I grew up in a musical household, and it made more sense than anything to make it my profession. I decided early on to avoid being a professional musician, so the most natural path was to record music. I went to recording school, did an internship, and have been operating Speck Studio out of my home since 2007.
Another aspect of my childhood was cultured, too: I am the son of an electrical engineer. By the age of 8 I had a soldering iron in hand: I remember a weekend when dad and I took 5 or 6 OLD computers and made an archaic token ring/bus network. He had me soldering BNC terminators while giving me my first lesson in signal flow.
Like I said, I'm a recording engineer. There are some who would argue with that title, and rightly so. In this digital age they would be more appropriate to call a computer based recordist a glorified software operator. Back in the only analog days, the recording engineer had to be able to maintain and fix the gear he was working on. Things went down in the middle of a session, and he had to get it back up and running quick... or figure out a work around.
In late 2009 I decided to do something about it, mostly because of a certain need I had in the studio, and the frustration with the commercially available solutions. It seemed there was a huge gap: it was either cheap and half-assed, slightly too complicated to operate with too many features that had nothing to do with the need (and thus more than I was willing to pay for), or tens of thousands of dollars. My needs were simple: I wanted 5 musicians in another room to dial in their own headphone mixes. It had to serve ONE function, with absolute ease of use (I needed artists to use it, and not have to be an engineer to figure it out).
So I figured it out and built it.
Using reclaimed components from an old, busted, worthless mixer someone gave me, I made a PASSIVE matrix mixer. I made a converter box to go from my 8 1/4" outputs from Protools to my 4 channel XLR snake (yes, that's 2 channels of audio down one cable). I made a talkback switch for an external mic. All passive, exactly what I needed with NOTHING I didn't.
Since then I've been playing around with guitar pedal circuits, basically going 'back to school' and figuring out how these things work. I'm designing things. I'm finding solutions to problems I'm encountering. Willing to bet there are a lot of others out there experiencing the same frustrations.
I'm going back to basics. I'm an engineer engineering.