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Schools for Audio Engineering in California Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 10th September 2011
  #1
Gear Head
 

Schools for Audio Engineering in California

Evening, after lurking this forum for awhile I decided to register.

At the moment I'm located in Michigan and my plan is to move out to California with a planned roommate and go to school there.

The reason I'm posting this topic is I'm wondering what schools in California offer Audio Engineering and are actually DECENT.

I google "Audio engineering bachelor school California" and it brings me a bunch of random schools that I've personally researched and they seem like scams.

Does anyone know of any schools out there? Doesn't matter the area, just need it to be easily commutable with basic college needs.

Also another question, I'm going to a community college for Audio Engineering and I'm wondering if it would be smart to get my Associates in the area or just transfer with the credits I have.

Thanks!
Old 10th September 2011
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

LA Recording School has a good program, I know a few people who went there.
Old 10th September 2011
  #3
Gear Head
 

Thanks! And I appreciate the quick response, it seems their website is down.

Is this a public college that's easy to get into or are we talking referrals?
Old 10th September 2011
  #4
UCLA has a program. So does USC. Even CSUN has one.
Old 10th September 2011
  #5
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
STATE schools are your best bet, even with out of state tuition. If you decide to transfer elsewhere your credits will not all be lost, and it'll be much cheaper than the for profit ripoffs that finance their tuition in house.
Old 10th September 2011
  #6
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by-tor's Avatar
 

In the SF bay area are expression college, sae, and pyramind.

Edit: and SF state. BECA program.
Old 10th September 2011
  #7
Gear Head
 

Thanks for your responses everyone, regarding credits there is no way in hall I'm going to LA Recording School. My two years of being here in Michigan are NOT going to amount to nothing.

With all 3, UCLA, USC and USUN, I fail to see any Audio Recording/Sound Recording/Audio Engineering programs in their Academic list.

Is it some kind of niche subject that I had no idea about?

If someone could point me to their page for Audio Engineering that would be appreciated.
Old 10th September 2011
  #8
Things have certainly changed in the 30 years since I went through two different commercial recording programs at community colleges (and investigated the recording classes at my academic alma mater, a 4 year state university, which were the bunk at the time).

The schools I went to, Long Beach City and Golden West (in the Huntington Beach area), were both pioneers in offering commercial recording programs (some schools had offered specific classes and survey classes). As far as I know, the University of Miami was the only school offering a bachelor's degree in commercial recording.

One of my recording partners went through both 2 year programs, as well. GW was long on book learning and had good gear but didn't have time for much hands on, as each student was forced to work on projects; LBCC was long on talent and, at the time, long on available studio time, since working on projects was more laissez faire/volunteer; those of us who showed initiative worked a lot -- but we were expected to try to bring along the other students as much as possible -- which, surprisingly, was very difficult; many of them didn't seem to want to participate or get involved. But they kept coming back semester after semester. Finally, one of the teachers said, if you want to keep coming back, you've got to work on some recording projects... an odd moment. The reluctance to get involved was palpable -- but they didn't want to leave the program, sometimes after 4 or 5 semesters.

Anyhow, my recording pal (we worked on a number of real world projects later) also took one of the classes at another state university that had just started a program and reported that the teacher was a nice guy who really didn't have a grip on what he was doing. That could be a problem, particularly in the case of instructors who either didn't have practical studio experience or adequate technical understanding.


One thing you should think about is money.

When I went through those programs, community colleges were very inexpensive for Cali residents. Since the state's educational infrastructure has been all but gutted by a series of Republican governors and some very ill-considered 'tax reforms' that shifted the tax burden primarily onto the middle class and working poor (Cali has one of the highest sales taxes in the nation -- a regressive type of tax that puts the burden on the poor, who must spend all their money just to get along), away from big commercial real estate developers and investors, that is no longer the case. 4 year state universities (Cal-State) are wildly more expensive than they were -- and the prestigious University of California system is through the roof.

Unfortunately, as most of the folks around here can helpfully point out -- the days of wine and roses are pretty well over for most commercial studios and many knowledgeable, experienced engineers have moved on to other, 'better' ways of making a living. Going deeply into debt in order to make trivial wages is not a good business move...
Old 10th September 2011
  #9
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Things have certainly changed in the 30 years since I went through two different commercial recording programs at community colleges (and investigated the recording classes at my academic alma mater, a 4 year state university, which were the bunk at the time).

The schools I went to, Long Beach City and Golden West (in the Huntington Beach area), were both pioneers in offering commercial recording programs (some schools had offered specific classes and survey classes). As far as I know, the University of Miami was the only school offering a bachelor's degree in commercial recording.

