PROFESSI ONAL AUDI O AND MUSI C PRODUCTI ON

®
WWW. MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010
‘Lost’ Audio
I
Massy Meets Prince
I
Classic Pretenders
RAPHAEL
iPhone Apps
For Engineers
LIVE
RECORDING
Celemony
MELODYNE EDITOR
Steinberg
CUBASE 5
Sonnox
RESTORE SUITE
REVIEWS
REMOTE
Highs and Lows
Of a Changing Market
A PENTON MEDIA PUBLICATION
Music Mix Mobile, LLC
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Yanaha Conneroial Audio Systens. lno. P. O. Box GGOO. Buena Park. CA SOGPO·GGOO ©PO"O Yanaha Conneroial Audio Systens. lno.
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4 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
22 Shifting Gears
Top remote recording engineers reveal the ways they’re
staying on the road, despite shrinking budgets and
changing demands. For most, it’s good-bye CDs, hello
broadcast.
28 iPhone Apps for Pros
Call it the “new assistant engineer.” iPhone
app technology now includes numerous
gizmos to help studio and touring engi-
neers tune rooms and instruments, and
record on-the-fly. We’ve got the details on
these affordable add-ons to pro audio’s
technology toolkit.
::
tech tech
::
features
ll
43 Raphael Saadiq BY GABY ALTER
46 Soundcheck: Train Tours
With LMG, Duncan Sheik
Engineer Adam Robinson,
Road-Worthy Gear and More
48 All Access: Wolfmother
BY STEVE JENNINGS
56 New Products
58 Review: Celemony Melodyne Editor
62 Review: Steinberg Cubase 5
64 Review: Sonnox
Oxford Restore
Suite
68 Tech’s Files:
Troubleshooting
Live BY EDDIE CILETTI
(Volume 34, Number 2) is ©2010 by Penton Media Inc., 9800
Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66212. Mix (ISSN 0164-9957)
is published monthly. One-year (12 issues) subscription is $35.
Canada is $40. All other international is $50. POSTMASTER:
Send address changes to Mix, PO Box 15605, North Hollywood,
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Mail agreement No. 40612608. Canada return address: BleuChip
International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2.
::::
departments
6 from the editor
8 current
10 sessions
72 marketplace
76 classifieds
80 Q&A: Guy Charbonneau
::::
on the cover
On the Cover: Music
Mix Mobile is one of
the most in-demand
remote facilities in
the U.S., and its West WW
Coast studio will be at CC
this year’s Grammys.
Photo: Scott Wynn. WW
Inset: Paule Saviano.
CONTENTS
::
live
::
sfp f s p sfp
::
music us c
33 Bill Frisell
BY BLAIR JACKSON
36 Charlie Hunter
BY BLAIR JACKSON
38 Classic Tracks: The Pretend-
ers’ “Don’t Get Me Wrong”
BY GABY ALTER
¡¡
¡!
51 ‘Lost’—The Final Chapter
BY MEL LAMBERT
18 Gear Stories With Sylvia Massy
Each month, Massy brings us her stories about the creative applica-
tion of a single piece of technology on a single project. This month:
Prince needs a comfy chair and makes magic at Larrabee with
Massy’s cheapest guitar. It’s like “Classic Tracks With Gear.” Enjoy.
N
E
W

C
O
L
U
M
N
!
MIX FEBRUARY 2010, VOLUME 34, NUMBER 2
îl
6 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
In With the Old, In With the New
e fully expect to receive some letters here at the Mix offices regarding this x
month’s technology feature on pro iPhone/iPod touch apps. It happens
each and every time we write about a shift toward more “down-market”
applications and away from the more traditional “high-end” recording techniques or
technologies.
Home studios emerged in a big way in the late ’80s and we were taken to task
for covering these upstart “project studios.” When ADATs and D AA A-88s debuted and
George Petersen trumpeted their game-changing approach to digital recording, we re-
ceived letters stating consumer videotape-based media were not worthy of a real com-
mercial studio. Then came emulation plug-ins, which—horror of horrors—couldn’t
compete with the real thing. And in the early days, the critics were probably right. Then
came freeware, shareware, GarageBand. The list goes on. Now we have the iPhone,
and no doubt plenty more Droid apps to come.
Are we advocating that professional recording engineers start tracking, editing or
mixing full projects on their smartphones? Not at all. But we do have a responsibility
here at Mix to stay on top of what’s happening, and we would be remiss to categorize x
any breaking technology as worthy or unworthy of a recording professional. Our mis-
sion, from the first issue in 1977, has been to report on the tools and techniques that
are used to create audio, no matter their price point or their point of origin. That in-
cludes high-end analog consoles from the likes of API and SSL, right down to sketch-
pads for artists in rehearsal halls or on the road as they work out new tracks. If the
tool helps an engineer, whether it’s in signal processing or in room design, whether it
costs $50k or $0.99, we will report on it.
In a sense, we’re privileged here in the audio industry. We have a user community WW
that embraces tube technology and boutique manufacturers. We have a knowledge WW
base that promotes tried-and-true miking techniques while encouraging radical ex-
perimentation with found sounds. We love our dials and knobs, and we support cloud WW
computing and remote collaboration. Most every engineer I’ve met echoes the senti-
ment: Whatever serves the music; whatever gets the job done.
So if you find yourself in need of checking phase, there’s an app for that. If you
are out on the town and need to grab a down-and-dirty 2-channel recording because
you’ve never heard a train pass-by quite like that, there’s an app for that. And, of
course, if you need to get in a few games of Tetris or Solitaire while waiting for the
guitar player to show up, there’s an app for that.
Make no mistake: The paradigm is shifting and mobile apps will be a part of the
future. When those much-hyped tablets start popping up this year, don’t be at all
surprised if you see one right there beside the API console and the rack full of Pultecs,
Fairchilds and UA 1176s. They are all tools.
Tom Kenny
Editor
W
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Tom Kenny tkenny@mixonline.com
EXECUTIVE EDITOR George Petersen gpetersen@mixonline.com TT
SENIOR EDITOR Blair Jackson blair@blairjackson.com
TECHNICAL EDITOR Kevin Becka kbecka@earthlink.net
MANAGING EDITOR Sarah Benzuly sbenzuly@mixonline.com
COPY CHIEF Barbara Schultz bschultz@mixonline.com
ASSISTANT EDITOR Matt Gallagher mgallagher@mixonline.com
LOS ANGELES EDITOR Bud Scoppa bs7777@aol.com
NEW YORK EDITOR David Weiss david@dwords.com
NASHVILLE EDITOR Peter Cooper peter@petercoopermusic.com R
FILM SOUND EDITOR Larry Blake swelltone@aol.com
SOUND REINFORCEMENT EDITOR Steve La Cerra
CONSULTING EDITOR Paul D. Lehrman lehrman@pan.com
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Michael Cooper Heather Johnson
Eddie Ciletti Gary Eskow Barry Rudolph Bob Hodas
SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Dmitry Panich dmitry.panich@penton.com
PHOTOGRAPHY Steve Jennings
INFORMATIONAL GRAPHICS Chuck Dahmer L
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FROM THE EDITOR
COPYRIGHT 2010, Penton Media Inc.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
FOUNDED IN 1977
BY DAVID SCHWARTZ, PENNY RIKER AND BILL LASKI
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CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER/EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Jean Clifton
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THE SOUL OF AN ARTIST.
THE BODY OF A LEGEND.
Featuring a tailored frequency response and supercardioid pattern for
improved gain-before-feedback, the Super 55 offers a contemporary
sound for stage, studio, and podcasting applications.
THE NEW SUPER 55 VOCAL MICROPHONE
www.shure.com
© 2010 Shure Incorporated
8 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
compiled by Sarah Benzuly
Studio owner, engineer, producer and
industry figure Fred Jones passed away
on December 9, 2009, after suffering
a stroke. Longtime husband to Laurel
Cash-Jones (audio author, former AES
Regional/International VP and con-
vention chair), Jones began his career
in broadcasting and recording in 1971
as an on-air radio personality and pro-
gram director, and started working as a
recording engineer in 1974.
As a staff recording engineer, Jones
worked at various studios in L.A., in-
cluding Sound Services Inc. and Wally
Heider Recording (among others), be-
fore building his own studio. Fred Jones
Recording Services opened as a one-
room, 800-square-foot studio in 1981,
and grew to become a 6,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art, multiroom facility with services as
diverse as 24-track audio for video post-production studios and rooms specially designed for
radio commercial production. The facility was among the first to offer such services as phone
patch recording, satellite recording and 2-track digital recording on Sony DAT machines.
Jones sold the business in 1990, and he and Cash-Jones founded CJ Technology, a rep firm
that promoted DIC Digital, a line of pro DAT tapes, CD-Rs and data products for the audio and
computer industries. During the NAB show in 1991, attendees were shocked to see local TV
news coverage reporting that the two were victims of a violent home invasion crime. Both were
shot multiple times, requiring years of painful therapy and reconstructive surgeries.
After several years of consulting to audio companies during the recuperative phase, Jones
returned full time to pro audio as product marketing manager for Panasonic’s Pro Audio divi-
sion. Jones later returned to his engineering/production roots, taking the responsibility as the
chief audio engineer for leading game developer Electronic Arts from 2003 through 2006. The
couple then semi-retired to Las Vegas, where Jones continued his audio consultancy practice.
—George Petersen
CURRENT
tttª K |tã(1
Fred Jones (far-right) in the studio working with Firesign
Theatre, a band he produced and engineered
P
H
O
T
O
:

D
A
V
I
D

G
O
G
G
I
N
IN MEMORY: FRED JONES
—recording engineer/mixer
Peter Moshay, owner of
A-Pawling Studio, on record-
ing (to a newly installed SSL
AWS 900+ SE console) Daryl
Hall’s “Live From Daryl’s
House” monthly Internet
program, which features Hall
and guest performers.
“The relaxed
atmosphere of the
production is
completely capturing
a new audience on
the Web.”
Thunder Audio Expands
On December 10, Thunder Audio
(celebrating 30 years in the busi-
ness) hosted an open house of its
new facility (Livonia, Mich.) and a
new demo room, where Meyer Sound
showcased its new JM-1P arrayable
loudspeakers. Other gear in the room
included Midas and Yamaha digital
boards, and systems from Nexo, Av-
iom and LightViper. In addition, Greg
Snyder (formerly of Onstage Audio,
Michigan, and Creative Audio) joins
the company as business develop-
ment manager.
'New' Bad Animals
Celebrates 10 Years
the project is the most important
thing in the world—is why we’ve been
around for so long and why we will
continue to be here.”
Above: The new demo room. Below: President
Tony Villarreal flanked by Greg Snyder (left)
and VP Paul Owen.
—film/TV/videogame/corporate video company co-
founder Charlie Nordstrom, pictured second from
right with (from left) partners Dave Howe, Mike
McAulifffe and Tom McGurk
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 9
Craig Paller,
Harman Music
Group VP, world-
wide sales
Main Responsibilies:
manage all facets of
global sales.
Previous Lives:
· soor-soo¤, BSS
Audio and dbx Pro VP worldwide sales
· soo1-soor, Shure d¡rector U.S. sales
· 1¤¤r-sooo, Shure sales pos¡t¡ons
· 1¤¤¤-1¤¤r, C-V market development
manager
The one item in my office most like my
personality is…mg u¡ndou (and v¡eu)
oI the 0astach Front and Lone Peak at
11,ooo Ieet. I'm verg act¡ve, sk¡¡ng ro-plus
dags per gear.
Currently in my iPod…Stgx, Buckcherrg,
Foo F¡ghters and angth¡ng u¡th Hugh Mc-
Donald (Bon Jov¡) on bass.
When I'm not in the office, you can find
me…u¡th mg Iam¡lg, ¡n a pool, alp¡ne sk¡-
¡ng, h¡k¡ng/cl¡mb¡ng.
:ª||tm:rt
Studio Unknown
If you take a look at a recording studio's book-
ing calendar, you may be surprised to find at
least one live sound gig. Engineers and studios
are expanding their services—and their reve-
nue—by offering live recording rigs and sup-
port. Find out more in the latest entry of Studio
Unknown's Confessions of a Small Working
Studio at mixonline.com/studio_unknown.
Bookshelf
Free Press has released
the seventh edition of
Don Passman’s All You
Need to Know About the
Music Business, which has
been updated to address
issues that stem from
the current “digital age.”
Price: $24.95; donpass
man.com. Also check out twitter.com/DonPass
man, where Passman tweets his thoughts, com-
ments and more about the book, the industry, etc.
Industry Industry News
Ericc DDies joinss Sym mmetrix ((Seeattle) a e) as VP of f manufactur- x
in ng……N New direcctor o oof saless at MV Pro o A ro Audioo (Santa Bar-
ba araa, CA) is Brrad S SStricklaand d…Din no VVir rella lla assumes the
r off globbal sa ales, proofeessionaal prooducts r director of gglobal sa , profess al produc s role at Blue
Microphon nes Westtlake Viillaage, CAA)… … (W Wes AASCAP (NNYC) pro- P
motions: ermann Jaason SSilber rm , s senior dir recctor mem mbe bership,
pop/rock; JJoshua Briggs annd Maarc EEmert-Hutneer er, di-
p/rock; and rectors of mmemb bership, pop/r Jorge Ro odrrigguuez,
directoor shi Latin… … rector off member rship, Latii L-A Accoustics (FFraance ce)
aw waarded s sys syystem engin neers Oecckel Ulf OOe , Sherif El Baarbari ri,
NNick P Pain, Pau aul VVan BBaasbank d and k VVla adimir Couliib bre to
th he staatus of K Sy m E rs KSE) )…Distributiioon deal SSystemm Engineerrs (KSE)… tribution deals: SONiVOX ille, (Somervi X
MMA) ) aacqui ires eexclu e d uti gghtts to usiv ve distributi ion rig Way OOuut Ware e’s product sets; mix Intellim
CCorpp. will distributee ddBTechnoloogies (Italy) offerring gs in Ca ’ (Italy) ferings i anada; and nd Danley Soun
La abs ((Gain nesville, G GA) ) names CCan nada MMitek C S.) (all ppooinnts nortth of the continental U.SS
an nd So oundd Mis ssionn yy, EU counttrieess). (Poland, Geermany
Dino Virella
ASCAP Doles Out Cash
Approximately $2.7 million in cash awards for 2009-2010
has been made to writer members of the American Society
of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) by the Society’s ASCAPlus Awards
Panels (ascap.com/ascapplus). The purpose of these special awards is to reward
writers whose works have a unique prestige value for which adequate compensation
would not otherwise be received, and to compensate those writers whose works are
performed substantially in media not surveyed by ASCAP. The panel includes choral
conductor/arranger Judith Clurman, Star-Ledger (Newark) drama critic Peter Filichia, r
USA Today Nashville correspondent Brian Mansfield, music journalist Melinda New-
man, radio personality Pat Prescott, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan H.
Robert Reynolds and Time Out New York classical music editor Steve Smith. k
1h¡s month's Ieatured l¡st¡ng Irom the neu
onl¡ne-onlg M¡x Master D¡rectorg
(d¡rectorg.m¡xonl¡ne.com/mmd)
Kaufman & Associates
KauIman & Assoc¡ates spec¡al¡ze ¡n the des¡gn, pro]ect superv¡s¡on and
¡nstallat¡on oI cr¡t¡cal-l¡sten¡ng and v¡eu¡ng env¡ronments. Cuner Jag
KauIman br¡ngs more than ¤o gears oI proIess¡onal aud¡o and v¡deo ex-
per¡ence and a uealth oI knouledge to each ]ob. Cur approach comb¡nes
acoust¡cal knou-hou u¡th arch¡tectural ¡nnovat¡on to produce env¡ron-
ments that sound as good as theg look. 0e can prov¡de comprehens¡ve
serv¡ces or ue can uork u¡th gour arch¡tect, contractor and des¡gners.
ARE YOU LISTED? MAKE SURE AT DIRECTORY.MIXONLINE.COM/MMD.
Mix
Master
Directory
Spotlight
10 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
SESSIONS
Josh Hack and engineer Andrew
Burn started recording together a
couple of years ago when drum-
mer/engineer Hack’s band, Grav-
ity Burn, visited the studio Burn
used to operate out of his parents’
basement. Hack joined forces with
Burn, and both engineers really hit
their stride.
“Our personalities mesh, and
what I lack he has, and what he
lacks I have. I’ve expanded his pro-
duction and engineering horizons,
and he’s expanded my technical
knowledge of mixing and sonic sur-
gery,” Hack observes.
When bands started lining up
outside the Burn family’s door,
Burn’s folks asked that the studio
be moved to a new “home.” Hack
and Burn found a serviceable offi ce
space that they were able to turn
into a well-built four-room facility,
Virtuo Sound Studio (Canton, Ga.;
www.virtuosoundstudio
.com), which they con-
structed with the help of an-
other musician friend, Mike
Burke of Michael Burke Cre-
ative Carpentry.
“Mike is also a contrac-
tor and master carpenter,
so in exchange for lifetime
free studio time, he brought
in his friends and anyone
we could get in here, and
we did six months’ work in
about six weeks. We paid
for his friends’ labor and the materi-
als, and he ran the job for free. And
one of his friends, John Rice, who
is also a master carpenter, built our
Toft [ATB32] console desk.”
Hack and Burn designed the
studio themselves, installing Au-
ralex acoustical treatments and cus-
tom finishes. The facility went online
eight months ago. Studio A, the Toft
room, includes a host of mic pre’s
(Neve, Drawmer, Empirical Labs,
UA, etc.) and outboard and
plug-in processing, and re-
cording/mixing via SONAR
Producer HD or Pro Tools
LE. Control A is attached to a
large, live tracking room with
22-foot ceilings and plenty of
natural reverb. Studio B is a
smaller, deader recording
space with its own control
room, where recording/mix-
ing is done in the box. “This is At-
lanta,” Hack says, “so we do lots of
hip-hop and rap in there. It’s good
for those artists; they get that nice,
large-sounding voice, but rappers
like it big and dry, and they always
bring their own beats in—either
stereo-format beats or they’ll break
it out into Pro Tools tracks.”
It’s definitely the total package
that makes Virtuo Studio success-
ful—nice gear, good rooms, helpful
friends and musical connections:
“We’ve also been fortunate to de-
velop relationships with some pret-
ty well-known producers who are
coming to use our rooms: Shawn
Grove, Rich Ward, Neil Citron, Rob-
ert Hannon and some others.”
Another relationship Hack is
particularly happy about is with lo-
cal Christian metal artists Ephelion,
who are new clients. “Their music is
phenomenal to the point where one
of their songs brought me to tears,”
Hack says. “They’re young guys, and
I think these kids could be stars. I’m
a rock guy, so I tend to gravitate to-
ward that kind of sound—heavy gui-
tars with harmonies, big bass and
killer drums, and a voice that makes
you want to cry. But we do it all
here: gospel, bluegrass, screaming-
bloody-murder metal, jazz, rock.
“When I’m not with my band
playing or doing a recording project
in the studio, I’m online constantly,”
Hack says. “Facebook, MySpace,
doing research, calling people, e-
mailing and letting everyone know
what we’re doing. I’m not shy.”
—Barbara Schultz
Seattle-based hip-hop artist and producer Sir Mix-A-Lot (www.sirmixalot
.com) is perhaps most widely associated with his breakthrough 1992 single,
“Baby Got Back” (from Mack Daddy, his first release on Rick Rubin’s Def
American label), which won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Perfor-
mance. But although Sir Mix-A-Lot made his mark in rap music, he points
out, “I had a lot of different influences, and it wasn’t really rap that made me
want to produce; it was more of that early new-wave techno, like Kraftwerk,
Gary Numan, Devo—stuff like that. I bought my first drum machine, the
[Boss] Dr. Rhythm DR-55, and [became] addicted to the technical aspects
of music production.”
Sir Mix-A-Lot has maintained a D.I.Y. aesthetic throughout his career,
including his three albums with Rubin. “I engineer most of my own stuff,”
he says. “I built my first true home studio in 1986. But I never felt the studio
was what it should be. I abandoned tape way back when it was uncool to do
so. I realized the power of editing on a computer.”
Virtuo Sound Studio—Connecting With Atlanta Musicians
Mix-A-Lot Studios
Sir Mix-A-Lot at the controls of his 32-channel
Digidesign D-Control worksurface
Drummer/studio owner/engineer Josh Hack
(left) with co-engineer Andrew Burn
Virtuo’s live room has 22-foot ceilings.
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WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 11
A few months ago, veteran remote recording engineer Malcolm Harp-
er took his 42-foot Reelsound Studio truck to the Texas State Fair in
Dallas to capture a Martina McBride performance for the Oprah show.
Harper, whose studio is equipped with a 60-input Amek Media 5.1
analog console, dual 72-track RADAR systems and Meyer HD1 moni-
tors, is based in Austin, but he has worked concerts from coast to
coast, including 20 years and counting for
the Public Radio International classic jazz
programRiverwalk and a couple of previous k
Oprah music segments. Harper describes a
day’s work in his world:
“I got a call from Harpo Productions’
technical director that Oprah was going to
be doing the State Fair of Texas, but they
didn’t have an artist lined up yet. We found
out about two days in advance who it was,
and luckily I have worked a lot with Martina in the past and know
her husband, John McBride [engineer/owner of Blackbird Studios,
Nashville, and longtime live sound engineer/provider].
“We got the truck up there on a Saturday before we taped on Mon-
day. We had been in touch with [live sound providers] Clair Global,
who were already set up on that stage. We were able to coordinate with
them as far as getting input lists. John travels
with a Clair system when he [mixes front of
house] for Martina so they used what Clair al-
ready had in place. Her band set up—I think
it was a six-piece—and she did one new song
and a medley of her hits.
“We interfaced with Clair on the splits.
The TV truck arrived the next day, we inter-
faced with TV, as far as getting timecode and
feeds back and forth between us. We got to
do a line check with Clair the night before
and hear a few bands because that stage was
already up and running for the State Fair. We
established we had good signal, left for the
night, got back the next morning at about 4
a.m., and hooked everything up, and they’d had a big rain storm that
night, so somehow we had developed some buzzes and snaps and
crackles. We spent about an hour going through and cleaning that
up, and then Martina’s band arrived at 6 a.m. and we got to do a line
check with the band. Then Martina arrived about 7, and we got to
do a check with her. Then the show got started and we taped about
9 o’clock till 10, and it was over by 10 o’clock. We ended up taking
a couple of takes on the songs. John mixes FOH for Martina, so he
wasn’t in the truck the whole time. He did the soundcheck, came out,
listened, said, ‘Sounds like we got what we need,’ and after the show
he did the same thing and determined which take they would pass on
to Harpo [Oprah Winfrey’s production company] that would go on the
show, and we were done.”
For more information about the Reelsound truck and projects,
visit www.mixonline.com. —Barbara Schultz
Sir Mix-A-Lot’s studio in Auburn, Wash., is his third project studio, and
he is currently building a fourth in a new home. “Every time I move, I set
up a new studio,” he says. “When I built [the current studio], it used to be
a formal dining room, and I don’t do much formal dining so I gutted it.” In
recent months, Sir Mix-A-Lot has been producing artists on his label, Rhyme
Cartel Records, including vocalist Tomeka Williams (The Black Hood) and
artist Outtasite (Careful What You Wish For). rr
“I have no rules when it comes to making music,” Sir Mix-A-Lot says.
“Whatever sounds good, that’s what we use. [Laughs] I mix with the end-
user in mind. I listen to my mixes at 16/44.1, which is how everybody else is
going to hear it. And I’ll make an MP3 and listen to it that way, too. It has to
sound right that way for me to call the mix complete. It’s all about what feels
right, what sounds thunderous in a kid’s car with some subs in the back. I
have six subs in my studio alone.” Sir Mix-A-Lot monitors with KRK V88s
and soffi tted JBL 4430s. “I record myself right in the control room,” he adds.
“My control room is pretty dead—that’s how I like it. I don’t want it live at all
because then you have a tendency to mix to the room.”
Sir Mix-A-Lot’s studio is based around a Mac Pro and a Pro Tools HD3
system with two 192 I/O interfaces, a 32-fader D-Control worksurface and
D-Command Producer’s Desk. He notes that he works primarily in the box,
and has begun favoring software synths, samplers and drum machines—
such as Native Instruments’ Kontakt and Battery, and Spectrasonics’ Om-
nisphere—over his collection of hardware synths and MIDI controllers. He
turns to Roland V-Drums (with real cymbals added) for drum tracks, and
handles effects processing with plug-ins. He cites the Blue Kiwi multipattern
condenser as his favorite mic; he also uses a Shure KSM44 and Neumann
models.
“I love what I do,” Sir Mix-A-Lot concludes. “Not many of us can get
paid for doing something we love doing. It’s a blessing. A lot of people
sometimes don’t appreciate it.”
by Matt Gallagher
Malcolm Harper at the Amek Media 5.1 board in his Reelsound mobile studio
Reelsound, Oprah Visit Texas State Fair
John McBride with Harper during recording
of Martina McBride’s performance
12 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
hen Shooter Jennings called Dave Cobb, his longtime studio
collaborator, two summers ago to enlist his services in making
“a wild record,” the producer’s initial surprise soon gave way
to excitement. True to his late father Waylon’s maverick spirit, Shooter WW
wanted to tear down the fences that existed between the kinds of music
that had influenced him growing up—ranging from Pink Floyd to Nine
Inch Nails, fromLynyrd Skynyrd to the soundtracks of early LL Nintendo
games—to make a concept album that would push sonic and stylistic
envelopes. The fact that Cobb shared those influences and desires was
the icing on the cake.
“We were rebelling against being in a box,” says WW Cobb, a rock dude
who has made his mark primarily with amped-up country records
like Jennings’ and Jamey Johnson’s. “By ‘wild record,’ I think Shooter
meant anything but what we’d done before. It turned out to be a cul-
mination of all those influences—really classic rock, but also not being
scared to digitally manipulate sounds.”
At the time, Jennings had written just one keep-
er—“Black Ribbons,” which would provide the album
with its title and emotional thrust. But he did have a broad concept in
his head inspired by the sociopolitical unrest and economic tumult
that were threatening to knock the world off its axis, along with the big
changes in his own life, starting with the birth of Alabama, his daughter
with actress Drea DeMatteo, and his split with Universal South Re-
cords. “I went into the studio with a blank slate and the intention of
creating an audio movie,” Jennings recalls.
The two collaborators spent 10 months holed up in Cobb’s
basement studio—which bears the name “1974” after the year the
producer was born—and proceeded to build Black Ribbons from the
ground up. They started by recording drums to tape, cutting them up
and using the results as samples. “It was more about messing up the
sounds than trying to get a natural representation of the sounds,”
Cobb explains. They used Reason to MIDI-track most of the key-
boards in creating the complex sonic architecture, “but we used a
lot of real instruments too,” Cobb points out. “We both played a ton WW
of guitars, a lot of them with fuzz boxes directly into the console [a
Neve 8068]. Him and I are kinda hack engineers, so it was whatever
came out. Some of it was good and some of it wasn’t. But we kept the
worst parts and made a great record out of it.”
“Dave’s the analog dude; I’m the digital dude—that’s our run-
ning joke,” Jennings says. “He’s got all the vintage gear; I’ve got the
synthesizers and the programming knowledge. We were breaking new WW
ground left and right, doing things we’d never done, and things we’d
never even heard of being done. It was an exploration for us.”
“The way we made the record was very mad scientist,” Cobb
says. “The previous records we’d done were all old-school; this one
was very much the opposite. This one was, ‘Let’s abuse technology.’
Shooter, surprisingly, is a computer genius. He knows how to get
into a sampler like nobody’s business. So I was primarily the analog
engineer and he was the digital operator and programmer. But we
also called in Greg Gordon, who started out with Rick Rubin back in
New York, to do the band tracking towards the end and then mix the YY
record—he was a big part of it as well.”
When the digitally constructed tracks were complete, they
brought in bass player Ted Russell Kamp and drummer Brian Keel-
ing to replace and in some cases play on top of the programmed
grooves. In those cases, says
Cobb, “We recorded digitally to WW
Pro Tools, but we bounced the
real drums and the digital drums
to a stereo pair on the analog
machine.” They also served as
the rhythm section for the songs
designated for live-off-the-floor
treatment, joined here and there by
Shooter’s buddy Jonathan Wilson,
who jammed over the passages that
called for six-string intensity. Shoot-
er’s mom, Jessi Colter, and sister,
Jennifer Davis, sang backing vocals
on the title cut. Near the end of the
project, Kamp came up with “When
the Radio Goes Dead,” which serves
as the album’s thematic climax.
One key piece of gear was the Avedis AA MA5 mic-pre Jennings used
to record his vocals at home, singing into an AKG D19. They also
used a pair of Avedis AA E27s on the stereo bus. “We put the whole mix WW
through those, and they rocked everything,” says Cobb. Additionally,
they made use of Cobb’s UREI 1176s, Fairchild 660 and EMI RS124.
But there was still one crucial bit of unfinished business. Af-
ter months of failed attempts, Jennings finally got word to novelist
Stephen King, who agreed to provide the voice of the album’s nar-
rator, the late-night talk-radio host Will o’ the Wisp. Jennings sent
King the finished tracks and the monologue he’d written, and a few
weeks later he received a recording of the author’s performance.
“He took what I’d done, doctored it and made it his own,” Jen-
nings says. “He threw in some awesome lines, like ‘Killing for peace
is like fucking for chastity.’ That made me feel vindicated for any frus-
tration I’d felt. It told me I really was on the right path. Not that it
should matter, but for any human being there’s always an element
of doubt, and that experience shut those demons up for me, so that
I was able to finish this record and put the passion into it that it de-
served. I’m super-proud of this record, and making it was one of the
best times of my life. In a way, I’m the man I am now because of it.”
The 70-minute opus Black Ribbons hits March 2 on the Rocket
Science label.
by Bud Scoppa
W
L.A.

Grapevine
Send L.A. news to Bud Scoppa at bs7777@aol.com.
Shooter Jennings (shown here in a publicity
photo) made his latest album, Black Ribbons,
with Dave Cobb in Cobb’s Neve 8068–equipped
studio.
The control room of
Cobb’s “1974” studio
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14 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
Welcome to the WW University of Creativity,” says Kenny Alphin,
best known as Big Kenny, first of country duo Big & Rich and
lately the author of genre-skewering solo album The Quiet
Times of a Rock and Roll Farmboy. “These are the laboratories of
peace, positivity and tranquility.”
Having said that, Alphin smiles and opens his arms, simul-
taneously acknowledging the campy nature of his proclamations
and underscoring a genuine sincerity of intent. With the help of
pros, including famed acoustician and designer Michael Cronin
and engineer Chris Stone, Alphin built The Last Dollar Studio on
his Nashville property, and since the studio’s summer 2008 com-
pletion he has been working tirelessly there on audio, visual and
combo projects.
“They’re working around the clock,” Cronin says. “They’re like
Oompa Loompas over there, man.”
Last Dollar is an 860-square-foot 5.1 mix room, with a 600-
square-foot tracking room stacked on top of it. The studio’s center-
piece would be the API Legacy Plus console, except that there’s really
no such thing as a centerpiece at Last Dollar. There is original art on
the walls, there are numerous instruments around, there are mas-
sive, custom-built AT AA C monitors in the wall, and there are couches
and kibitz-spots that make the tracking room as viable for parties as
for recording.
“The whole thing started out that I was going to build a church,”
Alphin says. “I wanted it to be solid: slate roof, concrete walls and
brick. And for a studio, it couldn’t work any better than that. Now, it
looks like a church, but it’s a place to create, which makes it feel even
more like a church to me.
“I’m on the road so much, and when I get home I like to be
around my family,” he continues. “I was raised on a farm in Virginia,
and I could always go out to the shop and be with my dad. I learned
a lot from him and all the men around him, and it’s the same thing
here. Creative people are here all the time. But the main thing for me
is that I get to have a regular life.”
“Regular” is relative. Last Dollar is as idiosyncratic a studio as
exists in Nashville. True, the mixing room is based on the Cronin-
designed Studio F at Blackbird, where Big & Rich often recorded. But
the upstairs tracking room is highly unusual in Music City, and the
vibe is unlike anything in town. “It’s a pretty trippy place, all the way
down to the lighting,” Cronin says. “There are 16 million variations of
color in the lighting. It’s any color imaginable, except for white.”
During the construction phase, Alphin’s background as a
general contractor aided him in elaborating on ideas with Cronin.
Though he owns substantial property on Nashville’s west side, Al-
phin wanted to build up rather than out, and he needed to make
sure that his neighbors weren’t disturbed by any amped-up ses-
sions. Cronin had built several “stacked studios,” usually for post-
production work, and he determined that Alphin could achieve
adequate isolation by using a floating concrete system. Video cam-
eras upstairs feed images of the recording musicians to a large
screen in the control room, and the whole thing is tricked out to al-
low (and encourage) Alphin to indulge his frenetic creativity, which
includes film and animation efforts.
“It will ultimately become my personal broadcasting facility,” Al-
phin says. “A “ nd it’s also
a space that I can come
in and listen to music in
its most pristine form. I
looked at it like a farmer
buying a combine: ‘Is
this the right horse-
power? Will it last me for the next 10
years?’ The connection between artist
and fan is getting closer, and it’s going
to get to the point where I can be mak-
ing music and you’ll be listening to it
and watching as it is recorded, live. We WW
can do that here.”
The control room has three isola-
tion booths, and a piano and drum set
that stay miked up (Alphin writes and
demos hundreds of songs each year,
so there’s not much down time). Al-
phin records to Pro Tools HD, usually
going through a Millennia HV-3D pre-
amp designed to capture subtlety and
detail rather than to color the sound of drums, guitars or vocals. The
studio isn’t open to the general public, but Alphin’s friends often use
it when he’s on the road. “I don’t want to be in the studio business,”
he says. “This is all to inspire, and to be a meeting place where peo-
ple share ideas, learn from each other and lift each other up.”
Cronin says he has lately seen an uptick in the building of cus-
tom, private studios. In late 2009, he was busy working on one for
Taylor Swift, and he has built studios for Sheryl Crow, producer By-
ron Gallimore and hit songwriters Chris Lindsey and Aimee Mayo.
“Some of these people are married with kids, and all of them work
hard, constantly,” Cronin notes. “They want to be able to stay cre-
ative when they’re at home, without disrupting their home life.
Plus, it’s hard to create when you’re paying someone else by the
hour. But you have to be really doing business to pull this off. This
ain’t a toy. This is a world-class studio. This is the full monty.”
by Peter Cooper

