Gateway Sound Studio
Audio engineer's training course
It is now nearly a decade since the TEAC Corporation unleashed on the awaiting music business the first 4-track tape recorders for use outside the professional studio. This caused a revolution in the recording industry, the repercussions of which still exist today. In the space of a few years we have seen 8 tracks on ½" tape, 16 tracks on 1" tape, 4-track portable cassette recorders and now the 8-track personal recorder that uses ¼" tape and sits on your average dining room trolley.
From the start of the 'Great Recording Revolution' several books and countless articles have been written about multi-track techniques... many of them highly informative. But no amount of reading and burning the midnight Anglepoise can replace personal instruction, particularly that which results from several years experience in the recording business.
The staff of Gateway Studio in London have now made this knowledge available to home recordists' and musicians wanting to learn the tricks and techniques used in the professional studio. A comfortable upper part of the studio has been turned into a classroom, equipped with a Fostex 8-track set-up (with the help of Bandive, the importers). Courses run for four days (or evenings) and are organised weekly.
Dave Ward, who takes the courses, has found from the experience of running courses in arts centres that a great deal of information can be passed on in concentrated sessions and still leave time to answer and discuss all those 'niggling' doubts and questions that one finds in the jargon-filled jungle of professional recording.
Since the courses started in September, over forty people have passed through Gateway's doors, armed now with new thoughts, clearer minds and itching fingers. Dave says that in the first courses he uncovered all manner of indescribable misconceptions, probably picked up from some 'tired and emotional' engineer late at night.
Straight away it was decided that the courses had to start right at basics, assuming no previous knowledge. In this way the sound path or programme could be traced and explained along its perilous journey from microphone to loudspeaker. Included in this unravelling process are the mysteries of impedance matching, sound wave theory, the uses of EQ (tone controls), and techniques that are particularly suited to those recording at home (natural bathroom reverb, for instance).
It is clear that the use of sophisticated technology is expanding the possibilities within the music business month by month. But as Dave Ward says, what is not so obvious is the need for people involved in the music business to keep up with the technology. Not just the musicians, but also A & R department personnel, community project people, school music departments and audio-visual enthusiasts.
With all these and many other groups in mind, Gateway plan further courses and seminars in many subjects at many levels. Enquiries and suggestions should be addressed to Gateway Studio, (Contact Details).