Tag Archives: Recording

Harry Connick Jr. Does it All on New Album

Harry Connick, Jr. recorded his latest album at home, performing and self-recording each instrument.
Harry Connick, Jr. recorded his latest album at home, performing and self-recording each instrument. Erik Kabik Photography/ erikkabik.com

New York, NY (February 17, 2021)—Grammy and Emmy Award-winning musician Harry Connick Jr. is releasing a new album, Alone with My Faith, that he engineered and recorded at his home studio during the coronavirus pandemic, writing and arranging all of the songs, playing every instrument and singing every part.

In a released statement, Connick writes, “In March 2020, right after news of the pandemic hit, when my tour was cancelled and I headed home for however long it would last, I decided to record some music. Not only because I wanted to, but because I needed to. With no tour dates in sight, and with everyone’s realities upended and futures uncertain, recording was what was necessary for me to help guide me through the uncharted odyssey in which we all unexpectedly found ourselves.

“I found myself alone (with my faith!) in my home studio, surrounded by instruments and gear, bursting with an abundance of ideas. I was able to go deep within myself as a musician and a man, uninterrupted by the normalcies of collaboration or human interaction. It was a sort of ‘musical isolation chamber,’ a silent retreat, the silence only broken by the sound of my own voice, the instruments I played and the occasional microphone I inadvertently knocked over, as I’m not the most graceful recording engineer that ever lived!”

As for the production process, he writes, “I set up the mics and did all of the tracking. I used Logic to track and edit. When I was playing an immovable instrument, like drums or organ, I used Logic Remote, with my iPad as the controller. I sang all of the lead and background vocals, as well as played each of the instruments. In addition to all of the acoustic instruments, I used many electric instruments — basses, guitars, synthesizers, etc. However, there are no soft synths on this recording — all synthesizers, keyboards and organs are real. No instruments were ‘in-the-box.’

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“After all of the edits were made and all of the tracks consolidated, I sent the files to my good friend, Tracey Freeman, to mix. A couple of weeks later, I rented an RV and drove to New Orleans to finish the mixing process with him at his home studio.”

Connick notes, “Seven months later, after countless tracks and edits, I can say that it was not only the secluded nature of the recording process, but the content of the songs themselves that helped me through this strange period. In fact, this was the first time that I found this level of comfort, peace and truth throughout the process of making music. Because the lyrics are all about the spectrum of faith, I found myself interpreting them in real time – they were allowing me to heal as much as I wanted them to help heal others. I didn’t have to pretend or put myself in another place or time, as one often does as a singer or actor.”

Regarding the album’s content, he also writes, “Besides the familiar, traditional songs, I wrote and recorded new music that tells the story of my experience during the lockdown. I, like most of us, felt joy, sadness, doubt, conviction, melancholy and inspiration – all the emotions that faith, or lack thereof, can elicit. Even though many of the songs are Christian, my hope is that they will resonate with people of all faiths, as it gives me great comfort to know that faith is an immeasurably beautiful gift that, with its universal spirit, can help bring us together in the most arduous of times.”

Harry Connick, Jr. • www.harryconnickjr.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

BABY Audio Parallel Aggressor Plug-In—A Real-World Review

BABY Audio Parallel Aggressor Plug-In
BABY Audio Parallel Aggressor Plug-In

At first, I wanted to be sure I had the basics covered with premium plug-ins for all my requisite EQ, dynamics and time-based effect work. Now that those bases are covered, all I seem to desire anymore are quirky, non-traditional and lightning-fast workflow enhancers—plug-ins like the new Parallel Aggressor from BABY Audio.

Out of the Box

Parallel Aggressor (PA) is basically a saturation/distortion plug-in that accomplishes parallel processing with two different processors, Spank and Heat.

If Spank’s processing sounds familiar, there’s a good reason, as it’s actually the sound of the classic dbx 163 single-slider, super-budget compressor as digitally virtualized by BABY Audio’s I Heart NY parallel-compression plug-in. The 163 was my very first compressor, so many moons ago…. (sigh.)