Peter Cooper can be reached at peter@petercoopermusic.com.
NASHVILLE Skyline
“Big Kenny” Al-
phin, of Big & Rich
fame, in his inap-
propriately named
Last Dollar Studio.
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16 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
emote recording specialists are regularly called on to record
performances and other events, ensuring that those who
couldn’t be there live and in person can hear them later. But
for sound designers like Chris Jones (www.circa70.org), there’s a
whole different reason to set mics up outside: It’s not to purely docu-
ment sonic experiences, but rather to subtly incorporate them into
the ambiences he makes.
“A “ field recording can be a great place to start when creating mate A -
rial,” says the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Jones. “I definitely come from that YY
20th-century electro-acoustic philosophy that acoustic recordings are
spectrally the richest, and therefore better sources to process.
“I would also say it’s fun to go outside and find things to hit. It
creates a different yet simpler challenge as an engineer: get it clean
and don’t distort.”
Jones is on the lookout for sounds that he will later blend with
other synthetic samples, use as audio triggers for sound-mangling
purposes in the programs AudioMulch, Metasynth and Jeskola Buzz,
fashion into impulse responses for convolution reverbs, or use in
other fiendish ways. Traveling with a Zoom H4 recorder recording at
96 kHz/24 bits, Jones depends equally on his gear and experience,
recommending the following essential items: a tackle box, a stereo
microphone, a shotgun mic, a 12-foot telescoping boom, wind pro-
tection, closed-back headphones, tons of batteries, SD cards for stor-
age, mallets, baseball bats, and hammers to strike/play with, and—
somewhat surprisingly—a contact mic.
“Think about it: A contact mic has no ambient sound,” Jones A
notes, specifically recommending the designs of Jeff Thompson
(www.contactmics.com). “Contact mics are great for field recording
because they work on vibration only and can be like a DI for your field
recordings. It can function the same way in the mix, too, filling in gaps
and pulling the whole sound together. Contact mics are magic.”
When Jones leaves his personal studio in Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward WW
art space, he may head to the roof, go just around the corner, drive
upstate, or thumb a ride to Bora Bora. “There are two types of field
recording in my mind,” he says. “One where you’re going out and
recording whatever you hear as it moves you. The other is where you
get an opportunity to record something specific and awesome.
“I like going out just to record transients. One recording I use
all the time is this old window in a stairwell. It’s just me opening
rusty hinges and banging it with its chain. Later I might chop out
three or four episodic files, perform/collage in an AudioMulch patch,
then process the whole series of rich, random transients not caring
so much about the sound’s identity, but rather just caring that it’s full,
transient and unpredictable.”
When recording specific sounds, such as when he captured bees
for music library VideoHelper’s Modules series, Jones notes that the
toughest challenge is to stay on top of the take as it unfolds, and be
able to judge whether or not you just got a usable one. He points to
a tough lesson he learned from the bee recording, when he was sure
he had gotten nothing more or less than the beautiful sounds of bees
buzzing. It wasn’t until long after he had packed up his mics and re-
turned from the bucolic upstate N.Y. location that he realized he had YY
picked up far more background noise than he originally thought—a
complication that greater in-the-moment awareness and closer miking
could have prevented.
“I guarantee it always sounds more incredible to you while you’re
recording it than it will in the studio later on, where you’ll hear all the
problems you didn’t notice out in the field,” he advises. “During the
event, your brain was reviewing it in real time and giving you a better
impression of what the recording would sound like. You may not real YY -
ize the mic was a little too far from the target, and it’s picking up the
sound of the highway that’s miles away.”
Safely back inside the studio, Jones will decide on a case-by-case
basis whether or not to retain the natural goodness of his field record-
ings or completely twist them, the better to fill out sound designs for
TV promos, film trailers, his own DJ mixes, and beyond.
“I’m into serial techniques, randomizing, and using mechani-
cal devices when working with the material initially,” says Jones.
“Sometimes you may get a glimpse of what the original recording
was through all the processing. I like this effect—it can be unsettling,
mysterious and alarming.”
To make unforgettable sound designs, capture each moment
with kid gloves. “You have to look at your remote recording like it’s a YY
wedding, a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Chris Jones recommends.
“Cover yourself. Capture everything properly, like one of those Viet-
nam movies where before filming an explosion they tell the crew,
‘We’re only doing this once.’” WW
by Davi d Wei ss
NEW YORK Metro
R
Send news for “Metro” to david@dwords.com.
Chris Jones often applies a contact mic to found objects.
Chris Jones on the hunt for the ultimate sound design ambiences.
P
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18 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
WI TH SYLVI A MASSY
GEAR STORIE GEAR STORIESS
Prince walked into Studio B, looked around at the cold, clinical ’80s
décor, and asked, “Don’t you have a big stuffed ‘Grandma’s chair’ or
something?” Knowing full well there was nothing like that in the entire
facility, I said, “Why, yes…of course. I’ll just…um…go next door and
get it…” I then ran out of the room to the front desk. “Lemme borrow
someone’s truck, QUICK!!!” I tore out of the parking lot straight down
to Melrose Avenue and purchased the first upholstered chair I could
find. Minutes later I calmly walked back into the session with the big
chair and set it in front of Prince. This was his first day booked into
Larrabee Sound in West Hollywood and I wanted to make a good im-
pression. He sat down in the chair and nodded. What was originally a
four-day booking turned into a three-year odyssey with Prince.
Working with Prince was extremely challenging. He was impatient,
uncommunicative, intolerant and yet extremely generous with cred-
its and opportunity. And he actually wanted to know my opinion! He
would have three or four rooms running at the same time, with songs
in various stages of development. I usually worked in Larrabee’s Stu-
dio B on a Solid State Logic 4056 E/G console with a pair of Studer
A800 analog 24-track tape recorders. To prepare for a Prince session, I
would have the room set up for anything that might be happening that
day with rented drum machines, keyboards, bass, electric guitars and
pedalboards available. He would play everything and anything. It was
100 percent Prince, so when he would spin around on his heels and go
for an instrument, I made sure I was on it like my life depended on it!
He would even have a vocal mic hung over the console, usually a Neu-
mann U87, so he could do the vocal recording himself. Prince would
rarely warn you of his arrival. He would just show up and everyone
would jump to action, no matter what time of day or night.
In anticipation of engineering a particular Prince date, I once brought
extra guitars to the studio—one of them being my cheap little Fender
Gemini II acoustic. I was a bit embarrassed for it against the row of pol-
ished, tuned and beautifully tweaked rental guitars on the session, so I
stuck my Gemini II in the corner out of sight. It was untuned, had old
strings and no stand. I knew that whatever instrument Prince reached for
had to be tuned, plugged in and ready to record, or he was outta there.
It would figure that Prince pulled out that damn Gemini II. I was
horrified. I imagined him throwing it down on the floor and storming out
of the studio because it was not properly prepared for him. Instead, I was
shocked to witness Prince playing flawless rhythm and even solo parts,
bending the individual strings to the right pitch as he fretted chords effort-
lessly. He compensated with his fingers to bring the instrument in tune
and the guitar sang like it had a fresh set of strings.
That acoustic sounded great on the track “Walk Don’t Walk.” It did
just what it’s best for—keeping an even percussive rhythm throughout
Prince and the Gemini II
BUDGET GUITARS AND ROCK STARS AND GRANDMA’S CHAIR
“No you can’t have
my guitar!” A
stuffed chair and a
low-cost acoustic for
Prince.
Prince’s tape-strip
scribbles from the
Diamonds and Pearls
sessions
Ki| |ªttrit ±rª Mi\ªi Ir±lt)
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Al Al Al Alle le leen n n n ch ch ch cc oo oo oo oose se se ses ss s s th th th th th t e e eee DV DV DV DV DV D -R -R -R -R -RA1 A1 A1 A1 A1 A100 00 00 00 00 00 0 0H 0H 0H 0H 0H 0H 0HDDDDDDD tttt tttoo o oo ooo ca cca cca ccapt pt pt pp ur ur ur u e e hi hi i hi i h s s sss mu mu mu mmuult lt lti- i- i- i- i-pl pl pl pl plaat at at atin in in in iin num um um ummm aaaaaana na na na nalo lo lo lo log g g g g g mi mi mi mmi mixe xe xee xe x s. s. s. ss CCCCCCCom om om om om om oo pa pa pa pa pare re re re rred ddddd to to to o tto o t
mi mi mi mi mi mixi xi xi xi xing ng ngg ng ng bb bbb bbac ac ac ac cccc ac ck k k k k in in in into to to to hhhh his is is s is DDDD DAW AW AW AW AW AW A , , ,, “i “i “i “iit t tt t so so so so soun un un un nde de de dde deedd dd d si si s gn gn ggn gn g ifi ifi ifi ifi fifica ca ca cant nt nt nt ntly ly lly ly ly ly bbbbbbbet et et et eette te te te tt r r r r rr r re re re re re reco co co co coo c rd rd rd rd rd rddin in iin in in ing g g g g gggg DS DS DS DS DS DS D D” D” D” D” D” D tt tto oo o oo o th th thh the e e ee TA TA TA TA TA TA TA T SC SC SC SCC SC S AM AM AM AMM AM AMMhhhhhhhhig ig ig iig iig gh- h- h- h- h- h- yyyyyy
re re re re reeso so so so solu lu lu lu luuti ti ti ti ti tion on on on on on on r rrrrrec ec ec ec ec ecor or or or or orde de de de de de dd r. rrrr WWWWWWit ith hhhhh a aaaaaaaa 60 60 00 60 00GB GB GB GB GB GGGGG hhhhar ar aar ar a d dddd dr ddr dr riv iv iv ive, e, e, e, e DD DD DDDVD VD VD VD VVD D-R -R -R R -R --R www wwwwri ri rii rrite teee te ter, rr, r, r, a aaa and nd nd d nd nd nd nd dd uu uu uup p p ppp to to to tooo 1111192 92 92 92 92 92 9 kH kH kH kH kH kH kH kHz z z z z re re re re re r co co co co co co ord rd rd rd rd rd rdin in in inn in inng g g g g g as as as as as as as
we we we we well ll ll ll lll aaaaas sssss Di Di Di DDDD re re re rre r ct t ct ct cc SSSSSSSSSSSSSSStrr ttrr t eaaa eaaaaaam mmmm Di Di DDDDD gii gi ggi gitaaa ta tal, l, l, l, tttthe he he he e h DD DDDV- V- V- V-RA RA RA RA RA RAAA10 10 110 10 10 110000 00 00 00 00 000 00 000 000 HD HD HD HHD HDD iiis s sssssssss si si si si imp mp mp mp mp mp mp m ly ly ly yy ly yy tt ttthe he he he he he e h bb bbbbb bes es es es est t tt st st st st sst s er er er er er reo eo eo eo eo rrr rr rec ec ec ec ecc ecor or or or or or rrrde ddde dde de de de der r rrr ev ev ev ev ev eevver er er er er e mm mmmmmmad ad ad ad dd aad ad ade. e. e. e. ee. ee
Re Re Re Re Re Re Re Re RRead ad ad ad ad ad ad ad ad ad a tt tttt tttttthe he he he hhe he he he he he h eeeeeeeeeeent nt nt nt nt nttt n ir ir ir ir ir ire e e eeee Al Al Al Al Al AAl Al AAAlle le le le le le en n nn nn nn nn Si Si Si Si Si Si Si Si Si Side de de de de de de des s s s s ssss in in in n in in n in nnnnn inte te tte te te te tte te te tterv rvv rv rvv rv rv rvvvie ie ie ie e ie ie ew, w, www, w, w, w iiiiiinc nc nnnc nn luu lu lu luudi di di ddi di di ding ng ng ng g ng ng hhhh hhh his ssss is is s ttttttttho ho hho ho ho hh ug ug ug ug ug g ug ght hhhht ht ht ht h s s sssss on on on on on oo aaaaa aff ff ff ff ff ffffor or or or or orda da da da da da dddda ddabl bl bl bl bl bbb e e eeeeeee
an an an an an an an an an an nnal al al al al al aaaal a og og og og og og og ggg mmmmmmmmix ix ix ix ix ix ix xin in iin in in in ng g g g gggg an an an an an an aand dd d dddd CD CD CD CD CD CD CD CD CCD CD C cccc ccop op op op op p op op op pie ie ie ie ie ie ie ie iies, s, s, s, s, ss, s,, aaaaaaaaat tt t t t t ww ww ww ww ww ww ww wwww. w. w. w. w. wwwwww. w.ta ta ta ta ta taa ta ttasc sc sc sc sc sc sc ss am am am am am aam am am am.c .c .c .c .c .c .ccom om om om om omm om om om om/d /d /d /d d /d d /d d /dvr vr vr vr vr r vra1 a1 a1 a11 a1 a1 aa1 a100 000 00 00 00 00 00 00 000h 0h 0h 0h 00h 00h 0hhdddddd...
20 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
the song. Prince used the Gemini II on several oth-
er songs, and at the end of the sessions he casu-
ally directed his crew to pack the guitar up into one
of his road cases. I don’t think he realized it was
mine and assumed the rental company would just
charge him for it. I noticed what Prince was doing,
and said, “Excuse me, you can buy one of your own
for $200; they aren’t that expensive.” He smiled at
me, and said, “But I want this one.”
The dreadnought-shaped Fender Gemini II
six-string acoustic is really nothing special, or so I
thought. Prince had a thing for that guitar. You’ll
hear it on the Diamonds and Pearls album. Origi-
nally manufactured in Korea in the late ’80s, the
guitar features a mahogany back and spruce top.
It’s a budget guitar—dry sounding, very woody. Not
sparkling, not shimmering, more like a chugging.
Just a very plain acoustic. I generally use it to fill out
rhythm tracks in rock songs, more as a percussion
instrument, like a shaker.
Acoustic guitars can play multiple roles in al-
bum recording, either as a melodic voice or as a
percussive instrument. It is not always necessary to
have the deepest, most resonant tone in an acous-
tic guitar; in fact, for percussive needs you may
want the guitar to sound almost
like a washboard!
An Underrated Studio
Essential
Budget acoustic guitars are of- ff
ten underrated in the studio.
Never be afraid to have an
inexpensive Yamaha, Wash-
burn, Aria or Alvarez on hand
to add texture to your tracks
without tonally complicating the sonic picture.
Fender stopped making the Gemini line but has a
similar offering in the Fender CD-140S acoustic to-
day. Even outside of recording, just having a cheap
acoustic lying around can help inspire creativity.
We always have a few no-name acoustics sitting
on the couch in the lounge of the studio, ready
to help work out a part or ignite a spontaneous
sing-along. And if it gets sat on, it’s not the end
of the world.
At the end of 1992 I had a Billboard Top 25 d
single with Green Jello’s “Three Little Pigs.” I had
also been asked to produce a new band called Tool.
At the same time, Prince offered me a job at his
Paisley Park Studios in Minnesota. It was a great
opportunity, but I decided to remain in Los Ange-
les. After declining his job offer, I never heard from
Prince again. No, I never sold him that guitar and
most of my clients today who use the Fender Gem-
ini II could never imagine its stressful, difficult and
incredibly magical heritage!
Sylvia Massy is the unconventional producer and
engineer of artists including Tool, System of a Down,
Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and
Prince. She is a member of the NARAS P&E Wing
Steering Committee and Advisory Boards, and is a
resident producer at RadioStar Studios in Weed, Calif.
GEAR STORIE GEAR STORIESS
Massy’s mountain of gear in Larrabee Studio B
CaII todayl 888.273.6412
2300 L 8roadway kd | 1empe, A2 85282
1205 N P|esta 8|vd | 6||bert, A2 85233 (sate|||te fac|||ty)
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22 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
The remote recording
business is dying. The remote recording busi-
ness is booming. It’s about music. It’s about
broadcast. Ask 10 remote recording engineers
about the state of their world, and you’ll get 10
different answers. A historically small market,
the remote world is certainly shrinking, with
fewer players competing for smaller budgets
and fewer projects. But given the challenging
financial climate, most of the major companies
are at the least cautiously optimistic, and at best
enthusiastic, about brighter days ahead. And all
are finding innovative ways to streamline and re-
invent themselves.
Trickle-Down Trends
Many changes in the remote business are indic-
ative of larger shifts in music-industry models.
Album sales are no longer success indicators;
new releases support tours, which support 360-
degree merch deals. Concert-recording budgets
have dwindled, and clients either choose to record
shows themselves with low-cost rigs or forego live-
recording projects entirely—with remote trucks
left feeling the pinch.
Karen Brinton, president of Remote Record-
ing, which handles high-profile projects such as
the HD broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera and
the Academy Awards, says the past year has been
challenging. “Budgets just keep getting smaller
and people keep wanting more for less, so I’ve
been trying to find ways to still deliver quality to
clients on a smaller budget. It’s not easy.”
Kooster McAllister, who has been operat-
ing the Record Plant Remote truck for more
than three decades, has also seen difficult times.
“Counting inflation and everything, the truck is
going out for less of a daily rate than it did 10
years ago. And the attitude is, take it or leave it,”
he says. “I’ve been doing this long enough where
I’m still one of the go-to people who gets the
calls. And I would rather have some money than
no money. But it’s a slippery slope to get onto.”
Bucking the downward trend somewhat is
Music Mix Mobile, which in its first 18 months
of business has expanded operations to the West
Coast, and worked on projects ranging from VH1’s
Storytellers with the Foo Fighters to the Country s
Music Awards and this year’s Grammys. Partner
and technical engineer Joel Singer attributes the
company’s success to its “dream team” of veter- rr
an mixers: “Two of my partners are the most de-
manded live music broadcast engineers in the
business—John Harris and Jay Vicari—and I’ve
just built good technical facilities for them.” Sing-
er says the trucks were designed for new workflow
rather than the most cutting-edge gear. “It’s ba-
sically built around workflow to a way where we
could streamline projects that didn’t require hav-
ing 30 percent more budget to do them. When you
get that call, and they say, ‘After you record this, we
also want you to mix it,’ it becomes more of a proj-
ect than what a lot of our competition is doing by
just going out and recording”
From Music to Broadcast
While some remote trucks continue to find solid
work in music recording, in general most of the
projects with the budgets are in broadcast. “Our
business has definitely shifted,” says Brinton.
“The only way to adapt and stay in business is to
realize we’re making TV now.”
Guillaume Bengle, president of Le Studio
Mobile (Montreal), which recently celebrated its
30th anniversary with the launch of a new truck,
says most of his traditional projects (music and
radio) have been replaced by TV and satellite ra-
dio work—and TV trends drive the business. “If
television still produces big audio music shows
trucks will survive,” he says. “In Canada, comedy
shows are fashionable—and, of course, they don’t
need us; it’s usually one guy with a mic. As long
as music stays an important factor in television,
they’ll still need us.” Bengle, who’s been covering
Canada’s Juno Awards for 23 years, says big award
shows are important, as are “things like HDNet,
which has a lot of live music shows.”
Many remote facilities are banking on high-
definition broadcast media to boost business. “We
do the HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera
into theaters around the country, which has been
really successful,” says Brinton. “So I’m hoping
that the quality of that is contagious and there are
more things done that way.”
“With 5.1, people expect better audio and pro-
ducers know that,” adds Bengle. “The generaliza-
tion of 5.1 has helped us because smaller studios
can’t do that well, and TV trucks can’t because they
are made for sports.”
Sometimes the “product” is there, but mon-
etizing it is a challenge. “I just did a show in Nash-
ville called All for the Hall, which was a benefit for
the Country Music Hall of Fame,” says McAllister,
“and it was like a who’s who in the entertainment
industry: Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley.”
Yet no television networks wanted to pick up the
show. “It ended up going out over the Internet.
And the way they’re making their money on that
is, they called me up the next day to remix a Faith
Hill song that they were putting out as a ringtone.
That’s what we’ve been reduced to—ringtones on
cell phones. It’s not that there’s nothing that needs
to be recorded; it’s because companies don’t have a
profitable venue to sell these new products.”
The Internet still provides unparalleled pro-
motional opportunities, but low-revenue poten-
tial—at least for now Bengle sees “live to Internet”
as a viable prospect for the future. “We did a cou-
ple of shows that were broadcast over the Internet,
but it has not yet materialized,” he says. “I think it
will take a certain number of years because just do-
ing a music show involves lots of money, and for
TV they can go there with small cameras and it’s
much simpler than it was. You may not need the
big TV rigs for Internet shows, but audio is still
complicated for them and that’s good for us.”
By Sarah Jones
Facing Fewer Gigs and Shrinking Facing Fewer Gigs and Shrinki
Budgets, Remote Recording Studios
Streamline and Diversify
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 23
D.I.Y. at FOH
The fact that artists can record their own shows
accounts for a large drop in midlevel remote re-
cording gigs. “The advent of those front-of-house
systems eliminated much of the middle of the
market, leaving only the high end, where the art-
ist and producer are concerned about reliability,
quality and a proper acoustic environment,” la-
ments David Hewitt, who recently left the remote
truck world after nearly 40 years and launched his
own company, Hewitt Remote Services, to con-
sult and facilitate projects nationwide. “You pay
for quality up front or you can pay for trying to
fix it in post.”
Singer says he realized years ago that the con-
cert DVD business would change drastically as it
got easier and cheaper for clients to bring their
own recording rigs on tour. “Now the smarter
ones still said, ‘When I’m going to bring in a 20-
camera shoot, even though we’re recording every
night, I’m going to bring in a remote facility be-
cause it’s money well spent to make sure the thing
goes down without a hitch,’” he says. “But no one’s
getting middle-budget stuff, like bands who want-
ed to do a DVD. They’d rent a video flight pack
and have their front-of-house engineers record on
a [Digidesign] VENUE. But we had already moved
away from that, and we’re entrenched in doing
broadcast music television.”
“That’s why we left the CD market; it’s gone,”
says Bengle, “because people will come and put
a computer next to the console and they’ll have
audio. They’ll work more in post-production of
course, but they’re okay with that. In TV, they can’t
do that yet. Not with the same kind of flexibility
and safety that big trucks
provide.”
Bengle adds that pro-
duction-wise, stakes can
be higher for broadcast
projects. “If you do a CD
and it doesn’t work one
night, you say, ‘Oh, we’ll
come back the night after.’
In TV, they can’t do that;
not with the price of the
big TV trucks. So what we
have to offer is reliability and redundancy, which a
PC next to the console doesn’t provide.”
Yet for many mid-level acts, recording their
own gigs is sometimes the only option within
their budget, and accommodating them is a rev-
enue stream. “A lot of times, clients don’t have
a budget to bring a recording truck out and do a
show,” says Scott Peets, director of remote record-
ing at Los Angeles–based Design FX, which also
operates a large equipment-rental business. “But
we can put together a Pro Tools flight pack that in-
cludes 48 channels of preamps and a Pro Tools rig
with a monitoring system that they can take with
them. So a lot of times, when bands might not be
able to afford to record the show, they can get these
smaller rigs and can capture not only one show,
but they can use it on maybe 10 shows.”
McAllister has a rudimentary flight pack, and
sees some business moving in that direction. “But
then it comes down to, do I want to be a rental
company or do I want to be a recording engineer?”
Bengle also gets requests for flight packs, but pre-
fers to work himself, in his truck. “That’s the way I
work. Some people do [flight packs] very well and
have everything ready to go; I don’t want to do that.
I think there’s a right way to do things in a truck,
and my truck can go almost anywhere.” Bengle
notes that clients will often try recording them-
selves with a flight pack but end up returning for
full services. “They realize that the flight pack—
with the additional work that it involves—can cost
them almost as much as my services.”
The Value of Experience
In the remote world, just like in the studio world,
mere access to equipment simply isn’t enough;
talent and expertise matter most. “Generally
speaking, people who hire us aren’t interested in
the gear; they hire us for us,” says Dan Childers,
an engineer at Austin’s MediaTech, who has
worked many Austin City Limits festivals and
engineered live recordings for the likes of the
Allman Brothers, the Black Crowes and Buddy
Guy. “It may be that we’ve lost some work to
some cheaper flight-pack guys, but people know
what we do, and we do a good job: Everything’s
Music Mix Mobile’s East
Coast truck is pictured
on the front cover. This
interior photo shows the
company’s new West
Coast truck, which will
act as the remix facility
for the 2010 Grammy
Awards. Both Music Mix
Mobile facilities are
equipped with full-blown
Pro Tools recorders/D-
Control surfaces, Genelec
8200 Series DSP surround
monitoring and more than
112 channels of Grace
Design preamps. Pictured
(L-R) are partners Bob
Wartinbee, John Harris,
Jay Vicari, Mark Linett
and Joel Singer. Not
pictured: partner Mitch
Maketansky.
PHOTO: SCOTTWYNN.COM
PHOTO: ROBBIE CLYNE
24 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
H=>;I>C<
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organized, everything runs smooth from their
perspective. And that’s what we sell; we don’t re-
ally sell cheap prices.”
Adds Singer: “Equipment doesn’t make you a
remote facility—people make you a remote facil-
ity. You could put a $600 console in front of my
guys, and it would be totally different than putting
$1 million console in front of another guy,” Sing-
er continues. “It’s that old Eddie Van Halen thing:
Just because you pick up Eddie’s guitar doesn’t
mean you play like Van Halen. He can pick up
your guitar and still be Van Halen.”
And like studio projects, remote productions
are collaborative efforts. “There’s a saying on the
road that ‘the show is that little inconvenience be-
tween the load-in and the load-out,” says Hewitt.
“There is so much more to a successful live record-
ing than just showing up and moving faders. The
pre-production and logistics can be very daunting:
Communicating and interfacing with sound rein-
forcement, touring production, video production
and venue production are all vital. In this era of
staff and budget cuts, this work is often left un-
done and the whole production suffers for it.”
Beyond Capture
Remote facilities are re-evaluating their role in
the production model, and adapting workflow to
smaller budgets at every level, from operating ad-
ditional trucks in different regions down to send-
ing one fewer tech to a local gig.
“The M3 truck was built for large-scale tele-
productions but with high-quality audio in mind,”
says Singer. “We’ve adapted with smaller systems
and flight pack systems, and things that are more
cost-effective for straight capture where [clients]
know that they need to save money on the front
end so that they can spend more on mixing.” Sing-
er says that’s where workflow comes in. “I’ll give
you an example: Jay and John were doing the Rock
Hall concerts at Madison Square Garden and we
needed to record the Foo Fighters at Sony Studios
in L.A., so we took our M3 West truck there. I cap-
tured it for Jay, and I used the Jay plug-
ins and the Jay method of doing things,
and dialed it up for the live cut that night,
brought it back to Jay and it was 70 per- rr
cent done. Jay edited it, and it saved a
day-and-a-half or two days of what might
have been the final mixing, which saved
on the budget for them.”
Analog Sound,
Digital Functionality
The Design FX truck, which generally
handles music gigs, gets regular calls
for its vintage API console. “Broadcast
has kind of turned into a whole other field of re-
mote recording, especially when it comes to shows
like the Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, these
multiband shows,” says Peets. “With digital con-
soles, you can set them up, do your soundcheck
and store them, so when you’ve got 13 bands in a
show, you’re not dialing up your EQs and preamps
manually—just hit a button and recall. That’s the
advantage of a digital console, whereas having an
API, it’s more of a sonic quality that you’re going
for.”
At Remote Recording, the original “Silver”
Neve-based truck is called into service as often as
its newer “Polar Express” truck, which is based
around Yamaha DM2000s. “I still have a good
share of clients who want analog front end,” says
Brinton. “For something that’s a one-artist show,
I think that’s very appropriate. We still record to
Pro Tools or Nuendo or whatever their format of
choice is, but they like having it go in analog.”
McAllister, who expanded business with a
compact all-digital truck in 2007, had the opposite
experience. “My API truck went out four times last
year,” he says. “My thought was I would [use] my
classic analog truck for people where quality re-
ally mattered. The bottom line is, that doesn’t re-
ally matter these days. My digital [DM2000-based]
truck is the truck that’s working all of the time
now. Especially for multiple acts, you need the re-
call capability.”
Childers says he’s pushing the lim-
its of MediaTech’s Dallas Sound Lab re-
mote truck. “It’s got an old Soundcraft
board that sounds great, but it’s a little
bit long in the tooth; it can’t really keep
up with the technological demands,” he
says. “People want instant recallability,
super-fast turnover from one band to
another.” Childers adds that speed of
delivery is a challenge. “Like with Hank
Neuberger’s Third Wave Productions,
where an audience can go see a festival,
see a band, and maybe by the time they
get home download the show.”
Bengle capitalized on compact technology in
his new truck. “I record 192 tracks now, and that
technology takes up maybe a fourth of the space
of my old Studer 24-track,” he says. “It’s more flex-
ible, and the truck is a better environment to work
in because of the smaller equipment.” He says that
he can now arrive at a gig and be ready in an hour
or two. “That’s a big difference for producers.”
Other than size and power, Bengle cites re-
dundancy as a crucial technology consideration to-
day. “Things have changed a lot since six or seven
years ago when we had those snakes; with 32- or
50-pair snakes, it was difficult to lose that in one
single instance,” he says. “With fiber optics, that
is possible, so everything must be so much more
reliable. That’s why we double most systems. And
the safety of the whole thing is something those
[smaller] rigs cannot do. If you lose your reference
from the video truck—your black reference—and
don’t have the proper equipment, you will lose ev-
erything—your preamps, your consoles and your
recorders, so that’s something I’ve addressed. All
the details—word clock, handling of the word
clock, distribution—have to be perfect, because if
you lose one signal now, you can lose it all.”
Reinventing Yourself
To survive in today’s market, remote companies
are diversifying, offering more services and tar- rr
geting new niches. “The show I just did for David
Archuleta—Billboard Live’s series of Internet-
based shows—I did it on the Denali silver truck in
their audio booth on the video truck because they
didn’t have the budget to use my truck for this,”
says McAllister. “So I’m sort of reinventing my-
self, doing things like working on TV trucks, and
I’m the music mixer for the Wendy Williams show
when she has live acts, and things like that.”
Design FX has the unique benefit of tapping
into its extensive rental collection to tailor record-
ing rigs to project needs. “If a client wants to do
a record, we have an API console in the truck, as
Guillaume Bengle celebrated 30 years of Le Studio Mo-
bile with the launch of a new, more compact truck.
Kooster McAllister at the Yamaha DM2000
26 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
well as Pro Tools and classic gear, but we also have
a whole rental inventory—Neve preamps, Avalon
preamps, tube microphones—so it’s easy for us
to customize the truck to the session,” says Peets.
“And if something breaks—let’s say you have a 192
interface go down on your Pro Tools—we can just
call the shop and they can just drop one by.”
Going beyond technology, Remote Record-
ing formed a strategic partnership with Joe
D’Ambrosio Management, a firm that represents
engineers and producers. “It gives me the ability to
give my clients more choices as far as engineers;
they’re comfortable there’s somebody appropriate
for their projects,” says Brinton, who adds that she
is constantly looking to expand services. “We are
offering more services—post-production, project
coordination—whatever we can do to fill in any
gaps or any needs. It’s not just about showing up,
recording the show and driving away anymore.”
The new year brings new opportunity, and
despite the downward trend in the remote busi-
ness, even the hardest hit are cautiously optimis-
tic. “Through all this, I’m sort of optimistic that
things are going to be all right,” says McAllister.
“But because of the lull of ’09, prices will never be
back up to where they were.”
Many see the industry as just expanding and
cycling. “Music’s always going to be around; you
just have to adapt to the change,” says Peets. “With
the advent of broadband Internet, there’s hope
for more demand of high-quality audio for videos
from bands.”
“I love what I do,” says McAllister. “It’s still
creative, and I still have people at the end of the
day telling me, ‘Great work.’ What I’m more con-
cerned about is my son, who I was thinking I was
going to be leaving this great business to. I might
have a business, but there might be no business
to work in.”
Sarah Jones is the associate director of Women’s Audio
Mission, a San Francisco–based nonprofit dedicated
to the advancement of women in the recording arts.
Dan Childers of MediaTech works for music clients
including the annual Austin City Limits festival.
H=>;I>C<
<:6GH
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of GC Pro
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of the Commodores
MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
BIAS iProRecorder
Not only does it support stereo re-
cording (when used with compati-
ble hardware), but the iProRecorder
(V. 1.3, $4.99) also offers location
stamping, a scroll wheel and the
ability to append to an existing re-
cording. It also lets you attach photos
to recordings, organize your files into
categories, e-mail files up to 100 MB,
sync using Wi-Fi and send files directly
to BIAS’ Peak audio editor (Mac). All
files (44.1, 22 or 11 kHz) are uncom-
pressed WAV. It also has a record timer,
accurate stereo meters, variable playback speed and
more. You’re only limited by your phone: The iPhone
can hold up to 13 hours per GB and up to approximate-
ly 200 hours for a 16GB iPhone.
icrophones? Check. Console set up?
Check. Outboard gear patched and
ready? Check. iPhone set to Record?
Huh? For professional engineers, Ap-
ple’s iPhone and iPod touch might not spring
to mind when getting their gear set up for
an upcoming recording session. Many engi-
neers probably have some fun gaming apps
to breeze away the time between takes, but
the technology that makes the iPhone a real
music-making/recording tool has improved
since Apple debuted the phone a few years
ago. No, no one’s going to be creating final
masters or multitracking on the iPhone,
but new apps allow you to run pink noise,
check instrument tuning, determine SPL
levels, record a gig on-the-fly and more as
this smart phone becomes even smarter.
Here, we focus on the pro apps (arranged
alphabetically), bypassing those strictly
made for music creation, which is another
category for another time (or you can check
out our sister magazine EM’s Website, emu-
sician.com, for a bevy of music apps). Now,
stop texting and surfing the Web and get
back to recording on your phone.
By Sarah Benzuly
Audiofile Engineering FiRe Version 1.1
This upgrade to the professional field recording app features
iPhone OS 3 compatibility, varispeed playback, multiple VU me-
ter styles (including K-System scales) and adjustable input gain.
Workflow enhancements include public or private uploads to
SoundCloud, Web server authentication, and the ability to add
a picture reference to the recording, and
name and rename marker points. FiRe
($5.99) features a real-time waveform dis-
play, audio markers, support for Broadcast
WAV metadata and instant downloading
of audio files in multiple formats. Users
can scroll the live waveform display with
the touch of a finger or navigate it with a
system of configurable double-taps. Also
included are input and output VU meters,
a movable playback head, configurable
time units, the ability to tag recordings
with location data and an Overdub mode for layering tracks.
Supported microphones include Alesis ProTrack (requires
iPhone 3G or second-generation iPod Touch) and Blue Mikey
(requires iPhone 3G).
iPhone Apps Take a
Professional Bow
I=:C:L
Æ6HH>HI6CI
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WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 29
Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer, Planet Waves Rig Remote
MIDI Mobilizer (below) is a portable MIDI device, and Planet Waves Rig Remote is iPhone software for
use with Apple iPhone and iPod touch using OS 3.
When used with Rig Remote, the forthcoming iPhone app from Planet Waves, MIDI Mobilizer lets
guitarists control Line 6 Variax digital-modeling guitars and Vetta II digital-modeling amplifiers. Line
6 Variax guitars model the sounds of 25 instruments, including electric and acoustic guitars, a banjo
and an electric sitar. Line 6 Vetta II amplifiers feature models of 80 guitar amplifiers and more than
80 effects. All models can be controlled with Rig Remote and adjusted in real time via its
amp panel–inspired knobs.
Rig Remote features a graphical display that takes a nod from the Line 6 software
commonly used to adjust Variax and Vetta II tones via personal computer. The iPhone
display and touchscreen make it easy to scroll, choose and adjust models of amps,
guitars, pickups, pickup placement, alternate tuning and more. Guitarists can save
their favorite settings and apply them to any Variax guitar or Vetta II amplifier.
MIDI Mobilizer and Rig Remote 1 are currently in development, with
pricing, availability and more detail on the complete feature set to be
announced.
Far Out Labs ProRemote, Pro Transport
The ProRemote ($99, Mac; pictured right) control surface offers 32
channels of remote control with real-time color metering and 40mm
touch-sensitive virtual faders; up to eight faders can be controlled simul-
taneously. It uses your existing wireless network to control such products
as Pro Tools, Apple Logic and Soundtrack Pro, Mackie Control Protocol
and Ableton Live; support for other DAWs is in the works. The full ver-
sion includes a dedicated Transport view that lets you scrub/shuttle, set
markers (memory locations) and control many advanced aspects of the
transport, as well as basic play, record and return to zero. Also included
are the company’s ProPads and Pro XY MIDI controllers, so you can
program MIDI sequences without having to switch out of ProRemote.
You must download ProRemoteServer to use ProRemote.
ProTransport ($7.99, Mac) handles a variety of transport functions for Live, Pro Tools, and
Logic and Soundtrack Pro. To make it work, you must first download and install the free ProRe-
mote Control application. In Pro Tools, you can control transport features, including scrub and
shuttle, and you can also zoom the timeline and jump to and add markers.
ioMetrics GigBaby!
A low-priced newcomer to the multi-
track space is GigBaby! (V. 1.3, $0.99),
which has a surprisingly robust fea-
ture set considering its price. You get
four tracks of recording (no punch-in,
though) and a metronome that can be
used with the recorder or stand-alone.
It also has some nice graphical indica-
tors. A small library of drum loops is
provided, and a setlist manager for
gigs is included. We can see it on the
horizon: Instead of using ftp to pass
files back and forth, use the app’s
track-sharing option to share and
swap your recordings.
Cleartune Chromatic Tuner
This chromatic instrument tuner and pitch pipe allows you to
quickly “tune up” your instruments using the iPhone’s built-in
mic. Chromatic Tuner ($3.99) supports custom temperaments,
transposition, notations such as solfège, adjustable calibration and
more. It’s useful for acoustic or electric guitar, bass, bowed strings,
woodwinds—really, any instrument that can sustain a tone. Simply
tap the Pitch Pipe button, select your note from the Note Wheel,
tap the on/off button in the center to start sounding the tone, and
use the buttons on the side to adjust the volume. An Options panel
lets you select from several different waveforms.
McDSP Retro Recorder
Retro Recorder has been updated
with new features, including
stereo recording capability and
a high-quality Recording mode.
The updates are free to existing
Retro Recorder customers, and
new customers may purchase
it for $2.99. The app features
distortion-free audio zoom-in
capability and the patent-pend-
ing Audio Level eXtension (ALX)
technology. Recorded files can
be exported individually or in
batches. Exported files can then
be downloaded to a PC or Mac
using a Wi-Fi network. An exter-
nal mic is required.
30 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
violetusa.com
Photo by Nigel Skeet - rockandrollphotographer.com
taken at EastWest Studios L.A. - eastweststudio.com
Bruce Sugar
Grammy Nominated
Engineer / Producer
Has recorded: Elton John, Steven Tyler,
Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Ozzy Osbourne
For my latest project with
Ringo Starr I have used
the Flamingo Standard on
everything from vocals
to upright bass, violins to
saxophones and tablas...
A truly versatile and
awesome microphone.
Everyone who has
sung on it has been
blown away.


