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What major should I pick?

  1. Feb 2, 2009 #1
    Howdy folks!

    Alright, this is my first post here, and I'm crossing my fingers that this is the right place to post this sort of thing. Feel free to move if this isn't relevant, folks. Anyhow, cutting to the darn chase:

    I'm a nineteen year old college student, halfway through my freshman year, and I've got this crazy little dream of a career designing and marketing analog audio electronics.

    You know, theremins, fuzzboxes, monophonic fingerboard-style synthesizers. My main influences include Robert Moog, Lorin Edwin Parker, and Zachary Vex. Like, really boutique, specialized analog electronics. (Have I mentioned the profit margin is ridiculous?)

    At this point I'm assuming a major in electrical engineering will be enough to help me realize my goal, but are there other fields you think I ought to look into?
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2009 #2


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    The main challenge is a parametrization of the acoustic world so that what one hears in one's head can be readily transformed into motor movements that reproduce one's imagination. I head Sethares has some interesting work in classifying sustained timbres, have never read it myself though. Speech recognition is also interesting, right now it's done by brute force, but a usable parameterization of transients would also be great. So that would be signal processing. Don't forget the old instruments like the piano and the violin, which till this day are unsurpassed technologies, so study some mechanics for man-machine interface. I think the timbre of the electric guitar is the only new sound which has gained widespread use. Have you played with csound?
  4. Feb 2, 2009 #3

    Chi Meson

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    Electrical engineering is a good start. Remember that you will probably to go on to grad school, and that is where your specialization will really kick in.

    While you are pursuing your EE, take music classes as well, and of course be on the lookout for any available course in acoustics (if not in the engineering school, then find it in the Physics dept).

    There are other places in colleges where your interest can be applied; for example, you could gain practical experience in acoustics on stage assisting the sound engineers at plays and concerts. Even if it not directly what you are aiming at, the practical experience makes you more valuable to the graduate school admission folks, and to your first employer.

    Good luck and welcome to PF. I have to say how I envy your situation: looking forward to at least 8 more years of college. sigh. I miss those days.
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