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As per the title, what do you feel is the most invaluable thing you have learnt or gained through the site?

I think for me, it's a little more broad than just mixing techniques, recording set ups etc.

This community as a whole, through the various hints and tips I've come across along the way, has inspired me to do more and think more seriously about pursuing Sound Design as a career, mostly through all of your life experiences that you have shared within the industry.

So I would just like to say thank you for that everyone!

Even if it's something small, like a mixing technique or small adjustments to a recording set up, I'd like to know what you've learnt!

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I am thrilled to have this community and I have learned so much from so many questions and answers here. The previous responses touch on many great answers and I agree with them all. But, to me, the most important things that I have taken to heart from SSD are two concepts underlying the whole board that are constantly reinforced.

“There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.” - Carl Sagan

I'm particularly impressed with this community and how the forum covers such a gamut of ideas with such relatively little judgement or ridicule. From entry level basics to advanced concepts, technical, fix-it questions to esoteric, philosophical ideas, practically everything that is posted gets a response in some form or another. Off-topic ideas are given links to other forums where the question can be more properly answered. Repeat questions are directed to links where the question may have been answered previously. In my opinion, this trust of support allows students with fresh perspectives to mingle freely with highly seasoned professionals who know the necessary steps to persue and avoid to succeed in this industry, and we all benefit in the observation of these interactions.

“If my hands are fully occupied in holding on to something, I can neither give nor receive.” - Dorothy Solle

I have met many who hold their trade's secrets tight to their chest. I believe they think its their knowledge of how they do what they do that is attributable to their "success". I used to subscribe to that idea, thinking it was a necessary way to survive. That having more knowledge than another gives you a "competitive edge". Perhaps it's maturity, a greater confidence in my abilities, or just seeing the interactions here on SSD, but over the last few years I've shifted my notion to I think that philosophy is utter bullshit.

Much like what Fred and Mark refer to in their answer, I love discussing my craft because it simply makes me better at what I do. Sharing what I know and talking out ideas with others can obliterate my own ill-founded, preconceived notions, smooth out illogical thought processes, or confirm un-tested perspectives. If in the process of discussion I can do the same for someone else, that just makes my day. I've come to realize that it is not teaching a person to edit or mix that makes them an editor or mixer, it's how they apply that knowledge that makes them the professional they where meant to become. That change in perspective has been priceless.

  • +1 to the trade secret deal, I have subscribed to the same sentiment you do for a long time, and I too have been among some who are protective - maybe they had reason to, maybe they were burned hard in the past and as a result they put up walls, who knows - none of my business, although I know what you speak of. I believe there may be tangible 'competitive edge' assets such as hardware or plugins, or maybe sound library assets or recording gear - but even then, the edge is miniscule at best. Knowledge is empowering and with the right mindset and passion, a lot can be achieved with little. – Stavrosound Mar 1 '13 at 4:24
  • You may find this to be a complimentary read to your post... wrote it a few years back and tucked it away, only within the last year did I actually post it stavrosound.com/blog/wordpress/2011/07/… – Stavrosound Mar 1 '13 at 4:26
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It's a good question, and I hope more people will answer. Of course there's tons of useful stuff on SSD so it's difficult to choose! I guess sometimes you read something which totally changes your thought process in a particular area, gives you a completely different angle on a problem. I think these are the real gems - not learning a new keyboard shortcut (though that's good), but understanding how someone else thinks.

The answer to this question I asked a while ago was a similar moment for me. It totally opened up a new concept, technique and new way of thinking about sound and how it works.

Abstract question like this are also great, and work in the same way.

  • The negative space discussion is great! I love that sort of "thinking outside the box" type of thing. It could give a soundtrack to a cinematic or whatever a completely different spin and could potentially immerse the audience even more. Things like this and psychoacoustics really interest me, it's kind of like the McGurk effect, except on a much higher level and I've always loved that phenomena. – FFRMusic Feb 27 '13 at 18:33
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Seeing a cross-section of personalities and opinions (ok, blame me for assessing people through their somewhat informal writings) that are attracted to or work in this sector.

Also, seeing a cross-section of numerous problems and solutions, even though the subject is rather well-defined (= often not defined at all, because it's an abstract art).

Overall, seeing a cross-section of a community is more interesting for me than particular questions or answers.

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I think the best thing I've realized through SSD is how small the sound community really is. What I mean is when you think that tracking down industry pros for advice is really elusive, you see people on here holding regular conversations that are serious heavy hitters in the industry.

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I like the fact that every problem creates numerous solutions. Its reassuring to know there's very little fixed ways, and everyone is willing to adapt and learn every day :)

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I tend to agree with Mark's answer above. For me the two main aspect of Sound Design are the HOW and the WHY. Although the HOW questions can be very interesting and there are always new techniques to learn, as you gain more technical experience they tend to just build on known principles. However, the WHY seems to become more interesting. As a result, any SSD questions that relate to WHY we are doing certain things with sound tend to be the ones that are the most interest to me. The example questions Mark gave seem to be good examples.

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