Colby Johnson Audio Internship

Dr. Pras notified me that she would be out of town for an Audio Conference this past week and it was my duty to cover her class for her. She asked that I cover the topics of how to use the DX7 and how the midi routing worked inside of the studio. So to prepare, I went down to the studio and gathered any information I might need and created a lesson plan. I wrote down any important discussion topics and key points I thought was important for teaching these two things. Within my lesson plan I created spacing within various topics, to allow students who were interested to come forth and try the DX7 for themselves. I decided this was the most effective thing to do as for me personally, I typically learn better if its hands on. Among the class of around 15 or so I had 6 or 7 who seemed really interested in what I had to say and teach, this for me was a very rewarding feeling as the knowledge I had spent so much time acquiring became of practical use and had a positive impact on others. After I had taught the class I stayed for around half an hour to an hour late to help with any questions the students might have had. I exchanged numbers and emails with a couple of students and offered them my time outside of class to help them with their projects if my schedule allowed it.

Colby Johnson Audio Internship

At this point of the internship, Dr. Pras and I discussed doing a video tutorial on the DX7 and that became my additional task for the week. I spent some extra time with the device and created a miniature version of a lesson plan surrounding the device. I taught myself all of its features in an effort to become as familiar with the device as possible. After this, I rented a camera from the library and started filming, I did multiple takes of all the scenes so I would have more footage to work with during the post production phase. It took me about 4 hours in total to create the tutorial and upload it to YouTube, not including the time it took to research the DX7. I learned a lot from making this tutorial, I became extremely familiar with the DX7, learning how to program my own patches, using the on board effects to further manipulate them and make them my own. I also learned about the various features within the DX7 that could change its play-ability, such as the Keyboard split where one half of the keys can play a patch while the other half could play a different one. Filming the tutorial also taught me the importance of multiple takes, the creative use of lighting and how to properly prepare the camera for recording. It has also come to my knowledge that the list of required tools previously compiled by Dr. Pras and I has been ordered and should be in by next week.

Colby Johnson Audio Internship

The studio maintenance has been going very smoothly so far. After having a discussion with Dr. Pras, we realized that it would be in the best interest of the studio if we compiled a list of general tools and items that would be helpful in maintaining the integrity of the studio. Among such items on the list were screws, a set of various screw drivers and pliers, a drill, and the batteries required to fix the DX7. I had also been doing outside research on the best placement for the speakers inside the lab. After reading “The Studio SOS Book: Solutions and Techniques for the Project Recording Studio” By Paul White, I decided that the best route for me to go was to move the desk further off of the wall as this could create a more accurate stereo field for the listener. The way it is currently set up, the user would have to move back several feet to be able to hear what he or she was doing and of course this can be very counterproductive. Based on my outside research, I concluded that the best option for solving this issue was to assemble the speakers in a classic equilateral triangle configuration. This would help my fellow students on two accounts, one being by providing a more accurate and realistic stereo field for the user to work with, and the second being as it would be set up more like a real world studio, preparing the student for post college studio work.

Colby Johnson Audio Internship

Our second meeting I was assigned more tasks, I was to go through all of the synthesizers in the studio and see which ones work and which ones did not. Among the synthesizers I worked on I found the Yamaha DX7 to be the most interesting. However, this synthesizer had several issues that needed to be addressed before the students could use it. The first issue was that of no audio output from the device. After doing some research online I found that the issue was easily solved, it was just a matter of going through the menu and finding the setting called “Note on/off” and making sure it was on. This would need to be done any time the DX7 was unplugged then rebooted. If it stayed plugged in then it wouldn’t need to be done. This brings me to the second issue with the DX7, that of a dead internal battery. After notifying Amandine it was my duty to get the synthesizer back in working order. I did some more online research and found that the batteries that go in the device are very inexpensive and could be ordered through the school. The next issue came with how to replace the battery, we would have to unscrew the entire device and remove the housing and re-solder it back on with the new battery. The decision was to order the batteries the following week and once they arrived, to enlist the help of Dr. Roberts to help solder the battery back in the device.