#1
Im not sure if this would be the right page to put it on (can move if its not) but i am in high school and am looking at going to school for electrical engineering. The main reason for this would be for the music. I would love to work at mesa or peavey or seymour duncan etc making guitar pedals, amps, guitars, pickups those sort of things. It would be a dream come true and i would be able to do that until the day i die as music is my passion.

What im trying to ask is would electrical engineering be the thing to do to achieve this goal? What classes would i take and would i be able to get a job doing this? Thanks! i know this isn't the conventional thread but i wasn't sure where else to go with the questions besides email some companies (which ill be doing)
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Last edited by TYSHADOWS at Apr 29, 2014,
#2
IIRC the Blackstar founders met while EE students at Stanford. Obviously everybody who makes modeling gear and complex amps employs electrical engineers—those PCBs didn’t appear spontaneously. And the nice thing about an EE diploma is that even if you don’t end up working in the music industry you’ll still have no trouble landing a job.
#3
An EE degree will pay the bills while you try and figure out how to make money making pedals and amps.
#4
Sure, it can be done. Don't rule out working in the recording industry, either

An electrical engineering degree is a great one to have if your passion is music - it allows you to still be involved in the industry, while still having a broad enough knowledge to be able to also work outside of it, and for good money. Just know, electrical engineering is not for the faint of heart - if you're not good at calculus, be prepared to retake multiple classes and scrape by with C's. The curve is your friend in engineering
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#5
Quote by MatrixClaw
Sure, it can be done. Don't rule out working in the recording industry, either

An electrical engineering degree is a great one to have if your passion is music - it allows you to still be involved in the industry, while still having a broad enough knowledge to be able to also work outside of it, and for good money. Just know, electrical engineering is not for the faint of heart - if you're not good at calculus, be prepared to retake multiple classes and scrape by with C's. The curve is your friend in engineering

How does calc factor into EE? In my research I've seen it mentioned a lot but never explained how/why. I've used and am familiar with breadboards, pcbs, transformers, capacitors and the like (built and modded pedals). I assumed most of the work was based around that? Or is that only digital electronics?
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Last edited by TYSHADOWS at Apr 29, 2014,
#6
Quote by TYSHADOWS
How does calc factor into EE? In my research I've seen it mentioned a lot but never explained how/why. I've used and am familiar with breadboards, pcbs, transformers, capacitors and the like (built and modded pedals). I assumed most of the work was based around that? Or is that only digital electronics?


Calculus is the maths of change whether rates of change or predicting values or times or whatever.

Sound is changes within audio waveforms. Modelling an output transformer and speaker combination is all about changes and feedback, so you will probably end up with a raft of differential equations to solve. Loverly!!!

There is also a significant amount of complex number work in EE, as you can simplify a lot of capacitance and inductance equations to give solutions when modelling those types of components.

You could be the man who takes modelling amps to the "next level" and finally gets rid of those antique valves!
#7
You need a lot of differential equations to do circuit analysis, and differential equations are an extension of calculus. They come in because of the relations between current and inductance, and capacitance I think.

Also, if you want to be an EE you should start learning C+ and/or a functional language like Matlab. Getting a head start on programming will give you a pretty big advantage.
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#8
Quote by TYSHADOWS
How does calc factor into EE? In my research I've seen it mentioned a lot but never explained how/why. I've used and am familiar with breadboards, pcbs, transformers, capacitors and the like (built and modded pedals). I assumed most of the work was based around that? Or is that only digital electronics?

That kind of experience, by itself, is more akin to what an technician would need to know (though, you WILL need to know it for electrical engineering, don't get me wrong). All engineering degrees are highly based in mathematics, electrical more so than most of the others, though.

