Tag Archives: Music Production

Zoe Thrall Joins The Hideout Recording Studio

Zoe Thrall
Zoe Thrall Sal Wait

Las Vegas, NV (March 22, 2021)—Recording industry veteran Zoe Thrall has taken on the role of director of studio operations at Las Vegas’ The Hideout Recording Studio. Thrall brings decades of experience in studio management to The Hideout, from being an artist and engineer herself, to running Las Vegas’ Studio at the Palms for the past 15 years.

Beginning her career at the famed Power Station Studios in New York City, Thrall spent years as both an assistant engineer and in studio management. It was at Power Station where Thrall met producer/musician/actor Little Steven Van Zandt who hired her to work for him as an engineer and as a musician in his band Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul. Thrall went on to become president of Power Station Studios, as well as the manager at Hit Factory Studios in New Year City, before arriving to Las Vegas in 2005 to oversee the opening and operations of Studio at the Palms.

“I’m thrilled we get to join forces during a really exciting time for the studio,” said Thrall. “We’ve been friendly competitors for years and I’ve always admired the work that has come from The Hideout; now I get to be a part of the evolution of the studio so it’s really exciting.”

Pro Audio Gets Proactive on Piracy

The Hideout Recording Studio is a full-service recording and production facility near the Las Vegas Strip. The studio features Ocean Way sound systems, Solid State Logic (SSL) consoles, Avid Pro Tools HD and a collection of notable outboard gear and vintage microphones.

Owner Kevin Churko noted, “We’ve been a family-run business for all these years, but as we’ve grown, my daughter Khloe Churko also grew into an entrepreneur; managing me, taking on the role of C.F.O. for my various companies, as well as running a few of her own. We needed someone to take the reins of the studio and run. I’ve known Zoe for more than 15 years, so she feels like a member of the family, so it’s a great match.”

It’s a busy time for Thrall as she’ll also be serving as co-chair of the upcoming2021 151st Convention of the Audio Engineering Society, taking place in Las Vegas this October.

The Hideout • www.hideoutlv.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

With Engineer’s Encouragement, Idea Comes to Market

Greg Wurth with his Flock Audio Patch system
Greg Wurth with his Flock Audio Patch system Lucas Deming

Los Angeles, CA (March 1, 2021)—Four years after encouraging Darren Nakonechny to pursue his idea for a digitally-controlled patchbay, Grammy-nominated engineer, equipment manufacturer and audio educator Greg Wurth is still using Flock Audio’s prototype Patch system.

Wurth had a serendipitous meeting with Nakonechny, then owner of a mid-sized commercial recording studio in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2016, and soon became both a friend and a mentor. “I have experience with traditional patchbays, to the extent that I hate them; there is so much time wasted on them. I told him that Patch was an amazing idea and that he had to do it.”

As the concept for Patch developed, Nakonechny routinely bounced ideas and use cases off of Wurth, who in turn provided user feedback. Once Nakonechny’s idea materialized, he sent the first prototype to Wurth.

“Darren spent a lot of time working on it and testing it before he put it in my hands. It was revolutionary, really, and I think the only things I came back with were a few little suggestions on the software side, from a non-designer’s perspective. Once it was finished, I helped evangelize it,” says Wurth, who has been guitarist Steve Vai’s personal engineer for over a decade.

“I have a crystal-clear image of what my signal chain sounds like, and when I tested Patch, there was absolutely no sonic degradation. For me, the main thing was always my desire to see certain features become implemented into the software.”

Four years later, says Wurth, “The fact that I am still using the prototype says a lot. Patch remains at the centerpiece of my system, and I use it every time I work on a project. With Patch, I can save and recall specific outboard routings, A/B certain channels or remove something right out of the chain if I need to.”

Wurth appreciates the ability to instantly recall signal chains with Patch. “If I have a client come back after a few weeks asking for something that wasn’t done in the original mix, before I would have to document the gear and take photos of the patchbay. With Patch, I don’t even have to think about it — I have that preset saved and it is recallable.”

One of Wurth’s favorite Patch features is its ability to bypass certain outboard equipment in a given signal chain. “This of course empowers engineers so they can understand the context of their gear and what each tool is doing. Some older and vintage equipment lack a true bypass, so you could never really know what it sounded like if it was taken out of the chain. With Patch, you can bypass anything, and that is valuable — this gives you the knowledge of letting you know exactly what something sounds like through any given circuitry.”