If Heat’s processing sounds familiar, you’re likely a long-in-the-tooth veteran of the not-so-good-old analog days when we would print stereo audio to cassette or VHS tape for their “high fidelity,” only to find that it distorted in a surprisingly juicy manner when overdriven; this sound is digitally virtualized by the sound of BABY Audio’s Super VHS plug-in.

PA has a fader and solo button for dry signal, Spank and Heat as well as Auto Gain, and an output level control to achieve balance and enable wise comparisons. Both Spank and Heat each have an intensity control that decides their tone even more than the four Style button controls per processor.

The Spank side has an Extra Punch button (adds some attack), Extra Smack (brings up some high-mids), Sidechain Filter (filters out some bottom from the detector) and Mono. The Heat side offers Extra Hot (adds a little more distortion), Tone (adds some mids), HP Filter (filters some bottom off the actual signal, not the side chain) and LP Filter (which can take some nasty high-end off of buzzy distortion).

Spank’s 163-inspired response ranges from a nice, warm congealing and smoothing, to a bold grabby and chesty thing (characterized by that trademark 163 attack), all the way to a pumpy, growly super-squash that is best suited to parallel uses for sure. Heat ranges from a slight increase in detail edge and definition to a sizzly solid-state-ish buzz, all the way to an over-the-top, full-on distortion that is quite recognizable as the tape-slammed-all-to-hell variety.

The metering for process intensity presented as an orange ring around each control; the amounts of each process are the big hemispheres far left and right.

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In Session

There are a lot of different ways to use saturators in general and PA, with its dual-processors and abundant control, offers tons of flexibility beyond the norm, so pardon me if I only summarize operations. Suffice to say, you can go easy on both Spank and Heat intensity, and blend them in subtly for an increase in size, detail and apparent “quality” that is perfect for mixes without being at all self-evident. I used light Spank, with Extra Punch (optional) and Sidechain Filter mixed about -12 dB under my dry signal, and with very-light Heat (no filters) mixed at least -12 dB down if not more.

Sub-groups like drums and basses benefit from moderately aggressive use of both Spank and Heat, whereas guitars, keys and vocals require a little more restraint. I found myself typically using Extra Punch and Extra Smack for the aggression and bite, with Sidechain Filter and Mono both in to increase bottom-end response and avoid losing any thump. Extra Hot, Tone and HP Filter all helped increase detail and aggression on the Heat side, with the LP Filter proving essential at taking enough spiky aggression off to allow bolder usage. Guitars and vocals required the most sensitive touch, drums allow the most flexibility and the only question is which subgroups don’t get PA’d (don’t saturate everything in a mix, tempting though it may be).

Individual tracks allow the most fun with PA, especially the Heat side, which can be “too much” pretty easily. Vocals can take the Heat, as can guitar solos, gnarly bass monsters (of the stringed or synth variety), oversized synths and industrial-ized snares. It’s all great, addictive fun; just make sure to experiment with those Style buttons when listening to your tracks in the whole mix, not in solo. I liked just about all the options PA gave me when soloed, but the question is what works in the big picture.

The Final Mix

Parallel Aggressor offers plenty of versatility to avoid any “one trick pony” issues and still manages to be a “quick fix” with a limited number of powerful controls. There are a lot of effective plug-ins available today for saturation and distortion tasks, but few offer the convenient use of each, with a full complement of variables, in such a convenient package and full parallel mixing abilities on-board. At this price of $49, I can think of no other, actually.

BABY Audio • https://babyaud.io

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Rupert Neve, Pro Audio Legend, Dead at 94

Rupert Neve
Rupert Neve

Wimberley, TX (February 13, 2021)—Legendary pro-audio equipment designer Rupert Neve died February 12, 2021 due to non COVID-related pneumonia and heart failure. Neve’s passing brought to an end a career of more than 70 years that saw him create some of pro audio’s most revered, imitated and sought-after equipment, created for all corners of the industry, from recording to radio to live sound and more. As much an entrepreneur as he was an inventor, Neve’s legacy includes a slew of companies bearing his name, and it is no exaggeration to say equipment based on his designs will be used in studios around the world for decades to come. He was 94.

