Natick, MA (June 9, 2021)—Grammy-winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen has made Genelec’s 8341A monitors a centerpiece of his portable reference setup, which he uses to do much of his preliminary work.
Lurssen, whose credits include Queens of the Stone Age, Ben Harper and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, notes, “I started in the early ‘90s working for the late Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab, and recording engineer George Massenburg was a regular client of Doug’s for lots of his projects; through him, I was first exposed to their 1031A and 1030A monitors. I was particularly taken with the 1030As after hearing them in a mix room at what was then Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, so Doug surprised me with my own pair, which I still own.”
In fact, says Lurssen, “[A]fter all these miles, I just had them re-coned and the amps rec-capped, but kept the original bulletproof tweeters. Like most mastering engineers, I own multiple sets of monitors, but the Genelec 1030As have been an important reference for me over the years, especially when it comes to a mobile environment.”
Fast-forward to a few years ago, before the pandemic: “I enjoyed going to these weekly lunches and meetups in Burbank with professionals in the audio industry; it’s a great way to see friends and colleagues and to stay on top of the latest tools and trends as well. I usually interact with the manufacturer reps that are there, and so it’s no surprise that I gravitated toward the new technology from Genelec! So that began my journey with the 8341A Smart Active Monitor,” he says.
He notes, “There are various ways in which a near-field monitor can be useful to a mastering engineer, and one of the most useful things is to be able to go mobile, while still being able to listen to and evaluate mixes and give feedback to clients with confidence, no matter where I am set up. Accuracy is the name of the game. The Genelec 8341As provide me with very, very accurate playback, even if I’m in a compromised environment.
“When you have something like 8341s, if you put them in the road case and take some computer gear with you, you can actually set up a pretty accurate listening environment. You can travel around and evaluate things that way—so if I’m traveling, I can take them with me.”
Miami, FL (May 21, 2021)—Bay Eight Recording Studios, the latest incarnation of a Miami studio institution, has installed a pair of Genelec 8361A “The Ones” Smart Active Monitors, in white.
Founded in 2000 by Grammy Award-winner Fabio “Estefano” Salgado on a John Arthur and Bret Lambert design, it quickly became the hub for his productions of Latin American crossover artists including Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Thalía and Enrique Iglesias. The 1,700-square-foot studio continued a winning streak for subsequent owners and artists right through its acquisition, in 2015, by Matthew DeFreitas, who renamed it Bay Eight after an acoustical update by acoustician Ross Alexander.
The 8361s, which were purchased through Mike Harris at Harris Audio Systems in Miami, have taken what was already a great mix room to a completely new level, according to DeFreitas. “We were looking to change things up a little, and people had been telling me how good the Genelecs sound,” he says. “So we went for the 8361s, and we demoed them for two weeks. We were getting great response from everyone who heard them, and the GLM software added a lot of flexibility to the studio’s workflow, so we went for it.”
The two-way 8361A speakers include Genelec’s GLM calibration software, which allowed DeFreitas to create distinct monitoring zones for mixers seated at Studio A’s SSL AWS 900+ console or producers seated on the couch at the mix room’s producer’s desk island.
“They look very cool — the white design option was a great move on Genelec’s part,” says DeFreitas, noting how well they pair aesthetically with the studio’s vintage-modern interior, which fuses the studio’s history with modern design elements such as Aztec and contemporary-inspired accents, and custom hand-painted murals by local Miami artists Lola Blu, Ariel Cruz and Weiyi Fan. “They have the perfect look for Miami. And the perfect sound.”
New York, NY (April 30, 2021)—When COVID-19 shut down the world last spring, multi-Platinum rapper Meek Mill and Anthony Cruz, his engineer since 2013, were in the Bahamas realizing that the way they recorded together wouldn’t be the same going forward. Once the pair returned to a closed-up United States, it didn’t take long before the artist couldn’t deal with how the pandemic-induced lockdown was preventing him from emptying his thoughts into songs. Cruz recalls, “It got to a point where he was like, ‘I understand things are real, but I really need to get going.’ My back was to the wall and I had to find a solution.”