I=:C:LÆ6HH>HII66CI:CC<>C:::GGÇ
Sonoma Wire Works FourTrack
Offering pan controls, FourTrack (V. 1.2, $9.99) lets you
upload tracks to your computer as WAV files (or directly
to the company’s RiffWorks software for Mac and Win-
dows) using Wi-Fi sync. Recording at 16-bit/44.1kHz, a
clip light ensures that input levels do not cause distor-
tion while calibrated meters monitor record and playback
level. A Slide to Record feature prevents overwriting of
tracks; track length is unlimited. Other features include an
“onboard” compressor/limiter and the ability to bounce
tracks, duplicate songs, internal metronome and pack-
aged sounds, including three beats by drummer Jason
McGerr on his signature Ludwig kit recorded in his Seat-
tle-based studio, Two Sticks Audio. An internal bounce-
to-disk function and click track feature are planned in a
future update.
Steinberg Cubase iC
The Cubase iC (free) remote-
controller application provides
control for Steinberg’s Cubase
and Cubase Studio Version 5.0.1
music production systems. The
app is based on the Steinberg
Kernel Interface (SKI) technol-
ogy for integration into the Cu-
base software core. Cubase iC controls Cubase 5.0.1 and
Cubase Studio 5.0.1 running on both Mac OS X and Windows platforms.
Novation Automap 3
With Automap 3, you can turn your iPhone/iPod
touch into a wireless, palm-sized MIDI control-
ler. Combined with Novation’s free Automap 3
Standard software or Automap 3 PRO ($29.99),
Automap provides two horizontal faders and eight
buttons per page (pages unlimited) displayed on
one touchscreen. Automap lets you see how every
control on your iPhone/iPod touch is assigned.
Control maps are automatically placed into cat-
egories depending on type, and controls can be
re-assigned via the Learn mode. Users can remotely
control transport functions or give an artist remote
control of reverb levels. There’s also a handheld
crossfader for laptop DJ’ing, controlling multi-ef-
fects while tracking guitar, switching drum kits while
a user is at the V-drums and more.
Studio Six Digital AudioTools, SPL, RTA
AudioTools ($19.99) bundles all of the company’s audio and acoustics apps, adds more function-
ality for line-input audio analysis, and will work with the soon-to-be-released iAudioInterface and
iProMic. The initial purchase includes the SPL Meter (with an increased range to work with the
iAudioInterface mic), RTA (octave and
1
/3-octave spectral analysis), level/frequency of the iAudio-
Interface line input (also works with any dock input audio source) and Audio Scope dual-trace
audio band oscilloscope. Additionally, it offers a signal generator (sine/square waves, and white/
pink noise; pictured), the ability to monitor the mic input in the headphones, audio-related calcula-
tors and File Export to upload those results to any PC or Mac via
Wi-Fi, and calibration of all I/Os. In-app purchasing (upgrades)
include FFT analysis, SPL Pro, SPL Graphic, SPL Traffic Light
(monitor live sound level), ETC (Energy Time Curve), Speaker
Polarity, THD+N, speaker distortion, impedance, impulse re-
sponse and Smaart (available this year).
SPL (V. 1.4, $5.99) is a full-featured decibel meter that uses the
iPhone’s built-in mic or an external one. Studio Six Digital also
makes the lower-priced SPL Meter (V. 1, $0.99), which is designed
to emulate a familiar, budget-priced analog decibel meter from a
popular electronics-store chain.
Another Studio Six Digital product is RTA (V. 1.2, $9.99), a real-
time analyzer that has calibration settings for either the iPhone’s
built-in mic or an external measurement mic.
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 31
Thezi Studio Metronome TS
This metronome offers visual (a virtual
baton) and aural (a choice of tones)
references, multiple selectable rhythms,
tap-tempo and more. Metronome TS
($3.99) features a 30 to 250 bpm range,
with zero to 19 beats per bar. Users can
play clicks through the first-generation
iPod touch’s internal speaker.
Sarah Benzuly is Mix’s managing editor.
The studios, stories and hit
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::
music
Frisell Bill F
130-*'*$(6*5"3*45$00,40//&8$%%7%4
It’s hard to believe, but when I reach the
extraordinarily prolific master guitarist
Bill Frisell at an apartment he’s renting
in the beautiful, ancient town of Orvi-
eto, Italy, two days before Christmas,
he hasn’t been working feverishly every t
second since he arrived in Italy nearly
a month ago, and he doesn’t have five t
projects in different stages of comple-
tion. Okay, after New Year’s is a differ- rr
ent story. But right now he’s kicking
back, relaxing, writing some music at
his leisure and anticipating just a single
gig in Italy with his “mentor and hero,”
jazz guitar great Jim Hall.
Frisell and I have three projects to
talk about, however: His exceptional
recent album on Nonesuch, Disfarmer,
which may be his strongest work yet
in the Americana-folk-jazz vein he has
mined so successfully from time to
time (amidst countless other disparate
projects); a superb DVD shot in 2004
(but released recently) called Solos;
and finalmente, as they’d say in Orvi-
eto, a DVD of three Buster Keaton si-
lent shorts for which Frisell’s mid-’90s
trio supplied the soundtrack—the mu-
sic came out on CD in 1995, but not
the films-with-music. So all in all, it’s
quite a bonanza for Frisell fans.
Actually, Disfarmer has a slight r
connection to the Keaton project in
By Blair Jackson
Bill Frisell’s latest album,
Disfarmer, was inspired by
the work of Depression-era
photographer Mike Disfarmer.
The guitarist’s recent work
also includes music for three
Buster Keaton films and the
live performance DVD Solos.
34 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
::
music bill frisell
the sense that it is music inspired by visuals (in
part): Mike Disfarmer (1884-1959) was a photog-
rapher who captured the plain folks who lived in
his community of Heber Springs, Ark., from the
Depression era into the 1950s. Disfarmer was
an odd duck: His actual last name was Myers,
but he chose “Disfarmer” as a sort of dig against
the principal livelihood of the people he lived
around. And though one might think a portrait
photographer would need to be a social fellow to
loosen up his subjects, Disfarmer was famously
cold, aloof, even misanthropic—he apparently
made many of the people he photographed quite
uncomfortable, yet they were fascinated by him,
and he did do outstanding work. Rediscovered in d
the ’70s, when many new negatives of his work
came to light, Disfarmer’s work is now shown in
museums around the world.
Frisell’s Disfarmer was inspired by the por r - rr
traits the photographer took and by Disfarmer’s
“bizarre life,” as the guitarist puts it in the lin-
er notes to the CD. Early on, Frisell and his wife
went on a driving trip across the South to Heber
Springs so he could “smell the air, talk to some
people, taste the food, so the music wouldn’t be
coming only from what I had seen or read in a
book.” (It was an exhibit of Disfarmer’s photos
at the Wexner Center of the Arts in Columbus,
Ohio, that provided the original impetus for Fri-
sell to musically explore Disfarmer’s work and
life.) The setting and subject informed the style
of music that Frisell composed for the project—
this is rural America in the first half of the 20th
century—so he wrote a number of
pieces and then brought in two of his
favorite collaborators: violinist Jenny
Scheinman and steel guitar, Dobro and
mandolin specialist Greg Leisz. The
trio developed the music together and
played it at the Wexner Center, “and
when we started doing gigs,” Frisell
says, “we actually had one not far from
Heber Springs, and we got there early
enough that the day of the gig Jenny and
Greg and I went to the town and hung
out for a while.”
Frisell says that even on concep-
tual pieces likes these, he rarely ar- rr
ticulates his intentions. “It’s mostly
playing. I don’t give them much ver- rr
bal information. The reason I love to play with
them is because I can trust their instincts. We
have this understanding where we don’t have to
figure things out so I can write something on
paper and then they bring so much to it—I’m
counting on them to do something with what-
ever I present to them. After awhile, it’s become
more and more blurred about what’s specified
and what’s not. There are plenty of things that
are written out, but the ideas are also a sort of
springboard, so what is interesting is getting
from one specific thing to another specific thing;
finding our way from one place to another. You
kind of know where you’re going, but you jump
off into the unknown along the way.”
The Disfarmer CD comprises 26 mostly r
short tracks. “There are three or four
themes throughout the whole album,
and most of the music is generated from
those few little melodies,” Frisell says.
“So there are a lot of variations on those
themes.” Additionally, there are instru-
mental versions of three cover tunes
from the early days of country music: Ar- rr
thur Crudup’s “That’s Alright, Mama,”
and Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” and
“I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With
You).” Frisell comments, “I used the ex-
cuse of thinking about what they might
have been hearing on the radio [during
Disfarmer’s lifetime].”
Sessions for Disfarmer took place in r
two different studios, three months apart
for four days each time: at Avast Studio
in Seattle (where Frisell lives) in Febru-
ary 2008, and Sound Emporium in Nash-
ville in May of that year. Lee Townsend,
who has produced most (but not all) of
Frisell’s albums since the mid-’80s, was
once again at the helm; Tucker Martine
engineered and later mixed it in Fantasy Stu-
dios’ “D” room in Berkeley, Calif.
“When we did the initial set of sessions up
in Seattle at Avast,” Townsend recalls, “they had
performed the music a little on their trip, but
we brought in [bassist] Victor Krauss for the re-
cording, so that immediately changed things a
bit. It was kind of an exploration—seeing how
everything sounded not only with Victor, but
which instrumentation would work best with
each song. When we finished with that, we re-
alized there were a few nuggets, but also some
things we thought could be fleshed out better.
“There are a couple of different kinds of
records that happen with Bill—ones where the
material is kind of fleshed out in the studio and
others where it’s a little more road-tested. This
one was somewhere in between, but mostly
the former. For the next set of sessions we did
at Sound Emporium, we had the same instru-
mentation but a little more seasoning—the
second time around everyone was way more
comfortable with the material. We had Dis-
farmer photos taped up everywhere. It was a
very cool vibe.”
Though Frisell and company will typically
record live in the studio, usually laying down
somewhere between two and eight takes per
song, he and Townsend are certainly not averse
to overdubbing; indeed, it’s part of how they
achieve such interesting textural depth on some
tunes. “I think the most tracks we had on any
song on this album was about 32,” Townsend
says. “It might have three guitar tracks—may-
be an acoustic and two electrics, a loop [Frisell
has long employed loops and other electronics
as part of his guitar arsenal], a couple of Greg
[Leisz], three tracks of two passes of Victor, a
bunch of violins—it can add up.”
Martine says that he used basically the
The music on Disfarmer was influenced by the rural set-
ting and subject matter in Mike Disfarmer’s portraits.
Frisell’s guitar work provides an uncommon sound-
track to Keaton’s treasured films.
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 35
same miking schemes in Seattle and Nashville,
including an RCA 77DX on the fiddle; a Royer
121 and a Shure SM57 on the pedal steel amp;
an M49 on the Dobro; an RCA Varacoustic on
mandolin; a Gefell M300 for Frisell’s acoustic
guitar parts and KM84s on his amps; and for
the stand-up bass, Martine says, “an RCA 44 by
the F hole, a KM84 between the fingers and the
bridge for articulation, and a Demeter DI.
“There was one song where I re-amped Jen-
ny’s violin through a small amp cranked up loud
for some extra grit,” Martine continues. “All of
the reverb added during the mixdown was the
great-sounding chambers at Fantasy. Also, I
used a fairly quick delay from a PCM 41 on the
pedal steel on a lot of songs, usually panned to
the opposite side. It was [recorded to Pro Tools
and] mixed to Studer A80 half-inch at 30 ips.”
The Films of Buster Keaton, Music by Bill Fri-
sell DVD gives us a glimpse of Frisell 15 years l
ago, when he was in a trio with bassist Ker- rr
mit Driscoll and drummer Joey Baron. It’s in-
teresting to contrast the type of music Frisell
wrote for these three shorts—The High Sign,
One Week and k Go West—with the more typical tt
piano or organ or orchestra scores we usually
associate with silent films. Baron’s drums and
percussion provide much of the comic punctu-
ation for pratfalls onscreen, but otherwise these
are solid trio outings with Frisell’s musical per- rr
sonality shining brightly.
“What was so cool about the Buster Keaton
thing,” Frisell says today, “was that I had no
idea what I was doing and there were no rules
and no one telling me what to do—it wasn’t
like a Hollywood movie or something. It was
the best way that could’ve happened: I was left
to make every possible mistake, and in making
those mistakes I think I learned a lot. I could
try all these strange things, like having a bal-
lad playing during a wild fight scene; I could
try anything. It was a great way to get my feet
wet.” Those Townsend-produced sessions were
recorded at Mobius Music in San Francisco by
Oliver DiCicco and mixed at Different Fur in
S.F. by Judy Clapp.
And then there’s the Solos DVD, which
is a fantastic introduction to Frisell’s artistry.
It was shot up close and personal with mul-
tiple cameras in the abandoned-looking 19th-
century Berkeley Church in Toronto, with
no audience—just Frisell alone with a Tele-
caster, a couple of Fender amps and a few
pedals, wending his way through a great selec-
tion of his original tunes from different eras:
“Throughout” from his early ECM Records
days, “Ron Carter” from Blues Dream, “Keep
Your Eyes Open” from Nashville, “Boubacar”
from Intercontinetals, and a few well-chosen
covers, such as Dylan’s “Masters of War,” the
traditional country-folk tunes “Shenandoah”
and “Wildwood Flower,” and The Gershwins’
“My Man’s Gone Now.” It was artfully direct-
ed by Daniel Berman and co-produced by Ber- rr
man, Lee Townsend and Paul McNulty. “That
was a great old church,” Frisell comments. “I
must admit, even after all these years, play-
ing by myself is sort of intimidating, but that
turned out nicely.” The DVD also includes in-
formative interview segments with Frisell.
But wait, there’s more! Upon returning to
the U.S. from Italy, Frisell was scheduled to
record a guitar-stravaganza in Nashville with
Buddy Miller, Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz (and
a rhythm section and probably some singers),
and then there’s a second Floratone album to
be made with his collaborators in that lineup—
Martine, Townsend and Matt Chamberlain—
and a gig playing the Buster Keaton music live
to film, and—well, let’s just say it was lucky I
caught him during his break because there
might not be another one for quite a while. Fri-
sell wouldn’t have it any other way.
36 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
Seventeen years down the line since the Charlie
Hunter Trio’s eponymous debut album, no one
is still wondering whether Hunter’s 8- and now
7-string guitar wizardry—which allows him to
play bass and lead/rhythm guitar at once—is a
gimmick. Yes, he really does pull off these multi-
ple roles beautifully, but more importantly, Hunt-
er has also shown himself to be a gifted composer
and a wonderful collaborator—certainly one of
the most interesting all-around guitarists work-
ing in jazz during the past two decades.
The good news is that Hunter continues to
look for new ways to express himself. His fine
new album—the title of which will bring shiv-
ers to anyone who has ever played in a band,
Gentlemen, I Neglected to Inform You You Will
Not be Getting Paid—finds the New York–based dd
guitarist in a band setting unique to my experi-
ence: guitar, two trombones (Curtis Fowlkes and
Alan Ferber), trumpet (Eric Biondo) and drums
(Eric Kalb). “I wrote this music and really want-
ed to do it with brass,” Hunter explains. “In fact,
I originally thought of using three trombones,
but even for me that would be a bit much.”
What’s the appeal of writing for trombones?
“It’s an underutilized instrument,” he answers.
“The saxophone became the pre-eminent in-
strument in the jazz idiom, and the emphasis
has been on bop-ish solos with lots of notes and
lots of changes and lots of velocity—very dense.
But the thing the trombone does, which is really
cool in terms of the kind of music I want to write
and play, is it has this intensely vocal quality. It
has the ability to have a lot of different sounds,
not just dependent on the [ability of the] person
who’s playing it, but also with the different mute
selections you can have. And rhythmically, it re-
ally sits in with the drums and my instrument
and it can really punch. The way I tend to play
music is more vertically improvised—it’s more
about the rhythms and the rests where you fit
in, and not a lot of flurries—and the trombone
is a great foil for that.”
There’s definitely a New Orleans feel to some
of this music—the trombone/trumpet combo will
do that almost automatically—with languid bal-
lads mixed with saucy funk numbers. As always,
Hunter’s playing is tasteful and economical, but
also adventurous: The spare arrangements still
give him plenty of room in which to jam. This
group had only rehearsed some and played one
gig together when they went into Brooklyn Re-
cording to cut this album, so the tracks seem
fresh and alive, as if the players are just discover- rr
ing the magic in the quintet. It’s a bare-bones, no-
frills recording, but that, too, is part of the disc’s
charm. It is simple by design.
“Charlie was looking to make an inexpen-
sive album,” comments
Dave McNair, who engineered
and mixed the album, “so I proposed the
ultimate mix budget: ‘Why don’t you record it
live to 2-track?’ He said, ‘Dude, can we do that?’
I said, ‘We can definitely do that. Let me record it y
and I’ll be mixing it while we record it. But you’re
going to have to go to a nice studio because you
can’t go to any old place. It’s gotta sound really
good in the room we use.’” McNair, whose main
gig is mastering at Sterling Sound, doesn’t do
much music tracking these days, but certainly is
accomplished in that area.
But the next decision the pair made was per- rr
haps more unconventional than live-to-2-track.
“I went over to Charlie’s house [they both live in
Montclair, N.J.] and sat in his practice room and
he played me some of the tunes so I could con-
ceptualize it,” McNair says. “I heard the melo-
dies and he told me how he thought the groove
should be, and I started to picture how it should
sound [with the group] in my head. And then he
said, ‘I’d kind of like a lo-fi thing; I don’t want it
to be too shiny.’ Okay, fine, I have no problem
with that. ‘In fact, I want it to be mono.’ I said,
‘Really? Mono? Can we at least spread a little am-
bience or something?’ He said, ‘Yeah, that’s cool,
but I really want everything to be in the middle.
It really screws with the groove if you’ve got stuff
spread out.’”
Hunter elaborates, “I’ve always liked mono,
and the majority of records I listen to are mono. All
those great old records that came out on Specialty
and Blue Note, plus the early soul and R&B—that
was all mono and it’s very powerful and rhythmi-
cally very punchy. It’s centered-sounding, not dif- ff
fuse. In listening on headphones, I thought a lot
of the pocket was getting lost by the pan happen-
ing and the time delay from side to side [in stereo
recordings]. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be perfect to
make something that didn’t have that—that was
hitting you all at once?’”
McNair: “So the record is actually mono ex-
cept for the return from an EMT plate and then
just a hair—a tiny bit—of a pair of East German y
Neumanns we used as room mics.”
Miking on the instruments was also kept
simple. “I only used three mics on the drums,”
McNair says. “A [Neumann] 47 on the overhead;
a 47 kind of behind the floor toms—almost like a
Glyn Johns thing, but maybe a little higher than
that, looking at the floor tom and the ride cym-
bal—and then an M49 about two feet from the
:: :: music
Charlie Hunter
+";;(6*5"3*45µ4/&8130+&$5(0&4#"$,50.0/0
By Blair Jackson
Charlie Hunter: “The major-
ity of records I listen to are
mono. All those great old re-
cords that came out on
Specialty and Blue Note, plus
the early soul and R&B—that
was all mono and it’s very
powerful and rhythmically
very punchy.”
Continued on page 40
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The cover of The Pretenders, the band’s first album,
reveals the mix of qualities that makes lead sing-
er and songwriter Chrissie Hynde so compelling.
With her heavy black eyeliner, tightly zipped red
pleather jacket and thousand-yard stare, there’s
no question that Hynde is every bit as tough as
her all-male band; probably more so. Yet there’s
no doubting her femininity, as evidenced by her
long hair and lace gloves. The image captured
Hynde’s persona: She has a swagger that stands
up to that of rock’s cockiest frontmen and a vul-
nerability that gives her songs depth and emo-
tional range. That combination paralleled The
Pretenders’ sound, which mixed the back-to-ba-
sics, aggressive energy of punk with Hynde’s
strong melodic sense and a wide stylistic palette
that covered ground from rock ’n’ roll to pop.
Both the sound and Hynde’s persona are
still in evidence on the group’s 1986 hit “Don’t
Get Me Wrong.” The song is a confession of in-
fatuation, but as Hynde sings about being swept
away by passion, she sounds supremely con-
fident: The confession doubles as a come-on.
Under her supremely catchy melody, Robbie
McIntosh’s shuffl ing guitar line contrasts with
Steve Jordan’s straight-ahead beat to create a
groove as propulsive as a train engine. And Paul
“Wix” Wicken’s synth flourishes add appropri-
ate touches of pop grandeur.
Though The Pretenders formed in Lon-
don, Hynde herself was an ex-pat from Akron,
Ohio. She attended Kent State University in the
early ’70s, where she played in a college band
with Devo frontman (and fellow Akronite) Mark
Mothersbaugh, and witnessed the infamous
Kent State killings. In 1973 she left the country
to immerse herself in the London music scene
as both a singer and a critic. She socialized with
the Sex Pistols and played in several bands, in-
cluding one with future members of The Clash,
before forming The Pretenders in 1978.
Their 1980 debut, The Pretenders, charted
at Number One in the UK and went Platinum
in the United States, and its follow-up, Pretend-
ers II, was certified Gold in the U.S. Soon after,
however, guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and
bassist Pete Farndon both died of drug overdos-
es. Despite these devastating losses, Hynde con-
tinued forward with the band, keeping original
drummer Martin Chambers and adding guitar-
ist Robbie McIntosh and bassist Malcolm Fos-
ter. The result was another hit record, aptly titled
Learning to Crawl.
But more personnel changes were to
come. As they were rehearsing for their next
record, Get Close, Bob Clearmountain recalls
the band sounding “raggedy.” At first, Clear-
mountain (who co-produced the record with
Jimmy Iovine) chalked it up to poor acoustics
in the rehearsal hall, making it diffi cult for the
musicians to hear each other. But once they
began tracking in London’s AIR Studios, it
became clear that acoustics weren’t the issue.
As they were setting up the drums, Chambers
mentioned that he’d gotten into programming
on a drum machine and hadn’t touched a real
kit in well over a year.
“I was like, ‘Oh, really? How’s this gonna
work?’” Clearmountain remembers thinking.
“Sure enough, he just didn’t have the chops—
he hadn’t practiced enough. Even though this
guy is an amazing drummer, you take away the
drums from any drummer for a year, and it’s
gonna be tough to get that back, you know?”
As a result, both Chambers and Foster
(whom Hynde and the producers felt was also
not playing well) were asked to leave the group
before recording began. Clearmountain de-
scribes the process as heartbreaking, but says
that they couldn’t have made the recording if
they hadn’t done it. On the upside, the situation
left Hynde with a lot of options. “I think she was
sort of at that Springsteen stage anyway, where
she had played with the same band for a while
and she just wanted to try some other players,
just to break it up and make it interesting, be-
sides the fact that Martin wasn’t really cutting
it,” Clearmountain says.
The band began sessions at AIR Studios
with drummer Mel Gaynor of Simple Minds.
Hynde was married at the time to Simple Minds
singer Jim Kerr, and Clearmountain and Iovine
CLASSIC TRACKS
::
music mmusic ic
The Pretenders
²%0/µ5(&5.&830/(³
By Gaby Alter
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 39
had produced their last record, which was how
they met Hynde and ended up working on Get
Close. Many other crack studio musicians end-
ed up on the album, as well, including drum-
mer Simon Phillips, who was performing and
recording with Pete Townshend at the time;
Bernie Worrell, keyboardist for Parliament
Funkadelic; and Steve Jordan, a drummer/pro-
ducer and friend of Hynde’s. (Jordan currently
plays with and produces John Mayer’s band.)
Ultimately, Blair Cunningham played most of
the drum tracks, T.M. Stevens recorded most of
the bass tracks and Paul “Wix” Wickens did the
lion’s share of keyboards.
With Hynde and McIntosh supported by
studio pros, the recording went smoothly over
the next six weeks. Hynde herself was extreme-
ly easy to record, according to Clearmountain.
“You could have four vocal takes—we wouldn’t
really do any more than that—and you had a
choice between one would be amazing, one
would be fantastic, the third would be unbeliev-
able and the last would be perfect,” he says.
Engineer Bruce Lampcov, a huge fan of
both Hynde and The Pretenders, was thrilled to
work on the album, and notes Hynde’s person-
ality with admiration. “I’ve worked with a lot of
women in the industry,” he says. “Women have
to be very tough to get their voice heard, literally,
but also just their ideas because it’s such a male-
oriented industry. Chrissie’s a tough person, and
she just wouldn’t let shit go down that wasn’t the
way she saw it. She’s the boss—that’s it.”
The recording eventually moved from Lon-
don to New York because there were musicians
there that the producers and Hynde wanted to
use, according to Clearmountain. Lampcov re-
calls flying to the States on a Concorde over- rr
night, touching down and heading straight into
Power Station studio, still jet-lagged, to record
“Don’t Get Me Wrong.” Clearmountain came
late to the session, and Lampcov remembers
feeling a little intimidated setting up by him-
self. “I was a young guy. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m
doing this on my own. This is scary.’ I mean,
I’d done lots of records, but still—Chrissie was
my idol.”
The song was recorded in Power Station’s
Studio A, using the studio’s Neve 8068 desk.
Clearmountain designed Power Station him-
self, with Tony Bongiovi; they sold the console
in 1992, but Clearmountain Googled the model
number a few years ago and ended up buying it
off the owner. “That series of Neves all through
the ’70s were some of the best-sounding re-
cording consoles on the planet,” he says. “They
have the famous mic preamps, and they’re very
straightforward and easy to operate. I did a lot
of big records on that particular console: Bry-
an Adams, Chic and Sister Sledge. It’s very fast
and sounds fantastic.”
Hynde’s vocals were recorded in Studio
B, probably with a Neumann U87 microphone
and an LA-3A compressor. Clearmountain re-
calls that, despite her in-your-face personality,
Hynde liked privacy and darkness when she
did her vocals, and always asked to be parti-
tioned off from the control room. In fact, Clear- rr
mountain wasn’t actually in the room when she
did her vocals that day. “She had done three or
four vocal takes on ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong,’” he
says. “I think I had to take a phone call in the
other room. I said I’d be right back. When I
came back, she had done the perfect vocal take
on the song. So sometimes it’s just a matter of
leaving to get an artist to perform.”
Lampcov miked Steve Jordan’s drums with
Sennheiser 421s on the toms, top and bottom,
an AKG D12 on the bass drum, SM57s on the
snare top and bottom, and some type of AKG
mic on the cymbals. He used 1176 compressor/
limiters on the snare drum for compression,
and Pultec EQs on a lot of the drums. “It was 24
tracks, so there were a lot of mics, but I mixed it
down to bass drum, snare, hat, overheads and
room, with EQ and everything,” he says. “That
was how you worked back then—you’d EQ ev-
erything to how you wanted to hear it.
“I remember Bob commenting on the
drum sound because he probably wouldn’t
have gotten that sound himself; he would have
done something different. I took it as, ‘Oh, no,
did I screw it up?’ But I think he thought it was
okay. Anyway, it’s Steve Jordan’s sound. And
Bob’s mixing, so whatever you do he makes it
sound great.”
McIntosh’s main rhythm guitar was a
Strat going through a Roland Digital Delay.
He borrowed a Gretsch guitar for the song’s
solo, and also played a Telecaster on it. The
Eurythmics’ bassist, Chucho Merchan, played
on the session, but his part was later replaced
by T.M. Stevens. In a testament to the skill of
everyone involved, the entire song was record-
ed that day, including vocals.
The rest of the album was recorded primar- rr
ily at Bearsville Studios near Woodstock, along
with one song at Right Track in New York City.
Lampcov remembers that it was challenging to
make the album sound consistent, as he and
Clearmountain didn’t have their own equip-
ment; they used whatever they found in each
studio. “Having said that, back then all the stu-
dios had Neve consoles and then you’d use the
EQs on the consoles,” he says. He also cites
Clearmountain’s mixing skills in keeping the
album’s sound unified. Clearmountain mixed
Get Close at Bearsville on an SSL 4000 E Series e
desk, an earlier version of the console he usu-
ally mixes on now. (He uses the Neve 8068 to a
lesser degree.)
When it hit the airwaves, the album was
another success for The Pretenders, and “Don’t
Get Me Wrong” became the group’s second
Top 10 single in the U.S. It has proved to be
a perennial favorite, as evidenced by a recent
cover by British pop star Lily Allen. As a hap-
py coda to the album, Chambers got his drum-
ming chops back and rejoined The Pretenders,
playing with them to this day. Other person-
nel changes have occurred, but Hynde has con-
tinued to tour and record with the band. Their
recent album, Break Up the Concrete, proves
that both her songwriting and vocals are still
in great shape.
Lampcov and Clearmountain each remem-
ber their experience working with Hynde and
The Pretenders on Get Close fondly. “It was fan e -
tastic,” Lampcov raves.
“The musicians were so good, and
Chrissie was so good, it was just stunning,”
Clearmountain says. “You just knew, this is
everything we could ever want from a record-
ing for a pop record.”
You could have four
vocal takes—we
wouldn’t really do any
more than that—and
you had a choice
between one would be
amazing, one would
be fantastic, the third
would be unbelievable
and the last would be
perfect.
—Bob Clearmountain
40 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
bass drum, no hole. No snare mic, no hi-hat mic,
no tom mics.” The two trombones “each played
into either side of an RCA 44 ribbon; the trumpet
was a Coles [ribbon].”
As for Hunter’s custom Jeff Traugott 7-string
axe—which has three bass strings and then four
strings, “like the middle four strings on a regular
guitar,” he says—that constitutes two channels.
McNair explains, “He’s got a pickup on it so the
bottom three strings go to a separate output and
it’s pretty discrete—you can hear a tiny bit of gui-
tar in it but not much.
“[The bass signal] went to an Ampeg SVT,
just used as a head, and powered [to] a closed sin-
gle cabinet—it’s a box with a speaker in it and you
put the mic in there. I think I had a condenser—
maybe a TLM 170—in there. No direct; just the
mic on the internal cabinet, no EQ. Then the gui-
tar signal went to Charlie’s [Wayne Jones/Head-
strong blueprinted Fender] Deluxe, and I put an
RCA 44 ribbon on that. The only other mics were
the room mics, which were spaced on either side
of the control room window.”
All mics went straight into Brooklyn’s Steve
Firlotte/Inward Connections–designed 10-chan-
nel Vac Rac re-creations of Bill Putnam’s United
Western tube preamps, “no EQ whatsoever,” Mc-
Nair says. “Then we took the output of the rotary
fader and put [it] into the cleanest insert point in
the Neve so I could have faders in front of me, and
I put a Pendulum Audio Variable-Mu 6386—a lit-
tle bit of that—on the quasi-stereo, and that was it;
no compressor on the bass, guitar, horns. I put a
little bit of a Purple Audio 1176 on the 47 overhead
and that was it. Then we went to 15 ips [Ampex
ATR-102] half-inch, no noise reduction.”
Recording took place on two different days:
The first was devoted to setup and capturing a
couple of songs that feature just Hunter and
drummer Kalb; the second was the full quin-
tet. There are no overdubs at all on the album,
and even McNair’s original notion of comping
together performances at convenient edit points
from different takes went out the window (ex-
cept for the title track, which comes from two
takes). “It was all so well-played it just became
a question of which performance was the best,”
McNair says.
Hunter says he was happy to leave the take
selection to McNair, noting, “Once I play it,
I trust it to others to know what to do with it.
Dave’s very musical, so I had no trouble putting
it in his hands.”
And as for the mono(ish) 2-track experi-
ment? “I liked it,” Hunter says. “I can definitely
picture doing that again.”
::
music charlie hunter
Charlie Hunter, continued from page 36
prolight-sound.com
March 24 –27, 2010
Tel. 770.984.8016
info@usa.messefrankfurt.com
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1935–Hammond Electronic Organ
Laurens Hammond’s keyboard instrument uses
spinning tonewheels to produce sound
2008–Junkie XL
working in his
studio
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Students tracking in
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WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 43
::
live
phael Saadiq Rap
,&&1*/(".0508/406/%8*5))064&1307*%&%(&"3
Raphael Saadiq has covered a lot of
ground in the music business. Fol-
lowing his days as the lead vocalist for
the multi-Platinum R&B group Tony!
Toni! Tone! in the late ’80s and ’90s, he
went on to form Lucy Pearl with mem-
bers of En Vogue and A Tribe Called
Quest, and to write and produce for
major artists including D’Angelo,
Mary J. Blige and Earth, Wind & Fire.
In the past decade, Saadiq has also
gone solo, releasing two albums that
garnered critical acclaim and eight
Grammy nominations between them.
While he has often fused the many
genres he heard growing up in Oak-
land, Calif.—from hip-hop and rock
to funk and soul—his latest release,
The Way I See It (profiled in Mix’s Jan.
’09 issue), is a focused homage to the
classic sounds of early Motown.
“I’m not saying the Motown
sound is me, but I was raised on a
Fender Stratocaster and a Les Paul,”
Saadiq says at his recent touring
stop in New York City’s Terminal 5.
“They’ve been in my house consis-
By Gaby Alter
PHOTOS: PAULE SAVIANO
Raphael Saadiq’s
vocal warmth is
heard through a
Shure SM58.
44 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
::
live raphael saadiq
tently since I was born. I grew up playing
Fender guitar and bass—they’ve been like a
piece of furniture in the house, all the time,
and I knew exactly what they were used for.”
Today, Saadiq takes this love for vintage gear
and priceless instruments to create a mesmeriz-
ing live performance, complete with a six-piece
band dressed in matching suits and ties—except
for vocalist Erika Jerry, who is resplendent in a
classy period dress. His act evokes Motown’s
heyday visually and musically, right down to the
horn hits and synchronized dance moves. How-
ever, his eclectic side also comes through when
he plays his more hip-hop- and rock-influenced
songs from earlier albums.
To help translate Saadiq’s sound to a live set-
ting, his engineers do everything they can
to warm things up. Front-of-house engi-
neer Kenyatta Kelo Saunders (a Grammy-
winning engineer/producer) uses a Native
Instruments Guitar Rig to help get a vin-
tage sound, as well as Apogee’s Symphony
Mobile. And while the tour doesn’t carry
any other gear, their tech rider requests all-
tube amps for the band’s backline: Ampeg
Classic SVT for the bass with an 810 tube
amp and Fender Twins for guitars.
“We’ve been adjusting the stage set-
up a little bit,” says monitor engineer
Jon Lammi, formerly with Aerosmith
and Blue Man Group. “Rob Bacon, our
lead guitar player, has been sometimes
using a single Fender Twin, sometimes
two Twins in stereo. And Raphael has
been using a single Twin. For some rea-
son tonight, we couldn’t get Twins so
we have four Fender Deluxes, re-issues.
They’re circuit-board-printed, not point-
to-point, and they’re not vintage at all,
but they’re modeled after
[the old Fender Deluxes].”
Sorting Through a
Club’s Racks
For their show in New York,
the engineers are mixing on
the venue’s Yamaha PM5D
desks. Saunders—who has
mixed live for Jay-Z, The
Roots and Joss Stone—
generally doesn’t prefer
digital consoles. “I’m a Mi-
das dude,” he says. “Give
me some analog warmth,
especially for this band—
it deserves to have vintage
gear. A couple of tours ago,
I carried a rack that had a whole bunch of stuff
in it. But with us flying and doing all this differ- rr
ent stuff, the rack was just too expensive to carry.
I think we’d rather have horns versus the rack,
you know?”
Although they carry no outboard gear,
Saunders does like to throw some effects into
the mix. “I play with delays a lot,” he says. “I
lucked out and got a TC Electronic D2 delay
today from Marciano [Saadiq’s manager], so at
least I can tap the delay out. I put them on the
vocals to carry whatever [Saadiq] is saying, to
add more drama. I put them on the guitar at
points too, sometimes even the toms.
“I’m a really aggressive mixer,” he contin-
ues. “The drums are going to be in your face,
the bass is definitely going to move you. Every-
thing jumps out of the speakers—especially
with this band because they’re just so awesome!
When they hit, you want to feel it—bap bap!”
Lammi adds, “[The band] reacts, too; they
can hear the P.A. when it’s slapping back
from the room.” “They play into it,” Saunders
confirms.
That said, he thinks the sound system is
great for this particular venue. “If it was a bad
system, we’d have to augment it with some-
thing, anything—I don’t care what it is. Is it
old? Is it warm? Put it everywhere.”
The size of the venues has increased dur-
ing the course of the tour, moving up from
clubs to theaters, with Terminal 5’s capacity
around 2,000. Because the venues vary from
night to night, Lammi notes that the Recall
feature on a digital board wouldn’t help, even
if they carried one. “For me, even if I have the
[memory] card, I’ll just dial it up from scratch.
The club asked me if I had a card today, but
since it’s a different room…” Saunders finish-
es for him: “There’s no continuity so you can’t
rely on what you had in another room.”
“The trick is to make it sound consistent, no
matter what we’ve had,” Lammi says. Sometimes
this means that he has to sort through a pile of
wedge monitors in the club (the band does not
use in-ears) and determine what’s working and
what isn’t, occasionally fixing an amp just so the
show can go on. Lately though, their luck has
been good, and Lammi says they’ve played in a
lot of decent rooms with good systems.
Monitor engineer Jon Lammi
and FOH engineer Kenyatta
Kelo Saunders at Terminal 5’s
Yamaha PM5D desk
Saadiq kickin’ it old school with a
background vocalist
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 45
Terminal 5 uses Clair Global systems for
both monitor and main loudspeaker systems.
There are 10 to 20 i2121 line array speakers per
side, with eight CS218 floor sub-low speakers,
and 2-1 S218 cluster sub-low speakers per side.
Both systems have Lab.gruppen amplifiers and
Dolby Lake Processors (LP4D12s on the main
speaker system and LP4D8s on the monitors).
With this system, Lammi can mix without a lot of
EQ’ing onstage. Plus, “the band isn’t that loud, so
that helps,” he adds. “They’re great, very profes-
sional. And nobody is trying to take over onstage
at all, so it’s just a matter of balancing them.”
“The processors fine-tune everything and
add a lot of warmth,” Saunders says. “Whatev-
er Jon does will play into the house, and vice
versa. It’s kind of a game that he and I play
back and forth to keep the balance.”
Working With the Band
The band comprises two backing vocalists,
Erika Jerry and B.J. Kemp; drummer Lemar
Carter; keyboardist Charles Jones, playing two
Yamaha Motifs and a Nord Electro for organ
sounds (“Sometimes we get lucky and we get
a Leslie and a B3,” Saunders says); saxophonist
Scott Mayo; trumpeter Jamelle Williams; bass-
ist Calvin Turner; and guitarist Bacon. Saadiq
plays an additional guitar.
All of the singers use Shure SM58s, the
only microphones that the tour carries (for hy-
gienic reasons). Saunders uses a longer plate
reverb on the vocals, with an occasional hall
reverb. “We really like plates because they
are kind of old-school, like Raphael,” he says.
“When he recorded the album, he used a real
plate and everything was original, so it was
really true to that style of music—Motown
and Stax.” Lammi also uses a plate reverb on
Saadiq’s vocals in the monitors so the vocal-
ists can get the effect in their mixes. “I’ll take
a plate reverb in the console and I’ll take off
all the highs in the wedges, a bit of the lows
and give him this bed to play with so it doesn’t
sound too sterile onstage,” he says.
The trumpet and sax are miked with Senn-
heiser 421s. “We had two other horn players
[ from P-Funk] and they preferred an SM58.
They were very old school; actually, one was Par- rr
liament’s horn player,” Saunders says. “So they
were just masters at working the 58. But some
people can’t maneuver around it in the same
way, so we’re using 421s now. They’re adding a
little deeper dimension to the horns. We want it
to sound dark, and they’re a little bit brighter, but
we can shape it enough to be darker.”
For the kick drum, Saunders mikes the
inside with an SM91 or a Shure Beta, and
the outside with an Audix D6, which he calls
“my all-time favorite kit mic. It automatical-
ly dumps out or rejects the trash you don’t
want, and it has a tremendous bottom end
and a little click to it.” The snare top and bot-
tom take SM57s and Saunders adds a short
plate reverb to that sound. Sennheiser e 604s
or Audix D2s are on toms, while overheads
see AKG 414s. Saunders notes, however, that
things change from night to night depend-
ing on the club’s microphone package.
The tour ended shortly after the Terminal
5 show, and Saadiq headed back into the stu-
dio to record his next album. Of his touring
band, Saadiq says, “I’m just very fortunate to
have a group of musicians who listen to my al-
bum, and everybody tries to make the sounds
live like it sounds on the record. I think it’s
very important that we play with that spirit
and energy; I think that’s what carries into the
music. There’s a technical thing, but there’s a
mental/technical aspect that makes it all coin-
cide and work together.”
Gaby Alter is a New York City–based writer.
46 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
Promoting a newly released album—Save Me, San
Francisco—Train contracted with LMG Touring to
provide video, audio and lighting support for its
North American tour. The full audio control pack-
age includes two custom-built touring rigs (for
front-of-house engineer Rob Thomas and produc-
tion manager/monitor engineer Rob Greene) built
around Digidesign VENUE Profile consoles. Each
mix zone includes integrated mini-computers
equipped with Pro Tools, iTunes, Smaart software
and system control software.
The monitor system uses L-Acoustics 115XT
wedges, dV-SUBs and ARCS with couplers,
and takes full advantage of the Digidesign
PQ control system. Also in the package are 12
LA48 amps, XTA processing, an LMG Touring
TM passive split system (74 pairs), Sennheiser
ew300 IEM G2, and an assortment of mics,
including Shure UHF-R wireless.
According to Greene, “As a production
manager, I love that LMG can provide every-
thing I need to put on a show. As a sound engi-
neer, I love the quality, reliability and packaging
of the gear.”
Duncan Sheik FOH Engineer Adam Robinson
At FOH, the versatility really just contin-
ues for me. As sound engineers, we all
become very familiar with the sound of
those 1/3-octave centers and think of our
tunings in that respect. So many times,
I’ve started thinking, “I need less 800 Hz
in this system” only to put a filter in at
800 and find that it’s not exactly what I
was hearing. A sweep in either direction
locates that problem zone at maybe 750
or 900, etc. Any parametric EQ can help
achieve this but the Lake is one of the
few where I can grab a tablet, sit in the
audience and make my changes away from the console, which today seems to get put in worse
and worse positions at venues.
::
ve liv
Randy Meullier,
Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper and band are rocking their way
through the UK and Europe on their Theatre
of Death tour. Cooper’s longtime FOH engi-
neer, Randy Meullier, spoke with Mix as he
was winding down the last four shows of the
2009 tour; the band
goes back out again
this spring.
How much gear are you carrying?
We are carrying all backline, stage set, props
and a complete monitor IEM package and
FOH console, the amazing [Soundcraft]
Vi6. We use Precise Corporate Staging from
Phoenix in the U.S. and SSE from the UK in
Europe. Our recent UK tour had us carrying
a full L-Acoustics V-DOSC rig from SSE.
What is the most important part of your mix?
Keeping Alice Cooper’s vocals loud and
clear above the band. The fans know every
word and want to hear them.
How do you compensate in your mix due to
the loud stage volume?
I need a powerful, well-tuned P.A., and I
am constantly balancing the vocal with the
guitars and trying to keep him above them.
I have one hand on the vocal and the other
on the guitars. It can get tricky at times.
What is your go-to piece of gear?
Nothing special as far as outboard gear. I
am very happy with what the Vi6 has in it,
so I guess you could say that right now the
Vi6 is my tool of choice.
When you’re not on the road, where can we
find you?
I live in Pittsburgh and am looking forward
to some down time and a bed that isn’t
moving.
|:1( |:z
SOUNDCHECK
||\ ||
Alice Cooper (left) and front-of-house
engineer Randy Meullier
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Train Rolls Along With LMG
Clockwise from above: Train performing; front-of-house
engineer Rob Thomas at the Digidesign Profile; and monitor
engineer Rob Greene, also at a Profile.
P
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WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 47
WorxAudio Upgrades TL1801 Woofer
The new TL1801A long-excursion, high-output
sub bass loudspeaker has a high-temperature
neodymium magnet surround-
ing an underhung voice coil
encased in a low-carbon
steel structure. The
52-pound, 18-inch di-
ameter unit’s driver
has two inches
of peak-to-peak,
fully linear excur-
sion, and the
TL1801A is pres-
ently incorporated
into the company’s
TrueLine Series TL218SS and TL118SS sub bass
enclosures.
www.worxaudio.com
road-worthy gear
QSC Flyable Four-Way Speaker
The DCS SC-424-8F
flyable, four-way tri-
amplified speaker
system is designed
f or l ar ge- f or mat
cinemas that re-
qui re suspended
mounting of screen
channels or point-
source surrounds. The MHV-1090F mid-high/
very high-frequency system has a horn-loaded
10-inch midrange cone driver and a coaxial
neodymium HF/VHF compression driver. The
dual-15 LF-4215-8F LF enclosure is designed
for safe, easy suspension via M10 fly points.
The system can be arrayed horizontally or
vertically.
www.qsc.com
Switchcraft Ships A/V Direct Box
Now shipping, the SC700CT A/V direct box is ideal
for connecting the outputs of MP3 players, PCs,
laptops, CD players and other audio devices to
gear with XLR inputs. The SC700CT converts high-
impedance stereo or mono line-level audio devices
and musical instruments having
1
/8-inch stereo,
RCA or ¼-inch connections to a low-impedance/
balanced/isolated mono mic-level signal. Ground
lift and -20dB pad switches are standard, as is a
rugged case with recessed connectors.
www.switchcraft.com
|:ã1 |ª
Yamaha Croons With “Sammy”
The Tony Award–winning
Old Globe (San Diego, Calif.)
is hosting hit play Sammy,
based on the life of Sammy
Davis Jr. Sound design was
handled by John Shivers and
David Patridge, with gear
provided by Masque Sound.
The duo took advantage of
the theater’s Yamaha PM5D digital audio
consoles, citing the ability to cascade the in-
puts from a MY16-AT card to bus the sound
effects system into the P.A. Effects were
programmed using QLab Version 2 that was
used as a master cue list to recall scenes in
the PM5D. QLab’s audio was routed over
optical from an RME Fireface 800 to the
PM5D’s card slot, cascaded to the buses
and, in turn, routed to various speakers.
Patridge says that a Yamaha DM1000
was paired with two AD8HR external preamp
units to serve as a submix for drums and
percussion, as the sound design for Sammy
exceeded the inputs available on the PM5D.
“We like the higher-quality microphone pre-
amps available via the AD8HR and the ability
to pair them with Yamaha’s product line of
digital consoles using MY slots, and serial
control of preamp functional-
ity is very convenient.”
Old Globe engineer Erik
Carstensen handled FOH
mixing duties, and this is the
second project he has mixed
for Shivers and Patridge.
“Erik combines a good
deal of industry experience
as a sound engineer with
a calm and good-natured
demeanor⎯ rr an excellent combination for a ⎯
venue that could easily produce 15 different
works in a season,” Patridge says.
Adds Carstensen, “I find that changing
and storing EQ and dynamics settings, for
example, is achieved quickly—vital in the pro-
duction process where audio usually doesn’t
get a lot of time to get it right. On top of that,
using the PM5D with our DME64N has been
very reliable, show after show.”
Old Globe theater’s