Born July 31, 1926 in Newton Abbot, England, Rupert Neve grew up in in Buenos Aires, Argentina; showing an interest in audio early on, he began designing audio amplifiers and radio receivers at 13, soon repairing and selling radios as a business before volunteering at age 17 to join the Royal Signals during World War II, providing communications support to the British Army. Following the war, he settled back in England, where he built a mobile recording studio used to cut operas, speeches, choirs and more on to lacquer discs. Concurrently, he also provided sound reinforcement systems for events involving Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill.

Neve worked for a variety of companies in the 1950s before eventually striking out on his own to found CQ Audio, which produced Hi-Fi speaker systems. This attracted the attention of composer Desmond Leslie, who commissioned Neve to build a mixing console for him in the early 1960s; the console is still in residence in Castle Leslie, Ireland.

The Leslie console led to Neve founding the first of multiple audio companies that would bear his name, Neve Electronics, in 1961, initially operating out of his home before moving into proper facilities later in the Sixties. As the use of transistors gained popularity, Neve developed a transistor-based console for London’s Phillips Recording Studio in 1964, and continued to create new desks, most notably the Neve 80 and 50 series, which are revered for their microphone preamp, equalizer and processing modules, such as the widely cloned and emulated 1073 and 1081. Neve also developed the first moving fader system, NECAM (NEve Computer Assisted Mixdown); after seeing a pre-release demo on a Neve 16/4 console, Beatles producer George Martin’s first words were “How soon can I have one?” and Martin’s AIR Studios in London soon became the first NECAM-enabled facility.

Neve sold the company in the mid-1970s and left to form ARN Consultants, the result of a 10-year non-compete clause in the sales contract. ARN in turn teamed up with Amek Systems, a collaboration that led to Neve developing the Amek 9098 console, as well as outboard gear and his Transformer-Like Amplifier (TLA) design, which featured in numerous Amek desks.

Rupert Neve signing an RND 5088 mixing console, installed in Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Wimberley, TX, in 2013.
Rupert Neve signing an RND 5088 mixing console, installed in Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Wimberley, TX, in 2013.

In 1985, ARN founded Focusrite Ltd., primarily producing outboard gear such as dynamic processors and EQs, as well as another large-format console, of which only eight were made before the company was liquidated in 1989; the company’s assets were purchased by a new company, Focusrite Audio Engineering (today Focusrite PLC), with which Neve was not involved. Concurrently, but likewise unrelated directly to Neve himself, the original Neve Electronics was sold to Siemens in 1985, which in turn merged with UK company Advanced Music Systems, resulting in pro-audio manufacturer AMS-Neve, which continues to this day.

Neve and his wife, Evelyn, moved to Wimberley, Texas in late 1994, and in 1997, he became only the third person to receive a Technical Grammy Award. The Neves became U.S. citizens in 2002 and founded Rupert Neve Designs in 2005, which today produces a variety of products, including its 5088 analog mixing console and a range of rackmount and desktop equipment for processing, summing and more. Even so, Neve continued to also create products for other companies, including preamps and pickups for Taylor Guitars, microphones for sE Electronics, plug-ins for Yamaha’s live sound consoles, and more.

Over the course of his career, Rupert Neve was awarded 16 TEC Awards for his Rupert Neve Designs products, and in 2006, received an Audio Engineering Society Fellowship Award. He is survived by his wife of nearly 70 years, Evelyn; five children, Mary, David, John, Stephen, and Ann; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Avid Pro Tools 2020.11’s New Features – A Real-World Review

Avid Pro Tools 2020.11’s new Routing Folder feature.
Avid Pro Tools 2020.11’s new Routing Folder feature.

Having worked with Avid’s new Pro Tools 2020.11 and likewise new Carbon interface for some time now, I wanted to highlight a few fresh features that I’ve found useful in the daily workflow.