Once Cruz found it, they never looked back—Meek Mill and Cruz were able to record, mix and release the four-track Quarantine Pack EP in late November 2020, closing out an eventful year. Cruz recapped it all for Pro Sound News in this interview, lightly edited for length and clarity.
Q: After getting back from the Bahamas as the pandemic was ramping up, how did you and Meek adjust to the lockdown?
We’d been in-person vibing for seven years by that time, so it was a very dramatic change of workflow. It was just too dangerous at the time to jump out and do the regular in-person workflow, so when I was digging into potential solutions and testing different options, I was like, “How are we going to be able to work?” I ended up finding an amazing solution for the time.
Q: That involved a home studio?
Before the pandemic, we were able to store equipment at Meek’s house. He had never really used the space because he likes to leave the house to go to work, so we typically would lock-in the studios. We’d already built out a proper home studio for him—we have Genelec 1234A speakers with 18-inch subs on either side, a Universal Audio Apollo interface, and his mic chain is a BAE 1073 mic preamp that goes into a Tube-Tech CL 1B. He uses a Slate VMS microphone, which is basically a mic that mimics all the classic mics—it’s like a tool belt where, depending on who you’re recording or what the vibe of the song is, you can change the texture to match some of the vintage classic mics that we’re used to that cost tens of thousands of dollars. It does a really good job of matching the tone, and it just became our go-to over time.
Q: How were you able to record Meek remotely?
People are using Zoom to control the computer and then they use one of these audio streaming companies that basically allow you to get a clean signal on your side as the engineer and you control the workflow of who you’re recording. It’s interesting because it allowed me to really see what the opportunities were in this space, because it was never a necessity before to have to be ready for remote recording. You have to use Zoom and you have to use a plug-in and stream it, too—it’s not efficient—and it’s basically like he had a ghost engineer. Meek would be like, “Oh my god! Cruz isn’t even in the room and he’s recording me.”
Q: Did you observe a difference in the creative process between you and Meek working remotely as opposed to when you two have been together?
What you notice when you’re working remotely compared to in-person is that it’s all about trying to maintain the energy as if you’re still in the room. I had to find multiple ways of making the process efficient enough where it didn’t interrupt his workflow. We kept the same level of speed, but there were so many things I had to do on my end—I had to have an account that had all the beats that I was gathering from producers, copy a link, send it over to his computer while I’m streaming the audio. Then, after the session, I had to find a program that could back up all the files so I could send them to myself without it taking up too much time because maybe the internet wasn’t strong enough. We would be on a FaceTime call during the session, so we could still have that interaction and I could hear what the energy was in the room. That was a big thing. We had a separate iPad [for FaceTime] that was the communication between me and him live on the spot. Besides the streaming link, I was hearing him on the mic, but when he jumped off the mic, I had to mute the signal so we didn’t get feedback, any blasts of music or whatever. I needed a source of communication, so that was FaceTime.
It’s actually amazing the things we were able to get done. The Quarantine Pack EP he put out in late November is exactly what it’s titled—we did it all remotely. I would hit [producer] Nick Papz and bounce ideas. We got nothing but time on our hands, so it’s like your mind’s going crazy—“we’ll make this a bigger record!” Being in tune with the mixer live, you guys are both able to collaborate on a mix. They can be like, “Yo, let me try something different here,” and they’re able to control your computer and do their thing, and then you’re like, “Oh, hold on—let me try something.” So it’s this live collaboration. It still feels like we could potentially be in the same room. We were able to do some incredible things and still impact with the music.
Q: I saw you guys got back to the studio in November. How was it being back in person?
It was interesting. It was still nerve-wracking for me, because my biggest thing was, I’m in the house with my baby girl and I got wifey, and I just felt like it was something I’ve never had to deal with before. It was a genuine fear of not about me, but how I would affect somebody else if something were to happen on this trip. It got to a point where we took all the precautions we needed in terms of constant testing and making sure everybody was safe and masked and everything. The first time, Meek actually ended up in New York and we were able to link up in person. That’s in my backyard, so that was a no-brainer. We had a couple of sessions there, and then the next sessions in person were actually back in the Bahamas again. Once the vaccine came out, I felt a little more confident once I was in that groove.
