don't consider the C1000 to be a pro product."

come on, man! i hear what you're getting at, and c1000 ain't the best mic in the world, but in the BIG scheme of things, any mic that costs above $10 -- or for that matter, provides a balanced output! -- is a "pro" product. there's always going to be someone out there for whom c1000 is going to be a "pro-er" mic than what they have. and if u really can't get "The Job" done with a C1000 ..... idk but maybe some self-reflection is called for. ;) 

----------

"No, you have to read between the lines, and start with the assumption
that if you can easily afford it, it's probably junk. But there's a
lot of pretty functional junk out there that you can use if you
understand* its limitations. That's the good part about what's happened
to the pro audio business."

*understand and/or simply do not give a care about
to expound and paraphrase: gear alone is not going to get you far in a music production career. ability, charisma, luck, and maybe a little bit of taste are the things that are going to get u a true career in the business. and u can literally demonstrate all of those with music equipment purchased from toys-r-us.
!