Routing Folder: This organizational tool lets you select tracks and route them into a neatly packaged folder which behaves like a traditional Aux channel on steroids. There are two approaches to this—you can create the Routing Folder then put tracks into it, or select tracks and create a Routing Folder directly from them. For me, the value of the Routing Folder is that you can process it like an Aux, but then collapse it with the click of a button. You still have access to Solo, Mute, Insert, Send and so on.

For organization, you can collapse the entire folder structure by clicking on the small folder Icon at the bottom of each Routing Folder; simply click it again to unfold it back. Also, when in the Edit window, you can place the insertion point anywhere in a Folder track and select Shift-F to toggle between closed or open.

If you already have an Aux track setup for such purposes, you can also just click on the Aux and select ‘Convert Aux to Routing Folder.’ You could also just create a ‘Basic Folder,’ which has the same functionality minus the ability to process or route. Folders can also be created within folders for additional sub processing.

By using these folder tools, it makes the session much more streamlined both visually and functionally.

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Convert Audio to MIDI: There’s only one word for this feature: Wow! With Pro Tools 2020.11, you can take audio tracks from your timeline and convert them into MIDI files. By selecting your audio clip and dragging it onto an Instrument Track, a Menu box appears with the ability to choose Automatic, Universal, Percussive, Percussive Pitched, Melodic, Polyphony Sustain or Polyphony Decay Conversion Types, and it offers you the option to Consolidate the Clip. You can also choose selections from the Clip List, by selecting the Copy Audio as MIDI dropdown menu option. From there, just drop the Audio Clip with its associated MIDI track to the Timeline. It’s that easy.

All of this is enabled through the authorization of Melodyne in your Pro Tools account. Pro Tools subscriptions and Software Update + Support Plans come with Melodyne 5 essential, which, aside from helping with the Convert Audio to MIDI, allows you to fix those questionable notes.

The first thing I did was take a recorded bass track and turn it into MIDI. From there, I tweaked a few note lengths (only had to do a few!) and assigned it to an Omnisphere stereo sub bass patch. The combination together was ridiculous. I then took a kick drum and turned it into MIDI, assigning that to an 808 kick in another piece of software. Imagine where we can go from here.

Dark Theme: For those who like the drama of the dark side, you can alter how the Mix and Edit windows look. By going to Preferences > Display > UI Theme, the dropdown menu lets you select between Classic or Dark. If you select Dark, Pro Tools will ask you to restart for the UI theme change to take effect. After restarting, you’ll notice a whole new world of color attitude. I like it just for a change of mindset, and I hope to see more adjustments available for it in future updates to allow for various gradients and more. It is cool, though, for the late evening sessions or when you want to lower the lights and have some attitude.

Avid • www.avid.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Anamorphic Adds Hybrid Workflow

Producer Thomas Statnick has installed a Neve 8424 console in his studio to support his hybrid workflow.
Producer Thomas Statnick has installed a Neve 8424 console in his studio to support his hybrid workflow.

North Carolina (February 10, 2021)—Producer Thomas Statnick, one half of electronic/experimental ambient project Anamorphic, has installed a Neve 8424 console in his North Carolina studio to support his hybrid workflow.

“I chose a Neve 8424 because I like using a large, fully featured console for tracking and mixing,” says Statnick. His studio is mainly used to record, mix and master projects for Anamorphic, which he established in 1996 with Elod Horvath.

Originally established in Lafayette, IN, the studio moved to New York City before finally relocating to the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2015. The studio’s new Neve 8424 was installed at the end of 2020 as a replacement for an in-line analog console that was showing its age.

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“Given the substantial investment I have made over the years in outboard gear, going totally ‘in-the-box’ is not a practical option. What I wanted was a desk that could cope with a hybrid digital environment by delivering a low noise floor, high output levels and a high channel count for mix-down. Recall capability and the build and sound quality of the console were also important. The Neve 8424 meets all these criteria and also allows me to easily integrate my collection of classic analogue outboard gear into my workflow.”

