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Best public college / university music programs? Condenser Microphones
Old 7th November 2007
Gear nut

Thread Starter
Best public college / university music programs?

There have been a bunch of threads on GS about the private music education colleges / companies (Berklee, Full Sail, etc.)

What about public universities? Have you hired someone who finished a program at a state U that you were particularly impressed by? Are you currently working as an engineer, producer, arranger, and/or composer AND graduated with a music related degree from a state school?

Obviously, this has a lot to do with the program. You might have a kick butt classical composition department, but an engineering program that uses out dated gear. So mentioning your area of study would be helpful.
Old 7th November 2007
Gear Head

Western Oregon University (Monmouth, Oregon) is developing an audio engineering program. I'm working on my Masters in Contemporary Music with a focus on composition but I have donned the recording engineer hat the last couple of days (did I mention my focus on composition?).

A requirement for the masters is to have a semi-professsional CD produced so there's a series of classes dedicated to that this year. I've been "engineering" for the last 8+ years (recording my instrumental rock, sound design for theater, mastering for friends, editing live performances, etc.) & I've been helping out those students who have little experience on the engineering side. The last two days I tried out M/S micing on a piano (very effective, BTW), editing/mixing for that production class, & a last minute recording of individuals in the woodwind ensemble since they have a "playing" test. It's been an unusual week for me.

Here's the list of our equipment:

  • ProTools Digi002
  • Gig Rig I
  • Gig Rig II
  • Marantz PMD670 Solid State Recorder
We just got an 8 channel PreSonus preamp I'd like to use eventually.

  • Neumann KM184 (6)
  • AKG C1000S
  • Rhode NT1-A (2)
  • Rhode NT5 (2)
  • AKG drumpack:
    AKG D112
    AKG C418
  • Audio Technica AT822 stereo microphone
  • AT 4050 (2)
  • AT 4040 (2)
  • Senheiser E906
  • Shure SM57 (4)
  • Shure Beta58A (2)
  • Shure SM58
  • Shure PG58
The AT 4040s and the 4050s have been the goto mics for me so far. Anyway, I'm ranting . . .
Old 7th November 2007
Gear nut

Thread Starter
Thanks Scott. If you had to pit your real world education in engineering against the newly formed program, who would win out? What are your plans after getting your Masters?

Thanks again for the reply. John
Old 7th November 2007
Lives for gear
rockstar_josh's Avatar

I have a degree from an excellent audio program - at Mesa Community College of all places. The head of the department, who designed and assembled the 2 studios, is a 20 year veteran engineer.producer with some good credits under is belt. The guy still has his own studio, and during the summer he takes off and works elsewhere. They have a huge DAW lab with 16 002s on MacPros, also running Logic and Reason. ONe studio has a Trident 24, RADAR, PT HD/3, a good mic closet, outboard from API, Summit, Langevin, Eventide, Empirical, and more. The other studio has a 32-channel SSL 4K, RADAR, outboard from API, Millennia, Summit, Manley, UA, Eventide, TC Electronics, and more. The mics include Neumanns, AKGs, Shure, Coles, Royer, Mojave, Bruel & Kaer, Schoeps, and more. Even the ancilary gear is what you wold buy for a pro studio - Atlas stands, Canare cables, Countrymen DIs, AKG HPs, a Furman headphone system, it's really one of the best studios in the state! The classes were great - full 16 week classes, not certificates. We took theory, music history, aural perception, electronic music, Sound Design, livesound reinforcement (with a great instructor, I gotta say), DAW. The studio classes taught audio principles, properties of sound, learning the equipment, what it does, how to use it, both boards, a lot of time recording. One class is all tracking, mic placement, mic selection, equipment selection, running a session from set-up to tear down. Even little things like communicating with artists, wrapping mic cables, efficiently organizing your setup, pacing the session, it really was a good program! I feel like I walked away with a lot of good habits and theoretical knowledge. I know that I have a lot of experience to gather up still, that's great. Any degree is like that. If I wanted a good 4 year university to continue, I have to go out of state. U of Colorado has a good program, and Texas State (fomerly Southwest Texas) has a 4 year program that is literally audio engineering - advanced maths, physics, acoustics, electronics, etc.
Old 7th November 2007
Gear nut

Thread Starter
Thanks Josh. That is quite an amazing gear lineup. It seems like the department head really did wonders for that program. Sometimes it takes one guy with a vision to really put a great program together.
Old 7th November 2007
Lives for gear
rockstar_josh's Avatar