FOH engineer, Erik
Carstensen
Sound Image FOH Russell Fischer is using a Studer
Vista 5 SR console for the current Taylor Swift tour; mics
are Audio-Technica 500 Series…Each Jump the Gun
bandmember is using an Aviom A-16CS control surface
onstage paired with an A-16R rackmount mixer to cus-
tomize his own mix. Monitors include Shure PSM6000
personal in-ear systems…According to Roger Daltrey
FOH engineer Mark Brnich (Eighth Day Sound), guitar-
ist Simon Townshend is using a 3RD Power Amplification
HLH100 guitar amp system…Miranda Lambert’s front-
of-house and production manager/monitor engineers—
Jason Macalik and Chris Newsom, respectively—chose
dual DiGiCo SD8s as part of their “all-digital” setup…JSL
Productions selected D.A.S. Audio’s Aero Series 2 sound
system for Fireflight’s recent stretch of gigs.
Rob Thomas performs during his Cradlesong tour
with the Sennheiser SKM 5200 handheld transmit-
ter with a Neumann KK 104 capsule.
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48 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
Photos and text by Steve Jennings
Hagler mans a Yamaha PM5D,
a board he has used since an
Aly & AJ tour in 2005. “It’s really
fast and I like the SPX-2000 ef-
fects,” he says. “I haven’t seen
too much that has impressed
me in the dynamics world, so I would rather just bring my little rack out front
with me and tie it in.” Outboard gear includes a Drawmer 1960 tube pre/comp
that he uses to take some of the transparency out of the vocals and a Line 6
Echo Pro that he puts on vocals; all other effects are onboard.
As the tour is not carrying full production (except mics, claws and Z-bars),
Hagler will spec a 5D or contact Clair Global for a D-Show.
Interestingly, the tour does not have a monitor engineer, something
Hagler is nonplussed about, “but between myself and the stage crew, we are
able to make it work in a timely manner. So, my question: ‘When is someone
going to invent the rackmounted coffee maker?’”
FFr Fr Fro Fro Fro r Fro F nnnnnnt nt ntt- nt- nn of- of f- of- f- of oo ho ho hou ou ouu hou ou o hhoo se se se se sse se se se s
eng eng eng eng ng ng nggggg en eeen en e gggggiinnne ne e iinneer/ r/ r/ e tto to tou ouu to r r rrr
mman an an nnnag ag ag ag ag age age age age gee ag age ageee ag agggeee ag r J r J JJJ rr J Jooh ohn hn hnn oh
Haag Haaglller er er rr lerr a aaaat atttt attt aat at at at at aat a at at att aattt ttthhh tth ttth th tth th t ttth thhh t th ttth tth thh ttt eee eeee ee
YYam amm Y m Yam YYYa aaha aha aa aha PPPPM PPM PM PM PMMMMMMMMMMM PM PMMM PMMMM PPPMMM55D 5D 55D 5D DDDDD 5D 55D DD 55D 5D 555D 5D D 5DD D 55
bo boa boa oa oa oa bo rd d. d rd d. rd
Vocalist/guitarist Andrew Stockdale sings through a Shure
Beta 58A. “Nothing is going to sound better on his vocal,”
says front-of-house engineer/tour manager John Hagler,
“especially to lift him above the guitars. I’ve tried to get
away from using it, but every time I ended up just EQ’ing the
thing to sound like a 58A, so
I always go back to it.” His
amps (below right) take two
SM57s: one on the Marshall
and one on the Vox.
On the heels of their stint as
main support for The Killers’
latest tour, Wolfmother have
taken a headlining spot,
out promoting their latest
album, Cosmic Egg. Bring-
ing a little “green” to the
tour, the Australian rock-
in’ foursome partnered
with Musictoday and
Trees for the Future; a
tree will be planted in
a third-world country
for every pre-sale ticket sold. In
addition, the tour is saving re-
sources by carrying very limited
gear. Mix caught the show at
Oakland, Calif.’s Fox Theater.
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 49
Guitarist Aidan Nemeth’s Vox AC30 combo takes Hagler’s “secret
weapon”: an Audio-Technica dual-element AE2500. “It quickly be-
came my favorite mic after I picked it up in 2004,” Hagler recalls.
“I used a 57/98 combo for a while and really liked that, but the
AE2500 has elements that are just that much better.” Ampeg amps
take D112s (bass cab).
According to guitar tech S. Dwayne Bruner, guitarist Andrew
Stockdale plays through a 220V Marshall Plexi 100-watt head and a
110V Vox AC30 head, “meaning that we have to be running a trans-
former of some sort no matter where we are.” Stockdale’s pedal-
board comprises a Boss TU-2, Radial Tonebone, Fulltone Clyde wah
and Supa-Trem, an Electro Harmonix Microsynth and Small Stone
phaser, AC Booster and DigiTech Whammy. All are patched into a
true bypass looper/switcher array and powered by a Voodoo Labs
Pedal Power 2+. “A guitar tech’s best tools are a combo of intuition
and inventiveness,” he says. “As a
friend once said, ‘Repairing gear
onstage is triage, not surgery.’”
Dave Atkins’ kit is
miked with a Beta 52
(kick), SM57 (snare
top and bottom), SM81
(hi-hat), Sennheiser
e 604s (toms) and
KSM32 (overheads).
Keyboardist/bassist Ian Peres is miked with a Beyer M88, “an all-
around amazing mic with great low-end response, and it smooths
out the grating high end from the Rhodes,” Hagler says.
According to drum/bass/keyboard tech Judd Kalish, Peres
plays a Fender 1962 reissue bass through an Ampeg SVT VR
head and an 8x10. Keyboards are a Korg CX-3 and Rhodes pia-
no. “For bass guitar, I use a Korg Pitchblack chromatic tuner,
a Dimebag Darell wah pedal, a Way Huge Swollen Pickle dis-
tortion pedal and an Electro Harmonix English Muff’n pedal,”
Kalish says. The CX-3 sees an original Electro Harmonix Mem-
ory Man Deluxe delay pedal. “For the Rhodes, I use a Crowther
Audio Hotcake distortion pedal and an Electro Harmonix reis-
sue Memory Man pedal.”
Drum/bass/keyboard
tech Judd Kalish
Drummer
Dave Atkins
Bassist Ian Peres plays a
Fender 1962 reissue; Peres
also mans the keyboards.
Guitarist Aidan
Nemeth
Guitar tech S.
Dwayne Bruner
Nemeth’s Vox
AC30 and Peres’
Ampeg amps
One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866
The only limit is your imagination.
800-775-0065 º 714-997-6765
FTV.CHAPMAN.EDU
ROBERT BASSETT, DEAN
John Badham/
DIRECTOR
Saturday Night Fever,
WarGames
Alexandra Rose/PRODUCER
Norma Rae,
Frankie and Johnny
Lawrence Paull/
PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Back to the Future, Blade Runner
Paul Seydor/EDITOR
White Men Can’t Jump,
Barbershop II
Bill Dill/CINEMATOGRAPHER
Dancing in September, The Five Heartbeats
Chapman University is accredited by and is a member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
MFA IN FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCING
MFA IN SCREENWRITING
MFA IN PRODUCTION DESIGN
MFA IN FILM PRODUCTION: CinemaIography º DirecIing º EdiIing º 5ound Design
JD/MFA IN FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCING
MBA/MFA IN FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCING
David Ward/
WRITER/DIRECTOR
Sleepless in Seattle,
The Sting
fiIm has Ihe pover Io make us Iaugh or cry, Io
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your passions or bringing Ii!e Io your ideas Ihrough
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aI Chapman UniversiIy has Ihe highIy accompIished
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resources Io heIp you reach your goaIs.
Learn more. CaII us. VisiI us onIine.
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ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
No 5ecreIs,
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WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 51
‘Lost,’ The Final Chapter
(.07*&45:-&406/%"5 .*9*/( %*4/&:1045130%6$5*0/
It’s mid-morning in Walt Disney Post
Production Service’s Room Six, and the
sound editorial team for ABC-TV’s Lost
is taking notes from executive produc- cc
er Bryan Burk on an opening episode
from Season 6. “We need to make the
traffic sounds more frantic, with more
horns,” they hear over a Polycom In-
ternet link from Burk’s office in Santa
Monica, Calif. “When the cab leaves, I
need a lot more car horns.”
The hour-long drama series first
came to TV in September 2004 and
was an instant success for co-creators
Damon Lindelof, J.J. Abrams and Jef- ff
frey Lieber. Produced by ABC Studios,
Bad Robot Productions and Grass Skirt
Productions, Lost has now reached its t
final season, as it follows the lives of
plane-crash survivors on a mysterious
tropical island somewhere in the South
Pacific. The series has developed a
large cult following and earned a well-
deserved reputation for intricate sound
editorial. The crew is now focusing
on Season 6—including the two-hour
opening to air on February 2.
“We’ll cut some alternatives,”
agrees Lost supervising sound editor t
Tom de Gorter in response to a quick
glance from Scott Weber, sound effects
re-recording mixer, currently seated
at the Avid Digidesign ICON D-Con-
trol console that dominates Room Six.
“Let’s move on to audition some of the
music cues,” offers music editor Alex
Levy. Composer Michael Giacchino’s
music cues are recorded weekly using
a 20-piece orchestra.
Under de Gorter’s supervision,
sound effects are edited by Paula Fair- rr
field and Carla Murray at MHz Sound
By Mel Lambert
::
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52 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
::
sfp lost
Design; both sound designers joined the show
at the beginning of Season 3 and have worked
together for 12 years. “Lost is an extremely busy t
TV show,” Murray says, “with sound-designed
moods and signature textures,” including The Is-
land disappearing at the end of Season 4 and the
flash-forward sequences initiated in Season 5.
Fairfield works primarily on backgrounds,
vehicles and ambiences, while Murray looks af- ff
ter hard effects; they both work on sound design
elements. “The show is wall-to-wall effects,” Fair- rr
field stresses. “We like to offer lots of options for
the re-recording stage; we put together everything
we can think of, although they may be dropped
later. We also carefully catalog everything so that
the same sound signature will be used.”
The sound designers deliver two Pro Tools
sessions: one of mono/stereo (and occasionally
5.1-channel) hard effects; and backgrounds in
4, 5.1 and 3-channel/L/C/R formats. “We have
standard templates that we worked out with
Scott [Weber],” Fairfield offers, “so that the ma-
terials are delivered in a consistent format for
each show. For most episodes we might deliv-
er up to 150 tracks; for the Season 5 two-hour
finale”—and the opening episode for Season
6—“we produced close to 500 tracks; there were
a lot of late decisions on those shows!”
ICON Control Surfaces
Weber is joined by dialog/music re-recording
mixer Frank Morrone at the D-Control console,
which features 16 on-surface faders for dialog/
music and 32 for FX/backgrounds/Foley. Each
section has custom faders that can be used in one
of three modes: Custom Groups, for which faders
can be arranged and built in any order and config-
urations recalled with a single button push; VCA
Master and Spill, in which the VCA group mas-
ters can be spilled into the slaves within a defined
section; and Custom Fader Plug-In for mapping
controls of favorite plug-ins onto faders.
Each D-Control section
can control up to four Pro Tools
HD systems from each surface,
bank-switched one at a time. “We
run 72-channel HD6 systems for
the effects and mix systems,”
Weber explains, “plus 32-chan-
nel HD2s for Foley, BG, music
and ADR/group playback, a 32-
channel HD1 for music playback
and a 56-channel HD2 as stem
recorder, all running on Mac Pro
[computers].” Playback monitors
comprise three M&K MPS-150
active cabinets on stands in front
of the mixers for L/C/R, plus the room’s subwoof- ff
ers and surround units.
“Our overall stem masters are actually mul-
tichannel aux faders that are used to build an en-
tire submix,” Weber explains. “For instance, on
my section I have an aux fader as a 6-channel ef- ff
fects master that receives the effects mix before
it routes to the recorder. Here I put a brick-wall
limiter set at -2 dB to keep the input from clip-
ping on loud effects; this also gives me a trim
on every channel. That is followed by a 3-band
Massenburg EQ and then an ML4000 compres-
sor/limiter. I start the mix with only the limiter
active, and insert EQ and compression as I need
them” to minimize the DSP load. “I do the same
with reverb and sub sends.
“On a typical session,” Weber continues,
“all effects are routed through a 5-channel mas-
ter chain that has an L1 limiter, Massenburg EQ
and sends, set to a ceiling of +18 dB for the ef- ff
fects stem. As well as a 5-channel chain, I also
have a stereo chain to spread things into 5.1 using
a combination of Dolby Surround Tools, Waves
PS22 Spreader, delays and some stereo reverbs.
I can call up the stem masters on a custom fader
bank, just as I would my reverb returns or guide
tracks. The VCA-style faders control groups of
pre-assign tracks from the [Pro Tools] editor. For
example, my basic 64 effects tracks are controlled
by eight VCA masters in groups of eight tracks. ”
One of the effects mixer’s biggest challeng-
es is maintaining detail within a very dense and
complicated soundtrack. “When we are asked to
make the scene be music-driven, have the effects
play at a ‘10’ and still be able to clearly hear every
line of dialog that is a tall task! It’s a dance, and
we are getting better at taking things out to make
room for other things to play.”
“My dialog processing chain within Pro
Tools,” Morrone says, “comprises a McDSP
ML4000 routed into a Massenburg EQ, followed
by a McDSP de-esser and then into a NJ575 Notch
Filter, as necessary, and finally into a Waves LZ
limiter to hold everything back to the ABC/Dis-
ney delivery-reference level. I set up the custom
faders as dialog master, ADR master, group mas-
ter, music master and overall master for dialog,
ADR, group and music, and finally reverb return
master. That way I can easily control the submix
stems on a single fader or then spill them out
across the same 8-channel bank to refine individ-
ual front-channel and surrounds for the 5.1-chan-
nel submixes and final. We print stems of music,
dialog, foreign dialog, ADR, Futz and principal
effects, plus a group stem, which streamlines the
preparation of M&Es for foreign-language ver- rr
sions, which we develop after print mastering.
“Although I try not to EQ the music tracks,
I have a Massenburg [Pro Tools] plug-in across
the music master that I use to roll-off or bright-
en the tracks; I sometimes use a McDSP Futz
filter to mimic a source cue being replayed on a
radio, for example.
“Since we don’t get the luxury of a premix
on dialog,” Morrone continues, “while Scott
[Weber] does a pass on effects—or vice versa—I
am premixing tracks via headphones.” The mix-
er’s biggest challenge is cleaning up produc- cc
tion sound and eliminating noise on the tracks.
“Our production mixers do a great job,” he con-
cedes, “but, unfortunately, they can only do so
much with some of the locations they have to
work with. Getting the production to work on
the beach is always a challenge because cer- rr
tain characters don’t project, and then dialog is
tough to pull out of the backgrounds.”
As the review session continues in Room
Six, Burk is commenting on sound effects for a
critical scene within a large temple and pool. “We
need deeper bubbles,” he offers. “And can we take
out the low end so that it doesn’t sound so much
like a Jacuzzi?” Weber makes a note and huddles
with de Gorter. “We have three stereo pairs of wa-
ter sounds,” the supervising sound editor advises.
“Can you make the drips louder?” Burk queries.
They hear the result. “It sounds better,” Burk
agrees, “but keep out the rumble. And it sounds
too ‘drippy’—maybe we can back off the drips?”
The team concludes that the material they have
will need to be recut to offer more options, so a
call goes out from de Gorter to the sound design-
ers to prepare some alternates that will be avail-
able the next day for review. “We need separate
elements to fulfill the producer’s requirements,”
de Gorter confirms. The mix continues.
Mel Lambert heads up Media&Marketing (www.
mediaandmarketing.com), a full-service consulting
service for pro-audio firms and facilities.
Lost audio post-production crew (from left): Frank Morrone, Alex t
Levy, Paula Fairfield, producer Ra’uf Glasgow, Carla Murray, Scott
Weber and Tom de Gorter
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Do you live in an apartment? Ever tried to mix late
at night? Ever wanted to check your mix on different
kinds of speakers? The Saffire PRO 24 DSP Audio
Interface with VRM technology is perfect for you! Call
Sweetwater today to find out how VRM can help you get
great reference mixes at any time of the day or night!
www.sweetwater.com/focusrite
NEW PRODUCTS
56 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
Super-Clean Gain Module
TRUE Systems PT2-500
A descendant of the TRUE Systems (www.true-
systems.com) Precision 8, the PT2-500 ($650)
mic preamp is a 500 Series module featuring up
to 70 dB of gain, switchable phantom power, an
80Hz highpass filter and polarity reverse. Other
features include a DI input, DI Thru for ampli-
fication and effects, and a promised frequency
response of 1.5 to 600k Hz (-3 dB).
The Sub7 ($550) subwoofer from ADAM Audio (www.adam-audio
.com) is designed for use with ADAM’s A5 self-powered desktop
monitors. It comes in matte-black, piano-black and piano-white
finishes; and is equipped with balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA
I/O connectors. Other features include a polarity switch, 85Hz
highpass filter and a wireless remote control for adjusting both
the volume and the crossover frequency from the sweet spot.
Sound Devices 552 Production Mixer
Portable Mixing Partner
Sound Devices’ (www.sounddevices.com) 552 ($2,895) integrates a por-
table mixer and recorder that features five Lundahl transformer-balanced
microphone inputs with a wide dynamic range. Each input offers front
el gain control of mic/line sources and has an LED indicating phantom-power pan
status, a sweepable highpass filter and pre- or post-fade direct output. The integrated 2-track, 24-bit/96kHz digital audio
recorder writes Broadcast WAV files or MP3 files to SD and SDHC media, and al-
lows the user to assign either the outputs or combinations of inputs and outputs
as record sources. The 552 also allows for stereo linking of input pairs 1/2 and
3/4, offers sunlight-viewable 21-segment peak/VU meters with Zoom mode, and
is equipped with a voice-driven setup and option menu. Four AA batteries or an
external 10-18 VDC can power the unit.
ADAM Sub7 Subwoofer
How Low
Can You Go?
airlightau.com) has introduced a new 6-fader extension module that Fairlight (fa
mixing control to the Xynergi hardware platform. The Xe6 Fader Exten adds tactile m -
) works with the Xynergi tactile controller to create a desktop production sion (price TBA
s moving faders and basic channel functions at the user’s fingertips. The system that places
FPGA-based CC-1 digital media engine in all SD and HD file formats. Xynergi runs on the F
Feel the Xynergi
Fairlight XE6 Extension Module
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 57
Near Your Ears
Akai RPM8 Studio Monitors
Easy Tuner
BIAS PitchCraft EZ
PitchCraft EZ ($149) from BIAS (www.bias-inc.com) is a pitch-modification plug-in available for
Mac/PC hosts supporting VST/AU and RTAS/AudioSuite formats. Promising an easy-to-use
interface and pro-quality results, its features include pitch correction and scale conformation
across a variety of scale types that can be customized using a mouse or MIDI keyboard. Pitch-
Craft EZ also offers independent formant and transposition controls for creating both natural
and artificial effects, such as changing gender or “resizing” a vocal.
Handy Hardware Leveler
JDK Audio R22
The RPM8 ($499 each) studio monitors from Akai (www.akaipro.com) are two-way, active, bi-amped
(80W/40W) near-field speakers featuring an 8-inch woven Kevlar LF driver and a 1-inch silk-dome
tweeter. Weighing 32 pounds and measuring 17.5x11x13.5 inches (HxWxD), the magnetically shielded
MDF cabinets offer dual front ports and an optimized waveguide for control of directivity and reduc-
tion of early reflections. Other features include bicolor LED clip indicator, balanced XLR and ¼-inch
TRS inputs, and playback up to 113dB SPL with a frequency response from 39 to 20k Hz.
TILT ($2,450) is a single-rackspace, 8-channel tone con-
trol from Tonelux (www.tonelux.com; dist. by TransAu-
dio Group, www.transaudiogroup.com) that rebalances
a channel’s high- and low-frequency content with a
single knob. First featured on the company’s MP1a dis-
crete mic preamp module, TILT is centered on approxi-
mately 700 Hz and boosts high frequencies from up to
6 dB while simultaneously cutting low frequencies by
the same amount when turned fully to the right. When
turned to the left, low frequencies are boosted by up
to 6 dB while high frequencies are similarly cut. Each
channel features a rotary TILT control knob, in/out and
polarity-reverse switches, and separate LED indication
of signal presence and clipping. I/O is provided
via XLR connectors with a D-
Sub multipin con-
nector offering I/O
access for all eight
channels.
Formerly the brand known as Arsenal from creator API, the JDK Audio
(jdkaudio.com) R22 ($1,195) is a 2-channel rack-mount compressor with link-
able stereo operation.
Features include RMS
power summing, a pat-
ented Thrust circuit for
chest-hitting low end,
LED gain indicators
and switchable analog
metering between the output level and gain reduction. There is switchable
hard- or soft-knee compression, variable threshold, ratio and make-up gain,
and balanced I/O via XLR or TRS connectors.
Sonic Seesaw
Tonelux TILT
58 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
R E V I E W S
By Jim Aikin
The new Melodyne Editor from Celemony is ide Th -
al for wrestling wayward notes up or down mi-
croscopically in pitch without affecting the rest of
the performance. But the big news in this release
is the debut of Direct Note Access (DNA) tech-
nology. Until now, pitch correction has only been
practical with monophonic music tracks. But
with DNA, you can literally reach into a chord
and nudge a single note up or down in pitch, ad-
just its start time or amplitude, or mute it entirely.
This feature has some fairly stringent limitations
as you’ll read below but, yes, it really does work.
Currently, DNA is available only in Melo-
dyne Editor, not in the higher-priced Melodyne
Studio, which records and edits multitrack ses-
sions. I installed the Editor version in my WinXP
PC (also available for Mac OS) and encountered
only one trivial technical problem: To transfer
audio reliably from a DAW into the plug-in, I
had to crank up my ASIO buffer size to 1,024.
Back to Basics
Melodyne can operate either stand-alone or as
a plug-in, but it’s not a real-time processor. In
plug-in mode, you transfer a track (or a por- rr
tion thereof) into a slave instance of the Melo-
dyne Editor by clicking the Transfer button and
then playing back the track. Thereafter, the plug-
in’s output replaces the audio coming from the
track, but only in sections you’ve transferred.
Once audio is loaded, the program takes a
few seconds to analyze it and then displays it as
“blobs” on a piano-roll grid. The first stage in
editing is to go through the file and make sure
that the analysis found all of the correct notes.
You’ll sometimes need to split or combine blobs.
Depending on the source material, this process
may be quick or may take a few minutes. With a
cello track, for instance, I sometimes find that a
half-step mordent (a quick upward ornament) is
analyzed as a pitch fluctuation within the main
note. Two quick clicks with the Note Separation
Tool split the ornament apart so that I can adjust
each note separately.
You can edit single notes or select a group.
Two dialog boxes—Correct Pitch and Quantize
Time—are available for group edits, and all of the
tools used for individual note edits will also work
on groups. These dialog boxes both have percent-
age sliders so you don’t need to end up with a ro-
botic-sounding track. You can adjust note pitches
up or down, either in half-steps or microtonally,
as well as adjust the amount of pitch modulation
(vibrato) or pitch drift (a “tilt” between the begin-
ning of a note and its end). The pitch glide from
one note to the next can be made smoother or
more abrupt. Note amplitudes can be adjusted;
notes can be shortened or lengthened
and moved back or forward in time.
You can drag a note’s formants up
or down without affecting its base pitch.
The formant tool seems to work best with
vocal material rather than with instru-
ments. Notes that are greatly lengthened
sound synthetic, but small rhythmic ad-
justments sound natural. Singers’ vibrato
also embodies amplitude and formant changes,
and removing the pitch modulation in Melo-
dyne will have no effect on these dimensions of
the sound, so you’ll still hear some “vibrato.”
Melodyne has a separate algorithm for ana-
lyzing rhythmic material. I tried loading a few
drum loops and found it easy to add swing or
adjust the timing of individual notes. Melodyne
won’t import groove templates, but it will export
an analyzed file (either pitched or rhythmic) as a
MIDI file. With this feature, you can extract the
groove from audio and use it elsewhere, double
a recorded sax solo with a MIDI synth track, or
trigger a replacement kick or snare.
The plug-in syncs to the host’s bar-line map
and responds to the host’s transport. You can
also start and loop playback directly from within
the plug-in, which is useful for editing.
Polyphonic Audio Editing
With polyphonic tracks, the process of editing
Melodyne’s analysis so as to identify the right
notes can be quite fiddly—and it’s easy to see
why. After analyzing the frequency content of
the audio, the plug-in has to decide which sine
wave partials belong to which notes. The soft-
ware will sometimes think that prominent
overtones are separate notes or will skip notes
PRODUCT SUMMARY
COMPANY: Celemony
WEB: www.celemony.com
PRODUCT: Melodyne Editor
PRICE: $349
PROS: Pitch and time cor-
rection, formant editing, vi-
brato and glissando control.
Seamless plug-in operation.
CONS: Polyphonic audio
requires homogenous source
and hand-editing.
Celemony Melodyne Editor
The Dawn of Polyphonic Pitch Correction
Melodyne Editor lets you edit the pitch and timing of audio with pinpoint precision.
60 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
REVIEWS CELEMONY
because it thinks they’re overtones. It can also in-
terpret small artifacts as the beginnings of new
notes or miss low-level areas within a long note,
turning it into two separated notes.
Two sliders help you with the analysis: One
adds more “possible” notes (grayed out) to the
display and the other changes the threshold that
turns possible notes into actual detected notes.
Notes can be activated or deactivated (returned to
the “possibles” category) by double-clicking. As
you mouse over a region, a gray haze indicates
sonic energy that Melodyne didn’t even consider
a possible note. You can turn this into an analyzed
note by double-clicking. Once the analysis is com-
plete, you proceed to the normal editing process,
changing note pitches and so on.
For an acid test, I tuned a steel-string acoustic
guitar carefully and then deliberately tuned the G
string flat and strummed four sustained chords.
About five minutes of hand editing were need-
ed to guide Melodyne to all of the notes in the
chords—and that was with an audio clip less than
15 seconds long. Hand-correcting the analysis of a
three-minute guitar track with lots of strumming
would take literally hours.
I then attempted to correct my out-of-tune
notes. Dragging them up to concert pitch was easy,
but the result didn’t sound pleasant or natural. My
theory about the difficulty is this: Even though I
told Melodyne where the fundamentals of the
out-of-tune notes were, it was still identifying cer- rr
tain overtones within those notes as belonging to
other notes, which meant that it didn’t move the
overtones when I moved the fundamental. With
a guitar chord, one string is likely to be doubling
another string at the octave, so this type of confu-
sion is almost inevitable. The note that sounded
best after editing (the G sharp in an open-position
E major chord) was one that wasn’t doubled at an
octave. (You can hear the results at www.mixon
line.com.)
Perfect Pitch
Melodyne Editor is my go-to software for fixing
pitch problems in monophonic audio. It’s easy to
use, has powerful tools and sounds great. DNA
could be very useful in a few situations, such as
fixing a flubbed note in a piano track, but it’s not
magic. In many cases, you’ll probably get better re-
sults (and just as quickly) by having the musician
do a punch or re-record the track. Still, this is the
roll-out of an entirely new technology. The future
of DNA looks very promising.
Jim Aikin is a regular contributor to Mix and x EM.
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62 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
R E V I E W S
As robust and full-featured as modern As
digital audio workstations can be, every
year or two it seems there’s a fresh new
upgrade promising features that any self-
respecting studio owner simply can’t live
without. Although it’s always wise to take
this sort of hype with a grain of salt, in
Cubase 5’s case, there’s some real merit
to the upgrade. There’s a healthy crop of
new plug-ins, a flexible new expression
tool for scoring professionals and inte-
grated pitch-correction tools that rival
the best third-party solutions on the mar- rr
ket. Couple this with additional enhance-
ments that make everyday studio life
easier, and you have an upgrade that’s not
critical by any means, but certainly com-
pelling for many users.
Upgraded Toolkit
The most obvious additions to Cubase 5 are the
new bundled plug-ins and audio editing tools.
Version 5 builds on the successful tool kit in-
cluded with earlier versions of Cubase and
includes a bevy of brand-new and updated plug-
ins that make the creative workflow smooth,
easy and self-contained. In some instances, the
upgraded tools are so convenient and compre-
hensive that they’ve reached functional parity
with all but the most advanced third-party plug-
ins, and in some cases they trump the competi-
tion in terms of usability and integration.
Cubase’s new Vari-Audio tool integrates di-
rectly into the program’s Sample Editor, and
at first glance looks like a dead-ringer for Cele-
mony’s Melodyne or Antares’ Auto-Tune. Vari-
Audio is tightly integrated into the standard
Cubase Audio Editor, and gaining access is easy
if you double-click any audio clip in the Arrange
window and select the Vari-Audio tool from the
editor’s slide menu. A piano-roll-style display of
notes is superimposed over the audio waveform,
which can then be directly manipulated using
Cubase’s Select and Cut tools. The attack and de-
cay portions of each note can be nudged up or
down independently, allowing you to create real-
istic transitions between notes, and the length of
each note can be adjusted to cover any elements
of the original file that might not have been prop-
erly detected during the analysis procedure.
For those of you who are less inclined to
get hands-on with individual note data, Cubase
provides a Pitch Quantize function that locks
detected note data to the nearest semitone, and
the Straighten Pitch parameter smoothes out vi-
brato or other pitch variations inside each note.
Both functions are adjustable, and I found that
judicious use of both yielded quick
yet realistic results on male and fe-
male vocals, with unnatural robot-
ic overtones creeping in only at the
most extreme settings.
As a regular user of Auto-Tune,
I found no need for the Auto-Tune
plug-in when using Vari-Audio,
and I preferred the direct integra-
tion between Cubase’s Audio Editor
and the Vari-Audio tool. It’s great having direct
control over individual audio clips, and I didn’t
miss strapping a VST pitch corrector across an
insert channel or exporting audio to an offline
editing program. Vari-Audio’s convenience is
a real boon to workflow and keeps the creative
juices flowing.
In those cases where a loose performance
just needs a slight nip-and-tuck nudge to get
into key, digging into individual note data with
Vari-Audio can be overkill. The new PitchCorrect
plug-in steps in here as the perfect quick-fix so-
lution. Strapping it across a channel insert offers
an easy way to auto-correct material to the clos-
est minor, major or chromatic scale, and I actu-
ally found myself reaching for this plug-in more
than Vari-Audio after awhile simply because it’s
so easy to use and produces great results.
New Life for Loops
As a producer who is heavily involved in the
dance and DJ scene, Cubase’s LoopMash put
a smile on my face from the start. Up to eight
loops can be loaded into the LoopMash plug-
in, and after one loop is selected to serve as the
master track, slices from the other seven can be
automatically substituted for parts of the mas-
ter loop during playback. The degree to which
slave loops are mixed in is controlled by a fad-
er to the left of each loop, and different loop
PRODUCT SUMMARY
COMPANY: Steinberg
PRODUCT: Cubase 5
PRICE: $599.99 (new), $199.99 (upgrade)
WEB: www.steinberg.net
PROS: Integrated graphic pitch
correction. Top-quality convolu-
tion reverb. Creative new rhythm
plug-ins. Native 64-bit support
on PC. Batch-channel-export
facility.
CONS: Built-in 32- to 64-bit
plug-in adapter can be unreli-
able on some plug-ins.
Steinberg Cubase 5 Advanced Production System
New Plug-Ins, 64-Bit Operation, Advanced Live and Studio Tools
Cubase 5 offers a variety of new plug-ins, plus tools for scoring and pitch correction.
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 63
By Jason Blum
“scenes” can be triggered using quick-access
buttons at the bottom of the plug-in, making it a
great tool for improvisation in live settings.
LoopMash might sound like a simple cut-
and-paste plug-in, but under the hood it’s quite
a bit more. It analyzes each loop and seeks to re-
place slices in the master clip by loosely match-
ing audio from the slaves so the plug-in’s output
maintains the same groove and dynamic feel as
the master and the resulting audio doesn’t degen-
erate into a cacophonous disaster. It’s not a perfect
science, but with a little practice and wise selec-
tion of source material, it’s fun and easy to twist
canned loops into something new and exotic.
Reverence
Convolution reverbs are nothing new, but Cubase
has always been light on good reverbs, so the new
REVerence plug-in is a welcome addition. REVer- rr
ence includes more than 70 impulses that cover a
wide assortment of sonic spaces, including genu-
ine real-world locations and sampled rack gear.
REVerence’s controls are, as with most con-
volution reverbs, less flexible than a standard
reverb plug-in. Five parameters—including ear- rr
ly reflections, pre-delay and size—are the only
real adjustments available, although a 3-band
EQ provides additional tonal shaping. Limited
controls notwithstanding, REVerence produces
outstanding results on par with any third-party
convolution reverb, and the beautiful GUI makes
switching presets quick and easy—very much
like working with rack gear and far simpler than
working with some other convolution plug-ins.
The ability to import additional impulses makes
REVerence a long-term keeper with plenty of po-
tential for expansion and exploration.
Forward Thinking
Sixty-four-bit operating systems are steadily gain-
ing market share, and large,
multi-gigabyte, high-sample-
rate libraries are demanding
more of the increased memory
space offered by these systems
every day. Though it’s unlike-
ly that desktop computers of- ff
fering the maximum 1 TB of
memory that 64-bit operating
systems offer will arrive any-
time soon, Cubase 5 is none-
theless fully capable of using
as much RAM as you can stuff
into your PC, and if you’re tran-
sitioning to 64-bit platforms, you’ll enjoy com-
plete backward compatibility with older 32-bit
VST plug-ins. This means that studios heavily
invested in legacy plug-ins won’t be left with an
arsenal of outdated tools. In relation to this, af- ff
ter talking with some Cubase 5 users who have
moved to 64-bit, I heard about and then con-
firmed an issue in using Cubase’s 32- to 64-bit
wrapper for older VST plug-ins. However, this
issue can be fixed by purchasing a third-party
wrapper called JBridge, which is in some cases
more reliable than Cubase’s built-in wrapper.
Apple’s OS X platform is still getting up to
speed with native 64-bit capability, and as a result
Cubase for Mac is still a 32-bit application. But
Steinberg is slowly laying the groundwork for
the 64-bit push by porting Cubase’s underlying
framework to the new Cocoa programming sys-
tem. It won’t impact the end-user experience any-
time soon, and although compatible hardware is
not yet available, Steinberg is planning for the in-
evitable transition.
Export Enhancements
One of the least conspicuous but most useful
workflow updates I enjoyed in Cubase 5 is the
channel batch-export fa-
cility in the Audio Mix-
down menu. With little
fanfare, Cubase 5 has qui-
etly simplified creating
track stems into a simple
point-and-click procedure
that can be done in min-
utes with what once took
hours. The Track Export
dialog now displays an ex-
plorer-style tree of tracks
in the current project and
a checkbox to select Chan-
nel Batch Export.
Batch exporting allows some or all of the
project’s discrete channels—including group,
effects and ReWire tracks—to be exported to
individual files in one fell swoop. All of the
standard export dialog options, such as BWF
tagging, channel splitting and project-import
features, are still available in this mode. This
will make life easier for anyone tasked with cre-
ating audio stems.
A True Value
Cubase 5 isn’t a revolutionary upgrade. Instead,
it’s focused on adding extra value to a proven
platform. The new version leans heavily on a
batch of new plug-ins that often duplicate func-
tions currently provided by third-party plug-
ins, so if you have an overlapping stable of VST
tools, you might not realize the same benefit in
upgrading as someone who relies purely on Cu-
base’s bundled plug-ins.
There aren’t any absolute “must-haves” in
Cubase 5’s arsenal, but for many users there
are compelling reasons to consider the up-
grade: The addition of Vari-Audio is an out-
standing feature that largely does away with
the need for third-party tuning plug-ins; the
REVerence convolution reverb is a top-notch
addition to Cubase’s reverbs; and the new
rhythm plug-ins are an absolute blast to work
with and make wonderful starting points for
musical explorations.
Combine these features with numerous
workflow optimizations, native 64-bit PC sup-
port and the wonderfully convenient Channel
Batch Export, and you have a package that adds
solid value and improves this DAW’s already
impressive game.
Jason Blum’s current endeavors are focused on com-
mercial mixing and mastering in his Los Angeles
studio.
LoopMash allows comping and live playback of loops.
REVerence is a new convolution plug-in that’s straightforward.
64 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
R E V I E W S
The Restore restoration suite from Sonnox is The
the result of 18 months of research into devel-
oping new tools that exploit recent advances in
computer and software technologies. This Na-
tive suite comprises DeClicker, DeBuzzer and
DeNoiser, which are available in RTAS (for Pro
Tools HD, LE and M-Powered systems), Audio
Units and VST formats for Mac and PC.
Completely unrelated to the old Sony
Restoration Tools and offering no backward
compatibility, each plug-in uses a two-step
methodology, with a detection section for pin-
pointing problematic and unwanted noise and
a removal section that determines the desired
level of repair while minimizing collateral
damage to the original audio. Each plug-in of- ff
fers common functions, including an output
section with enable in/out, output level adjust,
threshold and sensitivity settings, and a Diff
(or Difference) button for monitoring the re-
moval of the targeted noise.
DeClicker
DeClicker is divided into three sections, each
of which is designed to remove impulse nois-
es predicated on duration. DePop is for nois-
es lasting up to 10ms long, DeClick for 3 ms,
and DeCrackle for 0.4 ms. Each section in De-
Clicker has a mini-display that shows the noise
floor and a threshold line with the impulses ei-
ther above or below it. There is a larger, clever
X/Y graphic display that shows each individu-
al noise spike as a color-coded bubble: DePop
events are green, DeClick events are blue and
DeCrackle noises are white, with unrepaired
noises glowing red. In the event that DeClick-
er removes important harmonic content such
as percussive transients or the brightness of a
brass section while otherwise repairing well,
there is the Exclude Box feature.
Rather than simply bypassing or chang-
ing the threshold setting for that particular
piece of the audio that would affect the rest
of DeClicker’s repair, you can use your mouse
as a “lasso” around a grouping of bubbles that
represent the impulses you want and exclude
them from repair. Because the Restore Suite
plug-ins’ parameters are all automatable, you
can move Exclude Boxes and toggle them in
and out invisibly.
Unique to DeClicker is the Dialog mode, in
which one threshold is set for processing back-
ground noise when dialog audio is present and
there’s another threshold setting for when it is
not. The Dialog mode GUI has a histogram of
the dialog audio over time with two adjustable
horizontal threshold lines. When the dialog au-
dio exceeds the top threshold, it is processed
according to the controls labeled Above. When
dialog has stopped and falls below threshold,
the plug-in switches over to repairing accord-
ing to the controls labeled Below. If required,
the Sidechain mode adds an adjustable band-
pass filter to further differentiate the frequen-
cies of dialog audio from background noise.
DeBuzzer
DeBuzzer detects and accurately measures
the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of
buzzes, hums, whines and whistles, and pass-
es this information on to the removal section.
Using an FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) display
that accumulates data over time, a peak profile
is created and shown in a small display above a
large rotary frequency adjust knob.
In Manual mode, turning this knob will
set the fundamental frequency of the buzz over
any of the three frequency ranges: LF, MF or
HF. Any buzz or hum that is consistently pres-
PRODUCT SUMMARY
COMPANY: Sonnox Oxford Plug-Ins
PRODUCT: Sonnox Restore Restoration Suite
WEBSITE: www.sonnoxplugins.com/restore
PRICE: $1,995 MSRP or $1,495 Exchange
PROS: Sophisticated
tools with new powerful
features.
CONS: High latency
and CPU usage.
Sonnox Oxford Restore Plug-In Suite
High-End Restoration Tools Offer Easy GUI, Great Results
DeBuzzer removes buzzes, hums, whines and whistles.
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 65
By Barry Rudolph
ent will stand out on the main FFT display with
its three dominant peaks marked with red ar- rr
rows. Clicking on any of these arrows will reset
the fundamental for the removal section to re-
calculate the coefficients for the comb filter to
remove it and its harmonics.
When you insert DeBuzzer into your ses-
sion, it defaults to Auto mode where the de-
tector continuously “hunts” either side of the
fundamental to check for drift in frequency;
the removal filters will follow. Freeze mode
turns off this hunting process and is the best
way to dial in whines or whistle noises in the
MF or HF areas.
In addition to the comb filter, DeBuzzer also
offers the Para-EQ mode. Generally, the narrow
and deep notches of the comb filter do less dam-
age to high frequencies and are the best for har- rr
monically rich buzzes. But if you have only one
or two harmonics to remove and the fundamen-
tal is above 2 kHz—such as a loud whistle—the
Para-EQ might sound better.
DeNoiser
DeNoiser automatically looks at the audio’s dy-
namics and frequency changes to detect and
remove broadband noise. It scans the audio
spectrum for signals that are consistently al-
ways present. A noise profile is then derived
and used to remove components of the fre-
quency spectrum that are below a predeter- rr
mined threshold. Auto mode compensates for
dynamics in the desired audio by always keep-
ing the removed noise a fixed number of deci-
bels below the desired audio level; even if the
audio dips near the noise floor, it will not be
removed with the noise.
Freeze mode grabs the current noise pro-
file from Auto and uses it to remove the same
amount of noise at all times. If the desired au-
dio gets louder, removal is less destructive, but
as the audio gets quieter, you’ll start to hear it
being removed with the noise.
An experienced restoration engineer could
use DeNoiser’s third mode, Manual, to lock in
a specific noise profile. Because all controls are
automatable, this may be the most meticulous
way to ensure the best restoration throughout
a widely varying audio program.
For additional manual control over the
noise threshold profile, there is a Threshold
Bias Curve colored red in the GUI that offers
17 frequency steps. These curves with handles
allow for frequency-dependent threshold set-
tings on critical frequencies. You can raise
threshold in the more important midrange fre-
quencies of a vocal track and lower threshold
in the less-important high and low frequencies
for more removal.
Likewise, the removal section also has a
17-step Noise-Reduction Bias curve that is col-
ored in yellow. The experienced audio restorer
can produce more musical results by reducing
noise in frequency areas of less impact to the
fidelity of the overall audio program, thus re-
specting its character and ambience.
DeNoiser finishes with a DeHisser sec-
tion—an aggressive lowpass filter that’s good
for rolling off bright tape hiss or surface noise
in dialog or old film recordings. The Warmth
control adds richness to the sound otherwise
lost due to noise reduction. This feature is sub-
tle but good.
Install and Rejuvenate
I installed Restore into my Pro Tools HD3 Ac-
cel system running Pro Tools Version 7.4 on a
quad-core Mac PowerPC and found all three
plug-ins’ real-time processors. You can in-
sert and use them in multitrack sessions like
any other plug-in. However, they use a con-
siderable amount of CPU resources, depend-
ing on their settings, and require that you set
Pro Tools’ DAE buffer at 1,024 samples. They
also exhibit latencies that are generally beyond
the capabilities of Pro Tools’ Automatic Delay
Compensation engine.
There are no set rules concerning which
noise(s) to remove first; this decision is part of the
educable craft and experiential art of audio resto-
ration. Most restorers “climb the highest moun-
tain first” by removing the loudest noises first so
as to unmask lower-level background trash.
I found it was best to use AudioSuite or
record each plug-in’s processed audio to a new
track. In general, I found that the default set-
tings were very close to exactly what I needed,
and if they weren’t, there are many presets that
can get you into the “sweet spot” quickly. You
can hear examples of the restorations I am
about to describe at mixonline.com.
Cleaning Up My History
My first job was cleaning a narration track for
an oral history with my 97-year-old mother. For
the most part, the recordings are clean with
minimal background noise—until the air con-
ditioner started. In addition to the broadband
noise of rushing air, there was also the steady
whining sound of the motor.
I first used DeBuzzer to find and remove
the whine at 258.750 Hz, plus components at
approximately 417 and 460 Hz. In Auto mode,
DeClicker is divided into DePop, DeClick and DeCrackle.
66 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
REVIEWS SONNOX
DeBuzzer “homed in” on the whine instant-
ly and continued tracking as the A/C motor’s
whine changed pitch.
I continued processing using DeNoiser to
remove the broadband air-rushing noise; I by-
passed DeHisser because it was not needed.
Removing broadband noise is a compromise
between how much noise is removed and mak-
ing my mom sound like she is coming from
the moon and back over a single-sideband
shortwave radio.
I ended up using both the Threshold and
Noise-Reduction Bias curves. I dipped thresh-
old at 1 kHz, where the A/C noise was strong but
masked by her audio, and then scaled back on
the reduction at 6 kHz and 8 kHz to keep things
bright enough. I’m just beginning with the resto-
ration, so it probably could all be better.
78 rpm Audio
I found a completely different set of problems
in a digital copy of a 78 rpm record from the
1940s. On its first instantiation, DeClicker was
80 percent effective. DeClicker grabbed a lot of
clicks from the vinyl record with its Threshold
at 6.7 percent and Sensitivity at 78 percent. De-
Crackle did the lion’s share of work at 20 per- rr
cent Threshold and Sensitivity at 89 percent.
Setting too low a Threshold is easy to hear—
the audio starts to break up into static chunks
while the three threshold lines for each section
tell the whole story and demonstrate the plug-
in’s limits.
I finished with DeNoiser to remove sur- rr
face noise and turntable motor noise. I tai-
lored removal with the Noise-Reduction Bias
feature and came to realize that this is like ic-
ing on the restored “cake.” I found I was able
to dial out exactly as much noise as possible
and carefully preserve the original audio as
well as possible.
Trashed Viola
For my last restoration project, I used all three
plug-ins and the Sonnox Equalizer/Filter plug-
in. I had no trouble running all four plug-ins
at the same time, although the accumulated la-
tency was 21,751 samples at 24-bit/44.1kHz.
I used Sonnox EQ/Filter to diminish a re-
curring subsonic bump at 31 Hz that was also
recorded from vinyl. I processed the de-rum-
bled track with DeClicker to scrub the major- rr
ity of ticks and scratches, including most of
the loud needle-drop noise at the beginning.
After DeClicking the file, DeNoiser removed
most of the horrendous surface noise. I found
that using more HF cut and contour and the
Noise-Reduction Bias curve for less removal
in the midrange allowed a viola to still sound
mostly like a viola. I added DeBuzzer to the re-
stored file to finally rid it of that cyclic turntable
thumping, although it was of little help.
It’s a De-Light
I’m greatly impressed by the power of these
plugs. I found them easy to use, with excel-
lent default and stored presets that will give
you 90 percent of a perfect setting. The Restore
Suite will find good use as a tool for cleaning
up noisy guitar tracks, digital audio that was
clocked in error, poorly recorded individual
tracks and the odd loop that a producer doesn’t
want to sound grungy. I highly recommend all
three plug-ins for restoring any audio.
Barry Rudolph is a Los Angeles–based recording en-
gineer. Visit him at www.barryrudolph.com.
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68 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
By Eddie Ciletti
Tech TTech