Statnick says, “I perform all of the engineering, mixing, and mastering duties and assist in creating soundscapes and arrangements. As an electronic music studio, we don’t feature a huge microphone or mic preamp collection, so our outboard gear is mostly comprised of compressors, equalizers and effects units. We also have a 32×32 Apogee Symphony DAW interface and standalone A/D and D/A converters from Dangerous Music for mastering and monitoring.”

He adds, “This is my first Neve purchase and although I have heard a lot of really great music produced on Neve consoles, this is the first time I’ve been directly exposed to the Neve sound. I have been an audiophile since my early 20s and use a high-end audiophile system to proof masters and preview mixes. One of my biggest engineering interests in the studio is trying different things during mixing and mastering, and listening to the result on an audiophile system. Sound quality and soundstage/imaging is extremely important to me, and Neve’s reputation for sound quality was definitely a factor in my decision to get an 8424.”

AMS Neve • www.ams-neve.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

PMC Celebrates 30th Anniversary

PMC founder Peter Thomas at Tape London.
PMC founder Peter Thomas at Tape London.

Biggleswade, UK (February 10, 2021)—UK-based PMC is celebrating 30 years in business, during which time, the company’s workforce has gone from just two—founders Peter Thomas and Adrian Loader—to 60, with offices in England and across the U.S.

Thomas, PMC founder and owner, says, “When I started the company with my friend and colleague, Adrian Loader, I had no idea that our audio knowledge and passion for music would one day end up with our small company designing and building universally respected loudspeakers for audiophiles and for some of the biggest artists, producers and audio facilities in the world.”

Thomas, then a BBC engineer, and Loader, an engineer with FWO Bauch, established PMC in 1991 in response to requirements from the BBC for a monitor speaker that could handle the high sound levels required for pop and rock monitoring, but with ultra-high resolution. The pair created their first loudspeaker, the “Big Box,” in Thomas’ garage, and its accompanying electronics in Loader’s garage. Once refined and renamed the BB5, it was installed into BBC Maida Vale Studios.

Shortly after the introduction of the BB5 and formation of PMC, the pair launched their first domestic loudspeaker, the LB1, addressing the home audio and custom installation sectors, with products that bring studio quality audio reproduction into the home. Thomas explains, “In terms of music reproduction, there shouldn’t be a distinction between a loudspeaker designed for studio use and one for domestic use; the speaker is either reproducing the music correctly or it isn’t.

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“The guiding principle for our R&D team is that the same ultra-high-resolution loudspeaker can be used throughout the entire recording and playback process, from studio to home. The work we do developing new studio speakers directly benefits our hi-fi product development, and conversely, some of the discoveries we make when creating a new range of hi-fi loudspeakers find their way into our pro models. This means that domestic users can experience their music sounding the same as it did in the studio and exactly as the artist intended.”

PMC’s core technologies, shared between pro and domestic, include the Advanced Transmission Line, or ATL, bass loading, the aerodynamically designed Laminair vent, dome midrange drivers and tweeter dispersion grilles. These technologies can be found in the QB1 monitors in studios like Capitol in Hollywood and 301 in Sydney, and the recently launched fact fenestria and twenty5i series hi-fi speakers, and the high-performance Ci Series for studios and home theatres.

In recent years, PMC loudspeakers have been installed in Dolby Atmos music mixing rooms around the world. In addition, PMC has engineered Atmos mixes for artists such as Miles Davis and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and built its own Atmos-enabled mix facilities in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles. Its speakers were also chosen by the Rolling Stones for the Atmos presentation at the band’s Unzipped exhibition.

PMC’s head office is in Biggleswade, UK. The company also has satellite offices in Los Angeles, Nashville and New York and two manufacturing plants in the UK.

PMC • www.pmc-speakers.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Elliot Mazer, Legendary Producer/Engineer, Dead at 79

Producer Elliot Mazer in October, 1973.
Producer Elliot Mazer in October, 1973. Getty Images

New York, NY (February 10, 2021)—Legendary producer/engineer Elliot Mazer died of a heart attack in his San Francisco home on Sunday, February 7, 2021, after suffering from dementia in recent years, according to Rolling Stone. Mazer was a lifelong audio pro and inventor/entrepreneur whose interests—and their influential results—ranged well beyond the recording studio, though he remained best-known for his career-defining work with Neil Young, The Band and others. He was 79.

