Gear Design... Graduate School?

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
Class A
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Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by Class A » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:11 pm

Hello All...

I've just about finished my bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and am trying to get into gear design.

My question is this... Does anybody know of any Universities that offer a Masters or PHD in EE with a focus on audio? Or should I just start sending my resume to gear manufacturers?

Thanks ya'll,
Neal

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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by drunton » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:24 pm

You can study under Dr Marshall Leach at Georgia Tech (my alma mater), but in general I don't think Grad school will give you the hands on type of stuff you are probably looking for. Of course, I did Electromagnetics, Computer, and Communications - the focus of grad school is more on the theoretical side. So I learned all about Maxwell's equations and probability out the ying yang.

Maybe working with Dr. Leach will be more hands on... I would call/email him and ask.
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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by cgarges » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:34 pm

I'm not sure what the graduate programs are like, but I knew quite a few people in University of Miami's Music Engineering program who got into gear design. You should look into it. I can't recommend that school highly enough.

Chris Garges
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Class A
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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by Class A » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:37 pm

I'm not as concerned about the hands on stuff as I hope to do most of that stuff outside of school... What I am concerned about is finding a program/prof who knows his stuff about audio. Something more directly applicable than my undergraduate work has been.

Thanks for the GT and UM tips. I'll check em out.

I'd love to hear more suggestions... Let me know!

Neal

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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by psychicoctopus » Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:27 am

school sucks. save your money and find a guru instead.
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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by drewbass » Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:45 am

no, school rocks. with a phd i teach 8.75 hours a week and make a killing. i play and record whenever, with whoever i want to and LOVE teaching.
drew

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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by joel hamilton » Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:50 am

You could come to brooklyn and work on my console, and develop really weird mic pre's and compressors FROM SCRATCH with me! Please? Hello?


Seriously. Maybe you could work in a studio for a minute, and really get into the scenario, and talk with audio guys and see what kind of stuff they like, and why....

Like I said, If you find yourself in Brooklyn......

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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by oobedoob » Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:27 pm

Generally speaking, an MSEE/PHD course would definitely help for DSP, psychoacoustics, and IC design, IMHO. Read the JAES and see who's researching what. Hopefully you have a student chapter who can get you in.

For less involved hardware and software, why not just roll your own? Lots of DIY groups on the net....

There are guys hanging out here who work for audio companies, maybe they'll chime in....


Class A wrote:Hello All...

I've just about finished my bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and am trying to get into gear design.

My question is this... Does anybody know of any Universities that offer a Masters or PHD in EE with a focus on audio? Or should I just start sending my resume to gear manufacturers?

Thanks ya'll,
Neal

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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by Family Hoof » Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:06 pm

If an EE graduate program dedicated to audio exists I haven't heard of it. Would be very interesting to see what the curriculum's like. I think you'd basically have to choose what type of gear you're into and go somewhere where the emphasis on that particular topology is really strong. But what do I know?
Grad school is great and should definately enhance your career options, however I also agree with Joel. So much of the useless crap gear that comes out is designed by EEs who aren't end users. The very best boutique stuff is designed by poeple who are either end users (recording engineers) or in direct contact with some really serious end users to get their input. Math and test instruments are wonderful but they'll never tell you want a trained set of ears can. Work on this aspect of your education at some point if you haven't already. Not to mention, I don't think it's possible to design a good user interface unless you're out there using it everyday or know enough people who are.

Class A
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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by Class A » Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:23 pm

I would definitely like to know how anybody working for a gear company got there start.

Anybody?

Basically I feel like I've got a good foundation through my undergraduate study... I just don't know where to turn when its finished. The faculty at my state school is understandably uneducated in the industry, and what to do next.

Does anybody in the gear business take apprentices? I'm willing to pay dues; I just want to learn from serious people making serious gear.

Thanks all for the responses... Keep em' coming!