Yeah, he's fought many battles trying to provide the most accurate environment he can! It's basically a studio that he would build for himself, you know? (His home studio is killer, too!) He brings every ounce of his professional experience to the table and tries to pass it on to his students. If you're willing to work for it, he will teach you more than he probably even realizes! I built my studio after graduating, I built soundproof rooms, wired everything myself with quality materials, I have some killer instruments, amps, drums, I'm putting together a good recording rig, and I can make some good recordings. Now, they didn't teach ALL of that, but they gave me a solid foundation from which to build, and gave me confidence in my abilities to learn the "eningeering" part of the job, not just putting faders up and having a "cool job". He tried to instill in us the differences between being an engineer and knowing how to run ProTools, you know?
Old 7th November 2007
Lives for gear
xmostynx's Avatar

Ithica has a good state school thats got a very very good audio program i believe. I would of liked to attend there.

after attending a private school (i have 6 classes left) i'm gonna walk out with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Production...was it worth it?

yes- and no

i spent alot of money, more than i should have on a degree. I learned everything that really stuck from working in the industry.

However i learned alot of production in school- basically how to deal with people in this industry. How do you communicate with someone pissed off that the guitar tracks sound the way they do? or why the band isn't there yet?

school and the industry=completely different things

you can't really get fired in school for ****ing up! in the industry you blow up someones subs, your on the hotseat bigtime. why do i say this?

my boss came in hammered one night, and was like MORE BASS! and he blew my subs..well his subs, also damaging one side of a crown5000vz.

you will never have that experience in school. lol.

I've seen kids blow sidefill monitors that literally looked like a flashpot going off..and getting his ass chewed in half by people for it. no teacher can call you a fvcking asshole to your

my point- is there are so many variables out in the field that you will just not encounter in school.

also- at 8am you can doze off in school. if your unloading a PA, or simply showing up to put one up- you doze off and your all a sudden applying for a local hamburger job.

my advice- ask yourself, do you want to have a degree? further down the road do you think that you having a degree will ever hurt, or maybe get you the job over someone who doesn't?

and to just get a degree in audio engineering is insane to me. learn about everything, mixing is just as important as getting the cabs and boards to the venue, even knowing the musical scales, etc are important. sitting in a studio with session musicians talking technical music theory and not understanding a word of it is a very lonely experience!

who is more valuable? the kid who just knows how to mix, or someone who can mix, schedule and take care of some technical things, as well as communicate with promoters, producers, etc.

from going to school i can say i can be thrown into any audio/television set/movie set and get a job done. i can do the audio job way better than i can do the other 2!

Ithica is a state school, and although i never tried to get into that school (i went to school for animation first...) i have heard some kids landing killer jobs coming out of that school. Its in upstate New York btw..

okay enough ranting good luck bro in whatever you do.
Old 7th November 2007
Gear addict

Originally Posted by astorian View Post
Obviously, this has a lot to do with the program. You might have a kick butt classical composition department, but an engineering program that uses out dated gear. So mentioning your area of study would be helpful.
Well, what are YOU looking for? There are plenty of excellent state schools around the country for music:

U. Washington, Seattle
U. Oregon
UC, Berkeley
U. Arizona, Tuscon
U. Colorado, Boulder
UT, Austin
U. North Texas
U. Missouri, Kansas City
U. Minnesota, Twin Cities
U. Indiana, Bloomington
U. Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
U. Michigan, Ann Arbor
Florida State University
U. Virginia
SUNY, Buffalo
SUNY, Stony Brook
SUNY, Postsdam

And many others. Not all public schools are necessarily inexpensive. Some can be as expensive for out of state students as a private school. Many private schools offer financial aid that essentially subsidizes the cost to the level of an in-state option.

Every school has its own strength. Find the ones that best fit with what you want to learn and achieve.
Old 8th November 2007
Gear nut
mark mcg's Avatar

GSU in downtown Atlanta has a music degree / recording concentration. It is a Bachelors of Music with either a music tech or music business concentration so not just MI studies but they have all kinds of studios and took over the old Rialto Theater 10 years ago, have a concert series there and can record a large orchestra. Recording and music business degrees used to be under the College of Urban Life and was a CM degree before the music school took it over so now it is a music degree and they really have some first rate teachers and facilities if you can make through a university music program. Hey! Brendan O'Brien went there!