s Files s Files

Troubleshooting Live
Pay Attention to the Geek Stuff Behind the Curtain
Live recording—in studio or onstage—is an adrenaline rush like no other.
Compared to tracking one instrument/source at a time, interacting musi-
cians add much more to the mix than the sum of the tracks. Live recording
is the ultimate multitasking experience and allows no retakes.
Training Ground
Even in a “controlled” environment, problems can arise. Sharing mics
is an everyday occurrence at live gigs, where front-of-house and onstage
monitor consoles require independent control of the mix. When simulta-
neous recording is part of the equation, the extra gear is like an invasive
species, stressing each piece of gear in the chain, from the microphone,
through each connector and cable to preamp and converter.
The distance between the source (mics) and multiple destinations (pre-
amps) in multiple locations (FOH, monitor mixer and remote recording
rig) from various power sources will “find” problematic gear. In addition
to power-related hum and buzz, proximity to broadcast transmitters in-
creases the possibility of radio frequency and television interference (RFI/
TVI). Once an urban issue, “wireless” problems now seem to crop up ev-
erywhere.
Off the Shelf
As in every other aspect of our biz, technology booms and budget cuts in
remote recording inspire a D.I.Y. approach. The beginning of this yellow-
brick road is a mic splitter. Recording engineer Tom Garneau uses four
8-channel Whirlwind splitters. There are four versions of this splitter box;
the one Garmeau uses is the most spendy because it has the most use-
ful features. The Whirlwind SB08P11G (about $560) has two sets of eight
outputs—one set has a hard-wired mic loop-thru; the other set is trans-
former-isolated and includes a ground lift switch. A schematic of a basic,
single-channel mic splitter is shown in Figure 1.
Who Said, “Easy as One Two Three?”
Properly implemented, balanced gear in a fully balanced system should
work out of the box with standard cables and minimal fuss. But as any-
one with enough audio gear knows, as soon as the system requires mul-
tiple power outlets in multiple rooms, something in the system is likely
to have a power-related hum and/or buzz. There are also an assortment
of other potential noises, from computers—video monitor and hard drive
hash—and cell phone chirps, all of it a sign that “someone” is not with
the program.
Over the years, a variety of tricks have been conjured up to sooth the
weak links. There are wiring Band-Aids like “flying shields,” use of ground
adapters as “ground lifters,” wooden rack rails, etc. The true fixes are few.
For example, much time, effort and money has been invested in exter-
nal ground distribution systems, but it’s all for naught if the gear itself
is flawed. Within the gear, internal ground distribution is critical, and as
engineers are inclined to use all varieties of vintage gear, it’s important
that all of it be diligently inspected and made compliant. And recognizing
flawed gear isn’t always so obvious because compliant gear will often look
like the problem child rather than the peacemaker.
Step 1, Pin 1
The so-called “ground loop” is often blamed for unwanted noises. The ac-
tual cause is noise currents flowing in the cable shield between two pieces
of equipment, at least one of which is internally flawed. In the realm of
“normal,” the shield takes a lot of abuse, all of the time. No two electronic
devices will ever be at the exact same ground potential, especially when not
in the same rack or power strip. The shield also absorbs radiated noise (in-
duction from power transformers) and acts like an antenna for RFI/TVI.
True differential (balanced) inputs reject induced noises by way of the
Common-Mode Rejection Ratio (CMRR), but the other “noises” can creep
into gear electronics via poorly implemented “pin 1 issue.” Though not ex-
clusive to the XLR connector, noise current in the shield can and should be
safely escorted away from the audio signal path. To accomplish this, cable
shields must be connected at the point of entry—aka, the chassis—or what
I like to call the “noise Firewall.” This is not always the case, leading to the
many Band-Aids that have been conjured up over the years.
To ensure that a good circuit design is not compromised, manufactur-
ers in the know use connectors that make an automatic pin-1 to chassis
connection. This is done using the shortest, lowest-impedance connection
possible that must also be mechanically reliable to ensure long-term per-
formance. It’s admittedly simpler to execute than understand, but with the
help offered on Rane’s Website, I’ve borrowed a few examples.
When Is a Wire No Longer a Wire?
A piece of wire is an illusion of sorts because its behavior is environmen-
tally dependent. We can all agree that a short piece of wire, even a thin one,
should have pretty close to zero-ohms resistance at DC (when using a mul-
timeter). At audio frequencies (AC), the quantity formerly known as resis-
tance becomes impedance—still measured in ohms, but not with a standard ee
multimeter. The name change implies that we may be in for surprises.
Above 100 kHz, the true meaning of impedance begins to reveal itself,
Figure 1: Single channel mic splitter schematic, courtesy Jensen Transform-
ers. Note separate shields for each transformer winding, and the ground
and lift paths in bold.
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70 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
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as the resistance of wire now changes with frequency from zero ohms at
DC to several ohms at radio frequencies. What was thought of as a simple
piece of ground wire can become a Trojan Noise Horse, infiltrating the
electronic Firewall and delivering both power-related hum and buzz, as
well as transmitted noise into the high-gain inner sanctum of condenser
mics and mic preamps.
Out-of-Body Experience
Just when you thought it was safe to blame the receiving end of your re-
cording gear, the source and its connectors can also be suspected. Inside
the microphone in Fig. 2, the
length of innocent black wire
from pin 1 to chassis allows it
to have an inductive reactance
of 4 ohms at a frequency of
56 MHz (TV channel 2). The
noise is both inserted into the
signal ground and radiated
into vulnerable, high-imped-
ance circuitry.
Another microphone in
Fig. 3, with a thin 1cm wire
between the XLR’s chassis
lug and pin-1, yields 2 ohms
of inductive reactance
at 60 MHz, inserting
RF noise into the signal
ground. The green ar-
row indicates how the
signal ground might be
relocated to the lug to
take the wire out of the
equation. (Note: The au-
thor-annotated illustra-
tions in Figs. 2 and 3 are based on images courtesy of Jim Brown, Audio
Systems Group, Rane and ©2003 Syn-Aud-Con.)
These days, digital snakes and mixers, high-speed networking and
fiber-optic interconnects solve (or hide) some of the common problems
that plagued analog audio for years. But analog has a lot to teach us if
only we listen. Digital audio can be affected by similar problems but can
manage to function until the data errors can no longer be concealed, a
condition sometimes referred to as “falling off the digital cliff.” But that’s
a topic for another day.
Eddie’s live remote experience includes Live Aid, Farm Aid, Joe Jackson and
Luciano Pavarotti on the following remote trucks: Record Plant, Remote Record-
ing Services and Le Mobile. Eddie thanks Jim Brown, Rane, Syn-Aud-Con and
Jensen for their informational generosity.
Figure 2: Inside a mic, the black pin-1
to chassis wire is close to zero ohms at
audio frequencies, but not at radio fre-
quencies. The solution is to tie pin-1 to
the XLR’s chassis lug and relocate the
audio circuit’s orange ground wire.
Figure 3: Pin-1 ties to the XLR connector’s chassis
lug through a thin wire. Here, the screw locking
the XLR to the mic body must be clean and secure.
Save the Date…
@Soundcheck Nashville
Recording. Performance. Production. Technology.
May 25-26, 2010
This Year’s Panels!
> The Power of Collaboration
> Recording Guitar
> Boosting Revenue
> Advanced Plug-in Techniques
Stay tuned for more in-depth panels, master class
schedule and guest panelist lineup!
72 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.MIXONLINE.COM
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::
Q&A Q&A
Le Mobile’s owner adapts
to the new realities of the
remote recording business.
How do you survive in this type of economic
climate, where the whole country’s in a
downturn, and so is the remote business be-
cause of other factors, too?
That’s a good question. It’s hard to survive.
The economic climate is a big part of the
change, as well as the technology allowing
different ways to record music. You now have YY
an unlimited number of tracks, and a laptop
does weigh much less than Studer 24-tracks.
You mean people bringing little rigs to re-
cord shows instead of using a truck like Le
Mobile?
Yes, so we have to change the way we work, YY
keeping in mind today’s budget constraints.
Le Mobile is well-known; people like
it. Nothing sounds like the good old Neve
[8058], and I love to combine the new and the
old. I use Pro Tools for recording and fixing
things, but we go through the Neve; we come
back in Pro Tools using Apogee converters. I
think the combination is great. I won’t go back
to tape. Maybe the Studer 800 with Dolby SR
at 15 ips for some special project.
But not every project needs to use Le Mo-
bile so we’ve got other ways to help people. A
couple of years ago, I built a portable fly pack
system [Le Portable] that includes a Yamaha YY
[DM2000] digital console, Grace [801] pre-
amps, Pro Tools HD, Apogee converters. It
fits in eight road cases and has everything
someone would need to make a really good
recording.
I am presently building a system in one
box [Le Box]. I can rent that for $2,500 per
week—64 tracks of Nuendo. The band can
record all their shows and do a quick balance
mix, and upload onto the Internet. It’s a great
box with a lot of hard drive [space], an AMD
computer and it should fit many budgets. If
recording backup is needed, I can add a MADI
bridge, and then with a laptop you could have
another Nuendo, Logic or even Pro Tools.
If the situation requires, I use a video
truck control room, I engineer and take my full
team with me. We are bringing knowledge to WW
the project, and sometimes a few extra pieces
of equipment from Le Mobile.
Three years ago, I also bought a beautiful
building [in Carlsbad, north of San Diego],
and I’m finishing a flexible control room. The
idea is—it’s not a full studio, but it will be a
place where a video editor and I can work on
a project as a team. (That’s what I did back
in the ’80s; that’s how I did the Montreal
Jazz festival for 10 years.) I can use the room
for preparing sessions for mixing or for 5.1
playback, or offer the room for a musician
to write songs, or for doing archiving. I have
these beautiful Studers well-maintained. This
will give me another place and another way
to work.
You’ve always been so quality-conscious.
How do you change the mindset of musi-
cians who will now accept audio that is less
than perfect?
You cannot change that mindset. YY You can’t YY
go back. Some artists will always want the
best sound they can, and others will go for
what they think is “good enough.” There’s
nothing I can do to change those attitudes at
this point, but a good mix and great music
will always exist. So I have to be flexible and
make everything we work on musically and
sonically as good as we possibly can, no mat-
ter where and how it will be listened to.
Today, I’m not just selling Le Mobile, my
fly pack or the box. I’m offering Le Mobile
knowledge. I like to work on a full project from
recording to delivering the master. You give YY
me a budget and I will find the best way to
achieve it. I’ve always said, if I need a pencil
and eraser to do the project, great, that is
what I’ll use. But I will never compromise.
I will give my client and the artist what they
expect from me.
You sound remarkably cheery.
[Laughs] I have faith in the long-term and in
change, as well. You have to keep looking YY
forward and keep learning.
Blair Jackson is the senior editor of Mix
magazine.
Guy Charbonneau
By Blair Jackson
Inside Le Mobile are pop vocalist Michael Bublé (left) and studio owner/engineer Guy Charbonneau.
The m906 is our remarkably full featured 5.1
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. Number 2) is ©2010 by Penton Media Inc. North Hollywood. Canadian Post Publications Mail agreement No.. Road-Worthy Gear and More :: sfp sfp 51 ‘Lost’—The Final Chapter BY MEL LAMBERT 48 All Access: Wolfmother BY STEVE JENNINGS 33 Bill Frisell BY BLAIR JACKSON 36 Charlie Hunter BY BLAIR JACKSON 18 Gear Stories With Sylvia Massy 38 Classic Tracks: The Pretenders’ “Don’t Get Me Wrong” BY GABY ALTER EW NOLUMN! C Each month. For most. ON N6C 6B2. KS 66212. Box 25542.CONTENTS M I X F E B R U A R Y 2010. 9800 Metcalf Ave. 28 iPhone Apps for Pros Call it the “new assistant engineer. despite shrinking budgets and changing demands. Overland Park. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mix. and record on-the-fly. Massy brings us her stories about the creative application of a single piece of technology on a single project. P. Periodicals Postage Paid at Shawnee Mission. Canadian GST #129597951. One-year (12 issues) subscription is $35. N U M B E R 2 :: features 22 Shifting Gears Top remote recording engineers reveal the ways they’re staying on the road.” iPhone app technology now includes numerous gizmos to help studio and touring engineers tune rooms and instruments. All other international is $50. It’s like “Classic Tracks With Gear. :: music us c :: live 43 Raphael Saadiq BY GABY ALTER 46 Soundcheck: Train Tours With LMG. KS and at additional mailing offices. We’ve got the details on these affordable add-ons to pro audio’s technology toolkit. CA 91615. it’s good-bye CDs. (Volume 34. and its West W C Coast studio will be at this year’s Grammys. London. Mix (ISSN 0164-9957) is published monthly. Photo: Scott Wynn.MIXONLINE. PO Box 15605.” Enjoy.O. I WWW. Canada is $40. :: tech 56 New Products 58 Review: Celemony Melodyne Editor 62 Review: Steinberg Cubase 5 64 Review: Sonnox Oxford Restore Suite 68 Tech’s Files: Troubleshooting Live BY EDDIE CILETTI 4 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 :: on the cover : : departments 6 8 10 72 76 80 from the editor current sessions marketplace classifieds Q&A: Guy Charbonneau On the Cover: Music Mix Mobile is one of the most in-demand remote facilities in the U..S. hello broadcast. This publication may not be reproduced or quoted in whole or in part by printed or electronic means without written permission of the publishers. 40612608. W Inset: Paule Saviano.COM . This month: Prince needs a comfy chair and makes magic at Larrabee with Massy’s cheapest guitar. Canada return address: BleuChip International. Printed in the USA. Duncan Sheik Engineer Adam Robinson. VO L U M E 34.

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We have a knowledge W base that promotes tried-and-true miking techniques while encouraging radical experimentation with found sounds. 249 West 17th St. Suite 12.zealand@penton. right down to sketchpads for artists in rehearsal halls or on the road as they work out new tracks.panich@penton. Mt.com LOS ANGELES EDITOR Bud Scoppa bs7777@aol.asplund@penton.penton.net MANAGING EDITOR Sarah Benzuly sbenzuly@mixonline. For microform availability.” When ADATs and DA-88s debuted and A George Petersen trumpeted their game-changing approach to digital recording.com NEW YORK EDITOR David Weiss david@dwords.. In With the New e fully expect to receive some letters here at the Mix offices regarding this x month’s technology feature on pro iPhone/iPod touch apps.com T SENIOR EDITOR Blair Jackson blair@blairjackson.com WESTERN SALES DIRECTOR Erika Lopez erika.S.dahlstrom@penton.turner@penton. Fairchilds and UA 1176s.hebets@penton. and Canada).com EDITORIAL OFFICES: 6400 Hollis Street. For a detailed policy statement about privacy and information dissemination practices related to Penton Media Inc.paulsen@penton. we received letters stating consumer videotape-based media were not worthy of a real commercial studio. and no doubt plenty more Droid apps to come. no matter their price point or their point of origin. PENNY RIKER AND BILL LASKI Tom Kenny Editor Mix magazine is affiliated with 6 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. PRIVACY POLICY: Your privacy is a priority to us. Or. the critics were probably right. EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Tom Kenny tkenny@mixonline. COPYRIGHT 2010. LexisNexis and ProQuest. perr sonal or instructional use may be obtained from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) at 978/750-8400. The list goes on. Are we advocating that professional recording engineers start tracking. call toll-free 866/8607087 or 818/487-2020. www. or search the Serials in Microform listings at napubco. Obtain further information at copyright. e-mail mix@pubservice. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mix magazine. But we do have a responsibility here at Mix to stay on top of what’s happening. don’t be at all surprised if you see one right there beside the API console and the rack full of Pultecs. contact National Archive Publishing Company at 800/521-0600 or 734/7614700.. ARCHIVES AND MICROFORM: This magazine is available for research and retrieval of selected archived articles from leading electronic databases and online search services.com GENERAL COUNSEL Elise Zealand elise.com.com. whether it costs $50k or $0. please visit our Website at www.penton.FROM THE EDITOR In With the Old. REPRINTS: Contact Traci Mueller. N. editing or mixing full projects on their smartphones? Not at all.O.

com © 2010 Shure Incorporated .THE SOUL OF AN ARTIST. www. THE BODY OF A LEGEND. THE NEW SUPER 55 VOCAL MICROPHONE Featuring a tailored frequency response and supercardioid pattern for improved gain-before-feedback. studio. the Super 55 offers a contemporary sound for stage.shure. and podcasting applications.

a rep firm that promoted DIC Digital. Jones returned full time to pro audio as product marketing manager for Panasonic’s Pro Audio division. CD-Rs and data products for the audio and computer industries. Below: President Tony Villarreal flanked by Greg Snyder (left) and VP Paul Owen. During the NAB show in 1991.CURRENT compiled by Sarah Benzuly Thunder Audio Expands On December 10. and he and Cash-Jones founded CJ Technology. Jones worked at various studios in L. —film/TV/videogame/corporate video company cofounder Charlie Nordstrom. pictured second from right with (from left) partners Dave Howe. The couple then semi-retired to Las Vegas. and systems from Nexo. where Meyer Sound IN MEMORY: FRED JONES Studio owner. As a staff recording engineer. 'New' Bad Animals Celebrates 10 Years the project is the most important thing in the world—is why we’ve been around for so long and why we will continue to be here. attendees were shocked to see local TV news coverage reporting that the two were victims of a violent home invasion crime. Mike McAulifffe and Tom McGurk 8 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.” —recording engineer/mixer Peter Moshay. Fred Jones Theatre. Both were shot multiple times. In addition. Michigan. showcased its new JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers. requiring years of painful therapy and reconstructive surgeries. state-of-the-art. Other gear in the room included Midas and Yamaha digital boards. engineer.MIXONLINE. owner of A-Pawling Studio. taking the responsibility as the chief audio engineer for leading game developer Electronic Arts from 2003 through 2006. Longtime husband to Laurel Cash-Jones (audio author.. Jones began his career in broadcasting and recording in 1971 as an on-air radio personality and program director. satellite recording and 2-track digital recording on Sony DAT machines. After several years of consulting to audio companies during the recuperative phase. and started working as a recording engineer in 1974. beFred Jones (far-right) in the studio working with Firesign fore building his own studio. The facility was among the first to offer such services as phone patch recording. which features Hall and guest performers. and Creative Audio) joins the company as business development manager. Aviom and LightViper. 2009. Mich.) and a new demo room. Jones later returned to his engineering/production roots. on recording (to a newly installed SSL AWS 900+ SE console) Daryl Hall’s “Live From Daryl’s House” monthly Internet program. Jones sold the business in 1990. former AES Regional/International VP and convention chair).500-square-foot. and Wally Heider Recording (among others). after suffering a stroke.COM . multiroom facility with services as diverse as 24-track audio for video post-production studios and rooms specially designed for radio commercial production. a band he produced and engineered Recording Services opened as a oneroom. 800-square-foot studio in 1981.A. producer and industry figure Fred Jones passed away on December 9. where Jones continued his audio consultancy practice. and grew to become a 6. Greg Snyder (formerly of Onstage Audio. Thunder Audio (celebrating 30 years in the business) hosted an open house of its new facility (Livonia.” “The relaxed atmosphere of the production is completely capturing a new audience on the Web. —George Petersen PHOTO: DAVID GOGGIN Above: The new demo room. a line of pro DAT tapes. including Sound Services Inc.

com/DonPass man.7 million in cash awards for 2009-2010 has been made to writer members of the American Society of Composers.) and Sound Mission (Poland. Germany. and to compensate those writers whose works are performed substantially in media not surveyed by ASCAP. r USA Today Nashville correspondent Brian Mansfield. CA)…ASCAP (NYC) pron W West i a A… P N motions: Jason Silberm n. k Craig Paller. which has been updated to address issues that stem from the current “digital age. o rg director of membershi Latin…L-Acoustics (France rector f o rship. professional products role at Blue r f global a . Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan H. Also check out twitter. Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) by the Society’s ASCAPlus Awards Panels (ascap. Lati … A i F a ce) awarded sys w system engineers Ulf Oeckel.COM ARE YOU LISTED? MAKE SURE AT DIRECTORY. Mix Master Directory Spotlight Bookshelf Kaufman & Associates Free Press has released the seventh edition of Don Passman’s All You Need to Know About the Music Business.95. Robert Reynolds and Time Out New York classical music editor Steve Smith.MIXONLINE. n o d s n e y t e The one item in my office most like my personality is… Currently in my iPod… When I'm not in the office. music journalist Melinda Newman. Pau Van Baasbank and Vladimir Coulibre to aul k d a i the status of K Sy m E h a System Engineers (KSE)… tribution deal SONiVOX (Somervi r rs KSE)…Distribution deals: ) i X ille. Joshua Briggs and Marc Emert-Hutner din a er. profess al produc s r b oe a o Microphones (Westlake Village. Engineers and studios are expanding their services—and their revenue—by offering live recording rigs and support. and Jorge Rodriguez.com/ascapplus). where Passman tweets his thoughts. GA) names Mitek Canada (all points north of the continental U.ASCAP Doles Out Cash Approximately $2. donpass man. will distribute dBTechnologies’ (Italy) offerings in Ca p e o ferings i anada.com/studio_unknown.” Price: $24. worldwide sales Main Responsibilies: manage all facets of global sales. etc. you may be surprised to find at least one live sound gig. Previous Lives: Audio and dbx Pro VP worldwide sales manager Industry News Eric Dies joins Symetrix (Seattle) as VP of manufacturc s m x e e) a f ing…New director of sales at MV Pro A o (Santa Barn … c s ro Audio o bara. senior director membe a erman r r c mbership. Find out more in the latest entry of Studio Unknown's Confessions of a Small Working Studio at mixonline. Sherif El Barbari y n Oec a ri. Star-Ledger (Newark) drama critic Peter Filichia.COM/MMD. Dino Virella Nick Pain. comments and more about the book. The panel includes choral conductor/arranger Judith Clurman.MIXONLINE. Harman Music Group VP. pop/rock. EU countries).com. the industry. and Danley Soun r g nd Labs (Gainesville. The purpose of these special awards is to reward writers whose works have a unique prestige value for which adequate compensation would not otherwise be received. pop/r b p/rock. I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 9 . WWW.S a n ) n n t S S. CA) is Brad Strickland…Dino Virella assumes the aa r a d n r lla director of global sales. e rectors of membership. MA) acquires exclu ve d ) i usiv distribution rights to Way Out Ware’s product sets. radio personality Pat Prescott. you can find me… Studio Unknown If you take a look at a recording studio's booking calendar. Intellim uti i g t e mix Corp.

” Sir Mix-A-Lot has maintained a D. Neil Citron.” he says.” mailing and letting everyone know Another relationship Hack is what we’re doing. which won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. John Rice. But we do it all ful—nice gear. Devo—stuff like that. Gary Numan. Grove. but rappers Hack says. room. good rooms. Hack joined forces with for his friends’ labor and the materiBurn. bluegrass.SESSIONS Virtuo Sound Studio—Connecting With Atlanta Musicians Burn’s folks asked that the studio be moved to a new “home.” particularly happy about is with lo—Barbara Schultz Mix-A-Lot Studios Seattle-based hip-hop artist and producer Sir Mix-A-Lot (www. Control A is attached to a large.virtuosoundstudio . and a voice that makes that makes Virtuo Studio successyou want to cry. it was more of that early new-wave techno. one of his friends. big bass and It’s definitely the total package killer drums. “This is Atcal Christian metal artists Ephelion. and like it big and dry. screamingfriends and musical connections: bloody-murder metal. Mike Burke of Michael Burke Creative Carpentry. “We’ve also been fortunate to de“When I’m not with my band velop relationships with some pretplaying or doing a recording project ty well-known producers who are in the studio.I. deader recording space with its own control Virtuo’s live room has 22-foot ceilings. Studio B is a smaller. Rich Ward. I’m not shy. and is also a master carpenter.” tars with harmonies. the Toft When bands started lining up room. which they constructed with the help of another musician friend. The facility went online gery.Y. “They’re young guys. “I had a lot of different influences. “I engineer most of my own stuff. Drawmer. who “Our personalities mesh. and recording/mixing via SONAR Producer HD or Pro Tools LE. calling people. (Neve. But I never felt the studio was what it should be. I’m online constantly. and Drummer/studio owner/engineer Josh Hack we did six months’ work in (left) with co-engineer Andrew Burn about six weeks. installing Auand he’s expanded my technical ralex acoustical treatments and cusknowledge of mixing and sonic surtom finishes.sirmixalot .” Hack says. Empirical Labs. they get that nice. eight months ago. Virtuo Sound Studio (Canton. and he ran the job for free. And their stride.. eert Hannon and some others. includes a host of mic pre’s outside the Burn family’s door. built our what I lack he has. his first release on Rick Rubin’s Def American label).” Hack observes.” large-sounding voice. Robdoing research.com). like Kraftwerk. MySpace.com) is perhaps most widely associated with his breakthrough 1992 single. Josh Hack and engineer Andrew Burn started recording together a couple of years ago when drummer/engineer Hack’s band. Ga. I realized the power of editing on a computer. It’s good phenomenal to the point where one for those artists. helpful here: gospel. “so we do lots of who are new clients. studio themselves. of their songs brought me to tears. and they always I think these kids could be stars. aesthetic throughout his career. “Facebook. I bought my first drum machine. and it wasn’t really rap that made me want to produce. etc. Rhythm DR-55. www.” coming to use our rooms: Shawn Hack says. where recording/mixing is done in the box. the [Boss] Dr. so in exchange for lifetime free studio time. “I built my first true home studio in 1986. and both engineers really hit als.COM PHOTO: ANTHONY RAY . he brought in his friends and anyone we could get in here. visited the studio Burn used to operate out of his parents’ UA. he points out. live tracking room with 22-foot ceilings and plenty of natural reverb. Studio A. I abandoned tape way back when it was uncool to do so.” lacks I have. so I tend to gravitate tostereo-format beats or they’ll break ward that kind of sound—heavy guiit out into Pro Tools tracks.” Hack and Burn found a serviceable office space that they were able to turn into a well-built four-room facility. and what he Toft [ATB32] console desk. “Baby Got Back” (from Mack Daddy.MIXONLINE. lanta. and [became] addicted to the technical aspects of music production. “Their music is hip-hop and rap in there. “Mike is also a contractor and master carpenter. I’ve expanded his proHack and Burn designed the duction and engineering horizons. including his three albums with Rubin. I’m bring their own beats in—either a rock guy. jazz. But although Sir Mix-A-Lot made his mark in rap music.” Sir Mix-A-Lot at the controls of his 32-channel Digidesign D-Control worksurface 10 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. rock. We paid basement.) and outboard and plug-in processing. Gravity Burn.

“I love what I do. which is how everybody else is going to hear it. and handles effects processing with plug-ins. John travels with a Clair system when he [mixes front of house] for Martina so they used what Clair already had in place. We were able to coordinate with them as far as getting input lists. And I’ll make an MP3 and listen to it that way. John mixes FOH for Martina. It’s a blessing. and we got to do a check with her.m. whose studio is equipped with a 60-input Amek Media 5. It’s all about what feels right. He did the soundcheck. a 32-fader D-Control worksurface and D-Command Producer’s Desk. listened. and we got to do a line check with the band. “When I built [the current studio]. Her band set up—I think it was a six-piece—and she did one new song and a medley of her hits. but they didn’t have an artist lined up yet. “We got the truck up there on a Saturday before we taped on Monday. and longtime live sound engineer/provider].” he adds. Oprah Visit Texas State Fair and luckily I have worked a lot with Martina in the past and know her husband. Rhyme Cartel Records. We found out about two days in advance who it was.. and has begun favoring software synths. came out. He notes that he works primarily in the box.’ and after the show he did the same thing and determined which take they would pass on to Harpo [Oprah Winfrey’s production company] that would go on the show. “We interfaced with Clair on the splits. and we were done. what sounds thunderous in a kid’s car with some subs in the back. by Matt Gallagher Sir Mix-A-Lot’s studio in Auburn. including vocalist Tomeka Williams (The Black Hood) and artist Outtasite (Careful What You Wish For).com. —Barbara Schultz A few months ago.mixonline.” Sir Mix-A-Lot concludes. He cites the Blue Kiwi multipattern condenser as his favorite mic.1 board in his Reelsound mobile studio visit www. Then Martina arrived about 7. and they’d had a big rain storm that night. We ended up taking a couple of takes on the songs. left for the night. Sir Mix-A-Lot has been producing artists on his label. and then Martina’s band arrived at 6 a. [Laughs] I mix with the enduser in mind.” Sir Mix-A-Lot monitors with KRK V88s and soffitted JBL 4430s. John McBride [engineer/owner of Blackbird Studios. too.” Sir Mix-A-Lot says. it used to be a formal dining room. as far as getting timecode and feeds back and forth between us. samplers and drum machines— such as Native Instruments’ Kontakt and Battery.m. Wash. I listen to my mixes at 16/44. “My control room is pretty dead—that’s how I like it. Nashville. Harper. we interfaced with TV. Malcolm Harper at the Amek Media 5. I have six subs in my studio alone. so he wasn’t in the truck the whole time.. “I record myself right in the control room. that’s what we use. We had been in touch with [live sound providers] Clair Global. and he is currently building a fourth in a new home. “Whatever sounds good. he also uses a Shure KSM44 and Neumann models. I don’t want it live at all because then you have a tendency to mix to the room. including 20 years and counting for the Public Radio International classic jazz program Riverwalk and a couple of previous k Oprah music segments.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 11 .” For more information about the Reelsound truck and projects. Harper describes a day’s work in his world: “I got a call from Harpo Productions’ technical director that Oprah was going to be doing the State Fair of Texas.” In recent months.1. ‘Sounds like we got what we need.Reelsound. “Not many of us can get paid for doing something we love doing. and hooked everything up. We of Martina McBride’s performance established we had good signal. A lot of people sometimes don’t appreciate it. It has to sound right that way for me to call the mix complete. r “I have no rules when it comes to making music. and it was over by 10 o’clock. Then the show got started and we taped about 9 o’clock till 10. who were already set up on that stage. “Every time I move. but he has worked concerts from coast to coast. got back the next morning at about 4 a. We got to do a line check with Clair the night before and hear a few bands because that stage was John McBride with Harper during recording already up and running for the State Fair.” Sir Mix-A-Lot’s studio is based around a Mac Pro and a Pro Tools HD3 system with two 192 I/O interfaces. is his third project studio. We spent about an hour going through and cleaning that up.” he says. dual 72-track RADAR systems and Meyer HD1 monitors. The TV truck arrived the next day. and Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere—over his collection of hardware synths and MIDI controllers.MIXONLINE.” WWW. and I don’t do much formal dining so I gutted it. He turns to Roland V-Drums (with real cymbals added) for drum tracks. said. is based in Austin. veteran remote recording engineer Malcolm Harper took his 42-foot Reelsound Studio truck to the Texas State Fair in Dallas to capture a Martina McBride performance for the Oprah show.1 analog console. so somehow we had developed some buzzes and snaps and crackles. I set up a new studio.

is a computer genius.” Jennings recalls. “but we used a of doubt.L. and things we’d never even heard of being done. with Dave Cobb in Cobb’s Neve 8068–equipped project. “We put the whole mix A W his head inspired by the sociopolitical unrest and economic tumult through those. along with the big they made use of Cobb’s UREI 1176s. who started out with Rick Rubin back in New York. Jennings finally got word to novelist cords. to do the band tracking towards the end and then mix the Y record—he was a big part of it as well. “We were rebelling against being in a box. who agreed to provide the voice of the album’s narcreating an audio movie.” which would provide the album by Bud Scoppa ning joke. they brought in bass player Ted Russell Kamp and drummer Brian Keeling to replace and in some cases play on top of the programmed grooves.’ Shooter. a rock dude W who has made his mark primarily with amped-up country records like Jennings’ and Jamey Johnson’s. doctored it and made it his own. his longtime studio collaborator. It told me I really was on the right path. Shooter W wanted to tear down the fences that existed between the kinds of music that had influenced him growing up—ranging from Pink Floyd to Nine Inch Nails. “He threw in some awesome lines. They used Reason to MIDI-track most of the keyshould matter.” tration I’d felt. “It was more about messing up the is like fucking for chastity. ‘Let’s abuse technology. like ‘Killing for peace and using the results as samples. Shooter’s mom. “He’s got all the vintage gear. In a way. from Lynyrd Skynyrd to the soundtracks of early Nintendo L games—to make a concept album that would push sonic and stylistic envelopes. and making it was one of the Neve 8068]. Him and I are kinda hack engineers.” They also served as the rhythm section for the songs designated for live-off-the-floor treatment. So I was primarily the analog engineer and he was the digital operator and programmer. But he did have a broad concept in used a pair of Avedis E27s on the stereo bus. singing into an AKG D19. a lot of them with fuzz boxes directly into the console [a served. his daughter But there was still one crucial bit of unfinished business. surprisingly. Jennifer Davis. says Cobb. They started by recording drums to tape. and his split with Universal South Reter months of failed attempts. Kamp came up with “When studio. Some of it was good and some of it wasn’t. “I went into the studio with a blank slate and the intention of Stephen King. and sister. so that lot of real instruments too.MIXONLINE. who jammed over the passages that called for six-string intensity. Jennings had written just one keeper—“Black Ribbons.” says Cobb.” which serves as the album’s thematic climax. and they rocked everything. “We both played a ton W I was able to finish this record and put the passion into it that it deof guitars. “By ‘wild record.” says Cobb. starting with the birth of Alabama. Fairchild 660 and EMI RS124. but for any human being there’s always an element boards in creating the complex sonic architecture. “Dave’s the analog dude. and that experience shut those demons up for me. We were breaking new W ground left and right. “We recorded digitally to W Pro Tools. Additionally. two summers ago to enlist his services in making “a wild record.com. Black Ribbons. They also with its title and emotional thrust. “He took what I’d done. but we bounced the real drums and the digital drums to a stereo pair on the analog machine. changes in his own life.COM 12 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 . joined here and there by Shooter’s buddy Jonathan Wilson.” Cobb says. news to Bud Scoppa at bs7777@aol. that were threatening to knock the world off its axis. This one was. He knows how to get into a sampler like nobody’s business. doing things we’d never done. Not that it Cobb explains. Jennings sent The two collaborators spent 10 months holed up in Cobb’s King the finished tracks and the monologue he’d written. Grapevine W hen Shooter Jennings called Dave Cobb.’ I think Shooter meant anything but what we’d done before. but also not being scared to digitally manipulate sounds.” When the digitally constructed tracks were complete. The fact that Cobb shared those influences and desires was the icing on the cake. “The previous records we’d done were all old-school. I’m super-proud of this record.” “The way we made the record was very mad scientist. True to his late father Waylon’s maverick spirit. rator.” At the time. so it was whatever best times of my life. It was an exploration for us.” Cobb points out. the late-night talk-radio host Will o’ the Wisp. I WWW.A. I’ve got the synthesizers and the programming knowledge. Near the end of the photo) made his latest album. and a few basement studio—which bears the name “1974” after the year the weeks later he received a recording of the author’s performance. But we also called in Greg Gordon. It turned out to be a culmination of all those influences—really classic rock. sang backing vocals Shooter Jennings (shown here in a publicity on the title cut. the Radio Goes Dead. this one was very much the opposite.A. Afwith actress Drea DeMatteo. In those cases.” the producer’s initial surprise soon gave way to excitement. I’m the man I am now because of it.” Jenproducer was born—and proceeded to build Black Ribbons from the ground up. cutting them up nings says.” Science label.” Jennings says. I’m the digital dude—that’s our runSend L. The control room of Cobb’s “1974” studio One key piece of gear was the Avedis MA5 mic-pre Jennings used A to record his vocals at home.” came out. But we kept the The 70-minute opus Black Ribbons hits March 2 on the Rocket worst parts and made a great record out of it.’ That made me feel vindicated for any frussounds than trying to get a natural representation of the sounds. Jessi Colter.

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But the main thing for me is that I get to have a regular life. and the vibe is unlike anything in town.NASHVILLE Skyline “ W Welcome to the University of Creativity. “It’s a pretty trippy place.COM . “There are 16 million variations of color in the lighting. and it’s the same thing here. “These are the laboratories of peace. positivity and tranquility. “It will ultimately become my personal broadcasting facility. it’s hard to create when you’re paying someone else by the hour. “ nd it’s also “A a space that I can come “Big Kenny” Alin and listen to music in phin. Alphin wanted to build up rather than out.com. man. I fame.” Alphin says.MIXONLINE. Alphin’s background as a general contractor aided him in elaborating on ideas with Cronin. live. but it’s a place to create. “They’re working around the clock. which includes film and animation efforts. Cronin had built several “stacked studios. “I wanted it to be solid: slate roof. there are massive. except that there’s really no such thing as a centerpiece at Last Dollar. without disrupting their home life.” During the construction phase. constantly. And for a studio.” Alphin says. “The whole thing started out that I was going to build a church. Plus. guitars or vocals. With the help of pros. usually going through a Millennia HV-3D preamp designed to capture subtlety and detail rather than to color the sound of drums. with a 600square-foot tracking room stacked on top of it. and the whole thing is tricked out to allow (and encourage) Alphin to indulge his frenetic creativity. True. buying a combine: ‘Is this the right horsepower? Will it last me for the next 10 years?’ The connection between artist and fan is getting closer. and to be a meeting place where people share ideas.” Cronin says he has lately seen an uptick in the building of custom. all the way down to the lighting. except for white. Creative people are here all the time. and he has built studios for Sheryl Crow. “Some of these people are married with kids. there are numerous instruments around.” he continues. But the upstairs tracking room is highly unusual in Music City.” Cronin notes. I WWW. including famed acoustician and designer Michael Cronin and engineer Chris Stone. and when I get home I like to be around my family.” The control room has three isolation booths. but Alphin’s friends often use it when he’s on the road. private studios. Alphin records to Pro Tools HD. best known as Big Kenny. in his inappropriately named looked at it like a farmer Last Dollar Studio. and a piano and drum set that stay miked up (Alphin writes and demos hundreds of songs each year. the mixing room is based on the Cronindesigned Studio F at Blackbird. This is a world-class studio. producer Byron Gallimore and hit songwriters Chris Lindsey and Aimee Mayo. The studio’s centerpiece would be the API Legacy Plus console. simultaneously acknowledging the campy nature of his proclamations and underscoring a genuine sincerity of intent.” usually for postproduction work.” Cronin says.1 mix room. he was busy working on one for Taylor Swift. concrete walls and brick. where Big & Rich often recorded. “This is all to inspire. It’s any color imaginable.” Last Dollar is an 860-square-foot 5.” “Regular” is relative. “They want to be able to stay creative when they’re at home. and he needed to make sure that his neighbors weren’t disturbed by any amped-up sessions.” Cronin says. and it’s going to get to the point where I can be making music and you’ll be listening to it and watching as it is recorded. Alphin built The Last Dollar Studio on his Nashville property. But you have to be really doing business to pull this off. and since the studio’s summer 2008 completion he has been working tirelessly there on audio.” Peter Cooper can be reached at peter@petercoopermusic. of Big & Rich its most pristine form. This ain’t a toy. We W can do that here. “I’m on the road so much. In late 2009. learn from each other and lift each other up.” Having said that.” he says. Last Dollar is as idiosyncratic a studio as 14 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 exists in Nashville. and he determined that Alphin could achieve adequate isolation by using a floating concrete system. custom-built ATC monitors in the wall. “They’re like Oompa Loompas over there. Though he owns substantial property on Nashville’s west side. Alphin smiles and opens his arms. Video cameras upstairs feed images of the recording musicians to a large screen in the control room.” says Kenny Alphin. which makes it feel even more like a church to me. The studio isn’t open to the general public. and there are couches A and kibitz-spots that make the tracking room as viable for parties as for recording. This is the full monty. it looks like a church. Now. “I was raised on a farm in Virginia. so there’s not much down time). There is original art on by Pe ter Cooper PHOTOS: PETER COOPER the walls. I learned a lot from him and all the men around him. and I could always go out to the shop and be with my dad. visual and combo projects. first of country duo Big & Rich and lately the author of genre-skewering solo album The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farmboy. “I don’t want to be in the studio business. and all of them work hard. it couldn’t work any better than that.

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” Safely back inside the studio. film trailers. and be able to judge whether or not you just got a usable one. location that he realized he had Y picked up far more background noise than he originally thought—a complication that greater in-the-moment awareness and closer miking could have prevented. It wasn’t until long after he had packed up his mics and returned from the bucolic upstate N. It’s just me opening rusty hinges and banging it with its chain. I like this effect—it can be unsettling. You may not realY ize the mic was a little too far from the target. a shotgun mic. The other is where you get an opportunity to record something specific and awesome. Metasynth and Jeskola Buzz. recommending the following essential items: a tackle box. or use in other fiendish ways.-based Jones. Jones notes that the toughest challenge is to stay on top of the take as it unfolds. and— somewhat surprisingly—a contact mic. Chris Jones on the hunt for the ultimate sound design ambiences. “I would also say it’s fun to go outside and find things to hit. “Sometimes you may get a glimpse of what the original recording was through all the processing.MIXONLINE. mysterious and alarming. perform/collage in an AudioMulch patch. and beyond. closed-back headphones. use as audio triggers for sound-mangling purposes in the programs AudioMulch.” Jones notes.” To make unforgettable sound designs. It can function the same way in the mix. fashion into impulse responses for convolution reverbs. “I definitely come from that Y 20th-century electro-acoustic philosophy that acoustic recordings are spectrally the richest. a once-in-a-lifetime experience.’” W Send news for “Metro” to david@dwords. Jones depends equally on his gear and experience. “During the event. But for sound designers like Chris Jones (www. “Contact mics are great for field recording because they work on vibration only and can be like a DI for your field recordings.” When Jones leaves his personal studio in Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward W art space. transient and unpredictable.” he advises. “I’m into serial techniques.Y. Contact mics are magic. tons of batteries. such as when he captured bees for music library VideoHelper’s Modules series.” he says. One recording I use all the time is this old window in a stairwell.” Chris Jones recommends. specifically recommending the designs of Jeff Thompson (www.” When recording specific sounds. He points to a tough lesson he learned from the bee recording. drive upstate. then process the whole series of rich. but rather to subtly incorporate them into the ambiences he makes. “Cover yourself. ensuring that those who couldn’t be there live and in person can hear them later. Traveling with a Zoom H4 recorder recording at 96 kHz/24 bits.” says the Brooklyn.Y. N. his own DJ mixes. filling in gaps and pulling the whole sound together. where you’ll hear all the problems you didn’t notice out in the field.NEW YORK Metro R emote recording specialists are regularly called on to record performances and other events. randomizing.org). Jones will decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to retain the natural goodness of his field recordings or completely twist them. I WWW.contactmics. there’s a whole different reason to set mics up outside: It’s not to purely document sonic experiences. and using mechanical devices when working with the material initially. baseball bats. like one of those Vietnam movies where before filming an explosion they tell the crew. and therefore better sources to process.” says Jones. but rather just caring that it’s full. “You have to look at your remote recording like it’s a Y wedding. SD cards for storage. ‘We’re only doing this once.circa70. your brain was reviewing it in real time and giving you a better impression of what the recording would sound like. the better to fill out sound designs for TV promos. It creates a different yet simpler challenge as an engineer: get it clean and don’t distort. when he was sure he had gotten nothing more or less than the beautiful sounds of bees buzzing. “I guarantee it always sounds more incredible to you while you’re recording it than it will in the studio later on. and hammers to strike/play with. and it’s picking up the sound of the highway that’s miles away. “One where you’re going out and recording whatever you hear as it moves you. a 12-foot telescoping boom. wind protection. or thumb a ride to Bora Bora. go just around the corner. by David Weiss Chris Jones often applies a contact mic to found objects. “A “A field recording can be a great place to start when creating material.com. Later I might chop out three or four episodic files. a stereo microphone. he may head to the roof. “There are two types of field recording in my mind. capture each moment with kid gloves. too. mallets. “Think about it: A contact mic has no ambient sound.COM PHOTOS: DAVID WEISS A . Capture everything properly.” Jones is on the lookout for sounds that he will later blend with other synthetic samples. random transients not caring so much about the sound’s identity. 16 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 “I like going out just to record transients.com).

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plugged in and ready to record. electric guitars and pedalboards available. In anticipation of engineering a particular Prince date. and asked. It would figure that Prince pulled out that damn Gemini II. had old strings and no stand. so he could do the vocal recording himself. usually a Neumann U87. I was horrified. looked around at the cold. or he was outta there. That acoustic sounded great on the track “Walk Don’t Walk.COM . And he actually wanted to know my opinion! He would have three or four rooms running at the same time. He would just show up and everyone would jump to action. “Don’t you have a big stuffed ‘Grandma’s chair’ or something?” Knowing full well there was nothing like that in the entire facility. This was his first day booked into Larrabee Sound in West Hollywood and I wanted to make a good impression. He compensated with his fingers to bring the instrument in tune and the guitar sang like it had a fresh set of strings. I was shocked to witness Prince playing flawless rhythm and even solo parts. “Why. I was a bit embarrassed for it against the row of pol- “No you can’t have my guitar!” A stuffed chair and a low-cost acoustic for Prince.” It did just what it’s best for—keeping an even percussive rhythm throughout Prince’s tape-strip scribbles from the Diamonds and Pearls sessions 18 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. I would have the room set up for anything that might be happening that day with rented drum machines. QUICK!!!” I tore out of the parking lot straight down to Melrose Avenue and purchased the first upholstered chair I could find. yes…of course. It was untuned. Prince would rarely warn you of his arrival. ished. To prepare for a Prince session. I imagined him throwing it down on the floor and storming out of the studio because it was not properly prepared for him. so I stuck my Gemini II in the corner out of sight.MIXONLINE. He would play everything and anything. It was 100 percent Prince. He sat down in the chair and nodded. tuned and beautifully tweaked rental guitars on the session. keyboards. bass. “Lemme borrow someone’s truck. I usually worked in Larrabee’s Studio B on a Solid State Logic 4056 E/G console with a pair of Studer A800 analog 24-track tape recorders. I once brought extra guitars to the studio—one of them being my cheap little Fender Gemini II acoustic. bending the individual strings to the right pitch as he fretted chords effortlessly. clinical ’80s décor. Minutes later I calmly walked back into the session with the big chair and set it in front of Prince. I said. with songs in various stages of development. Working with Prince was extremely challenging. no matter what time of day or night. intolerant and yet extremely generous with credits and opportunity. I knew that whatever instrument Prince reached for had to be tuned. He was impatient. so when he would spin around on his heels and go for an instrument. uncommunicative.GEAR STORIES STORIES Prince and the Gemini II WITH SYLVIA MASSY BUDGET GUITARS AND ROCK STARS AND GRANDMA’S CHAIR Prince walked into Studio B. I’ll just…um…go next door and get it…” I then ran out of the room to the front desk. Instead. I made sure I was on it like my life depended on it! He would even have a vocal mic hung over the console. What was originally a four-day booking turned into a three-year odyssey with Prince.

