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Audio production has become a cottage industry. These days every musician (rock bands, DJs, rappers, worship bands, etc.) should develop production skills. Like it or not, fundamental production skills are a prerequisite for joining the modern creative community.
It’s a challenge to bridge the gap between the left-brained audio engineer and the right-brained artist. I’m here to say “relax”. Modern technology has made audio production more intuitive than it once was. Plus most artists prefer to control the final product. In the old days, they had to hand it off to a strange engineer…
Old World Engineering
Audio engineering started out as a branch of electrical engineering. Engineers had to understand tape bias, electrodes and transformers. They were engineers in the true academic sense. They rarely shared the creative outlook of the artists they were recording. But, without them we wouldn’t have many of the classic albums we enjoy today.
Modern producers don’t need to study tape bias (thank goodness!). However, a limited scientific awareness is very helpful. For example, every producer should understand how to use EQ and Compressors. Vocalists should understand the qualities of different microphones (condenser vs. dynamic). Understanding gain-staging is a life saver. Signal routing and troubleshooting techniques are valuable. I saved a lot of time after learning why we use DI boxes to connect XLRs to instrument cables (i.e. impedence). These left-brained “hard” skills can actually liberate the right-brained creativity you’re trying to embody!