A producer/engineer for more than 50 years, Mazer worked with a broad cross-section of artists across a variety of genres, including Linda Ronstadt, Chubby Checker, The Dream Syndicate, Dead Kennedys, William Ackerman, Michael Hedges, Janis Joplin, Gordon Lightfoot, The Byrds, The Tubes, Y&T, David Soul, Bob Dylan, Juice Newton, Rufus Thomas, Maynard Ferguson and many more.

Born in New York City on September 5, 1941, Mazer was raised in nearby Teaneck, NJ, and got his first taste of the music business working in retail for the then-burgeoning Sam Goody record store chain. In 1962, he became acquainted with Bob Weinstock, a customer who also happened to be the founder of Prestige Records, and soon Weinstock offered the 21-year-old Mazer a runner position, tracking tapes and delivering music to radio stations. In the course of his work in Prestige’s tape library, Mazer discovered forgotten, unreleased John Coltrane tracks from a 1958 session at the famed Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, NJ. In the intervening years, Coltrane had left the Prestige label and gone on to growing acclaim, so Mazer compiled the four tracks, which were released without the artist’s input, as the album Standard Coltrane. Soon after, the first producer credit of Elliot Mazer appeared on Dave Pike’s Bossa Nova Carnival.

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Throughout the early Sixties, Mazer worked with a variety of artists at Cameo-Parkway, from co-writing hits for Chubby Checker (“Hooka Tooka”) to recording the likes of Rufus Thomas and Maynard Ferguson, before moving on to work independently later in the decade. During that time, he hit the studio with the likes of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Gordon Lightfoot, Jerry Jeff Walker, Ian & Sylvia and others. His knack for recording live shows emerged during that era as well; throughout his career, Mazer would go on to capture seminal concerts by Bob Dylan, Michael Bloomfield, Lightfoot, Janis Joplin and Big Brother, It’s A Beautiful Day, Leonard Bernstein, Young and most notably, The Band’s iconic The Last Waltz.

Mazer moved to Nashville around the turn of the Seventies, where he quickly made a name for himself applying engineering techniques he had picked up recording different genres in New York City, thus offering something different from the region’s pros who had come up solely through country music. He established Quadrafonic Studios (a joke name, as it didn’t have quad capabilities), which in turn was put on the map when it became the musical birthplace of Neil Young’s landmark Harvest album.

Neil Young's Harvest
Neil Young’s Harvest, engineered and co-produced by Elliot Mazer.

The two met at a dinner party while Young was in town to appear on The Johnny Cash Show, and by the end of the evening, they’d arranged to track some songs the next day. Mazer called up some top session players—many of whom would go on to play with Young regularly through his career—and they went on to record the majority of the album at Quadrafonic. The resulting record, packed with classic rock radio staples like “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man” and “The Needle and the Damage Done,” became the biggest hit of Young’s career, going quadruple-platinum in the U.S. and becoming the top-selling album of 1972. Mazer and Young would collaborate on 10 more albums over the next 40 years.

Mazer produced and engineered throughout his career, going on to found another recording facility, His Master’s Wheels, in San Francisco, but his audio pursuits took him outside the confines of the studio as well. In the mid-Seventies, he co-developed the D-Zap, a simple device used by live sound pros to detect gear that wasn’t properly grounded, thus preventing artists and crew members from receiving dangerous, potentially fatal electric shocks.

In the late Seventies and early Eighties, Mazer was a consultant to Stanford University’s Computer Center for Research in Music and Acoustics—the team that built the first all-digital recording studio. While there, he also developed an interest in early AI technology, leading to his co-founding Artificial Intelligence Resources Inc. in the late ’80s to create AirCheck, an automated system for tracking songs’ radio airplay. Selling the company to Radio Computing Services in the Nineties, he continued AirCheck’s development through 2005. In 2011, Mazer joined the faculty of Elon University as a Visiting Distinguished Scholar in Music Technology, where he offered a series of master classes to students.