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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by cgarges » Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:27 pm

The Music Engineering degree at UM requires that you pass an audition on your principal instrument (which can be voice) to get into the School Of Music. You must also continue lessons on your instrument and maintain a standard of proficiency throughout the program. You have juries on your principal, as well as extensive courses in piano, music theory, ear training, and your choice of string scoring or big band arranging. That's no guarantee of experience as an end-user, but that's a better start than most schools.

The Music Engineering program is also WAY more geared towards circiuit theory than "SSL 101" like many trade schools and when I was there, the undergraduate program had a calculus pre-requisite.

I'll see what I can find out about the grad program. Namely, if they have one.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by Family Hoof » Thu Nov 04, 2004 10:48 am

Class A wrote:I would definitely like to know how anybody working for a gear company got there start.
Contact the human resources department of any company you'd want to work for and ask about their requirements for an entry level R&D position and what your responsibilites would be. I would imagine engineering assistant is a likely starting place. For the smaller, boutique companies you could probably just track down the designers' e-mail adresses and I'm sure they'd be happy to talk to you (i.e. any of the folks that have been interviewed in behind the gear). Some of them show up on this forum.

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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by The Scum » Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:25 am

I started at Kurzweil (Young Chang R&D) after geting my BS in compiter science. I got the position by watching their web pages and sending resumes...I kept careful track of the listings at companies in that realm (Alesis, Big Briar, Lexicon), and sent resumes when entry-level stuff popped up.

In school, I'd done several research projects involving musical computing...I took the results of one of those projects to interviews. People were _very_ receptive to seeing what I'd built (even whern I interviewed with a non-musical company, they wanted to check out the toys!).

I also had a reasonable background in both EE and computer science, and a reasonable amount of DIY experience.

I don't know of any "building music gear" EE masters programs. On one side, a lot of musical circuitry is pretty fundamental (EQs, summing busses, preamps), and the differences really come out in how you treat the details. There's not a whole lot of academically lucrative work going on in these areas anymore.

On the other side is the really advanced digital stuff...and for some of it, it's lucrative enough that a lot of the groundbreaking stuff is being done by private companies, who keep the stuff proprietary. Academia is often somewhere behind them. For example, if someone were to develop an amazing new reverb technology, it's probably more worthwhile for them to package & sell it privately, than to publish their secrets.

Join the AES, and read their Journal. The Computer Music Journal has similar content. The papers published there will be from people in the programs you need to be looking at, and will see the tone for the type of research they're doing.


Byron Jacquot

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Re: Gear Design... Graduate School?

Post by oobedoob » Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:42 am

Not trying to be difficult, but what kind of "serious gear" do you want to work on? Some examples maybe? Something out there that just blows your doors off technically? Maybe the following questions might help to focus... (I"m a EE and I'm just trying to help, I swear)

Are you a hacker type? Did you spend more time in the hardware lab working on circuits or in the computer lab working on coding? Do they require E&M and discrete transistor design in your program? Did you like it? What was your senior project? Did you have to design the hardware or write sw/fpga code for it? Do you have any experience in materials/packaging/human engineering?

Looking in my area right now, I know of at least 3 companies that are hiring for audio positions--2 are MS/PHD DSP/software type positions, and 1 is more on the electro-mechanical side of things. And those are either established (one publicly traded) companies or venture startups. There are boutique companies out there too, but they likely won't have the budget to train a new grad.... Besides, if you're going to be somebody's lackey, it's a reasonable expectation (in the EE profession, anyway) to be paid well for it....

Class A wrote:I would definitely like to know how anybody working for a gear company got there start.

Anybody?

Basically I feel like I've got a good foundation through my undergraduate study... I just don't know where to turn when its finished. The faculty at my state school is understandably uneducated in the industry, and what to do next.

Does anybody in the gear business take apprentices? I'm willing to pay dues; I just want to learn from serious people making serious gear.

Thanks all for the responses... Keep em' coming!
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