CLASSES

-

NOW ENROLLING FOR WEEKLY GROUP CLASSES! 

CLICK FOR DETAILS

 

The classes I teach here are a blend of applied science, philosophy, and artistic ethics. While students are enrolled in one-on-one or group classes, they are a part of the ecosystem here – they assist on sessions, help with events, and are a part of the studio environment. I don't really take interns – all of my assisting goes to students.

Most students make it through the curriculum as it is designed – in six months of weekly two-hour meetings, but I have run classes faster, and also extended them longer. The basic idea is that the full curriculum can be taught in around 50 hours of class.

I prefer to teach the curriculum – but if you are interested in learning about a more specific or limited subject matter – I'm happy to craft the classes to your needs. Contact me for more info

 

Read what some of my students have to say

 

Comprehensive Curriculum

 

Introduction to the Studio and Signal Flow

We discuss the general responsibilities of the personnel and personalities in the studio

environment and discuss the path that sound and electricity take in the studio.

 

Physics of Sound and Psychoacoustics

What is sound? How is it quantified and how does it behave? What is the nature of motion in vibrating objects, and how do humans perceive their resulting soundwaves?

 

Microphones – Design and Use

What are microphones, really? How do they interact with sound pressure to create resultingly similar electrical signals? What are their characteristics and applications? We do a huge shootout of Dynamic, Condenser and Ribbons – and analyze their response. 

Preamps – Design and Use

We look at varying preamps and discuss their design and flavor – what is gain? How does a tube actually function in a preamp? A Transistor? Gain staging!

 

Methods – Drum Recording

Arguably one of the most complex topics and practices in recording. We tackle the musical spider's web of drums – tuning, balancing, listening. How do we record them? Different theories and methods, from extremely simplistic to complex.

 

Methods – Acoustic Guitar Recording

Whose perspective do we use when recording acoustic guitar? Observer or player? Is it meant to be a focused or immersive sound? What positions and microphones yield different sounds?

 

Methods – Electric Guitar Recording

On-axis? Off-axis? What's impedance matching? We talk about (and listen to) different classic amplifiers and their features – and discuss how different positioning and blending create vastly different tones.

 

Methods – Vocal Recording

This is all about balance – how do we match the recording tools to our singer's voice? How to listen for sibilance – and overcome it. To compress on the way in or not? Or both?

 

Methods – Mixing Techniques and Editing in Pro Tools

A lengthy and intense discussion about mixing techniques. We learn the nitty-gritty about eq, dynamics control, tonal shaping – this all circles back to the concepts covered in physics and psychoacoustics – how do we get the brain to feel something with the narrative we create in our mixes? Also – we solidify the editing techniques in Pro Tools that we've been learning all along.

 

Mastering and Preparation for Replication

How to make the loudest songs ever, with no dynamic range. Just Kidding. What the heck is the arcane, black magic of mastering? Can it really be all that hard? Answer – yes.

 

Rates for classes:

Comprehensive curriculum: 2 hours a week for 6 months: $500 per month, one-on-one

Comprehensive curriculum: 2 hours every other week for 12 months: $325 per month one-on-one

Custom curriculum: please contact

REVIEWS
 

Working with Ben is an absolute pleasure. He is not only a gifted engineer, but a passionate educator as well. He brought an enthusiasm to each week's class that made me excited to come back week after week, and consistently demonstrated a remarkable ability to express complicated ideas in a highly accessible manner. Never content to leave students with a limited understanding of his course's subject matter, Ben always pushed me to not only understand how to do something, but to understand how and why that something worked. Ben also challenged me to consider how to properly apply all concepts learned in a real world environment, with real clients. At the end of his program, I felt exceedingly prepared to set off on my own and apply what I had learned in a professional context. I can't think of a higher compliment than that. 

 

Sam Waymire - Owner, Rotted One Note Sound, Asheville NC

Taking classes with Ben has been an incredible opportunity. The one-on-one structure made the class flexible enough to work on general concepts as well as focusing on the skills that I wanted to practice. Being able to assist in professional recording sessions also helped immensely in cementing everything I had learned. Ben did a great job of not only guiding me through the technical principles behind recording but also helping me put those skills into the context of the big picture of the music being created. Beyond the curriculum, he creates a recording environment that makes the studio feel much less daunting and a little more like home. He has a wonderful guiding philosophy and ethic that make learning from him and working with him a great experience.

Elisa Binger - WMUC Radio and Black Cat

I have taken a group class with Ben as well as several one-on-one classes, and have assisted him with some of his lessons with other students and there’s only one way to say it: Ben is an excellent teacher and mentor. He is professional, knowledgeable, personable, and enthusiastic in his classes. First off, Ben’s studio provides a warm and comfortable learning environment. It is stocked with some of the best equipment on offer in the modern world of audio production, and is set up in a very intuitive way which makes it ideal for learning everything from the most basic to the most advanced aspects of audio production. His lessons are more often than not hands on with the equipment in his studio, which gives students a very enjoyable and practical experience. And unlike many other teachers, he never leaves a stone unturned with regards to the topic at hand, nor in regards to any question a student may have. Ben also frequently uses other producers, albums, and recordings as examples of the real world applications for the techniques and methods he discusses. I’ve never had a lesson with Ben where I felt that I hadn’t learned a lot. Coupling his knowledge of audio production with his extensive experience and passion for the field, Ben provides a top level learning experience that is sure to leave you satisfied as well as eager to learn more.

Mihir Kochhar

Ben met each question with a barrage of metaphors, analogies, and images that instantly illuminated some truly abstruse concepts. I demanded explanations for explanations but Ben patiently broke each idea down to the level of moving electrons.

Ultimately, I realized all I really had to do was assess the improvement in my own music., The results Ben’s ideas had on my music were real. Over the course of my lessons, my ears became sharper and my mixes slowly developed and came to life.

Although my lessons with Ben were interrupted as I left for college, he has stayed in touch. From emergency Pro Tools assistance and gear recommendations to philosophical chats about Kant’s categorical imperative, he has always had me covered.

Calum Smeaton