Flock Audio • www.flockaudio.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Tracks – March 2021

Welcome to Tracks, our monthly look at the recording process behind 5 new releases by artists across the musical spectrum, running down who’s using what gear where.

Click on the photo gallery below to see what’s new.

Artist: Sage Ray, “She’s Worth It” Patricia Brennan, “Maquishti” Mike Flanigin, “West Texas Blues” Jocelyn Mackenzie, “Push” Lorenzo Wolff and others, “Down Where the Valleys Are Low: Another Otherworld for Judee Sill”

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Emily Lazar Launches Music Industry Equity, Inclusion Initiative

With 10 projects up for honors at this year's Grammy Awards, Emily Lazar, founder of The Lodge mastering and mixing facility, has introduced We Are Moving the Needle, a new initiative to bring equity and inclusion to the music industry.
With 10 projects up for honors at this year’s Grammy Awards, Emily Lazar, founder of The Lodge mastering and mixing facility, has introduced We Are Moving the Needle, a new initiative to bring equity and inclusion to the music industry.

New York, NY (March 10, 2021)—Emily Lazar, the Grammy Award-winning founder of The Lodge mastering and mixing facility in Manhattan, has introduced We Are Moving the Needle, a new initiative to bring equity and inclusion to the music industry.

Lazar launched the nonprofit organization on Mar. 8, the same day that the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released its latest annual “Inclusion in the Recording Studio?” study, breaking down the gender and race/ethnicity of artists, songwriters and music producers. The report found that women are “missing,” “muted” and “written off” in the music industry, an ongoing trend that has not improved during the nine years covered by the study.

“Today, the new USC Annenberg Inclusion in the Recording Studio report has revealed that in 2020, the percentage of women in music production/engineering has DECLINED (!!!) from 2.6% to 2%. This is unacceptable!” Lazar wrote on Twitter. “I’ve seen firsthand how few women are in studios, but to see that number decrease breaks my heart. I am committed to continuing to do my part to change that.”

According to We Are Moving the Needle, the organization is “working to create measurable change by empowering women in the recording and professional audio industry with the education, equipment and the mentorship needed to succeed at the highest levels.” The organization has been launched in partnership with Blackbird Academy, Dolby, The Lodge and Sonos. Founding sponsors include pro-audio product developers such as API, Aston Microphones, Eventide, iZotope, Splice and Universal Audio, as well as the Recording Academy, SoundGirls and others.

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The organization’s stated mission is to provide educational programming and to award scholarships and grants to music technology and recording programs at academies, colleges and universities. As a part of the initiative, the venture promises to guarantee the development of future generations by awarding female and female-identifying applicants with a full scholarship to a top audio school.

Applicants (there is an online form) may be awarded equipment including software, hardware and other recording technologies. According to a report in Variety, the organization has plans for dedicated internships and entry-level positions designated and reserved for women who are part of the program.

Lazar has assembled an advisory “soundboard” of prominent women artists, producers, engineers and audio professionals, including Brandi Carlile, Christine Thomas, Erica McDaniel, HAIM, Karrie Keyes, Linda Perry, Liz Phair, Maggie Rogers, Maria Egan, Oana Ruxandra, Sara Quinn (Tegan and Sara), Shirley Halperin and Tracy Gershon.

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The extensive list of mentors also includes AG, Carolyn Malachi, Catherine Marks, Claudia Brant, Denise Barbarita, EveAnna Manley, Gena Johnson, Jenna Andrews, Jennifer Decilveo, Jordan Hamlin, Kaitlyn, Aurelia Smith, Leslie Ann Jones, Lisa Kaplan, Louise Burns, Lucy Kalantari, Marcella Araica, Piper Payne, Sad13, Shani Gandhi, Simone Torres and Wendy Wang.

Lazar has 10 projects in the running for Grammy Awards this year, including Coldplay, Jacob Collier and HAIM, all nominated in the album of the year category. The eight-time-nominated mastering engineer holds the distinction of being the first woman to win a Grammy in the best engineered album, non-classical category.