Compared to e ses A100 apt i-plat atin log mixe red mixi g bac into his A mixing back into his DAW. the DV-RA1000HD is simply the best stereo recorder ever made. at ww. including his thoughts on affordable a lle des nte erv nc ding fordab da abl analog mixing and CD copies. w. and up to 192kHz recording as esolution ecord r u orde ith 0G ar drive.tas am. Read he ntire Al e Side inte v ew. inc udi g s ho ght o Read the entire Allen Sides interview. at www.tascam. VD-R riter. e o 192kHz r ordin 9 n well well as Direct Stream Digital.” t a h e ixes e o analog. DVD-R writer. “Probably 85% of the high-end albums that d-wi ucer/eng len e Probably the h g end lbums that m a c come out. With a 60GB hard drive.$OOHQ 6LGHV H[SODLQV ZK\ KH PL[HV WR WKH '95$+' +LW 5HFRUGV DUH 0L[HG $QDORJ Wan he a or-l b ound? “The ajority o i Want th Want the major-label sound? “The majority of hits are not mixed in the box. he V-RA1000HD is im y he est st r gita a A ecorde eve ade.c m/dvra1000h a d ra100 . c rder ade. “it sounded significantly better recording DSD” to the TASCAM highxing c s i sounde s gn ficantly ette reco din D D to the T SC M ig n ntly t co ing h resolution recorder. nal g mixin and CD pies.com/dvra1000hd. d e iter.tascam com/dvra1000h x s. ll D rect tr a D gital. “Probab award-winnin producer/engineer Allen Sides.” a Alle c oose t D -RA10 0HD cap u hi multi-pla in m nalo mixes o pare to Allen chooses the DV-RA1000HD to capture his multi-platinum analog mixes.” says Grammy u rt r o m xe i xed e box ” say Grammy a m award-w n ing oducer/eng neer Alle Sides. all of those mixes are done analog.

Acoustic guitars can play multiple roles in album recording. After declining his job offer. and said. Not sparkling. like a shaker. Aria or Alvarez on hand io B to add texture to your tracks without tonally complicating the sonic picture. And if it gets sat on. you can buy one of your own for $200. for percussive needs you may want the guitar to sound almost like a washboard! An Underrated Studio Essential Budget acoustic guitars are off ten underrated in the studio. “But I want this one. most of my clients today who use the Fender GemWe always have a few no-name acoustics sitting on the couch in the lounge of the studio. Prince offered me a job at his ini II could never imagine its stressful. Paisley Park Studios in Minnesota.GEAR STORIES STORIES the song. It’s a budget guitar—dry sounding. I noticed what Prince was doing. Tom Petty and Prince. but I decided to remain in Los Angesimilar offering in the Fender CD-140S acoustic toles.” The dreadnought-shaped Fender Gemini II six-string acoustic is really nothing special. not shimmering. I never sold him that guitar and acoustic lying around can help inspire creativity. She is a member of the NARAS P&E Wing Steering Committee and Advisory Boards. It was a great Fender stopped making the Gemini line but has a opportunity. You’ll hear it on the Diamonds and Pearls album. No. At the end of 1992 I had a Billboard Top 25 d single with Green Jello’s “Three Little Pigs. either as a melodic voice or as a percussive instrument. the guitar features a mahogany back and spruce top. more as a percussion instrument. more like a chugging. very woody. Calif. most resonant tone in an acoustic guitar. At the same time.MIXONLINE. Never be afraid to have an Massy’s m inexpensive Yamaha. Even outside of recording. Originally manufactured in Korea in the late ’80s.” I had also been asked to produce a new band called Tool. Prince had a thing for that guitar.” He smiled at me. Washountain of gear in La rrabee Stud burn. I generally use it to fill out rhythm tracks in rock songs. Just a very plain acoustic. I never heard from day. ready to help work out a part or ignite a spontaneous sing-along. It is not always necessary to have the deepest. they aren’t that expensive. and said. it’s not the end of the world. and is a resident producer at RadioStar Studios in Weed. difficult and incredibly magical heritage! Sylvia Massy is the unconventional producer and engineer of artists including Tool. I don’t think he realized it was mine and assumed the rental company would just charge him for it.COM . and at the end of the sessions he casually directed his crew to pack the guitar up into one of his road cases. Johnny Cash. just having a cheap Prince again. or so I thought. Red Hot Chili Peppers. in fact. “Excuse me. System of a Down. Prince used the Gemini II on several other songs. 20 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.

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so I’ve been trying to find ways to still deliver quality to clients on a smaller budget. which was a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s not easy.” he says. ‘After you record this. and you’ll get 10 different answers. they don’t need us. When you get that call. comedy shows are fashionable—and. And all are finding innovative ways to streamline and reinvent themselves. as are “things like HDNet.” says McAllister.” Trickle-Down Trends Many changes in the remote business are indicative of larger shifts in music-industry models. take it or leave it.” Singer says the trucks were designed for new workflow rather than the most cutting-edge gear. who has been operating the Record Plant Remote truck for more than three decades. we also want you to mix it. which has been really successful. Remote Recording Studios Streamline and Diversify By Sarah Jones The remote recording business is dying. Partner and technical engineer Joel Singer attributes the company’s success to its “dream team” of veterr an mixers: “Two of my partners are the most demanded live music broadcast engineers in the business—John Harris and Jay Vicari—and I’ve just built good technical facilities for them. “In Canada. but low-revenue potential—at least for now Bengle sees “live to Internet” as a viable prospect for the future. Karen Brinton. they called me up the next day to remix a Faith Hill song that they were putting out as a ringtone. “It’s basically built around workflow to a way where we could streamline projects that didn’t require having 30 percent more budget to do them. “I’ve been doing this long enough where I’m still one of the go-to people who gets the calls. the truck is going out for less of a daily rate than it did 10 years ago. “So I’m hoping that the quality of that is contagious and there are more things done that way. has also seen difficult times. and clients either choose to record shows themselves with low-cost rigs or forego liverecording projects entirely—with remote trucks left feeling the pinch. it’s usually one guy with a mic. but it has not yet materialized.” “With 5. the remote world is certainly shrinking. And the way they’re making their money on that is. “Budgets just keep getting smaller and people keep wanting more for less. which handles high-profile projects such as the HD broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera and the Academy Awards. The remote recording business is booming. no money. “I just did a show in Nashville called All for the Hall. “If television still produces big audio music shows trucks will survive.” The Internet still provides unparalleled promotional opportunities.” Many remote facilities are banking on highdefinition broadcast media to boost business. and for TV they can go there with small cameras and it’s much simpler than it was.” Sometimes the “product” is there. president of Remote Recording.COM . and at best enthusiastic. most of the major companies are at the least cautiously optimistic.” Bengle.Facing Fewer Gigs and Shrinking Shrinki Budgets. “Counting inflation and everything. Concert-recording budgets have dwindled.” he says.” adds Bengle. It’s about music. That’s what we’ve been reduced to—ringtones on cell phones.MIXONLINE. And I would rather have some money than 22 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 From Music to Broadcast While some remote trucks continue to find solid work in music recording. in general most of the projects with the budgets are in broadcast. It’s not that there’s nothing that needs to be recorded.” Yet no television networks wanted to pick up the show. it’s because companies don’t have a profitable venue to sell these new products. and TV trucks can’t because they are made for sports. says most of his traditional projects (music and radio) have been replaced by TV and satellite radio work—and TV trends drive the business. “Our business has definitely shifted.” says Brinton. which in its first 18 months of business has expanded operations to the West Coast. It’s about broadcast. “It ended up going out over the Internet. “We do the HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera into theaters around the country.” Kooster McAllister. But given the challenging financial climate.” Bucking the downward trend somewhat is Music Mix Mobile. about brighter days ahead. which has a lot of live music shows.1.’ it becomes more of a project than what a lot of our competition is doing by just going out and recording” Canada’s Juno Awards for 23 years.” he says. with fewer players competing for smaller budgets and fewer projects. You may not need the big TV rigs for Internet shows. Vince Gill. “The only way to adapt and stay in business is to realize we’re making TV now. of course.” Guillaume Bengle. And the attitude is. they’ll still need us.” says Brinton. “The generalization of 5. says big award shows are important. president of Le Studio Mobile (Montreal). “We did a couple of shows that were broadcast over the Internet. and they say. Ask 10 remote recording engineers about the state of their world. but monetizing it is a challenge. “I think it will take a certain number of years because just doing a music show involves lots of money. but audio is still complicated for them and that’s good for us.1 has helped us because smaller studios can’t do that well. But it’s a slippery slope to get onto. which support 360degree merch deals. people expect better audio and producers know that. “and it was like a who’s who in the entertainment industry: Keith Urban. new releases support tours. and worked on projects ranging from VH1’s Storytellers with the Foo Fighters to the Country s Music Awards and this year’s Grammys. Brad Paisley. Album sales are no longer success indicators. who’s been covering I WWW. says the past year has been challenging. which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with the launch of a new truck. A historically small market. As long as music stays an important factor in television.

and accommodating them is a revenue stream. stakes can be higher for broadcast projects. “They realize that the flight pack— with the additional work that it involves—can cost them almost as much as my services. leaving only the high end. Genelec 8200 Series DSP surround monitoring and more than 112 channels of Grace Design preamps. director of remote recording at Los Angeles–based Design FX. PHOTO: SCOTTWYNN. but prefers to work himself. “But then it comes down to. This interior photo shows the company’s new West Coast truck. quality and a proper acoustic environment.” “That’s why we left the CD market.I. ‘When I’m going to bring in a 20camera shoot. to consult and facilitate projects nationwide. “If you do a CD and it doesn’t work one night. Not pictured: partner Mitch Maketansky. “A lot of times.” McAllister has a rudimentary flight pack. it’s gone. “But no one’s getting middle-budget stuff. mere access to equipment simply isn’t enough. like bands who wanted to do a DVD.Y. and we’re entrenched in doing broadcast music television.” The Value of Experience In the remote world. the Black Crowes and Buddy Guy. you say. Pictured (L-R) are partners Bob Wartinbee.MIXONLINE. Some people do [flight packs] very well and have everything ready to go. They’d rent a video flight pack and have their front-of-house engineers record on a [Digidesign] VENUE. an engineer at Austin’s MediaTech.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 23 . But we had already moved away from that. So what we have to offer is reliability and redundancy. They’ll work more in post-production of course. and sees some business moving in that direction. we’ll come back the night after. they can’t do that yet. “You pay for quality up front or you can pay for trying to fix it in post. “That’s the way I work.COM D. “But we can put together a Pro Tools flight pack that includes 48 channels of preamps and a Pro Tools rig with a monitoring system that they can take with them.” Yet for many mid-level acts.” says Dan Childers. talent and expertise matter most. which a PC next to the console doesn’t provide. where the artist and producer are concerned about reliability.” Singer says he realized years ago that the concert DVD business would change drastically as it got easier and cheaper for clients to bring their own recording rigs on tour.” says Bengle. “Generally speaking. but people know what we do. I think there’s a right way to do things in a truck. even though we’re recording every night. they can’t do that.” Bengle notes that clients will often try recording themselves with a flight pack but end up returning for full services. and we do a good job: Everything’s WWW. they can get these smaller rigs and can capture not only one show. when bands might not be able to afford to record the show. Jay Vicari. just like in the studio world. So a lot of times. ‘Oh.” laments David Hewitt. In TV.’” he says. recording their own gigs is sometimes the only option within their budget. “Now the smarter ones still said. Mark Linett and Joel Singer. Not with the same kind of flexibility and safety that big trucks provide. but they can use it on maybe 10 shows. which also operates a large equipment-rental business. who recently left the remote truck world after nearly 40 years and launched his own company. John Harris.’ In TV. do I want to be a rental company or do I want to be a recording engineer?” Bengle also gets requests for flight packs. people who hire us aren’t interested in the gear. not with the price of the PHOTO: ROBBIE CLYNE big TV trucks.” Bengle adds that production-wise. in his truck.Music Mix Mobile’s East Coast truck is pictured on the front cover. “because people will come and put a computer next to the console and they’ll have audio. they hire us for us. Hewitt Remote Services. and my truck can go almost anywhere. Both Music Mix Mobile facilities are equipped with full-blown Pro Tools recorders/DControl surfaces. I don’t want to do that. which will act as the remix facility for the 2010 Grammy Awards. “The advent of those front-of-house systems eliminated much of the middle of the market. who has worked many Austin City Limits festivals and engineered live recordings for the likes of the Allman Brothers. at FOH The fact that artists can record their own shows accounts for a large drop in midlevel remote recording gigs.” says Scott Peets. but they’re okay with that. clients don’t have a budget to bring a recording truck out and do a show. I’m going to bring in a remote facility because it’s money well spent to make sure the thing goes down without a hitch. “It may be that we’ve lost some work to some cheaper flight-pack guys.

touring production. “The M3 truck was built for large-scale teleproductions but with high-quality audio in mind. “With fiber optics. so when you’ve got 13 bands in a show. it can’t really keep up with the technological demands. and adapting workflow to smaller budgets at every level.” get home download the show.” says Peets. offering more services and tarr geting new niches. you can set them up. which is based around Yamaha DM2000s.. I cap24 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 multiband shows. we don’t really sell cheap prices. your consoles and your recorders.COM . who expanded business with a compact all-digital truck in 2007. “There’s a saying on the road that ‘the show is that little inconvenience between the load-in and the load-out. “I still have a good share of clients who want analog front end.” he says. that doesn’t really matter these days. remote companies are diversifying. and I’m the music mixer for the Wendy Williams show when she has live acts. and it would be totally different than putting $1 million console in front of another guy.A. especially when it comes to shows like the Grammys.” he says. “Things have changed a lot since six or seven years ago when we had those snakes.” Design FX has the unique benefit of tapping into its extensive rental collection to tailor recording rigs to project needs. “My API truck went out four times last year. which saved on the budget for them. more compact truck. All the details—word clock. the original “Silver” Neve-based truck is called into service as often as its newer “Polar Express” truck. gets regular calls for its vintage API console. The pre-production and logistics can be very daunting: Communicating and interfacing with sound reinforcement. Digital Functionality Guillaume Bengle celebrated 30 years of Le Studio Mobile with the launch of a new. where an audience can go see a festival.” says Hewitt. brought it back to Jay and it was 70 perr cent done. you’re not dialing up your EQs and preamps manually—just hit a button and recall. organized.” Adds Singer: “Equipment doesn’t make you a remote facility—people make you a remote facility. And that’s what we sell. “There is so much more to a successful live recording than just showing up and moving faders. and that technology takes up maybe a fourth of the space of my old Studer 24-track. so everything must be so much more reliable. everything runs smooth from their perspective. “I’ll give you an example: Jay and John were doing the Rock Hall concerts at Madison Square Garden and we needed to record the Foo Fighters at Sony Studios in L.” At Remote Recording. because if you lose one signal now. And the safety of the whole thing is something those [smaller] rigs cannot do. Especially for multiple acts. The bottom line is.” McAllister. remote productions are collaborative efforts.or 50-pair snakes.” The Design FX truck. “That’s a big difference for producers. “Like with Hank Neuberger’s Third Wave Productions. Bengle cites redundancy as a crucial technology consideration today. and things like that. “It’s got an old Soundcraft board that sounds great.” Childers adds that speed of delivery is a challenge.” Childers says he’s pushing the limits of MediaTech’s Dallas Sound Lab remote truck.” Singer continues.” says Brinton. That’s the advantage of a digital console. We still record to Pro Tools or Nuendo or whatever their format of choice is. you will lose everything—your preamps. distribution—have to be perfect. from operating additional trucks in different regions down to sending one fewer tech to a local gig.” he says. My digital [DM2000-based] truck is the truck that’s working all of the time now. it was difficult to lose that in one single instance. see a band.” He says that he can now arrive at a gig and be ready in an hour or two. it’s more of a sonic quality that you’re going for. “We’ve adapted with smaller systems and flight pack systems. You could put a $600 console in front of my guys. I think that’s very appropriate. “I record 192 tracks now.MIXONLINE. and the truck is a better environment to work in because of the smaller equipment. and maybe by the time they Reinventing Yourself To survive in today’s market. “It’s more flexible. and things that are more cost-effective for straight capture where [clients] know that they need to save money on the front end so that they can spend more on mixing.” says Singer. and dialed it up for the live cut that night.” says McAllister. this work is often left undone and the whole production suffers for it.” Other than size and power. He can pick up your guitar and still be Van Halen. In this era of staff and budget cuts. Jay edited it. handling of the word clock. “The show I just did for David Archuleta—Billboard Live’s series of Internetbased shows—I did it on the Denali silver truck in their audio booth on the video truck because they didn’t have the budget to use my truck for this. and I used the Jay plugins and the Jay method of doing things. “Broadcast has kind of turned into a whole other field of remote recording. super-fast turnover from one band to another. “It’s that old Eddie Van Halen thing: Just because you pick up Eddie’s guitar doesn’t mean you play like Van Halen. you can lose it all. that is possible.” Bengle capitalized on compact technology in his new truck. we have an API console in the truck. whereas having an API. “For something that’s a one-artist show. had the opposite experience. so that’s something I’ve addressed. do your soundcheck and store them.tured it for Jay.” And like studio projects. as Kooster McAllister at the Yamaha DM2000 I WWW. video production and venue production are all vital. If you lose your reference from the video truck—your black reference—and don’t have the proper equipment. “My thought was I would [use] my classic analog truck for people where quality really mattered. “People want instant recallability. “So I’m sort of reinventing myself. Billboard Music Awards. doing things like working on TV trucks. which generally handles music gigs. and it saved a day-and-a-half or two days of what might have been the final mixing. these Beyond Capture Remote facilities are re-evaluating their role in the production model.” Analog Sound. “With digital consoles. “If a client wants to do a record. you need the recall capability. but it’s a little bit long in the tooth.” Singer says that’s where workflow comes in.” he says. with 32. but they like having it go in analog. That’s why we double most systems. so we took our M3 West truck there.

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Avalon preamps. they’re comfortable there’s somebody appropriate for their projects.Dan Childers of MediaTech works for music clients including the annual Austin City Limits festival. “But because of the lull of ’09. tube microphones—so it’s easy for us to customize the truck to the session. who I was thinking I was going to be leaving this great business to.” says McAllister. but we also have a whole rental inventory—Neve preamps. “It gives me the ability to give my clients more choices as far as engineers.” “I love what I do. recording the show and driving away anymore. there’s hope for more demand of high-quality audio for videos from bands.’ What I’m more concerned about is my son. I might have a business. 26 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. prices will never be back up to where they were. “Through all this.” says McAllister.” says Brinton. “It’s still creative. project coordination—whatever we can do to fill in any gaps or any needs. and I still have people at the end of the day telling me. “We are offering more services—post-production.” The new year brings new opportunity. who adds that she is constantly looking to expand services. a San Francisco–based nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of women in the recording arts. and despite the downward trend in the remote business. a firm that represents engineers and producers. ‘Great work.COM . well as Pro Tools and classic gear.MIXONLINE. I’m sort of optimistic that things are going to be all right. “And if something breaks—let’s say you have a 192 interface go down on your Pro Tools—we can just call the shop and they can just drop one by. Remote Recording formed a strategic partnership with Joe D’Ambrosio Management. It’s not just about showing up. even the hardest hit are cautiously optimistic.” says Peets.” Sarah Jones is the associate director of Women’s Audio Mission. “With the advent of broadband Internet.” Going beyond technology. “Music’s always going to be around. you just have to adapt to the change.” says Peets. but there might be no business to work in.” Many see the industry as just expanding and cycling.

Not way! You and new Neve we hope to tak here. Thanks for t Neve Genesys he recommendation to go life. but e GC PRO mad e it happen. BTW. 40 Input Expandable Console with EQ.500 Thanks. Walter Walter Orange of the Commodores www. EQs ane have compared to these nsoles in my test it in my d Compressors. but non .MODERN LEGEND. Akee. Recall and Classic Neve Sound $59.com 877-70-GCPRO (42776) . it all the Akee Campbell of GC Pro 16 Fader. I’ve owned f ive or so cowith the pres. le classic MIC only are we studio really cinched the tting me now with the going to start the record deal.GCPRO.

record a gig on-the-fly and more as this smart phone becomes even smarter. Many engineers probably have some fun gaming apps to breeze away the time between takes. All files (44. $4. determine SPL levels. iPhone set to Record? Huh? For professional engineers. It also has a record timer. Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch might not spring to mind when getting their gear set up for an upcoming recording session. audio markers. It also lets you attach photos to recordings. I WWW. support for Broadcast WAV metadata and instant downloading of audio files in multiple formats. but the technology that makes the iPhone a real music-making/recording tool has improved since Apple debuted the phone a few years ago. check instrument tuning. accurate stereo meters. Workflow enhancements include public or private uploads to SoundCloud.99) also offers location stamping. organize your files into categories. You’re only limited by your phone: The iPhone can hold up to 13 hours per GB and up to approximately 200 hours for a 16GB iPhone. a movable playback head. e-mail files up to 100 MB.COM . 22 or 11 kHz) are uncompressed WAV. Outboard gear patched and ready? Check. stop texting and surfing the Web and get back to recording on your phone. for a bevy of music apps).com. Now. which is another category for another time (or you can check out our sister magazine EM’s Website. variable playback speed and more. but new apps allow you to run pink noise. we focus on the pro apps (arranged alphabetically). configurable time units. no one’s going to be creating final masters or multitracking on the iPhone. multiple VU meter styles (including K-System scales) and adjustable input gain.99) features a real-time waveform display. a scroll wheel and the ability to append to an existing recording.iPhone Apps Take a Professional Bow By Sarah Benzuly icrophones? Check.3. Also included are input and output VU meters. and the ability to add a picture reference to the recording. the ability to tag recordings with location data and an Overdub mode for layering tracks. MIX FEBRUARY 2010 BIAS iProRecorder Not only does it support stereo recording (when used with compatible hardware). Users can scroll the live waveform display with the touch of a finger or navigate it with a system of configurable double-taps. Web server authentication. Here. emusician. Console set up? Check. Supported microphones include Alesis ProTrack (requires iPhone 3G or second-generation iPod Touch) and Blue Mikey (requires iPhone 3G). 1. and name and rename marker points. bypassing those strictly made for music creation.MIXONLINE. but the iProRecorder (V. sync using Wi-Fi and send files directly to BIAS’ Peak audio editor (Mac). FiRe ($5. varispeed playback.1.1 This upgrade to the professional field recording app features iPhone OS 3 compatibility. Audiofile Engineering FiRe Version 1. No.

Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer. Mackie Control Protocol and Ableton Live. pictured right) control surface offers 32 channels of remote control with real-time color metering and 40mm touch-sensitive virtual faders. guitars. I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX WWW. $0. select your note from the Note Wheel. the forthcoming iPhone app from Planet Waves. The updates are free to existing Retro Recorder customers.COM 29 . Planet Waves Rig Remote MIDI Mobilizer (below) is a portable MIDI device. Chromatic Tuner ($3. choose and adjust models of amps. so you can program MIDI sequences without having to switch out of ProRemote. notations such as solfège. McDSP Retro Recorder Retro Recorder has been updated with new features. We can see it on the horizon: Instead of using ftp to pass files back and forth. To make it work. 1.99) supports custom temperaments. you can control transport features. alternate tuning and more. and a setlist manager for gigs is included. The app features distortion-free audio zoom-in capability and the patent-pending Audio Level eXtension (ALX) technology. though) and a metronome that can be used with the recorder or stand-alone. ioMetrics GigBaby! A low-priced newcomer to the multitrack space is GigBaby! (V. a banjo and an electric sitar. Apple Logic and Soundtrack Pro. When used with Rig Remote. Pro Transport The ProRemote ($99. including electric and acoustic guitars. bass. A small library of drum loops is provided. record and return to zero. including scrub and shuttle. Line 6 Vetta II amplifiers feature models of 80 guitar amplifiers and more than 80 effects. and Planet Waves Rig Remote is iPhone software for use with Apple iPhone and iPod touch using OS 3. any instrument that can sustain a tone. Exported files can then be downloaded to a PC or Mac using a Wi-Fi network. It uses your existing wireless network to control such products as Pro Tools. set markers (memory locations) and control many advanced aspects of the transport.99. tap the on/off button in the center to start sounding the tone.Cleartune Chromatic Tuner This chromatic instrument tuner and pitch pipe allows you to quickly “tune up” your instruments using the iPhone’s built-in mic. and use the buttons on the side to adjust the volume. Rig Remote features a graphical display that takes a nod from the Line 6 software commonly used to adjust Variax and Vetta II tones via personal computer. availability and more detail on the complete feature set to be announced. up to eight faders can be controlled simultaneously. pickup placement. and you can also zoom the timeline and jump to and add markers. transposition. adjustable calibration and more. and new customers may purchase it for $2. pickups.3. which has a surprisingly robust feature set considering its price. In Pro Tools. Simply tap the Pitch Pipe button. including stereo recording capability and a high-quality Recording mode. Line 6 Variax guitars model the sounds of 25 instruments.99). bowed strings. The iPhone display and touchscreen make it easy to scroll. woodwinds—really. You get four tracks of recording (no punch-in. You must download ProRemoteServer to use ProRemote. you must first download and install the free ProRemote Control application.MIXONLINE. ProTransport ($7. Guitarists can save their favorite settings and apply them to any Variax guitar or Vetta II amplifier. Recorded files can be exported individually or in batches. Mac. as well as basic play. The full version includes a dedicated Transport view that lets you scrub/shuttle. All models can be controlled with Rig Remote and adjusted in real time via its amp panel–inspired knobs.99. with pricing. MIDI Mobilizer lets guitarists control Line 6 Variax digital-modeling guitars and Vetta II digital-modeling amplifiers. An external mic is required. Far Out Labs ProRemote. It also has some nice graphical indicators. support for other DAWs is in the works. and Logic and Soundtrack Pro. Also included are the company’s ProPads and Pro XY MIDI controllers. An Options panel lets you select from several different waveforms. Mac) handles a variety of transport functions for Live. Pro Tools. use the app’s track-sharing option to share and swap your recordings. It’s useful for acoustic or electric guitar. MIDI Mobilizer and Rig Remote 1 are currently in development.

Other features include an “onboard” compressor/limiter and the ability to bounce tracks. Bruce Sugar Grammy Nominated Engineer / Producer Has recorded: Elton John.99). palm-sized MIDI controller.rockandrollphotographer. switching drum kits while a user is at the V-drums and more.eastweststudio. 1. controlling multi-effects while tracking guitar. Ringo Starr.com 30 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. Everyone who has sung on it has been blown away. internal metronome and packaged sounds.. The app is based on the Steinberg Kernel Interface (SKI) technology for integration into the Cubase software core. Automap provides two horizontal faders and eight buttons per page (pages unlimited) displayed on one touchscreen.1kHz.MIXONLINE.1 and Cubase Studio 5. duplicate songs.1 music production systems. and controls can be re-assigned via the Learn mode. Steinberg Cubase iC The Cubase iC (free) remotecontroller application provides control for Steinberg’s Cubase and Cubase Studio Version 5. Steven Tyler.0. Recording at 16-bit/44. violins to saxophones and tablas.COM .1 running on both Mac OS X and Windows platforms. Automap lets you see how every control on your iPhone/iPod touch is assigned. .0. Paul McCartney. Cubase iC controls Cubase 5.” Novation Automap 3 With Automap 3. Control maps are automatically placed into categories depending on type. track length is unlimited. including three beats by drummer Jason McGerr on his signature Ludwig kit recorded in his Seattle-based studio.2.A. $9. Combined with Novation’s free Automap 3 Standard software or Automap 3 PRO ($29. Two Sticks Audio.“ For my latest project with Ringo Starr I have used the Flamingo Standard on everything from vocals to upright bass.. A Slide to Record feature prevents overwriting of tracks. Ozzy Osbourne Sonoma Wire Works FourTrack Offering pan controls. violetusa. you can turn your iPhone/iPod touch into a wireless. A truly versatile and awesome microphone. a clip light ensures that input levels do not cause distortion while calibrated meters monitor record and playback level. An internal bounceto-disk function and click track feature are planned in a future update. There’s also a handheld crossfader for laptop DJ’ing.com Photo by Nigel Skeet . Users can remotely control transport functions or give an artist remote control of reverb levels.0.99) lets you upload tracks to your computer as WAV files (or directly to the company’s RiffWorks software for Mac and Windows) using Wi-Fi sync. FourTrack (V.com taken at EastWest Studios L.

Classic Tracks is a must for anyone interested in the techniques and creative forces behind the chart-toppers of the past 30 years. The studios. THD+N. Visit www. RTA (octave and 1/3-octave spectral analysis). 1. $5. adds more functionality for line-input audio analysis. audio-related calculators and File Export to upload those results to any PC or Mac via Wi-Fi. SPL Pro. Another Studio Six Digital product is RTA (V. 1.99).” to Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower. SPL Graphic.” to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and the Eagles’ “Hotel California.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 31 . the ability to monitor the mic input in the headphones. ETC (Energy Time Curve). The initial purchase includes the SPL Meter (with an increased range to work with the iAudioInterface mic). $0. SPL Traffic Light (monitor live sound level). Studio Six Digital also makes the lower-priced SPL Meter (V. impedance. Additionally. Sarah Benzuly is Mix’s managing editor.MIXONLINE. and will work with the soon-to-be-released iAudioInterface and iProMic.2. In-app purchasing (upgrades) include FFT analysis.95! WWW.” Culled from the pages of Mix magazine. stories and hit makers behind three decades of groundbreaking songs Revisit the in-studio experiences behind the songs that have defined our generation. Metronome TS ($3. and white/ pink noise. a realtime analyzer that has calibration settings for either the iPhone’s built-in mic or an external measurement mic.Studio Six Digital AudioTools.99) features a 30 to 250 bpm range.4. tap-tempo and more. $9.com/mixbookshelf and ORDER YOURS TODAY! Just $24. SPL. RTA AudioTools ($19.99) bundles all of the company’s audio and acoustics apps. Speaker Polarity.mixonline. pictured). it offers a signal generator (sine/square waves. Users can play clicks through the first-generation iPod touch’s internal speaker. budget-priced analog decibel meter from a popular electronics-store chain. and calibration of all I/Os. 1. SPL (V. multiple selectable rhythms. with zero to 19 beats per bar.99) is a full-featured decibel meter that uses the iPhone’s built-in mic or an external one. impulse response and Smaart (available this year). Thezi Studio Metronome TS This metronome offers visual (a virtual baton) and aural (a choice of tones) references. speaker distortion.99). which is designed to emulate a familiar. level/frequency of the iAudioInterface line input (also works with any dock input audio source) and Audio Scope dual-trace audio band oscilloscope. AVAILABLE NOW! CLASSIC TRACKS: The studios. from Patsy Cline’s “Crazy. stories and hit makers behind three decades of groundbreaking songs Foreword by Eddie Kramer Edited by Blair Jackson With a foreword by Eddie Kramer.

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however: His exceptional recent album on Nonesuch. he hasn’t been working feverishly every t second since he arrived in Italy nearly a month ago. But right now he’s kicking back.COM 33 . Okay.” jazz guitar great Jim Hall. which may be his strongest work yet in the Americana-folk-jazz vein he has mined so successfully from time to time (amidst countless other disparate projects). Frisell and I have three projects to talk about. By Blair Jackson Bill Frisell F It’s hard to believe. and finalmente. relaxing. writing some music at his leisure and anticipating just a single gig in Italy with his “mentor and hero. but when I reach the extraordinarily prolific master guitarist Bill Frisell at an apartment he’s renting in the beautiful. The guitarist’s recent work also includes music for three Buster Keaton films and the live performance DVD Solos. as they’d say in Orvieto. a superb DVD shot in 2004 (but released recently) called Solos. So all in all.MIXONLINE. Disfarmer. ancient town of Orvieto. but not the films-with-music. Italy. Disfarmer. and he doesn’t have five t projects in different stages of completion. Disfarmer has a slight r connection to the Keaton project in I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX WWW. after New Year’s is a differr ent story. two days before Christmas. Actually. a DVD of three Buster Keaton silent shorts for which Frisell’s mid-’90s trio supplied the soundtrack—the music came out on CD in 1995. was inspired by the work of Depression-era photographer Mike Disfarmer.:: music Bill Frisell’s latest album. it’s quite a bonanza for Frisell fans.

Frisell’s Disfarmer was inspired by the porr r traits the photographer took and by Disfarmer’s “bizarre life. Ohio.” Townsend says. yet they were fascinated by him. Ark. aloof. so the music wouldn’t be coming only from what I had seen or read in a book.” Frisell comments. The reason I love to play with them is because I can trust their instincts.” (It was an exhibit of Disfarmer’s photos at the Wexner Center of the Arts in Columbus. “I used the excuse of thinking about what they might have been hearing on the radio [during Disfarmer’s lifetime]. we realized there were a few nuggets. from the Depression era into the 1950s. who has produced most (but not all) of Frisell’s albums since the mid-’80s. When we finished with that. but he chose “Disfarmer” as a sort of dig against the principal livelihood of the people he lived around.” and Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” and “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You).” Sessions for Disfarmer took place in r two different studios. taste the food. he rarely arr ticulates his intentions. and Sound Emporium in Nashville in May of that year. “I think the most tracks we had on any song on this album was about 32.” Frisell says. Disfarmer was an odd duck: His actual last name was Myers. Lee Townsend. a bunch of violins—it can add up. but you jump off into the unknown along the way. There are plenty of things that are written out. I don’t give them much verr the sense that it is music inspired by visuals (in part): Mike Disfarmer (1884-1959) was a photographer who captured the plain folks who lived in his community of Heber Springs. Rediscovered in d the ’70s.MIXONLINE. and most of the music is generated from those few little melodies. “It might have three guitar tracks—maybe an acoustic and two electrics. Early on. finding our way from one place to another.” Though Frisell and company will typically record live in the studio. “There are a couple of different kinds of records that happen with Bill—ones where the material is kind of fleshed out in the studio and others where it’s a little more road-tested.” The Disfarmer CD comprises 26 mostly r short tracks. 34 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.COM . bal information. even misanthropic—he apparently made many of the people he photographed quite uncomfortable. and he did do outstanding work.” Martine says that he used basically the Frisell’s guitar work provides an uncommon soundtrack to Keaton’s treasured films. Frisell and his wife went on a driving trip across the South to Heber Springs so he could “smell the air. three months apart for four days each time: at Avast Studio in Seattle (where Frisell lives) in February 2008. “It’s mostly playing. but which instrumentation would work best with each song. he and Townsend are certainly not averse to overdubbing. Dobro and mandolin specialist Greg Leisz. It was a very cool vibe. “When we did the initial set of sessions up in Seattle at Avast. but mostly the former. a couple of Greg [Leisz]. we had the same instrumentation but a little more seasoning—the second time around everyone was way more comfortable with the material. there are instrumental versions of three cover tunes from the early days of country music: Arr thur Crudup’s “That’s Alright. Disfarmer was famously cold. And though one might think a portrait photographer would need to be a social fellow to loosen up his subjects. “we actually had one not far from Heber Springs. when many new negatives of his work came to light. Tucker Martine engineered and later mixed it in Fantasy Studios’ “D” room in Berkeley. After awhile.” Frisell says. Mama. usually laying down somewhere between two and eight takes per song. It was kind of an exploration—seeing how everything sounded not only with Victor. it’s part of how they achieve such interesting textural depth on some tunes. that provided the original impetus for Frisell to musically explore Disfarmer’s work and life.” Frisell says that even on conceptual pieces likes these. it’s become more and more blurred about what’s specified and what’s not. but we brought in [bassist] Victor Krauss for the recording. We have this understanding where we don’t have to figure things out so I can write something on paper and then they bring so much to it—I’m counting on them to do something with whatever I present to them.” Townsend recalls. and we got there early enough that the day of the gig Jenny and Greg and I went to the town and hung out for a while. You kind of know where you’re going. so that immediately changed things a bit. was once again at the helm. “So there are a lot of variations on those themes. indeed. We had Disfarmer photos taped up everywhere. “they had performed the music a little on their trip. so what is interesting is getting from one specific thing to another specific thing.) The setting and subject informed the style of music that Frisell composed for the project— this is rural America in the first half of the 20th The music on Disfarmer was influenced by the rural setting and subject matter in Mike Disfarmer’s portraits. three tracks of two passes of Victor. “There are three or four themes throughout the whole album. Calif. a loop [Frisell has long employed loops and other electronics as part of his guitar arsenal]. but the ideas are also a sort of springboard. This one was somewhere in between. For the next set of sessions we did at Sound Emporium. but also some things we thought could be fleshed out better. Disfarmer’s work is now shown in museums around the world..” Additionally.” as the guitarist puts it in the liner notes to the CD. The trio developed the music together and played it at the Wexner Center. talk to some people. “and when we started doing gigs.:: music bill frisell century—so he wrote a number of pieces and then brought in two of his favorite collaborators: violinist Jenny Scheinman and steel guitar.

It was a great way to get my feet wet.” It was artfully directed by Daniel Berman and co-produced by Berr man. and—well.” and The Gershwins’ “My Man’s Gone Now. such as Dylan’s “Masters of War. a Royer 121 and a Shure SM57 on the pedal steel amp. Frisell was scheduled to record a guitar-stravaganza in Nashville with Buddy Miller. It was [recorded to Pro Tools and] mixed to Studer A80 half-inch at 30 ips. Martine says. “What was so cool about the Buster Keaton thing. and then there’s a second Floratone album to be made with his collaborators in that lineup— Martine.MIXONLINE. with no audience—just Frisell alone with a Telecaster. let’s just say it was lucky I caught him during his break because there might not be another one for quite a while.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 35 . Frisell wouldn’t have it any other way. Baron’s drums and percussion provide much of the comic punctuation for pratfalls onscreen. Lee Townsend and Paul McNulty. like having a ballad playing during a wild fight scene. Music by Bill Frisell DVD gives us a glimpse of Frisell 15 years l ago.” the traditional country-folk tunes “Shenandoah” and “Wildwood Flower.F.” Those Townsend-produced sessions were recorded at Mobius Music in San Francisco by Oliver DiCicco and mixed at Different Fur in S.” Frisell says today. an RCA Varacoustic on mandolin. there’s more! Upon returning to the U. But wait.” The Films of Buster Keaton. “was that I had no idea what I was doing and there were no rules and no one telling me what to do—it wasn’t like a Hollywood movie or something. “Ron Carter” from Blues Dream. “I must admit.same miking schemes in Seattle and Nashville. It’s interesting to contrast the type of music Frisell wrote for these three shorts—The High Sign. but otherwise these are solid trio outings with Frisell’s musical perr sonality shining brightly. “There was one song where I re-amped Jenny’s violin through a small amp cranked up loud for some extra grit. and in making those mistakes I think I learned a lot. a Gefell M300 for Frisell’s acoustic guitar parts and KM84s on his amps.” Frisell comments. Townsend and Matt Chamberlain— and a gig playing the Buster Keaton music live to film. It was shot up close and personal with multiple cameras in the abandoned-looking 19thcentury Berkeley Church in Toronto.” The DVD also includes informative interview segments with Frisell. even after all these years. wending his way through a great selection of his original tunes from different eras: “Throughout” from his early ECM Records days. and a few well-chosen covers. Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz (and a rhythm section and probably some singers). I could try all these strange things. “That was a great old church. but that turned out nicely. an M49 on the Dobro. One Week and Go West—with the more typical k t piano or organ or orchestra scores we usually associate with silent films. when he was in a trio with bassist Kerr mit Driscoll and drummer Joey Baron. a KM84 between the fingers and the bridge for articulation. “Boubacar” from Intercontinetals. WWW.” Martine continues. I could try anything.S. usually panned to the opposite side. a couple of Fender amps and a few pedals. and a Demeter DI. by Judy Clapp. “Keep Your Eyes Open” from Nashville. “an RCA 44 by the F hole. Also. from Italy. playing by myself is sort of intimidating. It was the best way that could’ve happened: I was left to make every possible mistake. “All of the reverb added during the mixdown was the great-sounding chambers at Fantasy. and for the stand-up bass. And then there’s the Solos DVD. I used a fairly quick delay from a PCM 41 on the pedal steel on a lot of songs. which is a fantastic introduction to Frisell’s artistry. including an RCA 77DX on the fiddle.

