Beyond The Beatles: How Abbey Road Institute is Training Tomorrow’s Sound Engineers

By in Education, Music Creation, Pro Mixing

The Abbey Road Institute is founded on the 80-year heritage of the London recording studio where The Beatles, among many others, made classic albums. The Institute began opening its colleges in September 2015, first in London, then Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris and Melbourne, with two more planned for early 2016 in Sydney and Munich. Each of the five current international locations, including Abbey Road Studios itself, has installed a Pro Tools | S6. We had a chat with Silvan Jongerius, chief technology officer at the Abbey Road Institute, to find out more about the Abbey Road Institute’s ethos of ‘hands-on’ training, and why the S6 is a key piece of equipment.

 

“We’ve been busy here in Berlin unpacking boxes and installing equipment in the city’s new Abbey Road Institute. It’s one of five Institutes that opened during September and October this year under the historic Abbey Road name. There are facilities in Paris, Frankfurt, Melbourne and London, with two more planned for Munich and Sydney early next year.

The UK Institute is based within the original recording studios on Abbey Road where some of the biggest names in music over the last 84 years have recorded, from Paul Robeson and Edward Elgar, through Cliff Richard and the Shadows and Elton John, to Blur and Florence and the Machine. Not forgetting The Beatles, of course. This long and illustrious musical history is closely tied to the high degree of technical innovation and excellence in sound engineering that the studios are renowned for. Early stereo recordings were made there while George Martin, Pink Floyd and Radiohead pushed the creative and technological boundaries of music recording.”

“Abbey Road has nurtured producers and engineers who went on to make some of the biggest selling and most critically acclaimed recordings of all time. The Institutes have been created to build on that heritage and offer what we see as a need for proper hands-on education in music production and audio engineering. Our focus is very much on the practical side rather than the academic. We want our students to have the best possible training by getting actual experience of recording and production, and this means providing them with the most widely used equipment. Avid Pro Tools is one of the main digital audio workstations that we use; we do offer other systems because it is a choice that is down to the creativity of the student, but Pro Tools is a key tool that students need to know to succeed in the music production business. It is well established in music production and Avid is continually adding new functionality.

This makes for fuller digital workflows, which can now be based on the Pro Tools | S6 console. Although it is quite new it does reflect the practices and systems being used in the industry today. The ICON D-Command and D-Control are still used widely and having Avid controllers is important for our students, but we wouldn’t invest in anything old right now.”

“We’re using the experience from Abbey Road Studios to offer the best possible training—to do that we’re offering the most widely used equipment.”

—Silvan Jongerius, Chief Technology Officer at the Abbey Road Institute

“What the S6 offers is both creative and technical. It adds control of software and accessibility to many features, and the ease of use allows it to work with Pro Tools and similar processes. This helps create different workflows that the students may work with in the future. In the classrooms they have their own computers based on 27” iMacs that can be connected to Pro Tools but are also interoperable with different workstations.

The students will also be going into the studio and working with the S6 for recording. Compatibility is a big thing, and in the back of our minds when we were designing the systems at our Institutes was the thought that the students would be using a variety of DAWs such as Logic, Live, as well as Pro Tools, to record and edit. Avid has opened up its systems and workflows and that enables our students to use high-end controllers like the S6 with workstations that have less processing power.”

“The mixing desk is a major part of the recording studio and the whole music production process. It still has a role to play, particularly for recording situations and where a classical, analogue approach is required. As well as bringing in all the sources for the mix it provides control of DAWs like Pro Tools. Because of that, the S6—and the other desks we offer—will play a crucial part in training the music producers and sound engineers of the future.”

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As a Field Marketing Director for Program in EMEA I am lucky enough to work with some of the most interesting and inspirational artists, content creators and distributors in the media industry. Follow me on Avid Blogs for industry news and updates from across EMEA.