Changing of the Guard...

In my fourteen (!) years teaching and lecturing at RMIT University’s Sound Production program in Audio Engineering I have had the pleasure to meet many wonderful people. But the time comes when creative choices begin to outweigh the financial decisions made prior to meet the needs of parenting and raising two children. In 2020 there will be a Changing of the Guard so to speak as I reduce my teaching tenure to a few days per week allowing more time for making records and playing jazz. Academic life has regrettably supported a focus on narrower and narrower aspects that underly our creativity, so I now yearn to address this imbalance. Over the next year my graduate from many years ago and now colleague, Mark Kelson will be gradually prepared to take over the duties I shall step away from. This gives me great pleasure to know the program I have developed with a wonderful team of others will remain in hands that are inspired and engaged in the art of engineering… whilst I again focus upon actual creativity. I need to acknowledge and pay utmost respect to my fellow team members at RMIT who have been absolute stalwarts in the success of this program: Michael “Smasha” Pollard, Timothy Johnston, John Phillips and Paul Thomas. Previous program managers Jen Anderson and Bruce Jacques were also instrumental in both developing this program but importantly assembling this particular team of awarded engineers and creators; all of whom are still fully engaged outside of their teaching roles. Thank you x

Mark Kelson and I in Studio One, featuring the 1st NEVE Genesys console in AUST.

Mark Kelson and I in Studio One, featuring the 1st NEVE Genesys console in AUST.

Truth or Power?

Years ago during a sabbatical in Tasmania I wrote the following prose and wrote in on the wall of the old farmhouse we were staying in: 

“Do I truly love thee, or do I merely covet? For if I truly love I can come to accept even that, which I do not understand.”

As I approach another defining chapter in my life the reflection reveals a pinnacle truth, that we as humans often opt for power rather than absolute truth. We spend so much time trying to control the world as opposed to understanding it, and more often than not the understanding is a prerequisite for somehow attaining better control.  

Surrendering to what we don’t know is always difficult and likely takes significantly more time than choosing to believe in something we have no proof of in order to make more sense of the world and our place in it.  

And so I choose to accept the multitude of things in life that are likely never to be understood and embrace the humility and magic of that fact... to be continued... 

ToKwerX eBook Series: Recording & Editing Techniques

If you're into audio engineering or are just fresh to this field of art and technical expression it's likely you've been given advice from those who may not actually have been doing this for long; I'll offer you the benefit of my forty years in studios through my eBook series. There are currently two releases published in ePub format for use on a myriad of devices: 1 investigates Recording Techniques whilst 2 delves into the workflows I've developed for Editing, predominantly in ProTools. Head over to the ToKshop to grab yourself a copy or bundle.

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PS. the 3rd eBook is currently underway - Stay Tuned: Mixing Techniques

ToKwerX iBook 2: Editing Techniques

It's been an extremely productive Summer with lot's of recording, performances, back to lectures and teaching and also managing to write the 2nd iBook (ePub format). This second publication focuses upon the Editing Techniques within the DAW environment and features a whole range of workflows for an entire production process. The intention is to provide engineers, especially junior engineers with a framework upon which to develop or adapt their own workflows in the many aspects of editing prior to the blurry end leading into the mix stage.

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It became apparent after releasing the 1st iBook (Recording Techniques) that whilst there are quite a few publications of that type the Editing aspects for the engineer have not been the focus for many teaching or learning resources. It is my sincere hope that this 2nd ePub document will become a valuable addition to reading the user manual for ProTools especially, although many of the workflows can be easily adapted across alternative DAW packages. Head over to the ToKshop to grab yourself a copy.

HARRISON @ RMIT Sound Production

If you've been following my previous Blogs this month there is clearly a buzz around the new DAW package from HARRISON CONSOLES entitled Mixbus32C. I am extremely pleased to announce that RMIT University's SOUND PRODUCTION program has entered into an education partnership with Harrison, which enables the inclusion of the Mixbus packages into the training collection delivered across the two year Advanced Diploma. Besides allowing the next generation of audio engineers to fully appreciate the differences between DAW software there are also financial benefits made available to current students wishing to purchase the software. All HD studios at RMIT within the Sound Production program will see the installation of Mixbus32C and the Essential plugin bundle over the next few weeks, with audio-focused teaching and learning computer labs already running the packages for compatibility testing.

This is a first for RMIT Sound Production, which continues to remain as the premier industry-supported program delivering this form of study. Thank you to the wonderful attitudes to education and the amazing support from Harrison Consoles, Nashville TN, USA.

Give a Little Love

Yes, these are lyrics from a song on the debut Strumpet album, circa 1995. And they perfectly describe today's activities at RMIT Sound Production. Our beloved NEVE Genesys console was in need of some special attention; an issue with the last eight channels not operating as expected. I thought many of you would enjoy seeing the construction quality of such an iconic and expensive console. All good now - NEVE has benefited from the Love!

Faders modules 17-24, 25-32 swapped out. Ribbons re-seated, firmware updated.

a Bunch of Dumb-Arses

I'd like to comment on the latest Australian government education cuts referred to in the media for the upcoming budget. $2.8 billion is to be removed from an already poorly funded education system, whilst the mining tax has been hobbled to the point where it may as well not even exist and the funds derived from primary resources continue to leave Australia. Of the 100 most advanced countries in the world AU sits a pathetically low 39th on the list with regards to our funding support of education, relegating our most promising minds to that of a Bunch of Dumb-Arses. I am dismayed. Perhaps someone would like to explain to me the possible rationale for such extensive cuts to an already floundering area of our society that is responsible for shaping the minds of the next generation - 'cos it's beyond my comprehension.