Mazer’s family has requested that all donations in his memory be given to the Recording Academy’s charity, MusiCares.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

U.K. Producer Eddie Serafica Installs PMC Monitors

Eddie Serafica
Eddie Serafica

London, UK (February 8, 2021) — Eddie Serafica, a U.K.-based Grammy Award-winning producer and writer associated with Buddy Guy, James Bay and Michael Kiwanuka, recently installed a pair of PMC twotwo.6 monitors in his project studio in London.

“When I decided to replace my old monitors, I did a lot of research and heard great things about twotwo6s,” says Serafica. “I demoed them for a couple of weeks and absolutely loved them. They have great clarity and really amazing, tight and accurate low end.”

As a recording and mix engineer, Serafica has worked on numerous high-profile projects, including James Bay’s Electric Light, Michael Kiwanuka’s Love & Hate, and Buddy Guy’s The Blues is Alive and Well, which won Best Traditional Blues Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards. Serafica works mainly in the box, and his production room in Hornsey is equipped with keyboards, synths, guitars and a 500 series rack incorporating Chandler TG2s and Camden Audio Pres, a Urei 1176 Blue Stripe clone and two UAD Apollos.

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“Since installing the monitors, I’ve been getting very good results, with sounds translating really well,” he says. “The monitors have significantly sped up my workflow and made my life a lot simpler.”

KMR Audio supplied Serafica’s monitors, which are currently being used across a range of projects for artists such as Loski, Popcaan, Fredo, Hamzaa, Tom Grennan, Joy Crookes and Mimi Webb.

PMC • www.pmc-speakers.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Recording Live to Vinyl to Zoom at Welcome to 1979

As part of Welcome to 1979’s annual recording summit, Margaret Luthar (shown) mastered the project live to vinyl.
As part of Welcome to 1979’s annual recording summit, Margaret Luthar (shown) mastered the project live to vinyl. Charlie Kasar

Nashville, TN (February 5, 2021)—Necessity was the mother of reinvention when Nashville recording and mastering facility Welcome to 1979’s yearly recording summit rolled around in November. Faced with canceling the twelfth annual event in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers elected to move everything online.

The three-day event typically maxes out at 60 in-person attendees, according to co-owner Chris Mara, who opened the facility with his wife, Yoli, in 2008. “What’s said here stays here; we don’t record any of it,” he says, other than the first night’s direct-to-vinyl live recording session. In past years, guest artists have included Old Crow Medicine Show and Jason Isbell.

Mara, his wife and a third partner, Lori Hines, who runs the company’s electroplating business, started researching online alternatives in June and discovered the Whova virtual event management platform. In combination with Zoom videoconferencing, the platform allowed them to retain the all-important recording session, enabled panelists who might otherwise not have been available to travel to simply log in and participate, and put a new spin on the presentations.

Jeremy Bernstein mixed Blackberry Smoke direct to vinyl—and on to Zoom—at Welcome To 1979 studios in Nashville.
Jeremy Bernstein mixed Blackberry Smoke direct to vinyl—and on to Zoom—at Welcome To 1979 studios in Nashville. Charlie Kasar

For example, says Mara, they had originally planned to showcase different miking techniques with multiple drummers and their kits in Welcome to 1979’s studio. The virtual event “allowed Butch Walker, Chris Garges and Ryan Freeland to Zoom in and show us their drum setups from different parts of the country; it was fantastic,” he says.

“We had a lot of technical rehearsals ahead of time,” Mara also reports. “There isn’t a lot of accurate information out there about how to do this, and we had to make everything bulletproof.”

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The traditional Friday night session transitioned to a live-to-vinyl-to-Zoom event featuring Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke, augmented to an 11-piece, recording four Rolling Stones covers per side. “It went from our console to our lathe. We took a lathe output to two Pro Tools tracks, open on input, that fed audio to Zoom. For cameras, we had four iPhones on Zoom,” he says.

