Recording

March 2012

March 2012

ON THE COVER

Mix Interview: Producer/Engineer Joe Chiccarelli

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Blair Jackson

Chances are, if you checked in on what Joe Chiccarelli was up to in almost any month dating back to the dawn of the ’80s, you would have found him involved in some interesting recording project. What a career! The producer/engineer/mixer has weathered the fads and fluctuations of both the music business and the recording industry with hard work, grace and good humor......

FEATURES

Desktop Studio Monitors

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By the Mix Editors

Monitors under 6 inches are definitely being used in professional production, and there will be more on the way. Arguably the trend seems to be toward getting the amps outside the box, like the Pelonis Model 42 and the admittedly larger sE Egg. Mix took this opportunity to survey the market and present Desktop Monitors available over the last several years. The list is by no means comprehensive, as the line blurs here between pro and hi-fi. And prices have been omitted, as we all know that shopping around is half the fun....

Fantasy Studios at 40

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher

Succeeding as a top-flight, multi-room commercial production facility over a span of four decades is certainly no small feat. But Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, Calif., has, continually distinguishing itself as a model of resilience, innovation and vitality. Now 40 years in, Fantasy is thriving as an independently run facility, celebrating with a complete physical upgrade of Studio D, which was originally designed by Tom Hidley, by installing new cherry hardwood floors and creating a new glass isolation booth. The celebrations continue into 2012 as staff members have been busy serving clients in the music, film, television, and videogame industries, who fill Fantasy’s storied rooms week after week....

Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris'

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Mel Lambert

Oscar-nominated composer and musician Danny Elfman is best known for his complex scores to nearly every film by director and longtime friend Tim Burton; titles have included Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow and Batman. The one-time leader of the new-wave band Oingo Boingo has also written scores for many other disparate films, such as Spider-Man, Milk, The Wolfman, Terminator Salvation and the upcoming Men in Black III, and is responsible for the themes of TV shows ranging from The Simpsons to Desperate Housewives....

MUSIC

Carolina Chocolate Drops 'Leaving Eden'

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

Twenty-first-century string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops—Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson—first connected through a Yahoo! group called Black Banjo: Then and Now (BBTN). Their shared love for old-time music spurred them to seek out living legacies like Joe Thompson, who was in his 80s when he and the trio became acquainted....

Classic Tracks: Randy Travis "Forever and Ever, Amen"

Mar 26, 2012 7:11 PM, By Alison Richter

Before signing with Warner Bros. Records Nashville, Randy Travis spent a decade looking for a recording contract, and being rejected by everyone. In 1985, when engineer/producer Kyle Lehning first heard the artist then using the stage name “Randy Ray,” Travis was working as the catfish cook at the Nashville Palace; he would perform short sets when he could take a break from his shift in the kitchen. ...

Theresa Andersson's 'Street Parade'

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

The YouTube video for Theresa Andersson’s song, “Na, Na, Na,” has been viewed more than 1.4 million times. It shows the Swedish-born artist—who’s now based in New Orleans—in her kitchen, creating and layering loops of vocals, drums, guitars, to build her original, melodious, rhythmic song....

Mickey Hart: Out In Space and Down To Earth

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Blair Jackson

Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart has been touring since last fall with a red-hot new band and a batch of excellent songs he co-wrote with the Dead’s lyricist, Robert Hunter....

Jazz Artists Put Their Spin on Disney

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Blair Jackson

Musicians have been interpreting songs from Disney films forever, but the recent Everybody Wants to Be A Cat: Disney Jazz Volume 1 is the hippest to come out in a while, blending old and newer songs, young and veteran players. ...

Hargo's Radical Sounds

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

Hargo’s eclectic new disc Out of Mankind is alt-rock with a gamut of found sounds, “ethnic” instruments and horns. But as engineer/producer Joel Hamilton points out, “It’s not an ‘experimental’ record by any means,” as strong original songs take the front seat. ...

Julia Nunes: Heavenly Voice and a Rockin' Uke

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

Engineer/producer Zach McNees recorded most of the 18 tracks on singer/songwriter Julia Nunes’ beautiful and sometimes whimsical album, Settle Down, at The Buddy Project in Astoria, N.Y....

LIVE

Beautifying Napa's Uptown Theatre

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

A couple of years ago, a new venue quietly began appearing in the San Francisco Bay Area concert listings: the Uptown Theatre. Not to be confused with Oakland, Calif.’s beloved sweaty shoebox, the Uptown Nightclub, the renovated art-deco is now the centerpiece of nightlife in the Northern California wine country destination of Napa. ...

All Access: Mutemath

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings

Mutemath, touring behind their latest release, Odd Soul, played San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, a neoclassical former dance hall that was built in 1909....

QSC In Paris | Las Vegas' Chateau Nightclub and Gardens

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

Chateau Nightclub and Gardens, the latest venue to open on the Las Vegas strip, offers an expansive audio/visual system, designed and installed by Bob Athey. The 45,000-square-foot club spans two levels, with numerous indoor and outdoor spaces. ...

FixIt: Kenny Rogers Technical Director/Monitor Engineer Frank Farrell

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM

Rogers’ current tour includes a vocal choir. We asked his technical director how they mike a choir in a sound-reinforcement situation....

