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This was initially posted on Gearslutz, but I think it's more appropriate here.

I'm looking to purchase a package of tutorials. I've read D. Sonnenschein's book twice and watched his free, introductory webinar online. I've also watched some of Nick's free tutorials, which are excellent, online a few times.

I was wondering if anyone here has purchased either of these full packages, and if so, could give me some feedback. I want to learn specific techniques: how to make things bigger, how to use reverb and delay effectively, how to stretch things out or slow down, how to mimic underwater sound, and a few other tricks. From what I've watched and read, it seems like Sonnenschein is more theory whereas Nick is more technique. Any experience and/or suggestions? Thanks.

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6 Answers 6

As someone who has bought 3 of Nick's tutorial packs, and also bought David Sonnenschien's book (although not the webinar series), I would agree with what's been said above. Within watching 3 videos from Nick's "Analog" series for Ableton, I felt like I had progressed ridiculously far and have since been able to use what I learned from these videos in a couple of sound design jobs.

The ability to tweak an instrument and get everything you can out of it should not be underestimated. I'm a firm believer in mastering a small number of tools rather than having a large number available.

Hope this has helped.

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I think you're assessments are accurate. David is not very specific when it comes to "adjust this particular setting" when it comes to using your tools. He's more focused on covering the physical properties and psychoacoustics of sound and how you can use those tools to the effect your describing. He's also more interested in participation and providing feedback as the course progresses. He wants to witness you grow, and the ideas he works with are more long term.

While I haven't taken the specific package of tutorials you're referring to, I have watched some of those free videos of Nick's, and he is much more in line with the "adjust this particular setting" school. He is also much more direct and to the point. Depending on where you're at in terms of level, you may feel more immediate progress by taking his tutorials.

I know both of these gentlemen personally, and they know their stuff and explain it well. So, I'd say either one is a worthy investment. Obviously, one is more expensive than the other, but it's also more personalized.

Regardless of which one you take, the only thing that is really going to make progress for you is practice, application and experimentation. Arguably, you could do all of that yourself, but getting someone to point you in the right direction certainly helps.

And regardless of which one you take, you can always get some good practice by participating in the sound design challenges I run every month on my site. ;)

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Hey thanks! Very helpful feedback. And I missed the last design challenge on your site, but am planning on participating in the next one. –  Pamela Oct 28 '10 at 3:28

To a certain extent, both are very good and provide a good balance of theory(not Chion theory) with the practical. But in reference to what you are looking for, Nick's is much better suited to your needs. Sonnenschien is great when it comes to providing the tools for "feeling" the sound design but I really do think this is something that is instinctive in any good sound designer while Nick cuts through the crap and gets right to the point as Shaun Farley says.

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I took David's webinar and was very glad I did. He explains the concepts very well and leads you to looking at sound in a very different way. I've never seen Nick's tutorials so I popped over to his site and it looks great. The only problem is that it all seems to be Ableton Live based, so if you don't use that particular software (as I don't), you may not get much value from it.

I think you can get as much value, just by searching/posting on various forums.

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I took david's webinar and i found that it was very strong in theory and if you are a fan of his book, the two go together well. I learned a lot in the webinar espcially about creating space and size with sounds. Theres always something new to read in his book Sound Design for Pros, its kind of like a bible, full of wisdom.

Nicks tutorials are new to me and Ill have to check them out.

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I bought all Nick's tuts except for the Ambient whatever which is new. Excellent vids. I went from virtually no electronic music experience to producing my first track using many of the techniques I learned from him. watch?v=qxg4v5RngDE

Haven't tried Sonnenschein. Haven't heard of him till now.

My only gripe is the support with Nick. He all but promises responses but the only response I got came after I responded to his solicitation of ideas for his new series. I find that disappointing. He said he's going to release a production and mixing series. I have a few questions that have yet to be answered.

So.. Quality: 10 Content: 10 Support: ??? (double check your spam box)

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