ONLINE ACADEMY FOR AUDIO ENGINEERING & MUSIC PRODUCTION

The HOFA-College Story

If you’re interested in finding out how we came to develop distance learning audio engineering courses at HOFA College, I’d like to share the story with you here. As one of the two founders, I was there from the beginning, so I know quite a bit about it.

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1988: Founding of HOFA-Studios

The first control room A, our first studio, Frank & I

In 1988, a friend from school (Frank Simml) and I founded the HOFA-Studios. They were called something else back then and underwent several name changes until we finally arrived at HOFA in 2006. Right before HOFA we called ourselves “House of Audio” for a few years and before that “House”. We decided to part with the name “House” when the music genre of the same name disputed the term. I then finally combined the subsequent name “House of Audio” into a compact HOFA and that’s where it stayed.

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The first 15 years: many studio jobs and more recording studios

The first employees Jochen Groer and Jochen Weyer joined the company in 1993 and are still working at HOFA today.
The first 15 years of our studio history were characterized by studio jobs. One recording studio became two, then three. We provided sound for many live concerts and finally we added a mastering room. Countless bands and projects, many stars and starlets, always new and wonderful equipment – my colleagues and I had the privilege to record, mix or master every day for many years. Since we had many interesting jobs, clients and excellent technology, we were able to attract the best audio engineers. The number of employees increased by an average of two to three per year.

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The noughties: new digital technology in the HOFA studios

Studio B 1999 with Timmi, the (studio) dog
Around the noughties, it became affordable for everyone to produce music professionally at home. The foundation for this was inexpensive, but high-quality digital technology in conjunction with rapidly improving PCs. I too was excited by the incredible possibilities of plugins and DAWs like Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools. I can well remember my goosebumps and lack of sleep when I first got to work with four cascaded UAD cards, the Creamware DSP platform Scope, the first Waves plugins and IR reverbs.

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The inspiration for HOFA-College came from practical studio experience

HOFA Studios, large recording room and studio C
At that time, the HOFA studios were increasingly booked for rather elaborate, complex production steps that required expert know-how and experience. Two things became clear to me at that time: on the one hand, that all the new audio engineering possibilities would be of little use without the associated know-how, and on the other hand, that our highly trained and experienced audio engineers could help me to gather the necessary knowledge and structure it didactically for an audio engineering distance learning course. The fact that I had also studied educational science in Karlsruhe for a few years came in handy for this project.

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Our philosophy: practical and always up-to-date learning units

Learn audio engineering at home with online campus, learning units and lots of practice
Our basic idea was to develop a distance learning course that is as hands-on as possible and corresponds to the intensive training of audio engineering assistants in our studios. This means: many tasks from everyday studio life and a wide variety of mixes & masterings to prepare our students for the job in (their own) recording studio. We also focused on the latest production techniques used in professional home recording and producing. So it was clear to us right from the start that we would have to constantly supplement and revise the courses to make sure that relevant innovations and trends were included.

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2005: Founding of HOFA-College and first audio engineering distance learning course

Distance learning course for homerecording (2006) and workshop with the first students

2005 was the birth of our first homerecording course and the HOFA-College. When the first learning units were sent out to the participants, the many audio engineers, musicians, and graphic designers who were involved in the development were highly excited to see how our courses that were based on practical studio experience would be received by people interested in audio engineering.

A year later, when we welcomed the 100th student, we had a small celebration, because we could assume from the many positive feedbacks that we were on the right track.

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2009 to 2018: HOFA BASIC, Short Courses and HOFA COMPLETE

The HOFA audio engineering distance learning courses until 2022
Next, we set out to develop the beginner and introductory course “Basix”, which was published in 2009, and then started developing courses for expert knowledge to cover further topics:
  • Mastering (2010)
  • Vocals (2011)
  • Drum Programming (2011)
  • Audio Engineering for Film (2012)
Another milestone is the online campus, which was added in 2013. Initially, it was used exclusively for the streaming of tutorials and videos. In the meantime, it has developed into the central, interactive and multimedia learning platform. Then we completely revised and updated our courses BASIC and PRO. In 2016, we launched the new HOFA-College V2 and have opened up additional topics in the following years:
  • Harmony & Music Theory (2016)
  • Vintage (2016)
  • Electronic Music Production (2017)
  • Live Sound Engineering (2018)

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2018: DIPLOMA and Bachelor Programme

In 2018, we released the DIPLOMA online course to offer our participants a university bachelor’s degree in audio engineering and music production. With this, we also added courses in academic work, music business and sound design.

For the Bachelor’s programme, we conducted an extensive revision and matching of content with the cooperating university. Therefore, it is now possible to complete a Bachelor of Science and then even a Master’s degree after our DIPLOMA with only one year of study.

The HOFA-College Team 2021
Many years, numerous awards and thousands of successful graduates later, some of our “ex-students” work as indispensable colleagues at HOFA and help every day with the further development of our online learning program. The fact that we obviously succeed in sparking people’s enthusiasm for audio engineering and preparing them for a job with us and anywhere in the world makes me and everyone working on our online courses a bit proud and motivates us to get better and better for our students.

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2022 to date: HOFA-College V3

The new course programme

In order to bring the consistently growing content and many new ideas into a coherent, modular course concept, we have decided to start working on version 3 in 2019. We spent more than two years writing new content, revising existing material, shooting lots of videos, completing productions and developing a new online campus. Other new features in V3 are …

  • … an innovative ear training tool and mix training.
  • … lots of new content, eg. game and 3D audio, songwriting, music video production.
  •  … much more content on music production in a wide variety of genres.
  • … lots of new videos and multimedia content.

Since 2023, my son Jan has also been part of the HOFA management – he has been with the company since 2012. The course has thus been set for the future of HOFA.

Jochen Sachse and Jan Bönisch in the control room C
To be continued! 🙂

Author

Jochen Sachse
Jochen Sachse
Jochen Sachse can look back on over 30 years of experience as a professional audio engineer. He is the CEO of the HOFA GmbH. His work with national and international artists makes him and his studios one of the first addresses in Germany when it comes to professional recording, mixing or mastering. He has been teaching audio engineering at the HOFA-College since 2005.

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