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The Production Academy


Monday 23 - Friday 27 June 2014. Limited places left.

The Production Academy is the indespensible five-day music recording and production course based on the best-selling Production Manual by Sound On Sound editor-in-chief Paul White. 

Led by Jon Olliffe (Daniel Bedingfield, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Ms Dynamite, PJ Harvey, Jamelia, The Klaxons, Beverley Knight, Liberty X, Madness, The Stereophonics, Will Young) and with sessions from Paul White himself, as well as Mastering Engineer of the Year 2012 Matt Colton and other special guests, The Production Academy offers an intensive and immersive masterclass in recording and production across all genres for just 12 people each year.

This immersive course takes you through every aspect of modern recording and production - from tracking guitars, drums and vocals, through arrangement and mixdown to mastering - in the award-winning studios and facilities of Alchemea College in the heart of central London.

Led by producer, lecturer and Alchemea Head of Studio Sound, Jon Olliffe and with guest sessions from leading music industry professionals - including mastering engineers, A&Rs and Sound On Sound editor-in-chief Paul White - you will leave with a greater understanding of the tools and techniques used to create hit records, as well as insights into the wider workings of the music industry - from recording contracts and publishing to copyright and business know-how.

Not only will you work through the recording and mixing of a professional track over the course of the week - from setting up sessions to the final mastering tweaks – we will also spend time on your own music – both listening to and feeding back on it in our Thursday night session, with Paul White sending you personalised feedback on a track of your choice. 

The mix of morning theory seminars, hands-on afternoon sessions and informal breakout evening Q&As is designed to lead you through each step of the production process, so you leave with the tips, tricks and techniques used by leading industry professionals. We'll also get our hands dirty with a selection of high-end outboard.

The Prodution Academy is aimed at - those who are relatively new to recording - those who have been working on their own music for several years without the benefit of formal education - and those who may have the key skills but want to brush up on them in the company of world-class tutors with award-winning facilities. Although some experience of recording and mixing will be useful, it is not essential.

We will use the industry-standard Pro Tools software during the week, although the techniques discussed are relevant to all DAWs. You do not need any prior knowledge of Pro-Tools to attend this course.

The Production Acadamy breaks down the fundamental techniques in modern recording and music production, regardless of genre.  So whether you make pop, rock, indie or electro, The Production Academy will give you the skills take your music to the next level.

All attendees also receive:

  • A signed copy of Paul White's The Producer's Manual
  • £50 Sample Magic gift voucher
  • £50 Alchemea course credit voucher
  • Tea, coffee and juice throughout the day

More information

Each day covers a different aspect of production:

  • Day 1: Introduction to recording, recording bass and electric guitars
  • Day 2: Microphones, acoustic guitars and setting up the mix
  • Day 3: Vocals
  • Day 4: Drums
  • Day 5: Mixdown and mastering

Each day starts with tea/coffee at 9.45am.

 

MONDAY: Introduction to recording, bass and electric guitars

Morning

APPROACHES TO RECORDING: MULTI-TRACKING / ONE AT A TIME  / DUBBING & BEYOND
•    The importance of performance
•    Bleed vs isolation
•    How much is too much?

THE MODERN STUDIO
•    How a mixer works
•    A typical DAW workflow
•    Hardware vs software

RECORDING BASS & SYNTHS - DI RECORDING
•    The simplest form of recording
•    Using pre-amps
•    How hot is too hot?
•    Takes, drop-ins and a simple monitor mix

Afternoon

RECORDING ELECTRIC GUITARS
•    Single, simple mic approaches
•    Creating a more refined monitor mix

BASIC EDITING
•    Cut, paste and timestretch
•    Techniques for selecting the best takes

ARRANGING GUITAR PARTS
•    Start mixes with arrangements
•    Gaining a clear vision
•    Different guitars and different tunings

 

TUESDAY: Microphones, acoustic guitars and setting up the mix

Morning

MICROPHONES
•    Introduction
•    Types. Applications. Best tools for the job
•    Multi-mic'ing techniques
•    Phase

RECORDING ACOUSTIC GUITARS
•    Stereo mic'ing techniques
•    The importance of 'room'
•    Three mic options
•    Acoustic recordings: the rule of thumb
•    Rule of thumb tests: shaker and xylophone

Afternoon

RECORDING ELECTRIC GUITARS - ADVANCED TECHNIQUES
•    Two mic options
•    Re-amping
•    Low-noise methods
•    Ambience and room mic'ing
•    DI and speaker combinations

 MULTI-TRACK EDITING
•    Dealing with complex editing jobs: same principles, bigger projects
•    Choosing when to bounce
•    Making the edit easier

TOOLS OF THE TRADE: EQ
•    An in-depth look at equalisers; what they do, and why we need them

MIXING GUITARS
•    Take the recordings from earlier and begin building a mix

Evening

GETTING YOUR MUSIC OUT THERE
•    It's never been easier to make music, whilst simultaneously being harder than ever to get your music heard by the right people. In this in-depth Q&A session we're joined by a major label A&R to hear how the industry has changing and how best to get your tracks into the right person's hands. Whether your music is a professional concern or a hobby, we'll talk about everything from social media to the current thinking on the traditional demo. We supply the refreshments.

