June 2014

Mix June 2014 issue cover

WELCOME

June 2014 Editor's Note: My Kind of Town

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny

It has been a lot of fun talking about Chicago this past month while putting together our Regional pages. The weekly editorial meetings were peppered with stories from Blair Jackson, who located and contacted Liz Phair for this month’s Classic Track, along with references to Brad Wood, Brian Deck, Veruca Salt and the late great Idful Studios; from managing editor Lori Kennedy, who wrote up Sessions & Studio News from the likes of CRC and Pressure Point, both longtime Mix friends; from contributing editor Barbara Schultz, a Chicago native and diehard Bulls and Cubs fan, who, though tied up producing our Class of 2014 cover feature, still had time for a few Chicago stories. ...

COVER STORY

Class of 2014: A Collection of This Year's Hottest New Studios

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

“As a lifelong musician, producer and engineer, I have to say, Think Loud Studios is the ultimate reward for all those years of hard work and dedication,” says Chad Taylor, best known as the lead guitarist for the band LIVE. Taylor and bandmates Patrick Dahlheimer (bass), Chad Gracey (drums) and Chris Shinn (vocals) co-own this creative, multi-use showplace, which was built into a 100-plus-year-old landmark building full of vintage touches and natural light....

COLUMNS

Robair Report: In the Know

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Gino Robair

This fact seems obvious, yet it surprises many when they hear it: In the beginning, people who wanted to make recordings built their own gear to meet their needs. ...

Tech Talk: On Being a Sponge

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Kevin Becka

Everyone knows the Chinese blessing/curse, “May you live in interesting times.” For me, the polarity-flipped blessing would be, “May you always be surrounded by those smarter than yourself.” For most of my life I’ve either gotten to hang with smart people for free, or I paid for it. When I was young and on the road as a guitar player, whether I was in L.A., Kansas City or Kankakee, I’d get a lesson with the resident monster. You just had to ask around and a name or two would pop up. The local gurus were happy to give a lesson and make some extra bucks, and I was happy to pick their brains....

FEATURES

Digital Audio Clocks: How They Work and Why You Need Them

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Michael Cooper

Good timing is the difference between salad and compost. As in most things in life, timing is critical to success. In digital audio systems, it’s what makes audio sound pristine instead of like garbage. Multiple pieces of interconnected digital gear must operate in perfect synchrony to produce great results....

Producer/Engineer/Musician Bryan Bell: Making a Laptop/Studio Hybrid Work

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

If you’ve never heard of Nestler & Hawtin, a pair of soulful young singer-songwriters from Oregon, don’t fret. They’ve barely ventured outside of their native Pacific Northwest during their time together. But the story of how their excellent first album, Duality, came together is a fascinating and instructive saga that says much about independent recording in this era of small budgets, but expanded opportunities to work in inexpensive and creative ways. ...

Artifact Audibility

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Ethan Winer

As professional recording engineers, our job is to capture musical performances as clearly and accurately as possible, especially acoustic music. Sure, when mixing pop and rock tunes, we often mangle sounds to make them more interesting. Creative use of EQ, compression, distortion and other effects is an important part of the job. But once a mix has been honed and approved, we aim to maintain the same tonality and clarity through to the listener’s loudspeakers. ...

Dog & Pony Studios, Las Vegas: From George Carlin to Elliot Smith, Skechers to Slot Machines

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny

If you work in audio post in a mid-level market, chances are you work on a wide, wide, wide variety of projects. John McClain, the creative owner of Dog & Pony Studios in Las Vegas, knows this. He’s built a business around it. Since opening a little more than ten years ago with mostly voice-over work and mixing commercials, he’s worked on short films, webisodes, custom music, national and local TV spots, radio, specials (Emmy as part of HBO Sports Boxing Series), children’s books, slot machines, casino promos, Grammy-winning comedy albums (George Carlin), cartoon shorts, documentaries...

LIVE

2014 Billboard Latin Music Awards

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix

Professional Wireless Systems was on-site on April 24 at the Bank United Center at the University of Miami to support Telemundo’s live broadcast of the Billboard Latin Music Awards. This marks the 16th year that PWS provided wireless solutions and equipment for the show, which honors the most popular albums, songs and performers in Latin music as determined by data from Billboard’s weekly charts....

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix

A restaurant and sports bar in Scottsdale, Ariz., Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row offers live music Thursday and Friday nights on an elevated stage. The venue’s management company, Riot Hospitality Group, asked Jason Goldin, general manager of Sam Ash in Glendale, Ariz., to help design a streamlined club/live sound rig that could integrate into the venue’s video-rich environment. Goldin collaborated with HP Marketing Company’s Andy Connors for additional design input....