Q: Do you feel that you’ve gotten better as an engineer over the last year?
I think it’s really helped me creatively. I’ve really tapped in on another level on a creative side. Before, I would put somewhat of a limit on myself. Now I’m trying more things and putting myself out there more creatively. I think that’s the biggest thing— that it’s helped me a lot that way. Once I actually got our workflow together, it actually inspired fellow industry people to come up with really cool innovative technologies of their own, and I’m working with [Jay-Z’s engineer Young] Guru on solutions as well. We’re coming up with how we can innovate this space and make it more efficient.
Most audiophiles know of the unwavering commitment to accuracy and groundbreaking industrial design baked into the DNA of every Wilson Audio product (website), and the new Wilson Audio SabrinaX loudspeakers are no exception. This was first evident in Dave Wilson’s original assault on the state of the art with his WAMM design circa 1981, and other loudspeaker systems followed over the years. Along with advancements in materials science and simple but visually striking industrial design aesthetics, each loudspeaker system has a unique raison d’etre rather than simply various scaled-down models at different price points. Words and photos by Dave McNair Dave Wilson practically devoted his life to designing a speaker that would precisely reproduce what his ears (and mics) heard on his extraordinary recordings. His recording approach was a simple, purist style used to record musicians playing in natural acoustic spaces. It might seem simple, but there is nothing easy about this kind of approach. So it naturally follows that faithfully reproducing the recording of that event in a home listening room was his ideal. Today, Daryl Wilson and the rest of the great crew at Wilson Audio have maintained those same ideals and goals while simultaneously refining, improving, and [...]
Natick, MA (March 5, 2021)—Having reached the top of the charts numerous times in 2020 working with various German rap stars, platinum-certified composer and producer Juh-Dee has opened a well-appointed studio in Duisburg, Germany.
Juh-Dee, who started DJing at parties as a youngster, soon started making music himself, which brought him into the orbit of emerging German rap stars, including Farid Bang, Manuellsen, KC Rebell and Summer Cem. “The first time I made it to number one with a single was actually in 2020. That was with the song ‘90-60-111’ from Shirin David, and that was a great feeling,” he says. “Then with Apache, we were three weeks at number one, and that song was replaced at number one by another Apache song that we produced. And the next tune after that also went straight to the top spot.”
His preference for studio monitoring has always been large, wall-mounted main monitors, so his new facility sports Genelec 1234 Smart Active Monitors. “In a great studio, there has to be speakers in the wall,” Juh-Dee insists. “I did my first mixes here and I was really surprised at how ‘real’ the 1234s sound, even at high volume. Having heard my first mixes, I realized what made the difference. You can hear clearly the whole frequency spectrum and the tweeters are really nice! They don’t bite; they are really honest. That was important for me.”
The 1234s are complemented by a 7370 subwoofer. “I usually use the subwoofer when I’m working on deep 808s, for example, so I can really hear the whole spectrum down to 20 Hz and I can absolutely hear if they sound okay, or if there’s any strange frequencies going on,” he says.
But while Juh-Dee loves the high-SPL energy of his main monitoring system, his 8331 coaxial three-way nearfields from Genelec’s The Ones series allow him to dial things down when he needs to. “I use The Ones to double-check things at a lower volume, so when I don’t need the full blast of the big 1234s, they are really good for details.
“Also, when I’m mixing for too long with too much volume, I use the 8331s — and I can also easily control them using Genelec’s GLM software. It’s super-easy to quickly dial-in changes, tweak the frequency response, change the volume, and do adjustments.”
Hollywood, CA (January 20, 2021)—Nick Gross, drummer, producer and entrepreneur, is a busy man, recording and performing with a variety of bands while also overseeing Gross Labs, his growing entertainment, media and investment company. Amidst all that action, Gross found the time over the past year to expand his Noise Nest production complex in Hollywood.