 

WEDNESDAY: Vocals

Morning

THE PERFECT VOCAL: IN THEORY
•    The right mic for the right singer
•    When to pre-amp
•    When to compress
•    Mic technique
•    Sibilance
•    Good vibes: The psychology behind the perfect take

THE PERFECT VOCAL: IN PRACTICE
•    Setting up the mix
•    Warming up
•    Recording the vocal
•    Feedback and refinement
•    Mic check: Lyrics, sibilance, pops and feel
•    Technique: Comping as you go

NEXT STEPS IN VOCAL RECORDINGS
•    Double-tracks
•    Harmonies and layers - the big pop sound
•    Ad-libs

Afternoon

EDITING VOCALS
•    Workflow: Raw vs hyper-edited
•    Sorting takes
•    Early edits
•    Tuning (Auto-Tune and Melodyne)
•    Timing with multiple parts
•    Where to place ad-libs: Arrangement 101

TOOLS OF THE TRADE: REVERB
•    An in-depth look at reverb; what it does, and why we need it

MIXING VOCALS
•    Space in the mix
•    EQ and de-essing
•    Reverb, ambience and delay
•    Treating double-tracks
•    Treating multiple parts
•    The chorus bus
•    Tricks of the trade

Evening

IN CONVERSATION: PAUL WHITE
•    We talk with Paul about his time editing Sound On Sound, the changes he has seen in technology and the wider music industry through the years; he outlines the most common mistakes he hears on mixes submitted to the magazine, reveals his personal favourite gear and passes on his top five tips for making better mixes. Then we open the discussion for FAQs from the floor. We supply the refreshments.

 

THURSDAY: Drums

Morning

RECORDING DRUMS: IN THEORY
•    How many mics? Simple vs multi-mic options
•    Phase: the ever present danger
•    Spill: why it may not matter
•    Recording the room (or not)
•    Advanced techniques

RECORDING DRUMS: IN PRACTICE
•    Mic a full kit and record the results

Afternoon

TOOLS OF THE TRADE: COMPRESSION
•    An in-depth look at compression and limiting; what it does, and why we need it

DRUM REPLACEMENT
•    Rescue options, retriggering and layering for bigger sounds

DRUM MIXING
•    Groups and bussing
•    Single drum sounds
•    EQ, compression and reverb
•    Parallel compression for bigger beats
•    Outboard on the drums

Evening

YOUR MUSIC: CRITICAL LISTENING
•    We head to the Avid Dubbing Theatre to listen to your tracks. Taking advantage of one of the finest listening rooms in London, we talk about what's working and what isn't in your mixes. Positive feedback is the order of the day here in a session that is always popular.

 

FRIDAY: Mixdown and mastering

Morning

APPROACHES TO MIXING
•    Ground-up
•    All at once
•    Mix as you go
•    The challenge of the third person mixer: what does the client want? And what can you deliver with the material in hand?

PREPPING THE MIX
•    Colour coding, grouping, bussing: towards a streamlined workflow

ARRANGEMENT: A REMINDER
•    Why arrangement is a mixing concern
•    Dropping parts
•    EQ top and tailing
•    A fluid mix: maintaining listener interest

FIRST MIX
•    Setting up an initial mix
•    Levels and panning
•    Early automation
•    The importance of references

Afternoon

MIXDOWN
•    We use everything we've learned during the week to bring together a release-quality mix
•    Pre-mastering: How far to go

DIY MASTER
•    Compression, limiting, EQ, stereo tools and beyond
•    How far is too far: An introduction to loudness
•    Self master vs pro master
•    Finding the right mastering engineer

Evening

IN CONVERSATION WITH MATT COLTON, ALCHEMY MASTERING
•    One of the UK's leading mastering engineers takes us through his approaches to mastering; the kit he uses and the difficulties he confronts. We supply the refreshments to unwind after an intensive, interesting and inspiring week of music making.

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£720.00 £610.00

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