I don’t think about half the things I do in setting up for a session and what goes on during that session. That doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention, just that I’ve done it so many times it is second nature to me. Every session and recording is unique and demands a specific approach to get that sound and performance on “tape” in the optimum fashion and quality. After years of making those decisions, the mindset, calculations and considerations for what mic, where, preamp, effects, are all being made without conscious thought, like breathing. Questions regarding a recording situation require me to analyze what is involved in my decision making to choose a mic or the use of some piece of gear. Given the opportunity to explain what goes on in the act of recording or mixing requires me to think about what goes on in that process. That thought process gives me pause to consider alternate choices that might serve better or provide a different sound. All this contributes to making me a better engineer and offers insight and knowledge to students of the art. Passing on this information to someone interested brings me satisfaction in knowing I have helped in the preservation of a technique or method of recording.
One of the points regarding being a professional engineer is talking about what it is like in the real world of dealing with clients and sessions. Engineering schools can provide the “how to” of mic choices and various techniques, but it is the experience of years of work that provides insight into how to handle situations in a session. This sort of experience engineers can’t get working at home studios or project studios. Exposure to varied engineers, producers, and genres of music provide the best background for learning.
Toby has spoken at Berklee College of Music on several subjects including recording in the world outside of class, and archiving your projects. He has a continuing relationship with the Music Production and Engineering Department.
YWAM STUDIO 501
A small recording and engineering school serving the nondenominational community, to spread their word through recording production. Toby speaks regularly at this campus in Lakeside Montana and has had his students establish recording studios around the world, and they continue to keep in touch with questions.
SEATTLE RECORDING ARTS
Toby has spoken at this recording institute on the reality of being a working engineer and how to go about it beyond the classroom.
Toby has mentored both aspiring engineers and artists for the past 20+ years. Some have gone on to become recognized engineers, producers and artists. He continues to offer his insight and advice for those seeking a career in the music business.