One of my recording partners went through both 2 year programs, as well. GW was long on book learning and had good gear but didn't have time for much hands on, as each student was forced to work on projects; LBCC was long on talent and, at the time, long on available studio time, since working on projects was more laissez faire/volunteer; those of us who showed initiative worked a lot -- but we were expected to try to bring along the other students as much as possible -- which, surprisingly, was very difficult; many of them didn't seem to want to participate or get involved. But they kept coming back semester after semester. Finally, one of the teachers said, if you want to keep coming back, you've got to work on some recording projects... an odd moment. The reluctance to get involved was palpable -- but they didn't want to leave the program, sometimes after 4 or 5 semesters.

Anyhow, my recording pal (we worked on a number of real world projects later) also took one of the classes at another state university that had just started a program and reported that the teacher was a nice guy who really didn't have a grip on what he was doing. That could be a problem, particularly in the case of instructors who either didn't have practical studio experience or adequate technical understanding.


One thing you should think about is money.

When I went through those programs, community colleges were very inexpensive for Cali residents. Since the state's educational infrastructure has been all but gutted by a series of Republican governors and some very ill-considered 'tax reforms' that shifted the tax burden primarily onto the middle class and working poor (Cali has one of the highest sales taxes in the nation -- a regressive type of tax that puts the burden on the poor, who must spend all their money just to get along), away from big commercial real estate developers and investors, that is no longer the case. 4 year state universities (Cal-State) are wildly more expensive than they were -- and the prestigious University of California system is through the roof.

Unfortunately, as most of the folks around here can helpfully point out -- the days of wine and roses are pretty well over for most commercial studios and many knowledgeable, experienced engineers have moved on to other, 'better' ways of making a living. Going deeply into debt in order to make trivial wages is not a good business move...
So what do you suggest?

Should I still go for a bachelors? Should I just get my associates and intern and call it a day?
Old 10th September 2011
  #10
Company Rep
 
xavi's Avatar
 

I've been to Expressions in Oakland a few times (as we have a partnership with them) and I was very impressed with the facilities (they have loads of pre production rooms, a Neve room, an SSL room etc etc and most of the gear people on here crave) couple this with Alan Parsons involvement (I believe he has a room named after him) and having a legendary producer like Jack Douglas as a course tutor must be amazing. John Scanlon is the course director and I would say he's the man to speak to. Their aim is to be the number 1 audio engineering school on the west coast so definitely worth investigating.

Another thing I remember, which is very important these days in the days of financial doom and gloom, were the fees were very reasonable

[email protected]
Old 10th September 2011
  #11
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by-tor's Avatar
 

Yes. Jack Douglass teaches at Ex'pression College. When he can't, Joe Chiccarelli has filled in.

The school offers a 2.5 year bachelors program in sound arts.
Old 10th September 2011
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Why not stay in Michigan for a few more years and get a BS in electrical engineering at U-M? There must be plenty of bands in Ann Arbor on which to practice your chops in the mean time.
Old 10th September 2011
  #13
Company Rep
 
xavi's Avatar
 

Love Jack, he a great guy ! Joe's not a bad fill in is he !!

Think I might enroll, more fun than making gear !
Old 10th September 2011
  #14
Gear Head
 

This Ex'pression College has sparked my interest, I think I'll look into it more! Last time I went to California (San Fran area) was when I was 10 and I absolutely loved it.

I think this place might be the ticket, as I'm more interested in Foley/Sound Design then live sound/ band recording.

Not that I don't have an interest in band recording, it's just some things interest me more.

Thank you!
Old 10th September 2011
  #15
Here for the gear
 

I'm a current student at Ex'ression College in Emeryville and I cant recommend it more for a motivated person. The equipment available is unbelievable and always expanding, and the I continue to be impressed by the staff and their credits. It is a bachelor degree program done in 2 and a half years which was hard to find it seemed like. It takes a bit to get out of the general classes all the majors go through, but once you get done with those they have an extremely comprehensive program for sound. Its a great environment for networking as well, there are always guest speakers, free shows, and just cool stuff in general going on all the time.
Old 10th September 2011
  #16
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suedesound's Avatar
 