Flaming Lips Strip Down

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM

Last month, the Flaming Lips visited Bimbo’s 365 (San Francisco) as part of the regional Noisepop festival. FOH engineer Chris Chandler had to pare down the band’s usually extensive equipment package, yet managed to reproduce the Lips’ big sound in a relatively small space. ...

Learn More from Meyer Sound

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM

Meyer Sound provides an ongoing series of seminars and Webinars for live sound professionals who wish to learn more about Meyer technology or just increase their skills....

TECHNOLOGY

Robair Report | Reverse Engineering

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Gino Robair

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear sounds through someone else’s ears? When I introduce mic technology to my recording classes, I point out that the majority of the microphones we use in the studio are not designed to capture sounds with 100 percent accuracy....

TechTalk: Clean Power and Light

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Kevin Becka

If you haven’t been following my column for the past few months, I’m in the middle of building a small mix room—a high-end workspace on a moderate budget—while cutting as few corners as possible. Two of the most important considerations when building any listening space are light and power, both of which can impact audio quality....

Ask Eddie | Guitar Tone, Part 2

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Eddie Ciletti

The goal of this three-part series is to help recording engineers, guitarists and DIY’ers understand some of the factors that influence guitar amp tone. The amp in question—Fender’s Hot Rod Deluxe (HRD)—was chosen because several of my students have complained of the same problem: excessive gain and insufficient tone-control range, which makes it an unruly recording amp. I felt I could offer affordable solutions to those who are cash-poor, and I am always happy to trade technical services for musicianship....

NAMM 2012: Studio and Live!

Jan 27, 2012 12:13 PM, By The Mix Editors

Now that was a NAMM show! If anyone is still looking for anecdotal proof that the economy is on the upswing, the Anaheim Convention Center would be a good place to start: record attendance (more than 95,000), plenty of celebrity sightings and a flood of new technology introductions....

Allen & Heath GS-R24M Studio Recording Mixer Review

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Steve La Cerra

The GS-R24M from Allen & Heath exemplifies the concept of a “hybrid” console, merging analog and digital mixing capabilities with onboard A/D and D/A....

Roland R-26, Tascam DR-40, and Nagra SD Portable Handheld Recorders Review

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Brandon T. Hickey

I recently had the opportunity to engineer some interesting field recordings. The first was at the Arizona Railway Museum recording train sounds to be used for a new toy train from Lionel. The other was to record sounds for a stop-motion short for director Trevvor Riley in various large, abandoned spaces. ...

Lisson Grove R-124 Compressor Review

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Barry Rudolph

The Lisson Grove R-124 single-channel, variable-mu compressor is an homage to the EMI/Abbey Road RS124, which itself started out life as the U.S.-made Altec 436B compressor originally released in 1958 for telephone and broadcast use. ...

Mojave MA-300 Tube Microphone Review

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Kevin Becka

The sixth model in a growing line of microphones, Mojave Audio’s MA-300 comes from the mind of David Royer, a stickler for details. Just after Mojave released its first product, Royer told me about the difficulties of producing a mic long-distance (the units are built in China) and said that although he would painstakingly map out production details, he later found some elements had been changed, even in a small way. ...

CURRENT

Sound for the 2012 Grammy Awards

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Compiled by Mix Editors

There isn’t a show on television that devotes more attention and resources to quality sound than the Grammy Awards, and this year, amid changes in programming and unplanned guests, the audio team again delivered stellar 5.1 audio from Staples Center on February 12. It’s not that other shows don’t care, or don’t do quality work; it’s just that nobody does it better....

Motion Picture Sound Editors Honor George Watters II

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Compiled by Mix Editors

Supervising sound editor George Watters II took home the 2012 MPSE Career Achievement Award at the 59th Annual Golden Reel Awards, held February 19. Watters II is a two-time Academy Award–winning supervising sound editor, with Oscars in 1990 for The Hunt for Red October and in 2001 for Pearl Harbor. ...

Manhattan Producer's Alliance Opens West Coast Chapter

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Compiled by Mix Editors

The Manhattan Producers Alliance (ManHatPro)—a media education, mentoring and networking community for audio/musician professionals—has launched a West Coast chapter. Based in San Francisco, the new MPA West is headed by Grammy Award-winning TV/film/online composer Steve Horowitz (Super Size Me, Nickelodeon Digital)....

SPARS SoundBite | The Concierge Updated

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Kirk Imamura

The studio business is the ultimate concierge service for artists and musicians. Whatever is asked for, a good studio staff bends over backwards to deliver, even if those requests come at the eleventh hour on a Friday night. In the past, that may have meant enabling indulgence and excess; if it resulted in happy clients and repeat business, then we obliged as long as the bills got paid....

DEPARTMENTS

Editor's Note: Music From the Heart and Head

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Tom Kenny, Editorial Director

I like Dave Grohl, and I’m liking him more as the years go by. He lives the life he believes in, and he eats, sleeps and breathes music. He lied about his age to audition for his first band, then was the East Coast emigré in the Seattle scene when he joined Nirvana. He plays well with others, from Queens of the Stone Age to Them Crooked Vultures to…Paul McCartney. He’s a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist, a producer and he dabbles in engineering. He made Fresh Pots, enough said....

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