We Are Moving the Needle • www.wearemovingtheneedle.org

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

German Rap Producer Juh-Dee Outfits New Studio

German Rap Producer Juh-Dee
German Rap Producer Juh-Dee

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.”

Tools for the Personal Studio 2021

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.”

Genelec • www.genelec.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

The Wonderly of It All

The Wonderly: (l-r) Ben Landsverk, Jim Brunberg
The Wonderly: (l-r) Ben Landsverk, Jim Brunberg

Portland, OR (March 1, 2021)—Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk, otherwise known as Wonderly, have made a name for themselves over recent years with their quirky podcast themes and indie film soundtracks. Now they’ve trained their spotlight on the “Pacific Northweird,” releasing the first of two collections recounting the true-life tales of 1970s skyjacker DB Cooper, the Japanese balloon bombs of 1944 and the 19th century Holy Rollers sect.

“We call it a film and song cycle; each is a musical film as opposed to a music video,” says Brunberg. “We were always the support guys, so it’s the first real effort to put our musical vision into the world.”

Indeed, the pair of songwriters and multi-instrumentalists met years ago through their many gigs as collaborators and sidemen for the likes of Smokey Robinson, Kristin Hersh, Van Dyke Parks and John Wesley Harding. “One time, we had six rehearsals in one week with six different bands that we were both in,” says Brunberg, who also fronted Bay Area Americana band Box Set.

Wonderly were working as an acoustic duo—”a little more eclectic and weird than the Everly Brothers,” says Brunberg—when Boston NPR station WBUR asked them to produce the theme for the Dear Sugar Radio podcast. When the New York Times launched its podcast, The Daily, he says, “They came to us. The soundtrack work cascaded from there.”

Wonderly’s credits include feature films At the Video Store, Last Ferry and Luz, and TV series Tending Nature and Bojack Horseman. The duo’s work has also featured on commercials by Kia, Honda and Budweiser.

The pair lead busy lives outside of Wonderly. Landsverk is a session musician and musical director in Portland’s indie music scene. He is also the founder and leader of the drop-in pop choir Low Bar Chorale. Brunberg produces and co-hosts a podcast with his daughters, tends to his farm and co-owns three Portland area live venues: Revolution Hall, Mississippi Studios and Polaris Hall.

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Although he and Landsverk have different backgrounds, says Brunberg, “We were both fascinated about trying to explore our own curiosities and support each other’s curiosities. The most exciting thing about making music, to me, is to maintain a curiosity and try new things.”

Readers of a certain age will remember DB Cooper, a mysterious figure who, 50 years ago, parachuted from a Boeing 727 with a $200,000 ransom and was never seen again. On Story We Tell Volume 1, Wonderly relate events, more or less as they happened, on “November 1971.”

As luck would have it, they have a friend who lives in a converted 727, where they filmed the visuals. “It’s exactly the same model as the plane DB Cooper jumped out of,” says Brunberg. “We made a lot of props to give it that Northwest Airlines feel and true to the period.”

Mississippi Studios began in a former street church as a recording facility—hence the name—before morphing into a live venue. “I always enjoyed being in the studio, so I opened a recording studio. As time went on, I got tired of working with bands who wanted to spend three hours to get the right snare tone. It lost its charm for me. And I wanted to go back to making music for myself,” he says

Brunberg initially moved his gear into another space. “But then I discovered I like to do it from home, lazy as I am.”

Brunberg says, “My whole house is a production facility. I’ve converted the garage into the drum, Hammond B3 and piano tracking room. I have a Pro Tools HD rig in there and can go to town on different microphone positions and different preamps.” He overdubs in the living room. “That has the trumpets, saxophones, acoustic guitars and a little vocal station with a different Pro Tools rig. I have two young daughters that I’ve trained to not trip over cables. I live a very cluttered life, but my family has been very patient with me.”

Wonderly Music • www.wonderlymusic.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

J.studio Upgrades For a Hybrid Workflow

Audio engineer Zhu Chiao Chen has upgraded his J.studio in the center of Taipei, Taiwan with a Neve 8424 console.
Audio engineer Zhu Chiao Chen has upgraded his J.studio in the center of Taipei, Taiwan with a Neve 8424 console.

Taipei, Taiwan (February 22, 2021)—Audio engineer Zhu Chiao Chen has upgraded his J.studio in the center of Taipei, Taiwan with a Neve 8424 console.