Georgia State University School of Music - Atlanta Georgia

Old 8th November 2007
Gear maniac

SUNY Purchase actually has a really amazing studio production program, too. Not to mention you'll be surrounded by KILLING conservatory kids- great jazz and classical musicians.

i have a number of friends who have come out of suny purchase (or are there right now), and i can definitely vouch for the quality of the program.

course, these are the types of kids to put a lot of work into what they're doing, so, you get what you put in.
Old 8th November 2007
Gear Head

Originally Posted by astorian View Post
Thanks Scott. If you had to pit your real world education in engineering against the newly formed program, who would win out? What are your plans after getting your Masters?

Thanks again for the reply. John
I think a combination of both helps a lot. I'm learning things in school that fills in holes of my experience & I apply what I learn from my experience to my schooling.

My plans? My advisor talked me into the Masters because he wanted me to work at the midi lab (which takes quite a load of of him). He recently told me the school may have a part time job which has me doing the same thing. When I started school, I wanted technical training in audio . . . what I got was practical experience and a focus on composition. So if I want to record my works, I can be pretty much self produced. Maybe be a freelance engineer on top of that.

Speaking of getting my works recorded, I donned my recording engineer hat again today: a bassoon and two cellos (performance tests again). This is a great networking opportunity & I'm finding more resources as far as performers go. Well, 4 out of the 5 performers I recorded are freshman females so they don't quite have the experience . . . and no . . . I'm almost old enough to be their father . . .
Old 8th November 2007
Lives for gear
Eganmedia's Avatar
I'd look seriously at McGill in Montreal and the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins if academics are a major concern.
Old 8th November 2007
I've been hearing good things about Middle Tennessee State University... I think they have decent academics as well (perhaps not up there with McGill, though)
Old 8th November 2007
Gear Head
kfledman's Avatar

don't forget about SUNY Fredonia......

some folks who went through the sound recording technology program there include: Andy Van Dette [chief engineer at Masterdisc]; Bryce Goggin [Phish, Ramones, Spacehog]; Dave Fridmann [Mercury Rev, that group from Oklahoma that i can't remember right now that that had that song she don't use jelly.....damn i can't beleive i can't think of there name...]

oh, and i went there although i didn't do any huge records.....but i did get to work on some fun stuff with some cool people over the years

it was a great program at a school where the tuition is STILL less than my kid's preschool. plus, it gave me a taste of living somewhere totally different [i grew up on long island and now live in nyc........way-out-western new york is another world]
Old 8th November 2007
Lives for gear

Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY -- not a state school as mentioned above -- a coming program -- SSL board and other good gear and a great new guy running the program who knows his stuff -- Alex Perialas -- he's been a Neve-equipped studio owner and engineer in Ithaca for years at Pyramid Sound -- lots of major-label creds, etc. -- and his new "sidekick," Brian Dozoretz, has major chops and credentials, too... google...
Old 8th November 2007
Gear maniac

yeah, i have some friends who did the fredonia route and some who did ithaca. both fine schools.

i have another friend (who graduated from the hartt school in CT with me) who is doing his masters at mcgill; he's extremely talented, and i think it's a good fit for him. lots of good opportunities.
Old 8th November 2007
Lives for gear
FossilTooth's Avatar

I also went to SUNY Purchase.

Studio Comp and Studio Production are both good programs that have become become quite exclusive (Although they weren't always). I I remember right, the year I got into the studio Production they had about 500 applicants and let 5 of them in.

I work as an engineer full-time. Some of my other classmates work in Music or Audio professionally as well. Many don't. That's just the way of the world. Any learning experience is what you make it.
Old 8th November 2007
Gear addict

Originally Posted by Eganmedia View Post
I'd look seriously at McGill in Montreal and the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins if academics are a major concern.
McGill is a great school. Concordia in Montreal also has some progressive programs. Hopkins is not a public institution per the original request. Some of the state schools mentioned are tier one academically (Berkeley, etc.). Of course when considering private schools and academics, then you can add Boston U., Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell, NYU, Columbia, Princeton, U. Penn, Carnegie Mellon, etc..

What do you want to study and at what level?

Last edited by resound; 8th November 2007 at 06:17 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 8th November 2007
Gear maniac

Sorry, I know it's not public, but I do have to represent the NYU Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music. I haven't seen a thread about university recording programs in general in a while, so I had to post this. I'm currently enrolled there, and couldn't be more happy. The program is small enough that everyone gets individual attention from the professors, who are more than capable not only to teach, but also have the professional credits to show for it.