expression is a good school, i graduated in '07. the instructors are all good, you get plenty of hands on time (typically 4 hr labs for 3 hr lectures), and a good mix of everything from recording bands to live sound to game audio to post production to basic maintenance etc. they're accredited and you get a bachelors, you wouldn't have any problem transferring in your credits. i don't know how well off you are but it ain't cheap. also don't expect anything from carreer placement, they post a listing of jobs for students but i don't know anyone that actually got a job through them. not a big deal as i got work on my own but just making sure you aren't delusional about getting set up with a job the second you get out.
Old 10th September 2011
  #17
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by suedesound View Post
expression is a good school, i graduated in '07. the instructors are all good, you get plenty of hands on time (typically 4 hr labs for 3 hr lectures), and a good mix of everything from recording bands to live sound to game audio to post production to basic maintenance etc. they're accredited and you get a bachelors, you wouldn't have any problem transferring in your credits. i don't know how well off you are but it ain't cheap. also don't expect anything from carreer placement, they post a listing of jobs for students but i don't know anyone that actually got a job through them. not a big deal as i got work on my own but just making sure you aren't delusional about getting set up with a job the second you get out.
Thanks for your response!

Yeah money is tight, I'll have to have Financial Aid + Student loans to help me out.

I also plan on getting residency in California before going to school to make it cheaper and get situated with my living condition.

I'm not delusional when ti comes to the job thing, I believe you make your own successes in life, not necessarily handed them.
Old 10th September 2011
  #18
I don't like being a web blanket -- but since you say money is tight and you're going to be going into debt in order to further your education, I feel like I have to say something...

Whenever I see a lot of seasoned professionals on the staffs of for profit trade schools and colleges instead of out in the world plying their trade professionally, I think it's only reasonable to have serious concern about future employment opportunities.


[EDIT: web blanket?!? As Freud supposedly said, there are no such thing as accidents. I guess. But I did mean to write wet blanket.]
Old 10th September 2011
  #19
Gear Head
 

I graduated from Expression in '08. Because it isn't a state school, residency won't matter with regards to tuition. Like any other school, you get what you put into it (besides the astronomical tuition). I managed to land a good gig that started the day after I graduated. That said, I know a LARGE number of fellow students who could never find a job even remotely related to audio, even with a degree. Take the percentages of students placed in a job that they quote you during the tour with a heavy grain of salt.

Also, while the facilities are great, the place is definitely run like a business...all of the really difficult classes are left until later in the program, so that they can squeeze as many people as possible during the beginning of the program. Certain classes act as 'gatekeepers', and I saw as many as 20% of my classmates drop out because of them...though many were folks that were at the school to "learn to make beats".

They did away with their internship placement program while I was in school there...the class sizes were growing far too quickly for them to find spots for everyone.

Still, going to school there worked out for me. I got my job thanks to being in the top sliver of my class, buddying up with one of the instructors, and doing numerous extra-curricular projects. While many people would say that if you bust your hump, you can probably get into the music business without one of these trade schools, I never would have gotten the connection to the right people without it...I figure that was probably worth the tuition alone.
Old 10th September 2011
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I don't like being a web blanket -- but since you say money is tight and you're going to be going into debt in order to further your education, I feel like I have to say something...

Whenever I see a lot of seasoned professionals on the staffs of for profit trade schools and colleges instead of out in the world plying their trade professionally, I think it's only reasonable to have serious concern about future employment opportunities.
Well, someone's gotta teach it.
Old 10th September 2011
  #21
Gear Head
 
saguinus_gr's Avatar
 

I went to SAE in LA, and it's the biggest ghetto school in Cali. Very disappointed, rooms were poorly treated, sounded like poop, mics were busted, the whole 9 yards. Got my money back and left.
Someone mentioned job opportunities in the future. Very very right.
I wouldn't spend my money on Expression College. With the tuition you'll pay there, you might as well buy some good gear and practice the art on them. I'm working at an A/V company at the moment in the Bay Area, and %50 of my co-workers finished Expression. Look at them now. Setting up a 1604, with 4 lavaliers, a 9x12 screen and a projector.
I'm not against the educational route at all, but I have gotten more out of a community college,great connections and lots of practice,reading, and experimenting.
Make sure to meet people. One of the owners of Pyramind used to teach classes at the college I'm attending, and tried to get me to sign up for Pyramind.
I've heard great things about the BECA in SF State.

Have you thought about Post at all?

Welcome to Cali !
Old 11th September 2011
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petersonx View Post
Well, someone's gotta teach it.
Well, on the one hand, it's great to be able to learn from heavily experienced professionals -- but it's often a sign that the industry is in a downturn and there aren't enough gigs to go around. That's what I was getting at.

Why do you think you see so many industry heavyweights giving private workshops, seminars, engineering fantasy camps, and so on? People are feeling the pinch.
Old 11th September 2011
  #23
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imacgreg's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeventhCircle View Post
Why not stay in Michigan for a few more years and get a BS in electrical engineering at U-M? There must be plenty of bands in Ann Arbor on which to practice your chops in the mean time.
THIS is great advice. Many different roads to becoming an engineer. This path worked for me.

