We’re almost a month into Lockdown, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look to be looking any better for quite some time.
I think we can agree, as a generation of many, this is by far one of those moments that we will learn from for years to come.. which got me thinking - mainly about my education, my time spent on this earth crafting my passions and obsessions to better myself and those I’ve worked with, etc. and, with this all swelling around in my brain.
What better time to be pragmatic with this time and thought process, and write a follow up to our Carry On Being Creative In Isolation series; and today, we’re going to cover a lot so make sure you’ve got a hot drink and a biscuit!
If you’re learning, you’re not failing
For those who don’t know, I am the biggest Star Wars nerd on the planet. My obsession with the franchise is verging on unhealthy - but it has given me a vast amount of quotes and life lessons I've held close to me for about the last decade and a half. One of the most valued is a quote from Master Yoda, in the recent sequel series; ‘The greatest teacher, failure is’.
University is fine and all, but to really hone your skills as an engineer you have to spend a large portion of your time learning from your own mistakes and misgivings as your career grows and you train your ears a little more. One of the best ways I found, was to seek out material on my own accord and learn at a pace that worked well for me - and I can also say with confidence that I’ve learned from some of the best, even if it wasn’t technically in a classroom. You’ll also find that names in this industry carry more weight in most cases than university or college names. Below, I’ve linked to a few really good courses that have got me to a substantially more qualified position than before I had taken part in them, and I suggest you either pick the ones best suited to your educational needs or simply do them all in your own time to better yourself a much as you can while you have ample amounts of time available to learn in lockdown!
FSTG (Brian Hood) - https://fromshittogold.com/join/
Creative Live (Studio passes - Nolly, Eyal, and Kurt Ballou) - https://www.creativelive.com/catalog/audio
URM Academy (Joey Sturgis) -https://urm.academy/
Hardcore Mixing (Jordan Valeriote) - https://hardcoremusicstudio.com/
Mix With The Masters - https://mixwiththemasters.com/
Subscribe, Save, Support
We totally understand the financial strain currently on many, many people across the planet right now - it’s hard to progress your quality if you know there's a better tool for the job, but it’s just a little out of reach right now because surviving is a bit more important than that £200 plugin you want. But then, why can’t you have your cake and eat it too..?
It’s well known now that there are some good subscription services out there, but what's less often noted is what ones are the best bang for your buck - and moreover, which ones actually have stuff that you’ll ACTUALLY use?! Well, we thought we’d outline a few good ones for you to look at starting while you have lots of time to play with them all, and find what you feel is the best option for you!
Plugin Alliance - This is my go-to recommendation for a subscription that will 1. Not break the bank, and 2. Give you the best value and quality plugins on the planet in my honest opinion. Their range of channel strips outpaces all the competitors out there right now, and with their new patent-pending TMT technology, they’ve totally taken off to a whole new level regarding all they’re affiliated plugins as well. From SSL, Focusrite and Neve channel strips that pair perfectly with any mic, instrument, etc you put in front of them - to BAX and Shadow Hills mastering grade plugins, perfectly replicated and outstanding on any source.
House Of Kush - These are some of the most used plugins in my arsenal, and with the addition of Sly Fi plugins for less than $2 extra on the subscription price, it’s hard to see why anyone wouldn’t want these. My favorite thing about Kush is their ability to bring transformer saturation to life in the way that they do, honestly, there’s no one even close to what they can do regarding their Omega A, N and 456 plugins. Trial out the bundle, and you’ll see what I mean; have your eyes totally widened to their world of mixing tools.
Slate Digital - We couldn’t make a subscription post without paying respect to the game changers themselves. As far as I’m aware, Steven Slate was the one who dreamt this up in the mainstream sense of plugin companies offering such a thing as a subscription service - and it’s easy to see why looking a the back catalog of compressors in their VBC collection, the preamps, EQ’s, comps, and various other 500 series racks within the VMR plugin, along with reverbs, synths, guitar amp sims, and so much more. They have a way of bringing to life the essence of a piece of hardware and taking it to another level in most cases adding much-needed mods like a secondary circuit for more options on a compressor, or a mix dial to parallel compress a source wherein the real world that wouldn’t be an option. Definitely give Slate Digital a look if the above companies do quite have enough for you already!
Revisit, relearn, repeat
Now, you’ve got some new knowledge. You’ve got some new plugins thanks to the above subscriptions - but you’re lacking on the worksite as we all are right now with material to try these plugins out on?
Actually, you’re not - you’ve got your old sessions and they’re begging for your attention! Go back, revisit the sessions you found the hardest - the ones you never wanted to open ever again - and now, utilize the resources you have in regards to the producers you’re trying to learn from, or the various educational content that comes with the subscription bundles you’ve also gained access to!
You’ve got a massive chance to prove to yourself that you’re progressing and moving forward in terms of your quality in mixing and recording. Sometimes, it’s really easy to lose sight of where you are in the ‘pecking order’ as it whereby that I mean, when you start off especially, and without guidance, its hard to determine if you’re moving in the right direction, or staying in one place. It’s up to you to determine whether you think you could be doing better and if so, this is the time to prove it to yourself.
Now go out there, and mix!