Jeremy Bernstein mixed the session, assisted by Nick Molino. Margaret Luthar mastered the project live to vinyl with assistance from Anna Clark.

Margaret Luthar (rear) mastered the project live to vinyl with assistance from Anna Clark (foreground).
Margaret Luthar (rear) mastered the project live to vinyl with assistance from Anna Clark (foreground). Charlie Kasar

Whova enables virtual meetups, mimicking the annual event’s after-hours hangs. At the wrap-up hang, says Mara, “I was prepared for attendees to demand their money back.” Instead, he says, everyone was enthusiastic about incorporating some of the new features into future summits.

“Now we know how to do this online,” says Mara. “After we wrapped up, I said, ‘No matter what 2021 brings, we’re ready.’”

In researching how best to host the event virtually, Mara says, he came across a lot of bad advice that would have detracted from the summit’s usual appeal. “We did plant some stakes in the ground. We weren’t going to give up our Friday night party. So we said, ‘We’re going to keep the price the same, limit it to 60 people still, and we’re going to do eight hours a day’—and we sold out.”

Panelists included a who’s who of recording and mastering engineers, including Andrew Sheps, Eric Valentine, Larry Crane, Kim Rosen, Jessica Thompson, J.J. Blair, Pete Lyman and Jason Orris. “How Records Are Made: Top to Bottom,” following the process from vinyl mastering and electroplating in Nashville to Hand Drawn Pressing in Dallas, TX, featured each presenter virtually handing over the lacquer to the next person. “Halfway through, we said, ‘We should be recording this,’” says Mara.

Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke augmented to an 11-piece to record four Rolling Stones covers per side.
Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke augmented to an 11-piece to record four Rolling Stones covers per side. Charlie Kasar

Welcome to 1979, with a total floor area of about 13,000 square feet, was able to easily accommodate Blackberry Smoke’s expanded lineup. Drums, percussion, bass, guitars and keyboards were in the main room, with lead vocalist/guitarist Charlie Starr in an iso booth. “I tracked a record last year where the band had a percussionist and I found that the closer they were to the drum kit, the better they sounded. Almost everyone was physically in the same room with their amps in amp rooms,” says Mara.

“We put the two backgrounds singers in the entryway between the singer and the band, visually. The two horns were in a 1970s dead room that we have right behind the drums, so they could see everyone, too. It was a really good vibe.”

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Solid State Logic Launches UF8 DAW Controller

Solid State Logic UF8 DAW Controller
Solid State Logic UF8 DAW Controller

Oxford, UK (February 5, 2021)—Solid State Logic has introduced its new UF8 Advanced Studio DAW controller, offering users remote access to faders, encoders and high-resolution color displays. It’s primarily intended for use in music creation, production and mixing, post production and webcasting.

The UF8 is expandable to a 32-channel control surface and offers integration for all major DAW platforms. SSL’s new 360° control software (both Mac and Windows-compatible) manages multi-controller configurations, customised user keys, and DAW switching across multiple layers, allowing for switching between numerous sessions.

Solid State Logic Fusion – A Real World Review

The unit offers 100 mm touch-sensitive faders; high-resolution colour displays; eight “endless” rotary encoders; creation and use of custom workflows via five banks of eight user keys and three quick keys, adding up to 43 assignable keys per UF8; an intelligent multi-purpose Channel encoder; mouse scroll emulation, providing control of any plug-in parameter you hover the mouse over; the ability to switch control between three simultaneously connected DAWs; the ability to chain up to four UF8s together for a total of 32 channels of control; and a pair of SSL plug-in: SSL Native Vocalstrip 2 and Drumstrip.

Andy Jackson, SSL studio product manager, noted “UF8 is an obvious next step in SSL’s development in ergonomically designed studio tools for todays’ mixers, producers and creators. The layout and build quality are all about our fixation with ‘human engineering’; creating products that keep you in the creative zone with high-speed access to every fader or control, without operator fatigue or discomfort.”

Solid State Logic • www.solidstatelogic.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com