I have a few friends that went to recording schools in LA and they are great engineers and have good jobs. They are a very small minority of recording school grads that I've come into contact with. They all were previously studio interns and had lots of experience (and ears) going into school and were able to make the best of it. In my opinion (and experience) recording is learned by doing, not by having someone else tell you how to do it. Only so far you can get in a classroom.

Don't underestimate the value of a "real" degree from a well known traditional college.

Moving to LA to pursue a job in this industry can be difficult, but hard working, reliable people always seem to come out on top. Good luck!!
Old 11th September 2011
  #24
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
Here's an idea, one that I am pursuing. Liberal studies. It's a pick and choose degree that allows you to study a variety of topics rather than following a prescribed list of prerequisites (2010, 2020, 2030, 3000, 3010, etc.) Take some business courses, a few recording courses (you may have to get special permission for some of them), some copyright law classes, whatever you want. A degree in the Recording industry doesn't get you a job in RI, your experience does. It also is worth very little outside the industry, as it is a specialized area of study. Get a good, broad education instead. Buy all the textbooks listed for recording classes, and study your ass off on your own. Get your hands on some gear, and dump your girlfriend. You've got some recording to do. If you're passionate about this line of work, you'll do well if you grasp the idea that there is continuing education required for the rest of your career. A lot of what is taught in schools will be obsolete by the time you graduate. Learn signal flow, how to maintain equipment, and get some ear training and you can do the rest on your own! It's not for the lazy or casually interested, so don't forget the 10,000 hour rule...

I started initially as a Recording Industry Student, thinking it would help my credibility as I left my old career to pursue a full time music career. Boy was I wrong. Every year, there are thousands of "engineers" cranked out by public and private schools all over the country. 1 out of 10 grads actually get a related career, but those that have been doing it for a few years have a much better chance of landing an audio job, or will go freelance and be successful largely because of their actual skills, not their diploma.
my .02
Old 11th September 2011
  #25
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
Here's an idea, one that I am pursuing. Liberal studies. It's a pick and choose degree that allows you to study a variety of topics rather than following a prescribed list of prerequisites (2010, 2020, 2030, 3000, 3010, etc.) Take some business courses, a few recording courses (you may have to get special permission for some of them), some copyright law classes, whatever you want. A degree in the Recording industry doesn't get you a job in RI, your experience does. It also is worth very little outside the industry, as it is a specialized area of study. Get a good, broad education instead. Buy all the textbooks listed for recording classes, and study your ass off on your own. Get your hands on some gear, and dump your girlfriend. You've got some recording to do. If you're passionate about this line of work, you'll do well if you grasp the idea that there is continuing education required for the rest of your career. A lot of what is taught in schools will be obsolete by the time you graduate. Learn signal flow, how to maintain equipment, and get some ear training and you can do the rest on your own! It's not for the lazy or casually interested, so don't forget the 10,000 hour rule...

I started initially as a Recording Industry Student, thinking it would help my credibility as I left my old career to pursue a full time music career. Boy was I wrong. Every year, there are thousands of "engineers" cranked out by public and private schools all over the country. 1 out of 10 grads actually get a related career, but those that have been doing it for a few years have a much better chance of landing an audio job, or will go freelance and be successful largely because of their actual skills, not their diploma.
my .02
That BECA college seems like a reality for me right now. It's broad and it doesn't focus on one thing.

Thanks for your responses guys! I'll continue learning, just as I've done with the hardware of computers. And fill my brain with knowledge, this forum is fantastic and I'll stick around for a long time!
Old 11th September 2011
  #26
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeventhCircle View Post
Why not stay in Michigan for a few more years and get a BS in electrical engineering at U-M? There must be plenty of bands in Ann Arbor on which to practice your chops in the mean time.
This is a great idea. A degree in electrical engineering will give you a huge advantage when trying to find audio jobs and it will also open up lots of opportunities outside of audio while you struggle to get things going in audio or decide to bail on audio altogether.
Old 11th September 2011
  #27
Gear Head
 

Except the Electrical Engineering class I had to take I absolutely hated.

I have no interest in Electrical Engineering after that class. Although it was interesting.

My teacher was a dolt and I know its not fair basing it off one person, but... Still..

Although it's a good idea.
Old 2nd November 2013
  #28
Here for the gear
 

What happened??

Hey man!!,

I'm based in the UK and was thinking of possibly studying a sound technology/engineering course here or in California.

I was just reading through this forum and was wondering what you did in the end :D

If you have any advice that would be great.

Thanks!
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