You could spend an entire semester on any one thing taught in Jon and David Siebels’ recording engineering course at their home studio in Montrose.
However, because the course is only 10 weeks, the father-and-son team can only offer a “crash course” into the fine art of studio recording.
The musicians-turned-engineers are teaching a class through Glendale Community College’s Community Services Education program. Twice a week, about eight students gather in the Siebels’ tiny recording studio for a one-hour lecture and demonstration.
The Siebelses began as musicians: Jon Siebels as a guitarist and co-founder of the group Eve 6, and David Siebels as a guitarist accompanying Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. The two later branched off into recording engineering, allowing them to create better recordings for themselves. In teaching their class, the Siebelses teach the basics, from how to plug in a microphone to how to hit record, Jon Siebels said.
This week, the class goes over proper microphone placement when recording drums. While Jon Siebels is in the booth, Dave Siebels plays each drum on the kit. Back in the booth, Jon Siebels shows the class various ways to optimize the microphones picking up each drum, from decreasing the gain, to adjusting for low-level frequency noise.
After recording several seconds of David Siebels playing the drums, Jon Siebels shows the class how he can manipulate the recording through the ProTools recording software on his computer. He brings up each channel, showing the class the imperfections that exist in the recording and why they are there. He then expertly manipulates the recording, as he shows the class how he can correct for those imperfections in the finished product.
Cheryl Holland of Studio City is a music therapist at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, where she works with kids from all over the city and the world. Her decision to attend this class stems from her need to learn the technologies that will help her kids.
“We don’t have this equipment,” Holland said. “But when we do, and when my kids have the opportunity to use this kind of stuff as part of their development, I can employ it.”
Jon and Dave Siebels have found that students generally come into their class with no experience or some experience. Knowing this, the duo offer only an understanding of the basics via a holistic curriculum where each week something new is introduced. The class caters mainly toward students who enjoy sound recording as a hobby, students who are considering entering the recording engineering field or students who are just looking to do something new.
“We talk about signal path, like how to get your signal all the way into the computer, how to turn the microphone pre-amp up to the right volume so that everything is optimized and you’re using your equipment properly,” Jon Siebels said.
This is the first time that a class like this has been offered, Jon Siebels said. Four years ago, the Siebelses’ home studio was started with the purpose of teaching music, Dave Siebels said. With all the recording equipment the duo own, coupled with their professional engineering experience, they decided to begin a recording engineering class through the college.
Mike Biggs of La Crescenta has engineered songs for various movies, including the soon-to-be-released horror movie “Forget Me Not.”
“Hopefully I’m going to gain some knowledge as to what kind of gear I need to buy next,” said Biggs, who is putting the finishing touches on his home studio.