My experience in engineering is more on the mechanical side, so I'll defer to one of our electrical engineers/undergrads to answer the specifics for you
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#9
I'm actually a sophomore studying Electronics Engineering Technology for the same reason.
To answer your question, yes. Electrical Engineering or Electronics Engineering is a good route to get a career in this field. Physics would also be acceptable in some instances.
Make sure you make the distinction between Electrical Engineeering and Electronics Engineering, however. Look into this difference online. The two go hand in hand, but electronics engineers tend to do the more hands on work, where as electrical engineers do more of the theoretical work. (That's why I'm doing electronics). And if you do electronics, make sure you choose a program that will give you a BS instead of an associates.
PM if you have any questions.
But if this is the path you want to go down, I'll warn you right now. It's not easy. It's a hard major that you have to put a lot of time into. Also, be ready to go to school and get pounded with math and physics.
Sorry for any grammatical or spelling errors, I didn't have time to proofread.
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#10
As some who's at uni for and Engineering degree, and takes most of the classes that EEs take. Learn C++ now, and matlab. It definitely helps. Calculus is so big in any Engineering. tbh, most of these peoples I see don't pay attention to their maths and well get ****ed so hard in the math classes. Pay attention in pre-calc then calc because after that if you don't know what you're doing you're ****ed because all your classes are math based. Differential equations are fun though, but that's me
#11
Quote by TYSHADOWS
How does calc factor into EE?


i am no EE by any means, my background is CS. but when i started messing with pedals as a hobby i picked up a couple of my friends EE books to get a more formal take on analog circuits (we only did digital logic circuits).

almost everything in those books is a differential equation and/or partial derivative. if you didn't know calculus you'd be totally lost. i am horrible at calculus but at least i knew what they were talking about.

i'd agree with the programming as well, learning to do some basic programming can help immensely in almost any physics, math or engineering program.

also, if you do well with digital concepts you may want to learn some DSP programming as well, that is another angle to getting into the field.
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#12
Quote by TYSHADOWS
How does calc factor into EE? In my research I've seen it mentioned a lot but never explained how/why. I've used and am familiar with breadboards, pcbs, transformers, capacitors and the like (built and modded pedals). I assumed most of the work was based around that? Or is that only digital electronics?


Calculus, differential equations and linear algebra are everything. Calculus based statistics to a lesser degree, but more so if you're involved with complex control systems. If you can't handle any of those, EE is not for you. You don't need any formal EE degree to work on musical equipment. That stuff is child's play. Analog synth stuff and digital gets complex, but TBH, you don't learn a whole lot of DSP stuff, at least at my school. You learn fundamentals of signal processing, but actually implementing it is kind of up to you.

For guitar pedals and amps, you almost never deal with anything but simple gain stages, mixers, first order filters and simple oscillators. The math for those is trivial. Circuit board design is a piece of cake to learn in an afternoon, and there aren't any classes dealing specifically with it at my school.

EDIT: EEs are only required to take two classes based on computer science at my school as well, though several are tangentially related. VLSI stuff, assembly programming, etc. is covered, but it's fairly easy, and not as in depth as typical CS courses.
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Last edited by mmolteratx at Apr 29, 2014,
#13
Alternating Current would be damn near impossible to learn from a theory/design perspective without Calculus, so I would say Calc/Diff EQ is definitely required for an EE degree. I'm going to school for Mechanical Engineering and have very limited experience with the EE side of things, however almost all of the engineering classes I've taken are heavily based in Calc/Diff.

Calculus really isn't that bad, the Geometry and Physics classes you've taken in High School are deeply rooted in Calculus but you won't realize it until you hit college. All of those formulas you use to find the surface area and volume of various shapes are the direct result of Calculus, for instance.
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#14
When you guys say programming what exactly do you mean? Because i have taken numerous computer programming classes so i am familiar with the programming languages (although not specifically c+/matlab).

Quote by fagelamusgtr

Make sure you make the distinction between Electrical Engineeering and Electronics Engineering, however. Look into this difference online. The two go hand in hand, but electronics engineers tend to do the more hands on work, where as electrical engineers do more of the theoretical work. (That's why I'm doing electronics). And if you do electronics, make sure you choose a program that will give you a BS instead of an associates.
.

I looked up electronics quickly and that seems very much like what i would like to be doing, hands on testing, designing, creating, that sort of stuff. I feel that would have the self satisfaction of building something that works and being able to use it etc, some sites i read though said that electronics is just a concentration of electrical and not a separate study?
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#15
Quote by Flux'D
Alternating Current would be damn near impossible to learn from a theory/design perspective without Calculus, so I would say Calc/Diff EQ is definitely required for an EE degree. I'm going to school for Mechanical Engineering and have very limited experience with the EE side of things, however almost all of the engineering classes I've taken are heavily based in Calc/Diff.

Calculus really isn't that bad, the Geometry and Physics classes you've taken in High School are deeply rooted in Calculus but you won't realize it until you hit college. All of those formulas you use to find the surface area and volume of various shapes are the direct result of Calculus, for instance.


