Barefoot Recording Opens Its Doors
Tom Kenny. This past summer, after 18 years of building, rebuilding, recording, inventing and producing in his largely private Barefoot Recording, nee the legendary Crystal Industries Recording in Hollywood, producer Eric Valentine is turning over day-to-day operations to a few close friends and opening the rooms and the gear to all who want to record quality music. And he’s on the cover of Mix, for all the right reasons.
Matt Hurwitz. Jazz Gaudet, an assistant to veteran engineer Shelly Yakus at Aftermaster Audio Lab Studios, cues up “Trains,” a track produced by longtime colleague Jack Douglas for a new project, Silverplanes. The cueing is taking place on a 1/4-inch tape machine on which Yakus has just completed his mix, producing the familiar “whirring” all engineers who started in his and his producer’s era know and love. “Ahh, the sound of tape,” Douglas smiles.
5 Films, 5 Reasons to Listen
Jennifer Walden. No two films are alike. Even if two films seem superficially similar—say, for instance, two period dramas about English queens—they can actually quite different, and not just from a story perspective. Each comes with unique opportunities for creativity in sound, along with challenges to overcome. Here, Mix looks at five films released in 2018 that caught our attention, each with a special sonic attribute that helps define their tracks.
The Mix List: 19 for ’19—Companies to Watch in the Coming Year
We’re instituting a new annual feature this year, a combination of looking back at the previous 12 months and looking ahead to the next 12 for technologies and companies that are making a difference. We’re calling it the Mix List, and it’s based around the idea that while technological development might happen at light speed these days, quality and innovation are timeless.
Lena Hall’s Obsessed Series: 50-Plus Songs, 8 Days, With Outfit Changes
Anthony Savona. From its stated mission, Lena Hall’s Obsessed series is an ambitious project: For each month of 2018, the powerhouse singer would release a four- or five-song EP that focused on the work of a particular artist who inspired her. And so each month they came out: Obsessed: Elton John, Obsessed: David Bowie, Obsessed: The Cranberries, Obsessed: Pink and so on. Every song would have a performance video for release, with one each week during that month’s Obsessed title. Over the course of the year, there will be 50-plus songs and videos—all intimate yet bold, scaled-down versions of songs you probably know but have never heard quite like this before.
Flav Martin and Jerry Marotta: Soul Redemption and the Magic of Musicanship
Gary Eskow. In the far corner of a house in Woodstock, N.Y., stands a stage, which is where this writer first heard Flav Martin perform over the Fourth of July weekend. Martin’s acoustic chops and his inventive styles and techniques are unique. He’s a monster player, and he’s earned accolades throughout the industry, from David Crosby to Gene Simmons—he’s just not a household name. When we spoke after his set, Martin mentioned that he’d just completed an album, dubbed Soul Redemption, with producer Jerry Marotta.
Book Review: Al Schmitt on the Record: The Magic Behind the Music
Tom Kenny. This month Hal Leonard Books releases legendary engineer/producer Al Schmitt’s autobiography, and it’s been a long time coming. Still working at age 88, out of his longtime home base at Capitol Studio A, Schmitt has engineered and produced more than 150 Gold and Platinum records, earned 23 Grammy Awards, and left an indelible imprint on both the recording industry and the music industry at large. He should have had at least a few autobiographies by now. Then again, he’s not the type of guy to talk about himself all that much.
Justin Timberlake: Man of the Woods
Justin Timberlake is currently crossing the States on the Man of the Woods tour, the artist’s sixth major worldwide event. His two live sound engineers, Andy Meyer and Paul Klimson, both rely on DiGiCo consoles supplied by Clair Global, the touring sound reinforcement provider.
Dierks Bentley: Mountain High
Dierks Bentley’s kicked off the Mountain High Tour this past May in support of his ninth studio album, The Mountain. After a December-January break, he picks up again in February 2019. It’s one of the first major tours to work out the new PK Sound Trinity line array system, labeled Advanced Robotics.
Rackmount Precision for Sound Shaping: Six New Outboard Processors for Mixing and Mastering
The past five to ten years have witnessed a whole lot of pro audio hardware development focused on the boom in 500 Series products. But this year we found that there’s been something of a return to rackmount processors, with a particular focus on tools for mastering engineers. Here are six that caught our eyes and ears in 2018.
New Products for December 2018
New studio and live sound products from API, Apogee, Waves Audio, Acon Digital, Audio-Technica, Eventide, Fluid Audio, Universal Audio, Avantone, GIK Acoustic, PK Sound, McDSP and Peavey.
Review: SPL DMC Console, MC16 Monitor Control
Michael Romanowski. Mastering is an art form, the crucial final engineering step in the process of releasing music. Many articles have been written to help creative individuals, working professionals and even business partners understand what this process is and what the hopeful outcome could or should be. Here, in addition to the review of this powerful new SPL system, I’d like to talk a little bit about opinions and the importance of what they bring to the table. It will also serve as something of a disclaimer, as I am an SPL user. The world of mastering engineers, and the products developed specifically for the market, is relatively small. I don’t consider this a conflict; I consider it a win for users and the industry alike.
Review: Zynaptiq Intensity
Michael Cooper. Plug-in manufacturer Zynaptiq has time and again wowed me with products that are both offbeat and extremely useful. The company’s latest disruptor, Intensity, uses algorithms typically employed in facial recognition software to enhance inherent detail and increase clarity, loudness and density in audio for mixing, mastering and sound design applications. While it’s not a compressor, Zynaptiq suggests you can grok Intensity by imagining an infinite-band compressor with zero-value time constants and no threshold. The cross-platform plug-in is available in AU, AAX, VST and RTAS formats.
From the Editor: The Ghosts in the Walls
Tom Kenny. In the mid-1990s, following the opening of the huge, gorgeous, acoustically dialed-in Hit Factory Scoring Stage in New York, I asked local engineer James Nichols what he thought of New York City’s newest, biggest room for orchestra, big band, Broadway cast albums and rock/pop superstars. He paused, a little uncomfortable, as if he didn’t want to offend anyone, then said, “There’s not enough dirt in the walls.”
Leslie Ann Jones to Be Inducted into NAMM TEC Awards Hall of Fame
Leslie Ann Jones, the groundbreaking engineer, producer, and director of music and scoring for Skywalker Sound, will be inducted into the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame at the 34th Annual NAMM TEC Awards on January 26. Jones joins luminaries Rose Mann Cherney, Skunk Baxter, Hal Blaine, Jack Douglas, Nathan East, Geoff Emerick, and others with her induction, the industry’s highest honor for pioneers of audio technology, as well as the music industry’s most accomplished producers and audio technicians.
Steven Spielberg to Receive Cinema Audio Society Filmmaker Award
“I am thrilled to announce Steven Spielberg as the CAS Filmmaker Honoree for our 55th CAS Awards,” said CAS president Mark Ulano. “The CAS has recognized Steven’s commitment to sound multiple times, with nominations for Outstanding Sound Mixing and a win for Saving Private Ryan. And, most importantly, we recognize that Steven has had relationships with sound mixers that span more than 25 projects—a strong indicator that a director values the role of sound.”
MPSE to Honor Antoine Fuqua with Filmmaker Award
The director of such films as The Equalizer (1 & 2), The Magnificent Seven, Southpaw and Training Day, is being recognized for his outstanding contributions to the art of cinema. He will receive the award at the 66 MPSE Golden Reel Awards ceremony February 17 in Los Angeles.
Back Page Blog: December 2018
Mike Levine and Steve La Cerra. Thoughts on file preservation and steerable sound.