Morcheeba Visits U.S. Clubs

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix

UK-based trip-hop trio Morcheeba, comprising Skye Edwards, Paul Godfrey and Ross Godfrey, crafted their October 2013 release Head Up High using vintage and boutique audio gear in their studio in France. Morcheeba is touring behind this release with a lineup comprising Edwards (vocals), Ross Godfrey (guitar), Steve Gordon (bass), Richard Milner (keys), Martin Carling (drums) and James Anthony (turntables). Mix caught the group at New York City’s Irving Plaza in May....

MUSIC

Classic Tracks: 'Supernova,' Liz Phair

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

Chicago was a pretty happenin’ rock town in the late ’80s and early ’90s, with a thriving club scene and a whole bunch of recording studios that catered to the many post-punk, alternative and industrial groups that sprang up in the area. One of the most popular studios to emerge in that era was Idful Music, in the affordable and ethnically diverse Wicker Park neighborhood (home to many a struggling musician)....

Joseph Arthur’s ‘Lou’: Artist’s Tribute to Unforgettable Songs

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

A couple of months after Lou Reed passed away, A&R rep/music producer Bill Bentley suggested that Joseph Arthur record a tribute to their mutual friend. ...

Matisyahu’s ‘Akeda’

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

“When a performer forgets where they are and really puts it down the wires—that’s what we try to preserve at all costs,” says Joel Hamilton, who engineered and co-produced Matisyahu’s latest, Akeda. ...

Ben and Ellen Harper’s ‘Childhood Home’

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

“They’re both excellent wordsmiths, and when they harmonize, you can definitely tell there’s that genetic vibration that happens only when people who are related sing,” says engineer Ethan Allen, who recorded the delicate new folk album from singer/songwriter Ben Harper and his mother, Ellen Harper in Ben’s Machine Shop studio....

Kenny Wayne Shepherd, ‘Goin’ Home’

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

Guitar master Kenny Wayne Shepherd made his aptly named new release in his hometown of Shreveport, La., bringing his band—singer Noah Hunt, drummer Chris Layton, bassist Tony Franklin and keyboard player Riley Osbourn—into Blade Studios, where he co-produced with Bill Pfordresher and drummer/studio owner Brady Blade. The new album features classic blues songs made famous by greats Albert King, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan and others....

Cool Spin: The Black Keys, ‘Turn Blue’ (Nonesuch)

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz

From the first gentle, languid guitar strums and shadowy keys, the new Black Keys album evokes the reaction: “Wow—very Pink Floyd.”...

REGIONAL: CHICAGO

Chicago News & Notes 2014

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By The Mix Editors

Chicago Recording Company recently started a project called CRC Live, which takes a close and personal look at music and the stories behind it. ...

Chicago Session News 2014

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix

Sertab Erener and Demir Demirkan of jazz/rock/fusion duo Painted on Water recorded their EP Chicago Issue in Studio A with Andy Shoemaker and mixed in studio B by Rick Barnes...

Chicago Producer Brian Deck

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson

Brian Deck has been a leading light of the Chicago music scene for going on three decades now, one of those classic multi-hyphenates: musician-engineer-producer-studio owner, often all at the same time. ...

Columbia College, Chicago

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tom Kenny

Colleges, especially long-established ones, tend to develop their own cultures. For Columbia College, founded as and Oratory School in 1890 and today a four-year liberal arts institution, that culture runs deep and is rooted in Chicago itself. ...

TECH REVIEWS

Q2 Audio ADR Compex Limiter F760X-RS: Faithful Reissue of 1960s Classic

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barry Rudolph

The history of the ADR Compex Limiter F760X RS goes back to the late ’60s in England when Audio & Design Recording made the single-knob F600 compressor module. ...

SPL Crimson Interface: 6x6 USB I/O, Monitor Control, Great Sound

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Brandon T. Hickey

When SPL unveils a new product, it is often built around a one-of-a-kind new circuit. The company is probably best known for its Transient Designer, which allows the manipulation of attack and sustain in ways that sound and behave very differently than a traditional compressor does. ...

sE Electronics sE5 Condenser Mic: Affordable, Versatile Fixed-Cardioid Transducer

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Tim Dolbear

I use small-diaphragm condenser microphones everywhere—as room microphones, as overheads for drums, next to a dynamic to add that special snap, crackle and pop to a snare drum, and to capture a string quartet by way of one of the many stereo array techniques. ...

Waves Vitamin Sonic Enhancer: Multiband Plug-In Adds Clarity, Punch and More

Jun 1, 2014 9:00 AM, Mix, By Michael Cooper

A glance at Vitamin’s GUI initially led me to surmise the plug-in combines a harmonic exciter, stereo imager and transient shaper. But it turns out the inside story is a bit different. Vitamin uses hidden multiband compressors and clippers to generate harmonics more subtly than most exciters, and its transient processor affects only that portion of processed signal....

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