“We especially love working with Taiwanese indie bands as many of the bands we have worked with have had their full creative potential realized in our studio space,” says Zhu Chiao Chen. He opened J.studio in 2019 and is now offering recording, mixing and mastering facilities to all types of musical genres including classical, jazz, EDM and pop.

Rupert Neve, Pro Audio Legend, Dead at 94

“Our approach is to bridge old-school gear and apply modern techniques to achieve sonically unique results. The studio is equipped with Urei 813C main monitors and we love collecting all types of vintage audio gear. The 8424 console is what connects everything together.”

The new 8424 replaces an older console that had reached the end of its working life. “We were starting to encounter a lot of problems because buttons and knobs were slowly wearing out and this was hindering our workflow,” he explains. “As an alternative, the 8424 was an affordable option in this market segment and it allows us to seamlessly use the gear we want to use alongside it. Plus, we are big fans of the iconic Neve sound.”

Zhu Chiao Chen says that he prefers to use a hybrid workflow: “I initially assign all my channels, groups, sums, etc. to the console. We have six Switchcraft 9625 patchbays that are connected to a lot of 500 series gear. This allows us to maximize the space we have in our studio and create a more ergonomic environment to work in. At this point, I’ll be ready to start mixing, and use a combination of outboard gear and software plug-ins to achieve my mix.”

AMS Neve: www.ams-neve.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

PSN Tracks – February 2021

Welcome to Tracks, our monthly look at the recording process behind five new releases by artists across the musical spectrum, running down who’s using what gear where.

Click on the photo gallery below to see what’s new.

Divide and Dissolve - Tracks Paul McCartney - Tracks David Olney and Anana Kaye - Tracks The Vamplifiers - Tracks XIXA - Tracks

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Graphic Nature Audio Relocates

Will Putney’s Graphic Nature Audio recording studio is relocating to a rural property in Kinnelon, NJ.
Will Putney’s Graphic Nature Audio recording studio is relocating to a rural property in Kinnelon, NJ.

Kinnelon, NJ (February 19, 2021)—Will Putney’s Graphic Nature Audio recording studio is relocating from its current home in Belleville, NJ to a larger, rural property about 20 miles west in Kinnelon. Putney, a metal/hardcore producer/engineer, mixer and musician has worked with bands such as Every Time I Die, Body Count, Knocked Loose, The Amity Affliction, Stray From The Path, Counterparts, Terror and Northlane

Putney has long mixed using a hybrid setup: “I would mix out into pieces of gear that I’ve collected over the years and sum everything together back into the computer. The setup ended up getting more and more complicated. Over time I was basically building a console piecemeal, with different summing mixers, and creating ways to do parallel sends and analog-style routing to get to my compressors and EQs.

Getting Heavy with Will Putney

As a result, the new facility is centered around a newly installed 32-channel SSL Origin analog in-line mixing console, acquired from Vintage King.“ I decided that if I could find something streamlined enough that would give me the routing functions that I want and without too many components, and that had a small enough footprint, I would probably be better suited to working on something like that,” he said.

Putney's new facility is centered around an SSL Origin  console.
Putney’s new facility is centered around an SSL Origin console.

The transition from his former multi-component workflow to the new setup incorporating the Origin has been seamless, he stated: “It all just feels super musical, and it’s fast and easy for me to get mixes going on. What I do in the computer doesn’t really change at all, so it’s business as usual; I still work how I always did.”

The complement of gear installed with the Origin mimics Putney’s previous setup and includes a pair of Amphion Two18 nearfield monitors, which he switched to several years ago, along with Universal Audio Apollo interfaces for tracking and overdubbing into his Logic Pro DAW. “We still use Pro Tools for editing,” he says, “or if I travel to another studio.”

The Origin desk has been installed in a room at the new location in Kinnelon, where the next stage of construction will begin in the coming months. “I’ve got two control rooms set up here. The goal for the future — we’ll start construction in the spring — is to do an updated version of my old drum tracking room but with a more traditional control room. That will be my A room where I can do everything — recording drums and mixing. I will be able to do an entire record there, start to finish, as opposed to working in the modular rooms in the other facility,” says Putney.

Graphic Nature Audio • www.graphicnatureaudio.com

Solid State Logic • www.solidstatelogic.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com