I thought a lot of the pocket was getting lost by the pan happening and the time delay from side to side [in stereo recordings]. but also with the different mute selections you can have. and I started to picture how it should sound [with the group] in my head. but more importantly. In listening on headphones. It really screws with the groove if you’ve got stuff spread out. His fine new album—the title of which will bring shivers to anyone who has ever played in a band.” sive album. Yes. Gentlemen. it really sits in with the drums and my instrument and it can really punch. “The saxophone became the pre-eminent instrument in the jazz idiom. I want it to be mono. “In fact. I don’t want it to be too shiny.” Miking on the instruments was also kept simple.COM . but even for me that would be a bit much. can we do that?’ I said. But you’re going to have to go to a nice studio because you can’t go to any old place. ‘Dude. ‘We can definitely do that. so the tracks seem fresh and alive. ‘Yeah. All those great old records that came out on Specialty and Blue Note.] and sat in his practice room and he played me some of the tunes so I could conceptualize it. too. I thought. All those great old records that came out on Specialty and Blue Note.J. plus the early soul and R&B—that was all mono and it’s very powerful and rhythmically very punchy. which is really cool in terms of the kind of music I want to write and play. It’s gotta sound really good in the room we use.” There’s definitely a New Orleans feel to some of this music—the trombone/trumpet combo will do that almost automatically—with languid ballads mixed with saucy funk numbers. Hunter has also shown himself to be a gifted composer and a wonderful collaborator—certainly one of the most interesting all-around guitarists working in jazz during the past two decades.” What’s the appeal of writing for trombones? “It’s an underutilized instrument. no one is still wondering whether Hunter’s 8. “I went over to Charlie’s house [they both live in Montclair. This group had only rehearsed some and played one gig together when they went into Brooklyn Recording to cut this album. that’s cool. The good news is that Hunter continues to look for new ways to express himself.” McNair says. looking at the floor tom and the ride cymbal—and then an M49 about two feet from the Charlie Hunter By Blair Jackson Seventeen years down the line since the Charlie Hunter Trio’s eponymous debut album. but also adventurous: The spare arrangements still give him plenty of room in which to jam. not diff fuse. Let me record it y and I’ll be mixing it while we record it. “Charlie was looking to make an inexpen- Continued on page 40 I WWW. trumpet (Eric Biondo) and drums (Eric Kalb). “so I proposed the ultimate mix budget: ‘Why don’t you record it live to 2-track?’ He said. Hunter’s playing is tasteful and economical.and now 7-string guitar wizardry—which allows him to play bass and lead/rhythm guitar at once—is a gimmick. “I only used three mics on the drums. and the majority of records I listen to are mono. not just dependent on the [ability of the] person who’s playing it. doesn’t do much music tracking these days. but I really want everything to be in the middle. But the next decision the pair made was perr haps more unconventional than live-to-2-track. It has the ability to have a lot of different sounds.’ Okay. I originally thought of using three trombones. and the emphasis has been on bop-ish solos with lots of notes and 36 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 lots of changes and lots of velocity—very dense. And rhythmically. two trombones (Curtis Fowlkes and Alan Ferber). but certainly is accomplished in that area. whose main gig is mastering at Sterling Sound.’” McNair. “I heard the melodies and he told me how he thought the groove should be. and not a lot of flurries—and the trombone is a great foil for that.’ I said. It’s centered-sounding. “I wrote this music and really wanted to do it with brass. is part of the disc’s charm. he really does pull off these multiple roles beautifully.MIXONLINE. ‘Really? Mono? Can we at least spread a little ambience or something?’ He said. It’s a bare-bones. I Neglected to Inform You You Will Not be Getting Paid—finds the New York–based d guitarist in a band setting unique to my experience: guitar. as if the players are just discoverr ing the magic in the quintet.” he answers. It is simple by design.” comments Dave McNair. N. But the thing the trombone does. but maybe a little higher than that.” Hunter explains. who engineered and mixed the album. ‘I’d kind of like a lo-fi thing. And then he said. I have no problem with that. ‘In fact. “A [Neumann] 47 on the overhead. “I’ve always liked mono. is it has this intensely vocal quality. but that. a 47 kind of behind the floor toms—almost like a Glyn Johns thing. plus the early soul and R&B—that was all mono and it’s very powerful and rhythmically very punchy.” McNair says. The way I tend to play music is more vertically improvised—it’s more about the rhythms and the rests where you fit in. As always. ‘Wouldn’t it be perfect to make something that didn’t have that—that was hitting you all at once?’” McNair: “So the record is actually mono except for the return from an EMT plate and then just a hair—a tiny bit—of a pair of East German y Neumanns we used as room mics.’” Hunter elaborates. nofrills recording. fine.:: music Charlie Hunter: “The majority of records I listen to are mono.

. Eng gineering and m more. Bass Tab. Strum. Format Style. Guitar. Fake Book. Books fo oks d B or Pro T Tools. a Easy Guitar.000 titles for immediate download! Click > Print > Play ow? Music N Go to .Announcing Over 40. Easy Piano. Piano/Vocal/Guitar.80! Search by: Artist. Guitar Tab. Re eason. Genre Formats include: Piano. Title. R Recording.net usic sheetm my at Starting $1. Choral s MixB Books is the one stop source f all yo e s for our audio refere o ence boo and DVD needs.

Pretenders II. “I think she was sort of at that Springsteen stage anyway. “I was like. In 1973 she left the country to immerse herself in the London music scene as both a singer and a critic. however. guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon both died of drug overdoses. Hynde continued forward with the band. making it difficult for the musicians to hear each other. Hynde was married at the time to Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr. Though The Pretenders formed in London. charted at Number One in the UK and went Platinum in the United States. As they were setting up the drums. it became clear that acoustics weren’t the issue. But more personnel changes were to come. And Paul “Wix” Wicken’s synth flourishes add appropriate touches of pop grandeur. She socialized with the Sex Pistols and played in several bands. just to break it up and make it interesting. The band began sessions at AIR Studios with drummer Mel Gaynor of Simple Minds. Robbie McIntosh’s shuffling guitar line contrasts with Steve Jordan’s straight-ahead beat to create a groove as propulsive as a train engine. Under her supremely catchy melody.” At first.:: music music ic CLASSIC TRACKS before forming The Pretenders in 1978. reveals the mix of qualities that makes lead singer and songwriter Chrissie Hynde so compelling. you take away the drums from any drummer for a year. he just didn’t have the chops— he hadn’t practiced enough. Clearmountain describes the process as heartbreaking. the situation left Hynde with a lot of options. The Pretenders. Get Close. On the upside. really? How’s this gonna work?’” Clearmountain remembers thinking. the band’s first album. ‘Oh.MIXONLINE. Yet there’s no doubting her femininity. there’s no question that Hynde is every bit as tough as her all-male band. and its follow-up. which mixed the back-to-basics. and it’s gonna be tough to get that back. Both the sound and Hynde’s persona are still in evidence on the group’s 1986 hit “Don’t Get Me Wrong. Soon after. Ohio. Despite these devastating losses. aggressive energy of punk with Hynde’s strong melodic sense and a wide stylistic palette that covered ground from rock ’n’ roll to pop. As they were rehearsing for their next record. where she played in a college band with Devo frontman (and fellow Akronite) Mark Mothersbaugh. aptly titled Learning to Crawl. Clearmountain (who co-produced the record with Jimmy Iovine) chalked it up to poor acoustics in the rehearsal hall. She attended Kent State University in the early ’70s.” The song is a confession of in38 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 fatuation. both Chambers and Foster (whom Hynde and the producers felt was also not playing well) were asked to leave the group before recording began. The image captured Hynde’s persona: She has a swagger that stands up to that of rock’s cockiest frontmen and a vulnerability that gives her songs depth and emotional range. I WWW. was certified Gold in the U. she sounds supremely confident: The confession doubles as a come-on. Bob Clearmountain recalls the band sounding “raggedy. Hynde herself was an ex-pat from Akron.” Clearmountain says. Chambers mentioned that he’d gotten into programming on a drum machine and hadn’t touched a real kit in well over a year. keeping original drummer Martin Chambers and adding guitarist Robbie McIntosh and bassist Malcolm Foster. With her heavy black eyeliner. and witnessed the infamous Kent State killings. “Sure enough. but as Hynde sings about being swept away by passion. besides the fact that Martin wasn’t really cutting it. you know?” As a result. probably more so. Their 1980 debut.COM . But once they began tracking in London’s AIR Studios. but says that they couldn’t have made the recording if they hadn’t done it. tightly zipped red pleather jacket and thousand-yard stare. The result was another hit record. where she had played with the same band for a while and she just wanted to try some other players.S. including one with future members of The Clash. That combination paralleled The Pretenders’ sound. Even though this guy is an amazing drummer. and Clearmountain and Iovine The Pretenders By Gaby Alter The cover of The Pretenders. as evidenced by her long hair and lace gloves.

Bernie Worrell. snare. (He uses the Neve 8068 to a lesser degree.” he says. It’s very fast and sounds fantastic. Engineer Bruce Lampcov. The Eurythmics’ bassist. playing with them to this day.) When it hit the airwaves. “It was 24 tracks.” Lampcov miked Steve Jordan’s drums with Sennheiser 421s on the toms.M. In a testament to the skill of everyone involved. “It was fane tastic. “I think I had to take a phone call in the other room. The rest of the album was recorded primarr ily at Bearsville Studios near Woodstock. it’s Steve Jordan’s sound. but still—Chrissie was my idol. Many other crack studio musicians ended up on the album. despite her in-your-face personality.” The recording eventually moved from London to New York because there were musicians there that the producers and Hynde wanted to use. “I remember Bob commenting on the drum sound because he probably wouldn’t have gotten that sound himself. and some type of AKG mic on the cymbals. as he and Clearmountain didn’t have their own equipment. she had done the perfect vocal take on the song. and she just wouldn’t let shit go down that wasn’t the way she saw it. and Lampcov remembers feeling a little intimidated setting up by himself. “That series of Neves all through the ’70s were some of the best-sounding recording consoles on the planet. So sometimes it’s just a matter of leaving to get an artist to perform. so there were a lot of mics. the album was another success for The Pretenders.” Clearmountain says. and Pultec EQs on a lot of the drums. I did a lot of big records on that particular console: Bryan Adams.’ I mean. And Bob’s mixing. With Hynde and McIntosh supported by studio pros. Break Up the Concrete.MIXONLINE. Stevens recorded most of the bass tracks and Paul “Wix” Wickens did the lion’s share of keyboards. and they’re very straightforward and easy to operate.” Lampcov raves. back then all the studios had Neve consoles and then you’d use the You could have four vocal takes—we wouldn’t really do any more than that—and you had a choice between one would be amazing. “I’ve worked with a lot of women in the industry. Chrissie’s a tough person. the recording went smoothly over the next six weeks.M. Blair Cunningham played most of the drum tracks. Clearmountain mixed Get Close at Bearsville on an SSL 4000 E Series e desk. I took it as.” he says. Clearr mountain wasn’t actually in the room when she did her vocals that day. “That was how you worked back then—you’d EQ everything to how you wanted to hear it. “They have the famous mic preamps. ‘Oh. Clearmountain recalls that. probably with a Neumann U87 microphone and an LA-3A compressor. He also cites Clearmountain’s mixing skills in keeping the album’s sound unified. literally. but Hynde has continued to tour and record with the band. Lampcov and Clearmountain each remember their experience working with Hynde and The Pretenders on Get Close fondly. As a happy coda to the album. Hynde liked privacy and darkness when she did her vocals. the third would be unbelievable and the last would be perfect. played on the session.” he says. still jet-lagged. Stevens. with EQ and everything. SM57s on the snare top and bottom.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 39 . was thrilled to work on the album. and always asked to be partitioned off from the control room. When I came back. Chambers got his drumming chops back and rejoined The Pretenders.S. Clearmountain designed Power Station himself.’” he says. “She had done three or four vocal takes on ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong. to record “Don’t Get Me Wrong. proves that both her songwriting and vocals are still in great shape. an earlier version of the console he usually mixes on now. Chic and Sister Sledge. He used 1176 compressor/ limiters on the snare drum for compression. so whatever you do he makes it sound great.” he says. which was how they met Hynde and ended up working on Get Close. I was like. ‘Wow. T.” The song was recorded in Power Station’s Studio A. “The musicians were so good.” WWW. “Having said that. He borrowed a Gretsch guitar for the song’s solo. Anyway. including vocals.” Clearmountain came late to the session. “You could have four vocal takes—we wouldn’t really do any more than that—and you had a choice between one would be amazing. touching down and heading straight into Power Station studio. Hynde herself was extremely easy to record. It has proved to be a perennial favorite. (Jordan currently plays with and produces John Mayer’s band.) Ultimately. with Tony Bongiovi. they sold the console in 1992. but I mixed it down to bass drum.” he says. and Steve Jordan. an AKG D12 on the bass drum. but Clearmountain Googled the model number a few years ago and ended up buying it off the owner. including drummer Simon Phillips. no. overheads and room. “I was a young guy. according to Clearmountain. Lampcov recalls flying to the States on a Concorde overr night. —Bob Clearmountain EQs on the consoles. the third would be unbelievable and the last would be perfect. keyboardist for Parliament Funkadelic.had produced their last record. She’s the boss—that’s it. and “Don’t Get Me Wrong” became the group’s second Top 10 single in the U. and Chrissie was so good. Lampcov remembers that it was challenging to make the album sound consistent. they used whatever they found in each studio. as evidenced by a recent cover by British pop star Lily Allen. along with one song at Right Track in New York City. but also just their ideas because it’s such a maleoriented industry. it was just stunning. I said I’d be right back. Chucho Merchan. but his part was later replaced by T. did I screw it up?’ But I think he thought it was okay. and notes Hynde’s personality with admiration. a drummer/producer and friend of Hynde’s.” Hynde’s vocals were recorded in Studio B. “Women have to be very tough to get their voice heard. as well. hat. using the studio’s Neve 8068 desk. according to Clearmountain. and also played a Telecaster on it.” McIntosh’s main rhythm guitar was a Strat going through a Roland Digital Delay. “You just knew. I’d done lots of records. who was performing and recording with Pete Townshend at the time. In fact. Their recent album. I’m doing this on my own. one would be fantastic. this is everything we could ever want from a recording for a pop record. he would have done something different. the entire song was recorded that day. Other personnel changes have occurred. This is scary. top and bottom. a huge fan of both Hynde and The Pretenders. one would be fantastic.

” McNair says. no noise reduction.984. and powered [to] a closed single cabinet—it’s a box with a speaker in it and you put the mic in there.” Recording took place on two different days: The first was devoted to setup and capturing a couple of songs that feature just Hunter and drummer Kalb. just the mic on the internal cabinet. the trumpet was a Coles [ribbon].” Hunter says.” The two trombones “each played into either side of an RCA 44 ribbon. horns.messefrankfurt. No snare mic. guitar. “like the middle four strings on a regular guitar. Then we went to 15 ips [Ampex ATR-102] half-inch. “It was all so well-played it just became a question of which performance was the best. “I can definitely picture doing that again. McNair explains. 770. which comes from two takes).8016 info@usa. and EVVC – European Association of Event Centers Tel.” discovering new dimensions prolight-sound.” he says—that constitutes two channels. I trust it to others to know what to do with it. “[The bass signal] went to an Ampeg SVT. which were spaced on either side of the control room window. I put a little bit of a Purple Audio 1176 on the 47 overhead and that was it. Then the guitar signal went to Charlie’s [Wayne Jones/Headstrong blueprinted Fender] Deluxe. No direct.” As for Hunter’s custom Jeff Traugott 7-string axe—which has three bass strings and then four strings.com March 24 – 27. Hunter says he was happy to leave the take selection to McNair. and even McNair’s original notion of comping together performances at convenient edit points from different takes went out the window (except for the title track. There are no overdubs at all on the album. 2010 Supported by VPLT – The Professional Lighting & Sound Association of Germany. The only other mics were the room mics. the second was the full quintet. and that was it. “no EQ whatsoever. just used as a head. no compressor on the bass.:: music charlie hunter Charlie Hunter. “Once I play it. and I put an RCA 44 ribbon on that.” McNair says.” All mics went straight into Brooklyn’s Steve Firlotte/Inward Connections–designed 10-channel Vac Rac re-creations of Bill Putnam’s United Western tube preamps.com 40 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. so I had no trouble putting it in his hands. “Then we took the output of the rotary fader and put [it] into the cleanest insert point in the Neve so I could have faders in front of me. noting. Dave’s very musical. no hi-hat mic. no tom mics. and I put a Pendulum Audio Variable-Mu 6386—a little bit of that—on the quasi-stereo. continued from page 36 bass drum.COM . no EQ. no hole. “He’s got a pickup on it so the bottom three strings go to a separate output and it’s pretty discrete—you can hear a tiny bit of guitar in it but not much.” And as for the mono(ish) 2-track experiment? “I liked it. I think I had a condenser— maybe a TLM 170—in there.MIXONLINE.

2008–Junkie XL working in his studio 1935–Hammond Electronic Organ Laurens Hammond’s keyboard instrument uses spinning tonewheels to produce sound .

Campus Degrees Master’s Online Degrees Master’s Bachelor’s with a Sports Management Elective Track Bachelor’s fullsail. .edu Associate’s © 2009 Full Sail. Inc.Students tracking in Full Sail’s Studio A.

COM 43 .” Saadiq says at his recent touring stop in New York City’s Terminal 5. The Way I See It (profiled in Mix’s Jan. Wind & Fire. Calif. “They’ve been in my house consisI FEBRUARY 2010 MIX WWW.MIXONLINE. is a focused homage to the classic sounds of early Motown. and to write and produce for major artists including D’Angelo. Blige and Earth. Saadiq has also gone solo. releasing two albums that garnered critical acclaim and eight Grammy nominations between them. ’09 issue). he went on to form Lucy Pearl with members of En Vogue and A Tribe Called Quest. but I was raised on a Fender Stratocaster and a Les Paul. While he has often fused the many genres he heard growing up in Oakland.:: live PHOTOS: PAULE SAVIANO Raphael Saadiq’s vocal warmth is heard through a Shure SM58. Following his days as the lead vocalist for the multi-Platinum R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone! in the late ’80s and ’90s.—from hip-hop and rock to funk and soul—his latest release. Mary J. “I’m not saying the Motown sound is me. In the past decade. By Gaby Alter Rap phael Saadiq Raphael Saadiq has covered a lot of ground in the music business.

the engineers are mixing on the venue’s Yamaha PM5D desks.” says monitor engineer Jon Lammi.COM .” I think we’d rather have horns versus the rack. the rack was just too expensive to carry. The club asked me if I had a card today. has been sometimes using a single Fender Twin. sometimes two Twins in stereo.” he says. they can hear the P. For some reason tonight. and I knew exactly what they were used for. too. A couple of tours ago. even if they carried one. moving up from clubs to theaters. Sometimes this means that he has to sort through a pile of wedge monitors in the club (the band does not use in-ears) and determine what’s working and what isn’t. I’ll just dial it up from scratch.A. with Terminal 5’s capacity around 2. formerly with Aerosmith and Blue Man Group.” Lammi says. Saunders—who has mixed live for Jay-Z.” “They play into it. Lately though. his eclectic side also comes through when add more drama. and Lammi says they’ve played in a lot of decent rooms with good systems. ent stuff. The Roots and Joss Stone— generally doesn’t prefer digital consoles. ing live performance. all the time. Is it old? Is it warm? Put it everywhere. we couldn’t get Twins so we have four Fender Deluxes. re-issues. you want to feel it—bap bap!” Lammi adds. “If it was a bad system. Front-of-house engineer Kenyatta Kelo Saunders (a GrammySaadiq kickin’ it old school with a winning engineer/producer) uses a Native background vocalist Instruments Guitar Rig to help get a vintage sound. “We’ve been adjusting the stage setup a little bit. tently since I was born. right down to the least I can tap the delay out.” Saunders confirms. even if I have the [memory] card. Howvocals to carry whatever [Saadiq] is saying.000. “Rob Bacon. no matter what we’ve had.” “The trick is to make it sound consistent. “I’m a Midas dude. when it’s slapping back from the room. their tech rider requests alltube amps for the band’s backline: Ampeg Classic SVT for the bass with an 810 tube amp and Fender Twins for guitars. His act evokes Motown’s today from Marciano [Saadiq’s manager]. “Give me some analog warmth. his engineers do everything they can to warm things up. “I for vocalist Erika Jerry. “I’m a really aggressive mixer. we’d have to augment it with something. “I play with delays a lot.MIXONLINE.and rock-influenced points too. ting. especially for this band— it deserves to have vintage Monitor engineer Jon Lammi and FOH engineer Kenyatta Kelo Saunders at Terminal 5’s Yamaha PM5D desk gear. Today. but since it’s a different room…” Saunders finishes for him: “There’s no continuity so you can’t rely on what you had in another room. Because the venues vary from night to night. songs from earlier albums. “[The band] reacts. And while the tour doesn’t carry any other gear. And Raphael has been using a single Twin. and they’re not vintage at all. “For me. our lead guitar player. complete with a six-piece Saunders does like to throw some effects into band dressed in matching suits and ties—except the mix. Everything jumps out of the speakers—especially with this band because they’re just so awesome! When they hit. anything—I don’t care what it is. occasionally fixing an amp just so the show can go on. I put them on the horn hits and synchronized dance moves.:: live raphael saadiq but they’re modeled after [the old Fender Deluxes]. I grew up playing I carried a rack that had a whole bunch of stuff Fender guitar and bass—they’ve been like a in it. That said. to ever. sometimes even the toms.” he continTo help translate Saadiq’s sound to a live setues.” he says.” the bass is definitely going to move you. as well as Apogee’s Symphony Mobile. Saadiq takes this love for vintage gear you know?” and priceless instruments to create a mesmerizAlthough they carry no outboard gear. But with us flying and doing all this differr piece of furniture in the house. so at heyday visually and musically. he thinks the sound system is great for this particular venue. who is resplendent in a lucked out and got a TC Electronic D2 delay classy period dress. their luck has been good. They’re circuit-board-printed. Sorting Through a Club’s Racks For their show in New York. Lammi notes that the Recall feature on a digital board wouldn’t help. not pointto-point. I put them on the guitar at he plays his more hip-hop. “The drums are going to be in your face.” The size of the venues has increased during the course of the tour. 44 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.

Terminal 5 uses Clair Global systems for both monitor and main loudspeaker systems. There are 10 to 20 i2121 line array speakers per side, with eight CS218 floor sub-low speakers, and 2-1 S218 cluster sub-low speakers per side. Both systems have Lab.gruppen amplifiers and Dolby Lake Processors (LP4D12s on the main speaker system and LP4D8s on the monitors). With this system, Lammi can mix without a lot of EQ’ing onstage. Plus, “the band isn’t that loud, so that helps,” he adds. “They’re great, very professional. And nobody is trying to take over onstage at all, so it’s just a matter of balancing them.” “The processors fine-tune everything and add a lot of warmth,” Saunders says. “Whatever Jon does will play into the house, and vice versa. It’s kind of a game that he and I play back and forth to keep the balance.”

inside with an SM91 or a Shure Beta, and the outside with an Audix D6, which he calls “my all-time favorite kit mic. It automatically dumps out or rejects the trash you don’t want, and it has a tremendous bottom end and a little click to it.” The snare top and bottom take SM57s and Saunders adds a short plate reverb to that sound. Sennheiser e 604s or Audix D2s are on toms, while overheads see AKG 414s. Saunders notes, however, that things change from night to night depending on the club’s microphone package. The tour ended shortly after the Terminal

5 show, and Saadiq headed back into the studio to record his next album. Of his touring band, Saadiq says, “I’m just very fortunate to have a group of musicians who listen to my album, and everybody tries to make the sounds live like it sounds on the record. I think it’s very important that we play with that spirit and energy; I think that’s what carries into the music. There’s a technical thing, but there’s a mental/technical aspect that makes it all coincide and work together.” Gaby Alter is a New York City–based writer.

Working With the Band
The band comprises two backing vocalists, Erika Jerry and B.J. Kemp; drummer Lemar Carter; keyboardist Charles Jones, playing two Yamaha Motifs and a Nord Electro for organ sounds (“Sometimes we get lucky and we get a Leslie and a B3,” Saunders says); saxophonist Scott Mayo; trumpeter Jamelle Williams; bassist Calvin Turner; and guitarist Bacon. Saadiq plays an additional guitar. All of the singers use Shure SM58s, the only microphones that the tour carries (for hygienic reasons). Saunders uses a longer plate reverb on the vocals, with an occasional hall reverb. “We really like plates because they are kind of old-school, like Raphael,” he says. “When he recorded the album, he used a real plate and everything was original, so it was really true to that style of music—Motown and Stax.” Lammi also uses a plate reverb on Saadiq’s vocals in the monitors so the vocalists can get the effect in their mixes. “I’ll take a plate reverb in the console and I’ll take off all the highs in the wedges, a bit of the lows and give him this bed to play with so it doesn’t sound too sterile onstage,” he says. The trumpet and sax are miked with Sennheiser 421s. “We had two other horn players [ from P-Funk] and they preferred an SM58. They were very old school; actually, one was Parr liament’s horn player,” Saunders says. “So they were just masters at working the 58. But some people can’t maneuver around it in the same way, so we’re using 421s now. They’re adding a little deeper dimension to the horns. We want it to sound dark, and they’re a little bit brighter, but we can shape it enough to be darker.” For the kick drum, Saunders mikes the
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SOUNDCHECK
Train Rolls Along With LMG
Randy Meullier, Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper and band are rocking their way through the UK and Europe on their Theatre of Death tour. Cooper’s longtime FOH engineer, Randy Meullier, spoke with Mix as he was winding down the last four shows of the 2009 tour; the band goes back out again this spring.

Promoting a newly released album—Save Me, San Francisco—Train contracted with LMG Touring to provide video, audio and lighting support for its North American tour. The full audio control package includes two custom-built touring rigs (for front-of-house engineer Rob Thomas and production manager/monitor engineer Rob Greene) built around Digidesign VENUE Profile consoles. Each mix zone includes integrated mini-computers equipped with Pro Tools, iTunes, Smaart software and system control software. The monitor system uses L-Acoustics 115XT

wedges, dV-SUBs and ARCS with couplers, and takes full advantage of the Digidesign PQ control system. Also in the package are 12 LA48 amps, XTA processing, an LMG Touring TM passive split system (74 pairs), Sennheiser ew300 IEM G2, and an assortment of mics, including Shure UHF-R wireless. According to Greene, “As a production manager, I love that LMG can provide everything I need to put on a show. As a sound engineer, I love the quality, reliability and packaging of the gear.”

PHOTO: PIGGY D.

Clockwise from above: Train performing; front-of-house engineer Rob Thomas at the Digidesign Profile; and monitor engineer Rob Greene, also at a Profile.

Alice Cooper (left) and front-of-house engineer Randy Meullier

How much gear are you carrying? We are carrying all backline, stage set, props and a complete monitor IEM package and FOH console, the amazing [Soundcraft] Vi6. We use Precise Corporate Staging from Phoenix in the U.S. and SSE from the UK in Europe. Our recent UK tour had us carrying a full L-Acoustics V-DOSC rig from SSE. What is the most important part of your mix? Keeping Alice Cooper’s vocals loud and clear above the band. The fans know every word and want to hear them. How do you compensate in your mix due to the loud stage volume? I need a powerful, well-tuned P.A., and I am constantly balancing the vocal with the guitars and trying to keep him above them. I have one hand on the vocal and the other on the guitars. It can get tricky at times. What is your go-to piece of gear? Nothing special as far as outboard gear. I am very happy with what the Vi6 has in it, so I guess you could say that right now the Vi6 is my tool of choice. When you’re not on the road, where can we find you? I live in Pittsburgh and am looking forward to some down time and a bed that isn’t moving.

Duncan Sheik FOH Engineer Adam Robinson
At FOH, the versatility really just continues for me. As sound engineers, we all become very familiar with the sound of those 1/3-octave centers and think of our tunings in that respect. So many times, I’ve started thinking, “I need less 800 Hz in this system” only to put a filter in at 800 and find that it’s not exactly what I was hearing. A sweep in either direction locates that problem zone at maybe 750 or 900, etc. Any parametric EQ can help achieve this but the Lake is one of the few where I can grab a tablet, sit in the audience and make my changes away from the console, which today seems to get put in worse and worse positions at venues. 46
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PHOTO: BEN LAING

Yamaha Croons With “Sammy”
Patridge says that a Yamaha DM1000 was paired with two AD8HR external preamp units to serve as a submix for drums and percussion, as the sound design for Sammy exceeded the inputs available on the PM5D. “We like the higher-quality microphone preamps available via the AD8HR and the ability to pair them with Yamaha’s product line of digital consoles using MY slots, and serial control of preamp functionality is very convenient.” The Tony Award–winning Old Globe engineer Erik Old Globe (San Diego, Calif.) Carstensen handled FOH is hosting hit play Sammy, mixing duties, and this is the based on the life of Sammy second project he has mixed Davis Jr. Sound design was for Shivers and Patridge. handled by John Shivers and “Erik combines a good David Patridge, with gear deal of industry experience Old Globe theater’s FOH engineer, Erik provided by Masque Sound. as a sound engineer with Carstensen The duo took advantage of a calm and good-natured the theater’s Yamaha PM5D digital audio demeanor⎯an excellent combination for a r⎯ consoles, citing the ability to cascade the invenue that could easily produce 15 different puts from a MY16-AT card to bus the sound works in a season,” Patridge says. effects system into the P.A. Effects were Adds Carstensen, “I find that changing programmed using QLab Version 2 that was and storing EQ and dynamics settings, for used as a master cue list to recall scenes in example, is achieved quickly—vital in the prothe PM5D. QLab’s audio was routed over duction process where audio usually doesn’t optical from an RME Fireface 800 to the get a lot of time to get it right. On top of that, PM5D’s card slot, cascaded to the buses using the PM5D with our DME64N has been and, in turn, routed to various speakers. very reliable, show after show.”

PHOTO: © 2009 WIREIMAGE

Rob Thomas performs during his Cradlesong tour with the Sennheiser SKM 5200 handheld transmitter with a Neumann KK 104 capsule.

Sound Image FOH Russell Fischer is using a Studer Vista 5 SR console for the current Taylor Swift tour; mics are Audio-Technica 500 Series…Each Jump the Gun bandmember is using an Aviom A-16CS control surface onstage paired with an A-16R rackmount mixer to customize his own mix. Monitors include Shure PSM6000 personal in-ear systems…According to Roger Daltrey FOH engineer Mark Brnich (Eighth Day Sound), guitarist Simon Townshend is using a 3RD Power Amplification HLH100 guitar amp system…Miranda Lambert’s frontof-house and production manager/monitor engineers— Jason Macalik and Chris Newsom, respectively—chose dual DiGiCo SD8s as part of their “all-digital” setup…JSL Productions selected D.A.S. Audio’s Aero Series 2 sound system for Fireflight’s recent stretch of gigs.

road-worthy gear
WorxAudio Upgrades TL1801 Woofer
The new TL1801A long-excursion, high-output sub bass loudspeaker has a high-temperature neodymium magnet surrounding an underhung voice coil encased in a low-carbon steel structure. The 52-pound, 18-inch diameter unit’s driver has two inches of peak-to-peak, fully linear excursion, and the TL1801A is presently incorporated into the company’s TrueLine Series TL218SS and TL118SS sub bass enclosures. www.worxaudio.com

Switchcraft Ships A/V Direct Box
Now shipping, the SC700CT A/V direct box is ideal for connecting the outputs of MP3 players, PCs, laptops, CD players and other audio devices to gear with XLR inputs. The SC700CT converts highimpedance stereo or mono line-level audio devices and musical instruments having 1/8-inch stereo, RCA or ¼-inch connections to a low-impedance/ balanced/isolated mono mic-level signal. Ground lift and -20dB pad switches are standard, as is a rugged case with recessed connectors. www.switchcraft.com

QSC Flyable Four-Way Speaker
The DCS SC-424-8F flyable, four-way triamplified speaker system is designed fo r l ar g e -f o r m at cinemas that require suspended mounting of screen channels or pointsource surrounds. The MHV-1090F mid-high/ very high-frequency system has a horn-loaded 10-inch midrange cone driver and a coaxial neodymium HF/VHF compression driver. The dual-15 LF-4215-8F LF enclosure is designed for safe, easy suspension via M10 fly points. The system can be arrayed horizontally or vertically. www.qsc.com
WWW.MIXONLINE.COM

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ALL ACCESS
On the heels of their stint as main support for The Killers’ latest tour, Wolfmother have taken a headlining spot, out promoting their latest album, Cosmic Egg. Bringing a little “green” to the tour, the Australian rockin’ foursome partnered with Musictoday and Trees for the Future; a tree will be planted in a third-world country for every pre-sale ticket sold. In addition, the tour is saving resources by carrying very limited gear. Mix caught the show at Oakland, Calif.’s Fox Theater.

Photos and text by Steve Jennings

Vocalist/guitarist Andrew Stockdale sings through a Shure Beta 58A. “Nothing is going to sound better on his vocal,” says front-of-house engineer/tour manager John Hagler, “especially to lift him above the guitars. I’ve tried to get away from using it, but every time I ended up just EQ’ing the thing to sound like a 58A, so I always go back to it.” His amps (below right) take two SM57s: one on the Marshall and one on the Vox.

Front-of hou Fr nt of-house Fr nt-of-house f- o en eng ne engineer/tour ng eer/to tou ou manager John nage ohn g ge oh hn Hagler at the agl r at th ler Yamaha PM5D Yamaha PM5D am a boa d bo rd. oa

Hagler mans a Yamaha PM5D, a board he has used since an Aly & AJ tour in 2005. “It’s really fast and I like the SPX-2000 effects,” he says. “I haven’t seen too much that has impressed me in the dynamics world, so I would rather just bring my little rack out front with me and tie it in.” Outboard gear includes a Drawmer 1960 tube pre/comp that he uses to take some of the transparency out of the vocals and a Line 6 Echo Pro that he puts on vocals; all other effects are onboard. As the tour is not carrying full production (except mics, claws and Z-bars), Hagler will spec a 5D or contact Clair Global for a D-Show. Interestingly, the tour does not have a monitor engineer, something Hagler is nonplussed about, “but between myself and the stage crew, we are able to make it work in a timely manner. So, my question: ‘When is someone going to invent the rackmounted coffee maker?’”

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“A guitar tech’s best tools are a combo of intuition and inventiveness. Radial Tonebone. Sennheiser e 604s (toms) and KSM32 (overheads).” Stockdale’s pedalboard comprises a Boss TU-2.” Ampeg amps take D112s (bass cab). “an allaround amazing mic with great low-end response. Dwayne Bruner. a Way Huge Swollen Pickle distortion pedal and an Electro Harmonix English Muff ’n pedal. AC Booster and DigiTech Whammy. guitarist Andrew Stockdale plays through a 220V Marshall Plexi 100-watt head and a 110V Vox AC30 head. Keyboards are a Korg CX-3 and Rhodes piano.” Hagler recalls. I use a Crowther Audio Hotcake distortion pedal and an Electro Harmonix reissue Memory Man pedal. All are patched into a true bypass looper/switcher array and powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2+. a Dimebag Darell wah pedal. SM81 (hi-hat). “I used a 57/98 combo for a while and really liked that.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 49 . “As a friend once said. According to drum/bass/keyboard tech Judd Kalish. Keyboardist/bassist Ian Peres is miked with a Beyer M88. Fulltone Clyde wah and Supa-Trem. “It quickly became my favorite mic after I picked it up in 2004. ‘Repairing gear onstage is triage. an Electro Harmonix Microsynth and Small Stone phaser. but the AE2500 has elements that are just that much better. “meaning that we have to be running a transformer of some sort no matter where we are. not surgery. “For the Rhodes. According to guitar tech S. I use a Korg Pitchblack chromatic tuner.” Dave Atkins’ kit is miked with a Beta 52 (kick). Dwayne Bruner WWW. “For bass guitar.” he says.MIXONLINE.’” Nemeth’s Vox AC30 and Peres’ Ampeg amps Guitar tech S.” Hagler says. The CX-3 sees an original Electro Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe delay pedal.Drummer Dave Atkins Bassist Ian Peres plays a Fender 1962 reissue. Peres plays a Fender 1962 reissue bass through an Ampeg SVT VR head and an 8x10. SM57 (snare top and bottom). Drum/bass/keyboard tech Judd Kalish Guitarist Aidan Nemeth Guitarist Aidan Nemeth’s Vox AC30 combo takes Hagler’s “secret weapon”: an Audio-Technica dual-element AE2500. Peres also mans the keyboards.” Kalish says. and it smooths out the grating high end from the Rhodes.

FTV. The Five Heartbeats Chapman University is accredited by and is a member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Blade Runner Paul Seydor/EDITOR White Men Can’t Jump. Barbershop II One University Drive. The Sting Magyar/ ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Summer MFA IN FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCING MFA IN SCREENWRITING MFA IN PRODUCTION DESIGN MFA IN FILM PRODUCTION: JD/MFA IN FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCING MBA/MFA IN FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCING John Badham/ DIRECTOR Saturday Night Fever.David Ward/ WRITER/DIRECTOR Sleepless in Seattle. . Frankie and Johnny Lawrence Paull/ PRODUCTION DESIGNER Back to the Future. DEAN Bill Dill/CINEMATOGRAPHER Dancing in September. CA 92866 The only limit is your imagination.EDU ROBERT BASSETT.CHAPMAN. Orange. WarGames Alexandra Rose/PRODUCER Norma Rae.

Under de Gorter’s supervision.COM 51 . J.:: sfp By Mel Lambert ‘Lost. Produced by ABC Studios.’ The Final Chapter It’s mid-morning in Walt Disney Post Production Service’s Room Six. Composer Michael Giacchino’s music cues are recorded weekly using a 20-piece orchestra. I need a lot more car horns.” t agrees Lost supervising sound editor Tom de Gorter in response to a quick glance from Scott Weber. and the sound editorial team for ABC-TV’s Lost is taking notes from executive producc er Bryan Burk on an opening episode from Season 6.” offers music editor Alex Levy.MIXONLINE. Bad Robot Productions and Grass Skirt Productions. Lost has now reached its t final season. “We’ll cut some alternatives. currently seated at the Avid Digidesign ICON D-Control console that dominates Room Six. as it follows the lives of plane-crash survivors on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific. “Let’s move on to audition some of the music cues. sound effects are edited by Paula Fairr field and Carla Murray at MHz Sound I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX WWW. “We need to make the traffic sounds more frantic.” they hear over a Polycom Internet link from Burk’s office in Santa Monica. Abrams and Jeff frey Lieber. The series has developed a large cult following and earned a welldeserved reputation for intricate sound editorial.” The hour-long drama series first came to TV in September 2004 and was an instant success for co-creators Damon Lindelof. sound effects re-recording mixer. The crew is now focusing on Season 6—including the two-hour opening to air on February 2. Calif. “When the cab leaves. with more horns.J.

“Can you make the drips louder?” Burk queries. “We like to offer lots of options for the re-recording stage. there were a lot of late decisions on those shows!” tichannel aux faders that are used to build an entire submix. which we develop after print mastering. “I do the same with reverb and sub sends. all running on Mac Pro Lost audio post-production crew (from left): Frank Morrone.” Fairr field stresses. they can only do so much with some of the locations they have to work with. Getting the production to work on the beach is always a challenge because cerr tain characters don’t project. ADR master. a full-service consulting service for pro-audio firms and facilities. VCA Master and Spill. have the effects play at a ‘10’ and still be able to clearly hear every line of dialog that is a tall task! It’s a dance. and then dialog is tough to pull out of the backgrounds.” Burk agrees. “comprises a McDSP ML4000 routed into a Massenburg EQ. “all effects are routed through a 5-channel master chain that has an L1 limiter. The VCA-style faders control groups of pre-assign tracks from the [Pro Tools] editor.” “My dialog processing chain within Pro Tools.” Weber explains. “It sounds better. my basic 64 effects tracks are controlled by eight VCA masters in groups of eight tracks. a 32channel HD1 for music playback and a 56-channel HD2 as stem recorder.” Playback monitors Levy. unfortunately. Mel Lambert heads up Media&Marketing (www.” Weber continues. 5. music master and overall master for dialog. Scott comprise three M&K MPS-150 Weber and Tom de Gorter active cabinets on stands in front Design.MIXONLINE. “And can we take out the low end so that it doesn’t sound so much like a Jacuzzi?” Weber makes a note and huddles with de Gorter. as necessary. so a call goes out from de Gorter to the sound designers to prepare some alternates that will be available the next day for review. ” One of the effects mixer’s biggest challenges is maintaining detail within a very dense and complicated soundtrack. I set up the custom faders as dialog master. Futz and principal effects. foreign dialog.COM ICON Control Surfaces Weber is joined by dialog/music re-recording mixer Frank Morrone at the D-Control console. ADR. I also have a stereo chain to spread things into 5. As well as a 5-channel chain. “but. Each section has custom faders that can be used in one of three modes: Custom Groups. while Murray looks aff ter hard effects. That is followed by a 3-band Massenburg EQ and then an ML4000 compressor/limiter. 52 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.COM . and we are getting better at taking things out to make room for other things to play. delays and some stereo reverbs. “We need deeper bubbles. “so that the materials are delivered in a consistent format for each show.” The sound designers deliver two Pro Tools sessions: one of mono/stereo (and occasionally 5. dialog. music and ADR/group playback. followed by a McDSP de-esser and then into a NJ575 Notch PHOTO: MEL LAMBERT/CONTENT-CREATORS.” Murray says.1 using a combination of Dolby Surround Tools. Carla Murray.” Morrone says.1-channel submixes and final. Alex t [computers]. And it sounds too ‘drippy’—maybe we can back off the drips?” The team concludes that the material they have will need to be recut to offer more options.:: sfp lost Filter. I can call up the stem masters on a custom fader bank. For example. on my section I have an aux fader as a 6-channel eff fects master that receives the effects mix before it routes to the recorder.1-channel) hard effects. which features 16 on-surface faders for dialog/ music and 32 for FX/backgrounds/Foley. Massenburg EQ and sends. That way I can easily control the submix stems on a single fader or then spill them out across the same 8-channel bank to refine individual front-channel and surrounds for the 5. “but keep out the rumble. “We have standard templates that we worked out with Scott [Weber]. “Although I try not to EQ the music tracks. and finally into a Waves LZ limiter to hold everything back to the ABC/Disney delivery-reference level.” de Gorter confirms. Burk is commenting on sound effects for a critical scene within a large temple and pool. “Since we don’t get the luxury of a premix on dialog. We print stems of music.” The mixer’s biggest challenge is cleaning up producc tion sound and eliminating noise on the tracks. “plus 32-channel HD2s for Foley. just as I would my reverb returns or guide tracks. Paula Fairfield. “On a typical session. although they may be dropped later. We also carefully catalog everything so that the same sound signature will be used. “We run 72-channel HD6 systems for the effects and mix systems. bank-switched one at a time. “Our production mixers do a great job. plus a group stem. for the Season 5 two-hour finale”—and the opening episode for Season 6—“we produced close to 500 tracks. Fairfield works primarily on backgrounds. group and music.” Morrone continues. producer Ra’uf Glasgow. both sound designers joined the show of the mixers for L/C/R.1 and 3-channel/L/C/R formats. plus the room’s subwooff at the beginning of Season 3 and have worked ers and surround units.” Fairfield offers. together for 12 years. I have a Massenburg [Pro Tools] plug-in across the music master that I use to roll-off or brighten the tracks. “We need separate elements to fulfill the producer’s requirements. and insert EQ and compression as I need them” to minimize the DSP load.com). for which faders can be arranged and built in any order and configurations recalled with a single button push. for example. in which the VCA group masters can be spilled into the slaves within a defined section.” the supervising sound editor advises. which streamlines the preparation of M&Es for foreign-language verr sions. “while Scott [Weber] does a pass on effects—or vice versa—I am premixing tracks via headphones. and Custom Fader Plug-In for mapping controls of favorite plug-ins onto faders. “The show is wall-to-wall effects. I sometimes use a McDSP Futz filter to mimic a source cue being replayed on a radio. Here I put a brick-wall limiter set at -2 dB to keep the input from clipping on loud effects. For most episodes we might deliver up to 150 tracks.” As the review session continues in Room Six. “Lost is an extremely busy “Our overall stem masters are actually mult TV show.” he concedes. mediaandmarketing. The mix continues.” including The Island disappearing at the end of Season 4 and the flash-forward sequences initiated in Season 5. I start the mix with only the limiter active. and backgrounds in 4. this also gives me a trim on every channel. we put together everything we can think of. They hear the result.” he offers.” Weber explains. Each D-Control section can control up to four Pro Tools HD systems from each surface. “with sound-designed moods and signature textures. they both work on sound design elements. “When we are asked to make the scene be music-driven. BG. and finally reverb return master. “We have three stereo pairs of water sounds. group master. vehicles and ambiences. “For instance. set to a ceiling of +18 dB for the eff fects stem. Waves PS22 Spreader. ADR.

