Disclosure: Just a heads-up, I get commissions for purchases made through some links in this post. These commissions help me spend more time writing audio course reviews! 🙂
When it comes to music production courses, Ask.Audio has been one of the top resources for many years. I know many producers who have credited Ask.Audio with giving them the knowledge to kickstart their careers. But with so many new music production courses being created, is an Ask.Audio library subscription still a good choice? In this article I will talk about my experience with Ask.Audio.
Ask.Audio vs. Ask.Video vs. MacProVideo
Before diving into the article, I want to clear up the confusion for once and for all: What’s the difference between Ask.Audio, Ask.Video and MacProVideo? I got in touch with the Ask.Audio team, and this what they wrote:
“When we started to create video tutorials in 2005, our focus was Pro Mac software (Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, DVD Studio Pro, etc.). As our tutorial library kept growing, we started to produce tutorials that were not specific to Mac users (Cubase, Reason, Photoshop, etc.). To make our site more “Windows” friendly, we decided to also use the “AskVideo” branding. So Ask.Video and macProVideo.com are the full deal. They offer exactly the same audio, video, graphics, and productivity tutorials. If you subscribe to macProVideo.com, you can log in at Ask.Video, and vice versa. Our library offers 1372 courses with more than 41480 tutorials. Our sister website Ask.Audio was created to give our customers an “audio-only” alternative. It offers the same audio courses as macProVideo and Ask.Video, but it doesn’t include tutorials in other categories (e.g., video, graphics, productivity, web, etc.).”
Since this site is called Happy Composer, I’m going to stay focused on Ask.Audio for this review.
Now, that we’ve got that out of the way…
Ask.Audio – What is it? How does it work?
Ask.Audio is a video learning platform with 1000+ courses about different audio topics.
Most Ask.Audio courses are between one and three hours in length. However, I’ve also seen some shorter courses, and some that go beyond four hours.
The course topics on Ask.Audio are broad and include things like
- audio concepts
- ear training
- guitar production
- music business
- music theory
Many of these general topics have multiple courses available by multiple teachers. For example, under “Mixing” you’ll find courses like “Mixing Dance Music Essentials” by Daniel Wyatt, “Sonic Dimensions in Mixing” by Greg Townley, “Mixing and Mastering” by Joe Albano and many DAW and software-specific courses.
One of my favorite parts of the library are the in-depth course series that cover a specific topic over a number of courses. An example of this is the “Dance Music Sound Design” series by Adam Pollard, also known as Multiplier. This series contains 12 courses, each about one and a half hours long, that teach beginner and advanced sound design tips for leads, pads, SFX, drums, bass and vocal effects.
Another cool series is “Audio Mistakes” by Joe Albano. The 10-part series talks about common mistakes that happen while recording, mixing or when designing your signal flow. These courses are great when you already have some experience under your belt and you’re looking for ways to improve your production process.
However, the main focus of AskAudio is what I would call video manuals. When I’m trying to learn more about my DAWs or have bought a new complicated software synth, instead of going through dozens of YouTube tutorials, I’ll just open AskAudio and see if they happen to have a course on it. In many cases, my AskAudio search has been successful. What’s nice is that a lot of software-specific content gets updated when the software gets updated. This means that if I want to deep dive into Cubase, I don’t need to watch a course from four years ago.
Here is a short selection of the software and hardware that’s covered:
- Ableton Live
- Arturia Pigments
- Arturia V
- Bitwig Studio
- FL Studio
- Guitar Rig
- Logic Pro
- Moog Grandmother
- Moog Matriarch
- Novation Peak
- Presonus Studio One
- Pro Tools
- Prophet 6
- Superior Drummer
- U-he Zebra
New courses are uploaded almost weekly. Many of the more recent courses are software-specific, but once in a while you’ll find something more general.
I have taken quite a few courses on Ask.Audio at this point (more than a dozen completed and several dozen partially completed). Like I mentioned already, Ask.Audio is my go-to platform for video manuals and diving deeper into the software and hardware I own. But I’ve also used it to learn about sound design, mixing and orchestration. So I feel like I have a good grasp on what the courses have to offer.