Now spanning an entire block in the heart of Hollywood’s media district, Noise Nest began more modestly under another name about eight years ago. “We leased the smaller space for the first three years for a production team that I had at the time; we used it as a songwriting facility,” says Gross. “We later built it out to be more of a recording studio facility where other managers, publishers and labels could use the space.”
When his neighbor’s larger building became available, Gross snapped it up, gutting the structure and calling in Peter Grueneisen’s nonzero\architecture to design a three-room complex with lounges, kitchen and other amenities. He then had designer and acoustician Chris Owens of F.C. Owens revamp the two production rooms in the original, smaller building.
“It started as this sort of punk-rock, grungy little studio and it’s turned into a multi-purpose, multi-use content factory,” Gross says. His vision for Noise Nest was inspired by pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek’s now-defunct Fantasy Factory in downtown L.A., which he calls “a cool and creative way to think outside of the box.”
The initial two rooms catered to outside clients while Gross was growing his business, but Noise Nest now focuses on in-house content creation. “I host a lot of our internal publishing and label clients; they each get to use the space for free,” he says. “We’re doing all kinds of things: music production, live streaming, gaming. It’s an epic live event space; we built two basketball courts.”
The Gross Labs umbrella company, launched in 2018, encompasses record label and music publisher Big Noise Music Group, Noise Nest Animation, e-sports organization Team Rogue, and philanthropic education and self-discovery platform Find Your Grind. Gross co-founded Big Noise with Vagrant Records co-founders Jon Cohen and John “Feldy” Feldmann, the man behind SoCal ska-punk band Goldfinger; signings include The Used, Ashley Tisdale and The Wrecks. Gross still sometimes plays with Goldfinger, as well as his own bands, Half the Animal and girlfriends. His many investments range from consumer products to new tech ventures.
A common thread throughout Noise Nest is PMC speakers. “The choice of PMC was a no-brainer,” says Gross, who first heard the monitors at the studios of his friend, producer and songwriter Dr. Luke. “They’re incredible. We’re super stoked to have them.” Studio A features PMC’s flagship QB1-A in-wall main monitors, while various IB1S-A, twotwo.6 and twotwo.8 models provide near field coverage there and in the other rooms.
There is a consistent aesthetic between rooms. The largest space, A, is dominated by a massive console supporting a split analog API 1608, with the main desk to the left and 16 more channels to the right, plus a Slate Raven system. “It’s a one-of-a-kind desk that I wanted to build out with a cool mixture of analog and digital. The outboard gear that sits behind it is pretty special as well,” he says, and includes SSL and Neve mic preamps.
The tracking space is just the right size, he says: “It gets the job done. We wanted to be smart with the space and be as effective as we could, knowing that we wanted to build three studios in a 4,500-square-foot building,” he says.
The B room, equipped with an SSL Matrix2 and soffited Genelec 1238A SAM main monitors, transforms into an indoor/outdoor space. “People can be playing basketball outside and see what’s going on inside the room at the same time,” he says. The console in Studio C, the smallest room, overlooks a small booth and houses an industry-standard vocal chain—Neve 1073 preamp and Tube-Tech CL 1B compressor—with ATC SCM25A Pro monitors and a rack of additional outboard gear.
“All three studios have their own vibe. I wanted to take the feeling of old recording studios, whether that was old brick or old wood or analog gear, and give it that high-end, digital, 2020s modern vibe. So we have white brick everywhere and polished concrete for all the floors,” says Gross. “It’s just a fun hang and a good vibe. You don’t want to leave.”
Natick, MA (December 18, 2020)—Genelec has announced the inaugural Genelec Mike Chafee Audio Pioneering Scholarship, promoting the advancement of women in the audio industry. The scholarship, in the amount of $5000.00,will be offered annually to U.S. female graduate students in the field of audio engineering who are members of the Audio Engineering Society (AES).
The Mike Chafee Audio Pioneering Scholarship is being presented in association with the Audio Engineering Society Educational Foundation to female students who have a passion of advancing audio through innovation and technology development. It also pays tribute to Michael Chafee, the long-time Genelec manufacturer’s representative, audiophile, sound designer, acoustician, audio evangelist and supporter of women in audio. Chafee had been involved with Genelec since 1996 and is credited with being an early pioneer and key influencer in promoting the concept of Active Monitoring technology to the market.