If you're at all interested in the program, PM me and I'll answer whatever questions I can or forward them to the qualified person.
Old 8th November 2007
Lives for gear

I don't know much about their recording and production department, but The Unviversity of North Texas in Denton is a real deal school.
It's reall heyday was the late '60's into the '70's when their jazz department under Leon Breeden spawned many, many great musicians like Lyle Mayes, the Fowler brothers, Sal Marquez, Bill Tillman, Ed Soph, Dan Wojchieowski, Keith Karlock and so many others.

They still have the One O'clock Lab Band (plus several; other 'o'clock bands) and the One O'clock actually won a Grammy for best Jazz.Big Band Record in the early '70s.

My wife has a degree in voice from there and when you graduate from that school you are a strong musician in your instrument of study, but you will also be a working piano player.

One thing that really seperates the schools is if they have "barriers" where you go before a panel and do a performance. This performance is of a piece that is from a sanctioned list. While it might seem that it is a "barrier" it really ensures that you know your stuff before you move on to the next level.
Unlike a lot of schools, you can't buy your way through. You have to do more than just pass the courses.

Because they have such a tough program it ensures that when you DO graduate with a degree from UNT it really means something.
Just going to a muisc school can expose you to good stuff, but going to a school like UNT ensure that IF you graduate with a degree from their music department, YOU KNOW YOUR STUFF. You are the REAL DEAL.

I am from Dallas and UNT (it was once called Univ. of North Texas) is a close stae school. MANY people I know who were players went there. VERY FEW HAD WHAT IT TOOK TO GRADUATE!
Then again, all of the heavyweight players here went there.
Old 8th November 2007
Lives for gear
HoPMiX's Avatar
I wouldnt waste my time with a trade program like full sail or sae.
I would instead spend that 40 grand and buy a protools system and open a room. You arent gonna learn anything from that school that you can learn from diving in and getting experience and some research on the web.
However i do suggest you get a degree in somthing that you can fall back on if music biz doesnt work out for you.
MTSU is where you wanna be. and i didnt go there. However when i graduated from
western KY U with a BA in Film/television production and marketing, a lot of the companies i talked to only accepted MTSU grads. One of those included Turner network. dunno if they still stick to that policy.
Its a 4 year. Its 20 minutes from nashville. Id look into it
No matter where you go though. you are only gonna get out what you put in. So LAB LAB LAB otherwise your wasting your money and your just gonna end up interning at some studio for free working like 22 hour days and burn yourself otu before oyu even get started. and you still have to pay back that student loan. speaking if which.. time for anohter forbearance!! DOAH
Old 8th November 2007
Lives for gear
Dan's Avatar

Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post

Then again, all of the heavyweight players here went there.
Please, if you needed to graduate, that just means you didn't have work lined up already.heh
Old 20th November 2007
Gear interested


Perhaps I'm biased, but MTSU has a great program. You gotta work through the university system (which sucks, I know), but you'll get time to work pretty awesome facilities. They're building a new surround and post- studio at the end of the semester to free up some time in one of the other studios. Actually here is the list of the facilities including gear. We have our student AES chapter who have apparently done some great things (I just joined, so I'm not too sure what they are, but hey). We've got a newly formed Society of Electronic Music, ARMS/GrammyU and some other orgs that bring a lot of guests for seminars, workshops, networking, etc.
Old 3rd December 2007
Gear nut
NowWhat's Avatar

FWIW go to a place that's a real college, and has a recording program in the music major. You learn more, and are better for it. Plus there's girls... I'm admittedly biased, went to Fredonia
Old 3rd December 2007
Gear addict
Jayro_Rockola's Avatar

The Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington has a state of the art recording studio circa mid-70's. API 1640, Ampex mm1200 and lots of cool outboard and mics. Allison automation anyone?

Hey, it worked for me!
Old 24th May 2008
Gear nut
bachconnelly's Avatar

Originally Posted by xmostynx View Post
Ithica has a good state school thats got a very very...

Ithica is a state school, and although i never tried to get into that school (i went to school for animation first...) i have heard some kids landing killer jobs coming out of that school. Its in upstate New York btw..

okay enough ranting good luck bro in whatever you do.

Ithaca is not a state school at all... and it might be easier on the checkbook if it were.. just watned to clarify. The program there has grown leaps and bounds in strength over the past 2 years and has successfully placed all of their graduating class from this year with jobs. Not many other programs can say that!

Old 25th May 2008
MTSU Murfreesboro TN, UMass Lowell
Old 25th May 2008
Motown legend
Bob Olhsson's Avatar

I'd pick a school with a music program that is currently producing outstanding professional performers. Relationships with up and coming performers will do lots more for your career than relationships with up and coming assistant engineers.
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