In my experience, the quality of the courses was always high (if not very high). In general, the material is very well produced, the editing is on point, the structure is logical and the teachers are knowledgeable. I found that there was rarely any fluff. If a course is two hours long, then that’s two hours of dense, step-by-step, structured content (so dense that I often would have to take breaks). In the three years of being a subscriber I’ve only come across very few courses that didn’t meet my expectations (in those cases, the courses were well-produced but too shallow for me).
As one of the older music production course platforms, Ask.Audio may not offer the most groundbreaking features, but that’s not necessarily what I’m looking for in a course platform. When you log in, the Ask.Audio dashboard greets you with the “newest releases” and “featured courses”. You can also find video playlists, achievements and profile statistics here. Go to the “Courses” tab to find the list of available courses. You can sort and filter them by release date, category and how far you are in the course.
There’s also a search function in the corner, but unfortunately, it’s not great. What I search for rarely will give me good course matches. For example, this is what comes up when I search for “reverb”:
I needed to scroll down 18 courses to actually find a course that has the word “reverb” in the title.
Instead of using the search function, I’d recommend using the category system in the course tab. Another option if you’re new to Ask.Audio is to go to the “Curriculums” tab, where courses are bundled by topic.
Once you click on a course, you land on an info page where you learn more about the course: the length, number of videos, price (if you want to own it), a description and even some reviews. I think it’s great that Ask.Audio lets people review their courses. That way I can get a better idea of what to expect.
Once you’ve started a course, the platform tracks your progress so you can get back to where you left off anytime:
Watching the videos is usually a smooth experience, although I wish closed captions were available. You’re able to rewind and forward to the next or previous video or skip 10 seconds within the video. There’s an option to favorite single videos and even to take notes on specific videos or the entire course – very cool!
One small annoyance that has happened to me a lot when I’m watching fullscreen but don’t have autoplay (“continuous play”) activated is that there’s no way to start the next video without leaving fullscreen mode. So I’ll have to leave fullscreen, click on the next video and go back to fullscreen. Overall, a small inconvenience.
Each course comes with a multiple choice quiz. To pass it, you’ll need to answer 80% of the questions correctly. While the quizzes are short, they can give you a good idea where in the course you might have failed to pay attention and which topics you might want to revisit.
Ask.Audio also has a collection of “lectures” and “classrooms” where you can find live recorded classes. However, at the time of writing this, it seems like both places aren’t very active – although you have access to many recorded videos.
Ask.Audio vs Ask.Video
I was aware of Ask.Video before I became a member of Ask.Audio and therefore, I’ve been a paid subscriber of Ask.Video for a few years (instead of Ask.Audio). Considering that Ask.Video has considerably more courses on audio than about any other thing, I would subscribe directly to Ask.Audio if I was new to the platforms. Although you have access to the same audio courses on Ask.Audio and Ask.Video, an Ask.Audio subscription is cheaper and overall a better deal – at least on a monthly basis.
Ask.Audio Subscription vs. Buying Courses Individually
You can gain access to the courses on Ask.Audio in three ways: you can get a monthly subscription, a yearly subscription or you can buy courses individually. The regular price for the monthly subscription is $15, when you choose yearly billing, you’re paying $120 for the whole year (so $10/month). However, sometimes Ask.Audio has big sales where you can get access to the site for as low as $9/month and sometimes around $70/year. The price for individual courses is usually around $30. As a subscriber you’re also able to buy individual courses for lifetime access at 50% off. This is great when you want to end your subscription but want to keep a few courses.
Personally, I’m a yearly subscriber because it’s the best value for money. I’ve taken courses often enough that the yearly expense is more than worth it. What I like most about being a subscriber is my ability to just start a random new course anytime. If I’m suddenly interested in a new topic, I don’t have to ask myself if I want to spend money on another course – I can simply start watching it. I love that because it often makes me check out courses I probably wouldn’t have watched otherwise.
Over the years, I’ve found Ask.Audio to be a really helpful resource for advancing my music skills. Whether it’s sound design, mixing techniques or understanding my DAWs better, Ask.Audio has made me a better music producer and has saved me countless hours of searching YouTube. So if the topics on Ask.Audio look interesting to you, I’d say it’s a safe bet that you’ll enjoy the courses.
- 1000+ audio courses
- in-depth software manuals
- excellent teachers
- great production quality
- great overall value
- finding courses is difficult
- navigation could be better
Quality of Teaching: 9/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
Value for money (at $15/month): 7/10
Value for money (at $120/year): 9/10