It would just be damn near impossible. A formal study of electricity would be 100% impossible without calculus. Sure, there are analysis techniques that don't require the direct use of calculus (ie, phasors), but their functionality is rooted in calculus; they just kind of hide the fun part. Though TBH, the engineering math classes really aren't horrible. The calculus courses are basically what math majors take, so the math is a bit more rigorous, but after that, the paths should diverge somewhat. My diff eq, linear algebra, stats and advanced calc courses were all geared towards engineers/physicists, so there were no proofs, and the way we treated certain things (like the Dirac delta function) was different, and definitely less mathematically rigorous. They're geared towards a practical application of the math rather than the math itself, which makes it considerably easier.

Quote by TYSHADOWS
When you guys say programming what exactly do you mean? Because i have taken numerous computer programming classes so i am familiar with the programming languages (although not specifically c+/matlab).


I looked up electronics quickly and that seems very much like what i would like to be doing, hands on testing, designing, creating, that sort of stuff. I feel that would have the self satisfaction of building something that works and being able to use it etc, some sites i read though said that electronics is just a concentration of electrical and not a separate study?


I dunno about other schools, but we never got terribly in to programming in my degree. Just two freshman level courses that we could exempt out of with AP exam scores. The first was basically an intro to programming from the ground up, while the second introduced you to basic algorithms. In other classes (intro to digital) we learned assembly and implementing algorithms in it, and in others (advanced digital, VLSI design) we learned how to program FPGAs in Verilog (basically the bastard child of C and Pascal with the worst elements of both).

And there are numerous substudies/specialties in electrical engineering. Power, microelectronics, telecom, etc. Most schools offer a general program, where you can pick and choose from those that you want. And those tasks you mentioned are usually broken up and spread among a bunch of people. You get one part of one task usually.
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#16
Ok, thanks everyone! You've given me a lot to take in, ill bump this thread or PM (if thats alright) if i have anymore questions. Thanks!
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#17
Yea, feel free to PM me. Or post in the WTLT thread, as there are a few EE students (BS and one PhD) who post regularly there. And I reread my posts, and it kinda seems like I'm trying to steer you away from engineering. Don't take it that way, I'm just being a bit realistic. Over half the kids I started engineering school with either switched majors or dropped out completely after realizing they liked the idea of being an engineer better than actually being one, and wasted a ton of money in the process, and the rate of people who leave the program increases pretty much every year. It's a ton of work, and it's almost never 'easy'.

The job prospects are good (unless you want to work in a specific area, then it's kind of a crap shoot), but if that's the only reason you want to do it, it's not the path for you. Especially if all you really want to get out of it is a job in the MI industry, where practically no one has an engineering degree unless they're one of the handful working for a large company (Boss/Roland, Korg, Fender, Peavey, Line 6, etc.). And even those large companies don't employ as many as you'd think. I've done some freelance work for small pedal and amp builders designing circuits and PCBs, and it's fun, but most can't pay too terribly much.
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#18
Quote by mmolteratx
Yea, feel free to PM me. Or post in the WTLT thread, as there are a few EE students (BS and one PhD) who post regularly there. And I reread my posts, and it kinda seems like I'm trying to steer you away from engineering. Don't take it that way, I'm just being a bit realistic. Over half the kids I started engineering school with either switched majors or dropped out completely after realizing they liked the idea of being an engineer better than actually being one, and wasted a ton of money in the process, and the rate of people who leave the program increases pretty much every year. It's a ton of work, and it's almost never 'easy'.

The job prospects are good (unless you want to work in a specific area, then it's kind of a crap shoot), but if that's the only reason you want to do it, it's not the path for you. Especially if all you really want to get out of it is a job in the MI industry, where practically no one has an engineering degree unless they're one of the handful working for a large company (Boss/Roland, Korg, Fender, Peavey, Line 6, etc.). And even those large companies don't employ as many as you'd think. I've done some freelance work for small pedal and amp builders designing circuits and PCBs, and it's fun, but most can't pay too terribly much.

Yea i hear ya, and that is a large reason, i love building things with my hands (the satisfaction when its done is unmatched) so maybe mechanical is more my style with a minor in electrical/electronics or maybe even audio. Or both if you can have 3 (wow this tuition bill is climbing rapidly). I'm only a sophmore so I've got time to think it out. Just exploring my options in places that are close to my interests so i end up doing something i enjoy!
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