Do you live in an apartment? Ever tried to mix late at night? Ever wanted to check your mix on different kinds of speakers? The Saffire PRO 24 DSP Audio Interface with VRM technology is perfect for you! Call Sweetwater today to find out how VRM can help you get great reference mixes at any time of the day or night! www.com/focusrite .sweetwater.

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Super-Clean Gain Module TRUE Systems PT2-500 A descendant of the TRUE Systems (www. 85Hz highpass filter and a wireless remote control for adjusting both the volume and the crossover frequency from the sweet spot. Feel the Xynergi Fairlight XE6 Extension Module Fairlight (fa airlightau. How Low Can You Go? ADAM Sub7 Subwoofer The Sub7 ($550) subwoofer from ADAM Audio (www. a sweepable highpass filter and pre. The Xe6 Fader Extenm sion (price TBA) works with the Xynergi tactile controller to create a desktop production system that places moving faders and basic channel functions at the user’s fingertips. switchable phantom power. 56 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.com) 552 ($2. Each input offers front panel gain control of mic/line sources and has an LED indicating phantom-power status. and is equipped with a voice-driven setup and option menu. 24-bit/96kHz digital audio recorder writes Broadcast WAV files or MP3 files to SD and SDHC media.5 to 600k Hz (-3 dB). and a promised frequency response of 1.com) is designed for use with ADAM’s A5 self-powered desktop monitors. offers sunlight-viewable 21-segment peak/VU meters with Zoom mode. It comes in matte-black. Other features include a polarity switch.sounddevices. and allows the user to assign either the outputs or combinations of inputs and outputs as record sources. The s Xynergi runs on the F FPGA-based CC-1 digital media engine in all SD and HD file formats.895) integrates a portable mixer and recorder that features five Lundahl transformer-balanced microphone inputs with a wide dynamic range.COM .adam-audio . The integrated 2-track.or post-fade direct output.truesystems. and is equipped with balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA I/O connectors. The 552 also allows for stereo linking of input pairs 1/2 and 3/4. piano-black and piano-white finishes. DI Thru for amplification and effects. an 80Hz highpass filter and polarity reverse.NEW PRODUCTS Portable Mixing Partner Sound Devices 552 Production Mixer Sound Devices’ (www.com) has introduced a new 6-fader extension module that adds tactile mixing control to the Xynergi hardware platform. Four AA batteries or an external 10-18 VDC can power the unit.com) Precision 8. Other features include a DI input. the PT2-500 ($650) mic preamp is a 500 Series module featuring up to 70 dB of gain.MIXONLINE.

Promising an easy-to-use interface and pro-quality results. There is switchable hard. WWW. and separate LED indication of signal presence and clipping. active.com) is a pitch-modification plug-in available for Mac/PC hosts supporting VST/AU and RTAS/AudioSuite formats. Each channel features a rotary TILT control knob.akaipro. Features include RMS power summing. variable threshold.com) are two-way.com) that rebalances a channel’s high. its features include pitch correction and scale conformation across a variety of scale types that can be customized using a mouse or MIDI keyboard.450) is a single-rackspace. Formerly the brand known as Arsenal from creator API. LED gain indicators and switchable analog metering between the output level and gain reduction.5 inches (HxWxD). ratio and make-up gain.or soft-knee compression.MIXONLINE.and low-frequency content with a single knob. First featured on the company’s MP1a discrete mic preamp module. and playback up to 113dB SPL with a frequency response from 39 to 20k Hz.com) R22 ($1.bias-inc.5x11x13. TILT is centered on approximately 700 Hz and boosts high frequencies from up to 6 dB while simultaneously cutting low frequencies by the same amount when turned fully to the right.tonelux. I/O is provided via XLR connectors with a DSub multipin connector offering I/O access for all eight channels.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 57 . Handy Hardware Leveler JDK Audio R22 Sonic Seesaw Tonelux TILT TILT ($2. such as changing gender or “resizing” a vocal. the JDK Audio (jdkaudio. balanced XLR and ¼-inch TRS inputs. the magnetically shielded MDF cabinets offer dual front ports and an optimized waveguide for control of directivity and reduction of early reflections. Weighing 32 pounds and measuring 17. Other features include bicolor LED clip indicator. 8-channel tone control from Tonelux (www.Easy Tuner BIAS PitchCraft EZ PitchCraft EZ ($149) from BIAS (www.com. and balanced I/O via XLR or TRS connectors. When turned to the left. dist. low frequencies are boosted by up to 6 dB while high frequencies are similarly cut.transaudiogroup.195) is a 2-channel rack-mount compressor with linkable stereo operation. by TransAudio Group. www. a patented Thrust circuit for chest-hitting low end. bi-amped (80W/40W) near-field speakers featuring an 8-inch woven Kevlar LF driver and a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter. in/out and polarity-reverse switches. PitchCraft EZ also offers independent formant and transposition controls for creating both natural and artificial effects. Near Your Ears Akai RPM8 Studio Monitors The RPM8 ($499 each) studio monitors from Akai (www.

cello track. formant editing. you can extract the groove from audio and use it elsewhere. you can literally reach into a chord and nudge a single note up or down in pitch. you transfer a track (or a porr tion thereof) into a slave instance of the Melodyne Editor by clicking the Transfer button and then playing back the track. the plugin’s output replaces the audio coming from the track. I installed the Editor version in my WinXP PC (also available for Mac OS) and encountered only one trivial technical problem: To transfer audio reliably from a DAW into the plug-in. You can adjust note pitches up or down. the program takes a few seconds to analyze it and then displays it as “blobs” on a piano-roll grid. pitch correction has only been practical with monophonic music tracks. I had to crank up my ASIO buffer size to 1. either in half-steps or microtonally. which is useful for editing. adjust its start time or amplitude. After analyzing the frequency content of the audio.REVIEWS By Jim Aikin Celemony Melodyne Editor The Dawn of Polyphonic Pitch Correction Th The new Melodyne Editor from Celemony is ideal for wrestling wayward notes up or down microscopically in pitch without affecting the rest of the performance. You can edit single notes or select a group. DNA is available only in Melodyne Editor. vibrato and glissando control.024. 58 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. Notes that are greatly lengthened sound synthetic. which records and edits multitrack sessions. Back to Basics Melodyne can operate either stand-alone or as a plug-in. or trigger a replacement kick or snare. The pitch glide from one note to the next can be made smoother or more abrupt. yes. notes can be shortened or lengthened and moved back or forward in time. This feature has some fairly stringent limitations as you’ll read below but. but it will export an analyzed file (either pitched or rhythmic) as a MIDI file. Thereafter. Melodyne won’t import groove templates. this process may be quick or may take a few minutes. Note amplitudes can be adjusted. Two quick clicks with the Note Separation Tool split the ornament apart so that I can adjust each note separately. But the big news in this release is the debut of Direct Note Access (DNA) technology. Melodyne Editor lets you edit the pitch and timing of audio with pinpoint precision. Two dialog boxes—Correct Pitch and Quantize Time—are available for group edits. I tried loading a few drum loops and found it easy to add swing or adjust the timing of individual notes. and removing the pitch modulation in Melodyne will have no effect on these dimensions of the sound. In plug-in mode. I sometimes find that a half-step mordent (a quick upward ornament) is analyzed as a pitch fluctuation within the main note. The software will sometimes think that prominent overtones are separate notes or will skip notes CONS: Polyphonic audio requires homogenous source and hand-editing. Currently. The first stage in editing is to go through the file and make sure that the analysis found all of the correct notes.MIXONLINE. Depending on the source material. as well as adjust the amount of pitch modulation (vibrato) or pitch drift (a “tilt” between the beginning of a note and its end). You can drag a note’s formants up or down without affecting its base pitch. The formant tool seems to work best with vocal material rather than with instruments. Polyphonic Audio Editing With polyphonic tracks. You’ll sometimes need to split or combine blobs. but small rhythmic adjustments sound natural. Until now. but it’s not a real-time processor. but only in sections you’ve transferred. You can also start and loop playback directly from within the plug-in. not in the higher-priced Melodyne Studio. the process of editing Melodyne’s analysis so as to identify the right notes can be quite fiddly—and it’s easy to see why.celemony. Seamless plug-in operation. With a PRODUCT SUMMARY COMPANY: Celemony WEB: www. But with DNA. Once audio is loaded. for instance. Singers’ vibrato also embodies amplitude and formant changes.” Melodyne has a separate algorithm for analyzing rhythmic material. so you’ll still hear some “vibrato. The plug-in syncs to the host’s bar-line map and responds to the host’s transport. double a recorded sax solo with a MIDI synth track. With this feature.COM .com PRODUCT: Melodyne Editor PRICE: $349 PROS: Pitch and time correction. These dialog boxes both have percentage sliders so you don’t need to end up with a robotic-sounding track. or mute it entirely. it really does work. and all of the tools used for individual note edits will also work on groups. the plug-in has to decide which sine wave partials belong to which notes.

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changing note pitches and so on. you’ll probably get better results (and just as quickly) by having the musician do a punch or re-record the track.MIXONLINE.com. The future of DNA looks very promising. this is the roll-out of an entirely new technology. you proceed to the normal editing process.mixbooks. turning it into two separated notes. whooshes and everything in between . THE EDGE EDITION. Once the analysis is complete. a gray haze indicates sonic energy that Melodyne didn’t even consider a possible note. Hand-correcting the analysis of a three-minute guitar track with lots of strumming would take literally hours.aircrafts. About five minutes of hand editing were needed to guide Melodyne to all of the notes in the chords—and that was with an audio clip less than 15 seconds long. I then attempted to correct my out-of-tune notes. (You can hear the results at www. In many cases. An investment in career insurance. Perfect Pitch Melodyne Editor is my go-to software for fixing pitch problems in monophonic audio.can be found in this collection. The Edge Volumne II is a truly wise investment. which meant that it didn’t move the overtones when I moved the fundamental. The note that sounded best after editing (the G sharp in an open-position E major chord) was one that wasn’t doubled at an octave.com Use Code GMB408 to get your additional 10% off 60 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. it was still identifying cerr tain overtones within those notes as belonging to other notes. I tuned a steel-string acoustic guitar carefully and then deliberately tuned the G string flat and strummed four sustained chords. weapons. one string is likely to be doubling another string at the octave. Dragging them up to concert pitch was easy. VOLUME II brings you a definitive collection of quality sound effects at a great price.COM . x Check out a DEMO at www. It’s easy to use. You can turn this into an analyzed note by double-clicking. It can also interpret small artifacts as the beginnings of new notes or miss low-level areas within a long note. has powerful tools and sounds great. As you mouse over a region. so this type of confusion is almost inevitable.) Career CAREER Insurance INSURANCE SOUND SOUND ADVICE! ADVICE! Get an extra 10% off the already discounted price If you use sound effects. household gadgets. Notes can be activated or deactivated (returned to the “possibles” category) by double-clicking. Two sliders help you with the analysis: One adds more “possible” notes (grayed out) to the display and the other changes the threshold that turns possible notes into actual detected notes. Still. DNA could be very useful in a few situations. but the result didn’t sound pleasant or natural. but it’s not magic. Jim Aikin is a regular contributor to Mix and EM. For an acid test. My theory about the difficulty is this: Even though I told Melodyne where the fundamentals of the out-of-tune notes were. such as fixing a flubbed note in a piano track.REVIEWS CELEMONY because it thinks they’re overtones.mixon line. This 5 disc set combines the best effects from a variety of sound categories that can be used on any of your projects . With a guitar chord.

ONE SITE TO SERVE YOU ALL ACCESS THE COMMUNITY SPRING 2010 .

plus tools for scoring and pitch correction. and gaining access is easy if you double-click any audio clip in the Arrange window and select the Vari-Audio tool from the editor’s slide menu. Advanced Live and Studio Tools As robust and full-featured as modern digital audio workstations can be. and I actually found myself reaching for this plug-in more than Vari-Audio after awhile simply because it’s so easy to use and produces great results. which can then be directly manipulated using Cubase’s Select and Cut tools. the upgraded tools are so convenient and comprehensive that they’ve reached functional parity with all but the most advanced third-party plugins. easy and self-contained. and different loop PRODUCT SUMMARY COMPANY: Steinberg PRODUCT: Cubase 5 PRICE: $599. In some instances. Cubase 5 offers a variety of new plug-ins. every year or two it seems there’s a fresh new upgrade promising features that any selfrespecting studio owner simply can’t live without. and I found that judicious use of both yielded quick yet realistic results on male and female vocals. with unnatural robotic overtones creeping in only at the most extreme settings. For those of you who are less inclined to get hands-on with individual note data. and the Straighten Pitch parameter smoothes out vibrato or other pitch variations inside each note. As a regular user of Auto-Tune. Cubase provides a Pitch Quantize function that locks detected note data to the nearest semitone. The attack and decay portions of each note can be nudged up or down independently.99 (upgrade) WEB: www. but certainly compelling for many users.REVIEWS Steinberg Cubase 5 Advanced Production System New Plug-Ins. The degree to which slave loops are mixed in is controlled by a fader to the left of each loop.net PROS: Integrated graphic pitch correction. Cubase Audio Editor. major or chromatic scale. Cubase’s new Vari-Audio tool integrates directly into the program’s Sample Editor. $199. slices from the other seven can be automatically substituted for parts of the master loop during playback.99 (new). VariAudio is tightly integrated into the standard and the Vari-Audio tool. CONS: Built-in 32. A piano-roll-style display of notes is superimposed over the audio waveform. 64-Bit Operation. New Life for Loops As a producer who is heavily involved in the dance and DJ scene. I found no need for the Auto-Tune plug-in when using Vari-Audio. Up to eight loops can be loaded into the LoopMash plugin.steinberg. Top-quality convolution reverb. and you have an upgrade that’s not critical by any means. and the length of each note can be adjusted to cover any elements of the original file that might not have been properly detected during the analysis procedure. allowing you to create realistic transitions between notes. a flexible new expression tool for scoring professionals and integrated pitch-correction tools that rival the best third-party solutions on the marr ket. Version 5 builds on the successful tool kit included with earlier versions of Cubase and includes a bevy of brand-new and updated plugins that make the creative workflow smooth. and in some cases they trump the competition in terms of usability and integration. Native 64-bit support on PC. and I preferred the direct integration between Cubase’s Audio Editor Upgraded Toolkit The most obvious additions to Cubase 5 are the new bundled plug-ins and audio editing tools. digging into individual note data with Vari-Audio can be overkill. Both functions are adjustable. in Cubase 5’s case. It’s great having direct control over individual audio clips. Vari-Audio’s convenience is a real boon to workflow and keeps the creative juices flowing. Although it’s always wise to take this sort of hype with a grain of salt. 62 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. and at first glance looks like a dead-ringer for Celemony’s Melodyne or Antares’ Auto-Tune. Cubase’s LoopMash put a smile on my face from the start. In those cases where a loose performance just needs a slight nip-and-tuck nudge to get into key. Creative new rhythm plug-ins. The new PitchCorrect plug-in steps in here as the perfect quick-fix solution.MIXONLINE. Strapping it across a channel insert offers an easy way to auto-correct material to the closest minor. and after one loop is selected to serve as the master track.COM .to 64-bit plug-in adapter can be unreliable on some plug-ins. Couple this with additional enhancements that make everyday studio life easier. there’s some real merit to the upgrade. Batch-channel-export facility. There’s a healthy crop of new plug-ins. and I didn’t miss strapping a VST pitch corrector across an insert channel or exporting audio to an offline editing program.

and large. and as a result Cubase for Mac is still a 32-bit application. which is in some cases more reliable than Cubase’s built-in wrapper. Combine these features with numerous workflow optimizations. channel splitting and project-import features. Though it’s unlikely that desktop computers off fering the maximum 1 TB of memory that 64-bit operating systems offer will arrive anytime soon. into your PC. In relation to this. making it a great tool for improvisation in live settings. less flexible than a standard reverb plug-in. effects and ReWire tracks—to be exported to individual files in one fell swoop. and if you’re transitioning to 64-bit platforms. I heard about and then confirmed an issue in using Cubase’s 32. This means that studios heavily invested in legacy plug-ins won’t be left with an arsenal of outdated tools. it’s focused on adding extra value to a proven platform. project’s discrete channels—including group. ing market share. The ability to import additional impulses makes REVerence a long-term keeper with plenty of potential for expansion and exploration. All of the standard export dialog options. but for many users there are compelling reasons to consider the upgrade: The addition of Vari-Audio is an outstanding feature that largely does away with the need for third-party tuning plug-ins.MIXONLINE. REVerence is a new convolution plug-in that’s straightforward. WWW.COM Export Enhancements Forward Thinking Sixty-four-bit operating systems are steadily gainOne of the least conspicuous but most useful workflow updates I enjoyed in Cubase 5 is the channel batch-export facility in the Audio Mixdown menu. REVerence produces outstanding results on par with any third-party convolution reverb. are still available in this mode.By Jason Blum “scenes” can be triggered using quick-access buttons at the bottom of the plug-in. It’s not a perfect science. so if you have an overlapping stable of VST tools. you might not realize the same benefit in upgrading as someone who relies purely on Cubase’s bundled plug-ins. Apple’s OS X platform is still getting up to speed with native 64-bit capability. you’ll enjoy comBatch exporting allows some or all of the plete backward compatibility with older 32-bit VST plug-ins. Reverence Convolution reverbs are nothing new. and the new rhythm plug-ins are an absolute blast to work with and make wonderful starting points for musical explorations. LoopMash might sound like a simple cutand-paste plug-in. but with a little practice and wise selection of source material. and the beautiful GUI makes switching presets quick and easy—very much like working with rack gear and far simpler than working with some other convolution plug-ins. The new version leans heavily on a batch of new plug-ins that often duplicate functions currently provided by third-party plugins. There aren’t any absolute “must-haves” in Cubase 5’s arsenal. Cubase 5 is nonetheless fully capable of using as much RAM as you can stuff LoopMash allows comping and live playback of loops. and you have a package that adds solid value and improves this DAW’s already impressive game. the REVerence convolution reverb is a top-notch addition to Cubase’s reverbs. such as BWF tagging. Five parameters—including earr ly reflections. It analyzes each loop and seeks to replace slices in the master clip by loosely matching audio from the slaves so the plug-in’s output maintains the same groove and dynamic feel as the master and the resulting audio doesn’t degenerate into a cacophonous disaster. The Track Export dialog now displays an explorer-style tree of tracks in the current project and a checkbox to select Channel Batch Export. including genuine real-world locations and sampled rack gear. but Cubase has always been light on good reverbs. native 64-bit PC support and the wonderfully convenient Channel Batch Export. This will make life easier for anyone tasked with creating audio stems. With little fanfare. I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 63 . multi-gigabyte. it’s fun and easy to twist canned loops into something new and exotic. but under the hood it’s quite a bit more. A True Value Cubase 5 isn’t a revolutionary upgrade. REVerence’s controls are. and although compatible hardware is not yet available. Jason Blum’s current endeavors are focused on commercial mixing and mastering in his Los Angeles studio. However. although a 3-band EQ provides additional tonal shaping. as with most convolution reverbs. this issue can be fixed by purchasing a third-party wrapper called JBridge. Cubase 5 has quietly simplified creating track stems into a simple point-and-click procedure that can be done in minutes with what once took hours. Limited controls notwithstanding. It won’t impact the end-user experience anytime soon. high-samplerate libraries are demanding more of the increased memory space offered by these systems every day. Instead. Steinberg is planning for the inevitable transition. REVerr ence includes more than 70 impulses that cover a wide assortment of sonic spaces. aff ter talking with some Cubase 5 users who have moved to 64-bit. pre-delay and size—are the only real adjustments available.to 64-bit wrapper for older VST plug-ins. so the new REVerence plug-in is a welcome addition. But Steinberg is slowly laying the groundwork for the 64-bit push by porting Cubase’s underlying framework to the new Cocoa programming system.

Completely unrelated to the old Sony Restoration Tools and offering no backward compatibility. In Manual mode.MIXONLINE. The Dialog mode GUI has a histogram of the dialog audio over time with two adjustable horizontal threshold lines.COM . and a Diff (or Difference) button for monitoring the removal of the targeted noise. turning this knob will set the fundamental frequency of the buzz over any of the three frequency ranges: LF. DeClick for 3 ms. DeBuzzer removes buzzes.995 MSRP or $1. Unique to DeClicker is the Dialog mode. whines and whistles. it is processed according to the controls labeled Above. the plug-in switches over to repairing according to the controls labeled Below. the Sidechain mode adds an adjustable bandpass filter to further differentiate the frequencies of dialog audio from background noise. DeBuzzer DeBuzzer detects and accurately measures the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of buzzes. Each plug-in off fers common functions. DeClick events are blue and DeCrackle noises are white. which are available in RTAS (for Pro Tools HD. you can use your mouse as a “lasso” around a grouping of bubbles that represent the impulses you want and exclude them from repair. DeClicker DeClicker is divided into three sections. a peak profile is created and shown in a small display above a large rotary frequency adjust knob. including an output section with enable in/out. If required.com/restore PRICE: $1. When the dialog audio exceeds the top threshold. Great Results The Restore restoration suite from Sonnox is the result of 18 months of research into developing new tools that exploit recent advances in computer and software technologies. DeBuzzer and DeNoiser. with a detection section for pinpointing problematic and unwanted noise and a removal section that determines the desired level of repair while minimizing collateral damage to the original audio. Because the Restore Suite plug-ins’ parameters are all automatable. When dialog has stopped and falls below threshold. CONS: High latency and CPU usage. whines and whistles. you can move Exclude Boxes and toggle them in and out invisibly. there is the Exclude Box feature. Each section in DeClicker has a mini-display that shows the noise floor and a threshold line with the impulses either above or below it. Rather than simply bypassing or changing the threshold setting for that particular piece of the audio that would affect the rest of DeClicker’s repair.sonnoxplugins. each plug-in uses a two-step methodology. Audio Units and VST formats for Mac and PC. There is a larger. MF or HF. clever X/Y graphic display that shows each individual noise spike as a color-coded bubble: DePop events are green. output level adjust.4 ms. In the event that DeClicker removes important harmonic content such as percussive transients or the brightness of a brass section while otherwise repairing well. Using an FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) display that accumulates data over time. LE and M-Powered systems). and passes this information on to the removal section.REVIEWS Sonnox Oxford Restore Plug-In Suite High-End Restoration Tools Offer Easy GUI. each of which is designed to remove impulse noises predicated on duration. DePop is for noises lasting up to 10ms long. hums. 64 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW.495 Exchange PROS: Sophisticated tools with new powerful features. Any buzz or hum that is consistently pres- PRODUCT SUMMARY COMPANY: Sonnox Oxford Plug-Ins PRODUCT: Sonnox Restore Restoration Suite WEBSITE: www. threshold and sensitivity settings. hums. This Native suite comprises DeClicker. and DeCrackle for 0. in which one threshold is set for processing background noise when dialog audio is present and there’s another threshold setting for when it is not. with unrepaired noises glowing red.

024 samples. There are no set rules concerning which noise(s) to remove first. there was also the steady whining sound of the motor. You can hear examples of the restorations I am about to describe at mixonline. this decision is part of the educable craft and experiential art of audio restoration. Because all controls are automatable. They My first job was cleaning a narration track for an oral history with my 97-year-old mother. This feature is subtle but good. In addition to the broadband noise of rushing air. For additional manual control over the noise threshold profile. DeNoiser DeNoiser automatically looks at the audio’s dynamics and frequency changes to detect and remove broadband noise. but as the audio gets quieter. Cleaning Up My History Install and Rejuvenate I installed Restore into my Pro Tools HD3 Accel system running Pro Tools Version 7. In addition to the comb filter. thus respecting its character and ambience. I first used DeBuzzer to find and remove the whine at 258. and if they weren’t. plus components at approximately 417 and 460 Hz. Auto mode compensates for dynamics in the desired audio by always keeping the removed noise a fixed number of decibels below the desired audio level. DeNoiser finishes with a DeHisser section—an aggressive lowpass filter that’s good for rolling off bright tape hiss or surface noise in dialog or old film recordings.COM I FEBRUARY 2010 MIX 65 .4 on a quad-core Mac PowerPC and found all three plug-ins’ real-time processors. WWW. to lock in a specific noise profile. It scans the audio spectrum for signals that are consistently always present. this may be the most meticulous way to ensure the best restoration throughout a widely varying audio program. threshold in the more important midrange frequencies of a vocal track and lower threshold in the less-important high and low frequencies for more removal. For the most part. Most restorers “climb the highest mountain first” by removing the loudest noises first so as to unmask lower-level background trash. DeBuzzer also offers the Para-EQ mode.750 Hz.By Barry Rudolph ent will stand out on the main FFT display with its three dominant peaks marked with red arr rows. Likewise. the removal section also has a 17-step Noise-Reduction Bias curve that is colored in yellow. also exhibit latencies that are generally beyond the capabilities of Pro Tools’ Automatic Delay Compensation engine. even if the audio dips near the noise floor. Freeze mode grabs the current noise profile from Auto and uses it to remove the same amount of noise at all times. Generally. removal is less destructive. In general.com. Manual. the narrow and deep notches of the comb filter do less damage to high frequencies and are the best for harr monically rich buzzes. it will not be removed with the noise. Freeze mode turns off this hunting process and is the best way to dial in whines or whistle noises in the MF or HF areas. depending on their settings. and require that you set Pro Tools’ DAE buffer at 1. An experienced restoration engineer could use DeNoiser’s third mode.MIXONLINE. Clicking on any of these arrows will reset the fundamental for the removal section to recalculate the coefficients for the comb filter to remove it and its harmonics. However. there are many presets that can get you into the “sweet spot” quickly. You can insert and use them in multitrack sessions like any other plug-in. But if you have only one or two harmonics to remove and the fundamental is above 2 kHz—such as a loud whistle—the Para-EQ might sound better. you’ll start to hear it being removed with the noise. there is a Threshold Bias Curve colored red in the GUI that offers 17 frequency steps. the recordings are clean with minimal background noise—until the air conditioner started. You can raise DeClicker is divided into DePop. When you insert DeBuzzer into your session. I found that the default settings were very close to exactly what I needed. These curves with handles allow for frequency-dependent threshold settings on critical frequencies. they use a considerable amount of CPU resources. the removal filters will follow. The experienced audio restorer can produce more musical results by reducing noise in frequency areas of less impact to the fidelity of the overall audio program. it defaults to Auto mode where the detector continuously “hunts” either side of the fundamental to check for drift in frequency. The Warmth control adds richness to the sound otherwise lost due to noise reduction. A noise profile is then derived and used to remove components of the frequency spectrum that are below a predeterr mined threshold. In Auto mode. I found it was best to use AudioSuite or record each plug-in’s processed audio to a new track. DeClick and DeCrackle. If the desired audio gets louder.

MIXONLINE.com. and when Mark went looking for an interface to equip his British Grove facility he discovered there really was only one choice. I used Sonnox EQ/Filter to diminish a recurring subsonic bump at 31 Hz that was also recorded from vinyl. SONNOX 78 rpm Audio I found a completely different set of problems in a digital copy of a 78 rpm record from the 1940s.751 samples at 24-bit/44. I highly recommend all three plug-ins for restoring any audio. Why not CALL NOW to arrange your demo.barryrudolph. so any system configuration can be accommodated. poorly recorded individual tracks and the odd loop that a producer doesn’t want to sound grungy. Its unrivalled performance up to 24 bit 192kHz ensures that for the discerning user. DeNoiser removed most of the horrendous surface noise. Removing broadband noise is a compromise between how much noise is removed and making my mom sound like she is coming from the moon and back over a single-sideband shortwave radio. including most of the loud needle-drop noise at the beginning. I continued processing using DeNoiser to remove the broadband air-rushing noise. I added DeBuzzer to the restored file to finally rid it of that cyclic turntable thumping. delivering unrivalled performance and flexibility. The modular construction offers y users 16 A/D. DeClicker grabbed a lot of clicks from the vinyl record with its Threshold at 6. Setting too low a Threshold is easy to hear— the audio starts to break up into static chunks while the three threshold lines for each section tell the whole story and demonstrate the plugin’s limits.com r ww r UK +44 (0)1353 648888 USA +1 973 983 9577 Pro Tools™ is a trademark of Digidesign.COM . so it probably could all be better.REVIEWS DeBuzzer “homed in” on the whine instantly and continued tracking as the A/C motor’s whine changed pitch. I found that using more HF cut and contour and the Noise-Reduction Bias curve for less removal in the midrange allowed a viola to still sound mostly like a viola. I ended up using both the Threshold and Noise-Reduction Bias curves. I found them easy to use. I processed the de-rumbled track with DeClicker to scrub the majorr ity of ticks and scratches. The ADA-8XR has become THE converter of choice for leading facilities and artists around the world. Visit him at www. On its first instantiation. r there really is only one choice. FireWire. where the A/C noise was strong but masked by her audio. although it was of little help.prismsound. and then scaled back on the reduction at 6 kHz and 8 kHz to keep things bright enough.7 percent and Sensitivity at 78 percent. with excellent default and stored presets that will give you 90 percent of a perfect setting. I used all three plug-ins and the Sonnox Equalizer/Filter plugin. digital audio that was clocked in error. I finished with DeNoiser to remove surr face noise and turntable motor noise. ensuring its ability to excel in any popular workstation. After DeClicking the file. Barry Rudolph is a Los Angeles–based recording engineer. a division of Avid Technology Inc. I’m just beginning with the restoration. 66 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. DeCrackle did the lion’s share of work at 20 perr cent Threshold and Sensitivity at 89 percent. Prism Sound Headline Sponsors Trashed Viola For my last restoration project. although the accumulated latency was 21.com www. 16 D/A or 8 A/D plus 8 D/A channels. r It’s a De-Light I’m greatly impressed by the power of these plugs. Interface options include Pro T Tools™. I had no trouble running all four plug-ins at the same time. The ADA-8XR has been designed without compromise. AES. I dipped threshold at 1 kHz.1kHz.” I found I was able to dial out exactly as much noise as possible and carefully preserve the original audio as well as possible. DeClicker was 80 percent effective. The Restore Suite will find good use as a tool for cleaning up noisy guitar tracks. sales@prismsound. I tailored removal with the Noise-Reduction Bias feature and came to realize that this is like icing on the restored “cake. S/PDIF and DSD modules. I bypassed DeHisser because it was not needed.

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To accomplish this. lowest-impedance connection possible that must also be mechanically reliable to ensure long-term performance. especially when not in the same rack or power strip. “Easy as One Two Three?” Properly implemented. monitor mixer and remote recording rig) from various power sources will “find” problematic gear. manufacturers in the know use connectors that make an automatic pin-1 to chassis connection. Within the gear. the chassis—or what I like to call the “noise Firewall. technology booms and budget cuts in remote recording inspire a D.I. but it’s all for naught if the gear itself is flawed. There are also an assortment of other potential noises. For example. where front-of-house and onstage monitor consoles require independent control of the mix. By Eddie Ciletti Training Ground Even in a “controlled” environment. We can all agree that a short piece of wire. Compared to tracking one instrument/source at a time. Step 1. the other set is transformer-isolated and includes a ground lift switch. leading to the many Band-Aids that have been conjured up over the years. the quantity formerly known as resistance becomes impedance—still measured in ohms. something in the system is likely to have a power-related hum and/or buzz. a variety of tricks have been conjured up to sooth the weak links. cable shields must be connected at the point of entry—aka. Off the Shelf As in every other aspect of our biz. The shield also absorbs radiated noise (induction from power transformers) and acts like an antenna for RFI/TVI.” use of ground adapters as “ground lifters. courtesy Jensen Transformers. I’ve borrowed a few examples. The distance between the source (mics) and multiple destinations (preamps) in multiple locations (FOH. should have pretty close to zero-ohms resistance at DC (when using a multimeter). The true fixes are few. The name change implies that we may be in for surprises. To ensure that a good circuit design is not compromised. all of the time.Tech Tech’s Files Troubleshooting Live Pay Attention to the Geek Stuff Behind the Curtain Live recording—in studio or onstage—is an adrenaline rush like no other. There are four versions of this splitter box. all of it a sign that “someone” is not with the program. but with the help offered on Rane’s Website. approach. but the other “noises” can creep into gear electronics via poorly implemented “pin 1 issue. interacting musicians add much more to the mix than the sum of the tracks. problems can arise. from computers—video monitor and hard drive hash—and cell phone chirps.” wooden rack rails. much time. Over the years. A schematic of a basic. the extra gear is like an invasive species. The beginning of this yellowbrick road is a mic splitter. effort and money has been invested in external ground distribution systems. and as engineers are inclined to use all varieties of vintage gear. flawed gear isn’t always so obvious because compliant gear will often look like the problem child rather than the peacemaker. it’s important that all of it be diligently inspected and made compliant. and the ground and lift paths in bold. This is done using the shortest. No two electronic devices will ever be at the exact same ground potential. at least one of which is internally flawed. balanced gear in a fully balanced system should work out of the box with standard cables and minimal fuss. The Whirlwind SB08P11G (about $560) has two sets of eight outputs—one set has a hard-wired mic loop-thru. Sharing mics is an everyday occurrence at live gigs. the true meaning of impedance begins to reveal itself.” This is not always the case. Pin 1 The so-called “ground loop” is often blamed for unwanted noises. In the realm of “normal. “wireless” problems now seem to crop up everywhere. There are wiring Band-Aids like “flying shields. internal ground distribution is critical. I WWW. single-channel mic splitter is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1: Single channel mic splitter schematic. the one Garmeau uses is the most spendy because it has the most useful features. At audio frequencies (AC). stressing each piece of gear in the chain. In addition to power-related hum and buzz. proximity to broadcast transmitters increases the possibility of radio frequency and television interference (RFI/ TVI). True differential (balanced) inputs reject induced noises by way of the Common-Mode Rejection Ratio (CMRR). but not with a standard e multimeter. Live recording is the ultimate multitasking experience and allows no retakes. Who Said. Once an urban issue. through each connector and cable to preamp and converter. And recognizing 68 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 When Is a Wire No Longer a Wire? A piece of wire is an illusion of sorts because its behavior is environmentally dependent. Above 100 kHz.Y.MIXONLINE. from the microphone. Recording engineer Tom Garneau uses four 8-channel Whirlwind splitters. When simultaneous recording is part of the equation. The actual cause is noise currents flowing in the cable shield between two pieces of equipment.” Though not exclusive to the XLR connector.” the shield takes a lot of abuse. etc.COM . even a thin one. Note separate shields for each transformer winding. noise current in the shield can and should be safely escorted away from the audio signal path. But as anyone with enough audio gear knows. It’s admittedly simpler to execute than understand. as soon as the system requires multiple power outlets in multiple rooms.

com A wealth of options at the tip of your finger. podcasts. knowledge on cue.com bhproaudio. Visit Our SuperStore 420 Ninth Ave.© 2010 B & H Foto & Electronics Corp. JN674 Products on command. Knowledge is expansive. With in-depth product demos. and customer reviews. Get more of it at B&H. New York. Find exactly what you need through advanced search filters and Live Help. NY 10001 800-947-5508 Speak to a Sales Associate . you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. bhproaudio.

Another microphone in Fig.com/mmd/ 70 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 I WWW. Audio Systems Group. the source and its connectors can also be suspected. Eddie’s live remote experience includes Live Aid. with a thin 1cm wire between the XLR’s chassis lug and pin-1. Rane and ©2003 Syn-Aud-Con. the length of innocent black wire from pin 1 to chassis allows it to have an inductive reactance of 4 ohms at a frequency of 56 MHz (TV channel 2). What was thought of as a simple piece of ground wire can become a Trojan Noise Horse. equation. 3. yields 2 ohms Figure 2: Inside a mic. ® BOOST YOUR BUSINESS REACH NEW CUSTOMERS GET LISTED FOR FREE http://directory. inserting RF noise into the signal ground.COM . high-speed networking and fiber-optic interconnects solve (or hide) some of the common problems that plagued analog audio for years. infiltrating the electronic Firewall and delivering both power-related hum and buzz.mixonline. Rane. Farm Aid. The green arrow indicates how the signal ground might be relocated to the lug to Figure 3: Pin-1 ties to the XLR connector’s chassis take the wire out of the lug through a thin wire. digital snakes and mixers. high-impedance circuitry. (Note: The author-annotated illustrations in Figs. Digital audio can be affected by similar problems but can manage to function until the data errors can no longer be concealed.T Tech’s Files as the resistance of wire now changes with frequency from zero ohms at DC to several ohms at radio frequencies. of inductive reactance at 60 MHz. Eddie thanks Jim Brown.MIXONLINE. Inside the microphone in Fig. But analog has a lot to teach us if only we listen. The solution is to tie pin-1 to the XLR’s chassis lug and relocate the audio circuit’s orange ground wire. 2 and 3 are based on images courtesy of Jim Brown. as well as transmitted noise into the high-gain inner sanctum of condenser mics and mic preamps. 2. Out-of-Body Experience Just when you thought it was safe to blame the receiving end of your recording gear. the black pin-1 to chassis wire is close to zero ohms at audio frequencies.) These days. a condition sometimes referred to as “falling off the digital cliff. the screw locking the XLR to the mic body must be clean and secure. Joe Jackson and Luciano Pavarotti on the following remote trucks: Record Plant.” But that’s a topic for another day. The noise is both inserted into the signal ground and radiated into vulnerable. but not at radio frequencies. Here. Remote Recording Services and Le Mobile. Syn-Aud-Con and Jensen for their informational generosity.

master class schedule and guest panelist lineup! Recording. Technology. 2010 @Soundcheck Nashville This Year’s Panels! > The Power of Collaboration > Recording Guitar > Boosting Revenue > Advanced Plug-in Techniques Stay tuned for more in-depth panels. Performance. . Production.Save the Date… May 25-26.

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1 playback. I will give my client and the artist what they expect from me.MIXONLINE. no matter where and how it will be listened to. I’m not just selling Le Mobile. that’s how I did the Montreal Jazz festival for 10 years. and upload onto the Internet. A couple of years ago. So I have to be flexible and make everything we work on musically and sonically as good as we possibly can. my fly pack or the box. I engineer and take my full team with me. Le Mobile is well-known. Pro Tools HD. I won’t go back to tape. Some artists will always want the best sound they can. bridge. I am presently building a system in one box [Le Box]. we come back in Pro Tools using Apogee converters. We are bringing knowledge to W the project. Nothing sounds like the good old Neve [8058]. You can’t Y go back. Grace [801] preamps. You sound remarkably cheery. I think the combination is great. Logic or even Pro Tools. I’ve always said. [Laughs] I have faith in the long-term and in change. I can rent that for $2. I use Pro Tools for recording and fixing things. I also bought a beautiful building [in Carlsbad. You now have Y an unlimited number of tracks. I built a portable fly pack system [Le Portable] that includes a Yamaha Y [DM2000] digital console. as well. people like it. so we have to change the way we work. and I’m finishing a flexible control room. I use a video truck control room. The idea is—it’s not a full studio. You give Y me a budget and I will find the best way to achieve it. But not every project needs to use Le Mobile so we’ve got other ways to help people. and I love to combine the new and the old. or for doing archiving. that is what I’ll use. and then with a laptop you could have another Nuendo. I have these beautiful Studers well-maintained.COM . but it will be a place where a video editor and I can work on a project as a team.:: Q&A Guy Charbonneau Le Mobile’s owner adapts to the new realities of the remote recording business. great. It fits in eight road cases and has everything someone would need to make a really good recording. This will give me another place and another way to work. How do you survive in this type of economic climate. It’s a great box with a lot of hard drive [space]. I’m offering Le Mobile knowledge. It’s hard to survive. an AMD computer and it should fit many budgets. but we go through the Neve. But I will never compromise. or offer the room for a musician to write songs. I WWW. Maybe the Studer 800 with Dolby SR at 15 ips for some special project. The band can record all their shows and do a quick balance mix. where the whole country’s in a downturn. You have to keep looking Y forward and keep learning. but a good mix and great music will always exist. I can add a MADI 80 MIX FEBRUARY 2010 By Blair Jackson Inside Le Mobile are pop vocalist Michael Bublé (left) and studio owner/engineer Guy Charbonneau. How do you change the mindset of musicians who will now accept audio that is less than perfect? Y You cannot change that mindset. if I need a pencil and eraser to do the project.) I can use the room for preparing sessions for mixing or for 5. I like to work on a full project from recording to delivering the master. The economic climate is a big part of the change. and so is the remote business because of other factors. keeping in mind today’s budget constraints. (That’s what I did back in the ’80s. Today. and a laptop does weigh much less than Studer 24-tracks. Blair Jackson is the senior editor of Mix magazine. and others will go for what they think is “good enough. Apogee converters. If the situation requires. Three years ago. and sometimes a few extra pieces of equipment from Le Mobile. You mean people bringing little rigs to record shows instead of using a truck like Le Mobile? Y Yes. If recording backup is needed.” There’s nothing I can do to change those attitudes at this point. too? That’s a good question. north of San Diego]. as well as the technology allowing different ways to record music.500 per week—64 tracks of Nuendo. You’ve always been so quality-conscious.

With transparent. W. The m906’s full complement of I/O can be completely user calibrated.The m906 is our remarkably full featured 5. Recording. broadcast or post the m906 is in control. and elegant digital and mechanical ergonomics ensure an effortless work flow and seamless integration into any audio production environment. W W visit lease ils. critical sonic details to empower you with total control over your mix. film. the m906 reveals even the most subtle.CO IGN ES ED AC GR . while purist analog circuitry handles all signals with audiophile accuracy. mastering. Ultra-precision D/A converters ensure incoming digital signals are perfectly rendered to analog. p deta lete omp for c M . resulting in a perfect translation of your mix to the monitors. musical performance.1 or stereo monitor controller.

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