Live Sound
Sponsored by

The Old Soundman: A Youngster’s Revolt

The wise OSM offers alternatives to audio production institutions of higher learning. "We are not the idiots you make us out to be." Yes, you are!

By Old Soundman December 9, 2016

The Old Soundman (in case you were wondering...)

Hey Old Soundman:

I keep up with all of your writing, and I’ve got to say: you sure seem to hate us youngster sound guys.

You know, the ones who go to expensive schools, so we can be brainwashed into believing 5.1 surround is the best thing for music, and louder is better.

You said it, not me.

As a spokesperson for us young sound guys, I must say this. We are not the idiots you make us out to be.

Yes, you are!

I personally am going to a school to get a firm grounding in audio production without all the trial and error.

Trial and error is the only route to true knowledge. You must try. And you must err. It’s the only way. Do you want to be an audio producer at Fox News or something? Do you think that will get you a dream date with Jillian Barberie?

Our parents tell us that we have to get degrees because no one will hire people without degrees these days. (Sadly true in any field.)

Not in the field of ice cream truck driving. Have you never seen the film “Tree’s Lounge”?

School is a way to get us working with the stuff that sounds good, and not the Radio Shack-brand four-channel “D.J. mixer.”

What’s wrong with that? Get on the mic! If a white guy like Eminem can do it, so can you. “My name is Josh, I go to Full Sail, they taught me not to touch that 48-volt rail!”

We can’t just “go out there and start working.”

Yes, you can, what the heck are you raving about? Go to Beercan Billy’s Boathouse down by the lake! Pay some dues! Oh, but you don’t think you have to pay any dues…

No one is going to let us touch their equipment anymore, because they think that just because we don’t have 20 years of experience we are absolute idiots.

(Insert sound of muffled chortling.)

Just to show you that I’m not here to completely chew you out, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I agree with you about zoned dual mono.

Now you’re talkin’, Josh.

Music in my mind doesn’t have to ever be more than this, and shouldn’t be more than stereo. Those 5.1 (expletive deleted) can sit in the middle of their speakers and pretend that it sounds better, but most of my personally enlightening moments have come from listening with a good pair of headphones.

And enjoying your “freedom smoke,” yes? Then you read “Get Your War On” – right?

Anyone can sit around and whine about my arguments all day, citing examples, which do exist.

Read the great philosophers, Josh. Sartre. Camus. Bill Hicks.

But while you old guys do that, most of us youngsters will continue to do what we do best, which is keep an open mind, try new things, and keep learning. You couldn’t ask for anything more.

I dare you to answer this.


You should have bet me something, Josh, but that is what full-grown men with the courage of their convictions do. O.K., so totally pickled alcoholics at greyhound tracks in Florida also do it, as well as chain-smoking grandmas in Vegas at the slot machines.

You still should have bet me something! Because I could be collecting on it right now.

Luv –
The Old Soundman

About Old Soundman

Old Soundman
Old Soundman

Veteran Pro Audio Engineer
Old Sound Man is a recurring column that is hilarious and informative at the same time. He answers your questions which provides him with both the chance to pontificate and provide useful information.


Have something to say about this PSW content? Leave a comment!

Scroll past the ”Post Comment” button below to view any existing comments. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tagged with:

Subscribe to Live Sound International

Subscribe to Live Sound International magazine. Stay up-to-date, get the latest pro audio news, products and resources each month with Live Sound.