“We wanted to provide a resource with the goal of empowering women to further their audio education while honoring and supporting the legacy of Mike Chafee, a key member of our extended Genelec family,” stated Lisa Kaufmann, Genelec Inc. managing director. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Mike, as he was a close personal friend and a true trailblazer in the industry. We hope this scholarship will serve as a testament to his accomplishments, inspire women to take a more active role in the audio community and to bring more gender diversity to our industry.”
Jim Anderson, AES Educational Foundation president, commented, “Mike was a good friend to me and to many in the audio community, and the AES Educational Foundation is pleased that Genelec has chosen to honor his legacy of quality and forward thinking in audio. We look forward to women around the world benefiting from Mike’s genius and Genelec’s generosity.”
The deadline for applications for the first Genelec Mike Chafee Audio Pioneering Scholarship is May 15, 2021, with the award recipient being announced on August 1, 2021, for the 2021-2022 school year.
West Hollywood, CA (December 2, 2020)—The Grammy nominations came out last week, and with the announcement that Post Malone’s “Circles” was up for Record of the Year, Louis Bell added yet another Grammy nod to his growing collection of industry plaudits.
In 2019, Bell had more number-one singles than any other producer or songwriter, with Post Malone’s “Wow” and “Sunflower,” Halsey’s “Without Me” and the Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker.” He produced eight Top-10 hits, staying atop the Hot 100 Producers chart for weeks. In September, he equaled Taylor Swift’s record for the most production credits—18—in a single week on the Billboard Hot 100 this century. Oh, and Variety also crowned Louis Bell producer of the year.
The basic tools of Bell’s trade could practically fit into a briefcase: a Sony C-800G microphone, a Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo interface and a laptop PC running FL (formerly Fruity Loops) Studio and Pro Tools. “I’ll create a really nice loop or different loops in Fruity Loops based on the chord progression, then export it into Pro Tools, which is where I do my arranging and mixing,” says Bell.
“Once we have the song laid down, I’ll spend hours dialing in certain sounds, maybe swapping out drum sounds or layering different things, on my own time. I’ll always try to push things further than they need to go and then dial them back.”
Bell adopted Fruity Loops in 2002. “I was in the generation just after SSL and API boards were the standard if you wanted a specific sound to compete on a commercial level,” he says. “It was an economic decision. I wanted something that, if I really learned this one piece of gear, would help me long-term. I wanted to be more flexible and dynamic, and I felt like in-the-box would allow me to have an infinite number of possibilities.”
He hopes he’s setting an example. “It’s good to feel like I could have some positive influence on producers of the next generation and make them realize how much they can do with so little equipment, to help them economically when they’re starting out and not feel that it’s too much of a financial burden.”
While he grew up in Boston, MA, he came to L.A. in 2012 to work with hip-hop artist Mike Stud, who introduced him to his manager, Austin Rosen, founder of Electric Feel Entertainment. Bell signed to the management company and works out of Electric Feel Studios in West Hollywood.
Bell acquired a pair of Genelec 8351B nearfield monitors to supplement the room’s soffited 1035A mains earlier this year. “I’ve been using the 1035As in the A room for the last seven years to mix every record I’ve worked on,” he says. “I honestly don’t feel confident sending off a song until I’ve done this. The mids and vocals are crystal-clear; the high-end is tastefully tamed.” The speakers give the kick drum a chest-thumping punch that cuts through the low-end in every mix, he says.
Since hooking up with Post Malone in 2015, Bell has been his right-hand man ever since. “When I met him, he was 19, I was 33. It’s been an amazing journey, and a pleasure to watch him grow and learn and evolve as a musician and an artist. I feel like he’s taught me more about myself as a producer than I’ve learned from anyone else,” he says.
“I thought I knew who I was and what I was trying to do musically, but it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. It gets harder and harder the older you get, so you have to change your approach every time just to remind yourself that there are no rules and there are no bounds.”
Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone’s third album, was Bell’s highlight of last year, he says. “Any time I get to work on an entire project and oversee it and executive produce it, and make sure that there’s a story being told and it’s being unveiled the right way, and then being able to get the right features on there, that’s a satisfying experience.” Featured artists include DaBaby, Future, Halsey, Lil Baby, Meek Mill, Ozzy Osbourne, Swae Lee, SZA, Travis Scott and Young Thug. Ozzy had never done a feature before, says Bell: “His voice sounds amazing still. He lived up to the hype.”
China (November 3, 2020)—Video game publisher Shenzhen Leiting Digital Entertainment Company in China recently commissioned a 5.1.4 game audio studio. “For a games company like ours, an audio studio is a must,” commented composer and game sound designer Knuckles (Jianyu) Zhang, who led the studio project. “Our requirements are quite special, though. What we want is not just a recording studio, nor a standard mixing studio or a reviewing studio. To be precise, what we want is a ‘game sound lab’ to assist us in the conceptual design of games.”
Originally conceived as a surround sound studio, the space was developed with acoustic design and construction handled by Qiao Zhenyu of Huanyu Acoustics, who persuaded Knuckles to go fully immersive. “I knew that many games had already used the 5.1 format to produce sound. But Qiao suggested that since it was already 5.1, why not make it 5.1.4 by adding the four height channels? I realized then that immersive audio technology is no longer a new thing, and we as creators surely have to learn to master this format.”
Now completed, the facility is based around Genelec Smart Active Monitors, with 8330A nearfield two-way monitors and a 7370A subwoofer, plus 1234As. The studio engaged the system integrator DMT to install a pair of 1234As as its main stereo monitoring system, with a 5.1.4 immersive system comprising 11 8330A nearfield two-way monitors in all positions, complemented by the 7370A subwoofer. All the monitors were supplied in a polar white finish. The entire system was configured and calibrated by DMT using GLM loudspeaker manager software.
Knuckles is convinced that immersive audio is the format of the future for games developers. “In recent years, the domestic games industry has attached greater importance to the sound experience. As we look to the international market, we’re finding that more and more games with big-budget production are using immersive audio to create the sound experience—because sometimes we just want to step into another world and forget about real life—or even ourselves—for a while.”
Natick, MA (October 13, 2020) — Genelec has built a new experience center serving as a mix room, a theater and a research and test center at the company’s U.S. Headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts.
Earlier in 2020, Will Eggleston, U.S. marketing director, brought in the late studio architect and designer Francis Manzella to create a new aesthetic and acoustical treatments for the space, which was previously a surround sound demo room. Paul Stewart, Genelec Inc. senior technical sales manager, who devised the room’s wiring scheme, noted, “Once we received the plans from Fran in April, the next challenge was finding a contractor that we could work with during the coronavirus pandemic that was familiar with working on his projects. Fran had suggested that we reach out to Ken Capton at Solar 2 Studios in Michigan. The results speak for themselves. They did a fantastic job.” In addition to integrating new lighting and overhead trussing, fabric treatment and cable management, a significant part of Solar 2’s work was the construction of an encapsulated and heavily damped ceiling.
The new space is configured to handle formats from stereo through surround to immersive 9.1.6 through a range of Genelec’s Smart Active Monitors (SAM). Three 8351Bs are installed for L-C-R, four 8341As support the left and right side and rear channels and six more 8341As are located overhead for the front, mid and rear height channels. A 7370 subwoofer handles low-end extension for the overhead speakers, while a 7380 sub supports the LFE channel and manages extension of the center, side and rear channels. Two W371A Smart Active Woofer Systems are located left and right and are paired with the main left and right 8351B monitors.
The room is wired with multiple AES/EBU and IP runs to every speaker position. “If we were to use our new PoE speakers at every location, we could run a separate, independent 9.1.6 system in the room over IP. We also have an Avid Pro Tools system, so it’s a pretty flexible room,” he says.
“This will be a venue for also creating in-house content, including webinars, and for software and hardware testing,” says Eggleston. “Once COVID-19 is under control, we look forward to welcoming professionals in all aspects of audio to use the space to experience our products, and even mix here in an exceptional immersive environment.”